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Headscratchers / Bakemonogatari

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  • Why is everyone getting on Araragi's case for helping everyone? I could sort of deal with it in the Suruga Monkey when Araragi genuinely thought that playing the martyr was the only way to resolve the curse and Oshino just decided to be a dick for no discernible reason and didn't tell him about his alternative measure, but Nadeko Snake just irritated me. Jesus Christ they were just kids! They put the curse on Nadeko to relieve some stress, not because they thought it'd actually kill her! Of course trying to defeat the Snake Constrictor was the right thing to do. Better to try and exorcise it off Araragi when he's right there than to try to find Random A. Guy who probably doesn't even remember cursing Nadeko in the first place. Poetic justice isn't worth much when it kills junior high kids.

    • It can be Lampshaded in a few ways. The way Kanbaru probably saw it (at the very end of the Nadeko Snake arc) was that the kids should have realized the consequences of their actions before they put a course on her, thus it is karma in action. Also if Araragi was permanently disfigured, Senjougahara would have a field day with those kids.

    • It is hinted later that the curse didn't rebound, because Meme helped them out again.

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    • It's important to realise that, while the below entry explains their lectures to Araragi pretty well, it's not primarily the 'helping everyone' part that people get on his case about. One of the running threads throughout Araragi's Character Arc in the first set of novels is that his usual course of action is "run into something dangerous, push everyone else as far away from him physically and emotionally as possible denying any viable paths of aid or help, isolate himself in order to take all the pain and damage unto himself, and then take whatever action most closely resembles suicide as possible'. Throwing himself onto the grenade is always, literally, his first course of action, and he NEVER thinks about the consequences or how it will effect others. One of the major under-themes of the Bakemonogatari part of the story is the characters screwing up and making their personal situations worse due to poor choices of action, and one of the overt themes for Araragi in particular is recognizing the above-mentioned flaws, continuing the climb out of the VERY dark place he was in prior to Bake (see: Kizumonogatari where he's essentially given up on life), and changing. The climax of the Tsubasa-Cat arc at the end of the Bake novels/tv series is the Sawari-Neko/Black Hanekawa forcing him to realise through her diatribe and faux attempt on his life that (a) he CAN rely on all his companions for help and (b) that sacrificing himself is NEVER the right solution.

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    • Also, yet another reason several of the characters lecture him is for the simple reason that he HAS a significant other, Senjougahara, yet he's constantly playing the knight in shining armor for a wide array of cute girls that keeps growing. And likewise, that he always befriends and begins to hang out, flirt, and generally cross certain boundaries with some of them. Another of Araragi's glaring character flaws, which is a deliberate, serious satire of the usual 'dumb, obtuse harem protagonist', is that he fails to ever realise the effect his actions and attitudes towards the other girls have within his personal sphere. This is why he hurts Hanekawa so badly (although as he himself and Nishioishin point out, this is probably more Tsubasa's fault/flaw than Araragi's).

      • It doesn't really even need to be lampshaded. It's one of those things that gets lost in the cultural divide between Japan and America, and it shows up in tons of their fictional works. To the Japanese, the idea of "sticking your nose in other people's business" to put it colloquially, especially if you really don't know or aren't connected to those people at all, even if done with the best of intentions, is looked upon as one of a great many respect/manners-breaking faux-pas. Senjougahara accuses Araragi of this when they first meet, and several times afterwards. One of the things she implies often is that its a NEGATIVE quirk of Araragi's that she happens to find charming despite that fact. To put it laconically, the Japanese don't think it's necesarily a good trait, as Americans tend to, to run around wanting to save everyone and doing good deeds against people's wishes for your involvement, ESPECIALLY since this involves things like personal honor, debts being accrued between saviors/victims, and possibly sacrifice on the party of the "defender". This 'concerning yourself with everyone's problems' is not taken to be a good personal trait. Other really good examples of this in anime are xxxHolic's Watanuki Kimihiro (who Araragi seems very likely to be an Expy of and who gets accused of much the same thing constantly by his occult mentor) or Fate/Stay Night's Emiya Shirou.

  • Does anyone else find it humorous/notable that this series/these novels basically shares almost the exact same description and basic format as CLAMP's xxxHolic, if it were a moe' harem and minus the depth and running/connected plot that accompanies the other property? Probably not a coincidence since Nishioishin is admittedly a fan of CLAMP and xxxHolic (and his professional xxxHolic fanfiction is equally hilarious, since Yuuko and Watanuki are wildly out of character and basically act 100% exactly like, well, Senjougahara and Araragi), but...yeah.
    • It isn't really a surprise. Nishio even said in an interview that the setting was inspired by xxxHolic, that he liked the more subtle and mystical form of magic that it portrayed
    • To be fair, I'd say Bakemonogatari and the rest are equally deep, but in their introspectiveness.

  • How come Araragi freely admits to liking some of the other girls in the show (including his sisters) when he's happily dating Senjoughara (and knows what she'll do if necessary)? I mean, it's funny, but is there an actual reason?
    • It's most likely a very skewed comedic version of The Four Loves, in that he has a very strong, yet very different, affection for every girl in his life. Everyone gets Agape, Senjougahara gets Eros, the fire sisters and Hachikuji get Storge (except for when the funny lust kicks in), and Hanekawa and Kanbaru get Phileo.
    • I agree with the The Four Loves explanation, but the other main reason is that he is happily together with Senjougahara. He is so comfortable in his relationship with her that he can't conceive of not being with her, leaving her, or actually cheating on her (what he does with his sisters and Hachikuji doesn't really count, it isn't romantic or arousing for him at all, it's a joke (except that one scene in Episode 8 of Nisemonogatari...)). She on the other hand is far less confident in her ability to keep him on her own merits, despite his assertion that there is nothing about her he doesn't love, shown in how when Hanekawa threatens to ask Araragi out, Senjougahara instantly backs down (odd that she wouldn't threaten Hanekawa, but it was mentioned they have a special relationship) and, indeed, caters to her; which along with her childhood traumas explains her Yandere attitude.
    • In one scene of episode 3 of Nisemonogatari, Senjougahara says she has a very lenient attitude towards adultery, and will continue to allow Araragi to "play around" with other girls, but warns him about letting things get too serious. As mentioned above, Araragi's relationship with her is very different from that of his with the other girls.

  • Maybe I missed something, but was I the only one who thought Kaiki’s attempt to deceive Nadeko was almost hilariously bad? There was no way she was going to buy that. Nadeko is a bit of an airhead but she’s not stupid enough to buy from some guy that Araragi conveniently died. He might as well have brought Araragi along and presented him as a ghost! Kaiki is meant to be an incredible deceiver, but that lie was just really lousy, not to mention he didn’t seem to be putting any effort in making it look real (though this could be just because he never seems to be doing much effort anyway). Why didn't he used the manga artist thing right away? It was definitely a better (if a little bizarre) plan.
    • Because he's even more committed to being a fake villain than he is to being a fake specialist. Even if trying to convince Nadeko to return to humanity had been the best plan (which is far from obvious — she could just as easily have killed him on the spot when she found out what he knew), it just isn't his style to play the hero like that, or at least that's what he deceives himself to believe. That's why Izuko was concerned that he would fail — not because deceiving Nadeko is hard, but because she knew he would subconsciously sabotage his own villainous plot in an attempt to save the girl who he admitted to pitying, just like he had in the past.

  • I know that love is blind and there's no accounting for taste, but seriously, why is Araragi still with Senjougahara instead of Hanekawa? The first one's just decided one day out of the wild blue that she "loves" him and ever since then her expressions of affection have been so superficial as to border on the comical, whenever they aren't downright disturbing. She keeps threatening and insulting him throughout their relationship, and even though the same can be said of the other, she's way more messed up. Meanwhile, Hanekawa has known him forever and never been anything but sweet and kind towards him, loves him enough that she compares the suffering of knowing he doesn't like her back to years of being physically abused by her parents, and (if he were to make such a sociopathic comparison) is every bit as beautiful and intelligent as Senjougahara, albeit in a very different way. Is he just really that much of a masochist?

    • Perhaps it's because he and Hanekawa are a bit too close to be together. They've been through a lot together, so it makes sense that he sees her as more of a sister figure. Not only that, but he also gives off the vibe that he actually looks up to her. He's always admiring how smart she is, along with her other positive traits [aside from her (apparently) huge breasts, of which he also admires, but in an obviously different way].

    • It's been Lampshaded in-story that Hanekawa is a better match for Koyomi and that the two might end up together. Also, he was willing to get himself cut in half to save her in Nekomonogatari (Kuro). Think about that for a sec.

    • She didn't decide that she loved him all out of sudden. She decided that after he saved her, which in this series is a pretty regular reason to fall for somebody; plus, Senjougahara has some abandonment problems in her background that justify why she'd fall so fast for a guy who saved her and why she isn’t exactly a lovey-dovey person (also allow a Doylist parenthesis to say that a good part of Senjougahara's character seems to be a parody of both Tsunderes and Yanderes. She exaggerates everything, just like Araragi). She also gets a lot better when it comes to showing affection towards Araragi later on. About Hanekawa, she and Araragi could’ve been an item, but their timing was terrible. Hanekawa was sweet and kind towards him, but that was it. For all he knows, she was just being polite and nice to a friend, like she is to everyone else — which is also another point for them not being together: Araragi at some point believes he is in love with the idea of perfection Hanekawa embodies, even though deep inside he knows no one is perfect. That’s why he vows to never date her specifically, and anyhow he didn’t believe someone as "perfect" as her would ever want to date him. By the time she confesses, Araragi and Senjougahara are a couple, Senjougahara has had her fair share of Character Development, and Araragi decides that he likes (maybe even loves, for all the reasons you mentioned) Hanekawa, but not more than he likes Senjougahara. Also, answering your last question: yes, Araragi is pretty obviously masochist when it comes to girls. I wasn’t even surprised that he didn’t consider Senjougahara's (doubtful) bursts of violence worrying or anything. He does heal quickly, after all.