It’s the third and final part of my guest appearance on Josh Dunham‘s Senpai Coast to Coast podcast. We finish up our discussion of Bakemonogatari by delving into the Tsubasa Cat arc, paying special attention to the series’ twelfth episode. I truly enjoyed doing this podcast with Josh. He was an absolute pleasure to work with, and I hope he’ll have me back in the future.
Show Notes after the jump
Nekomonogatari Kuro is a prequel OAV that tells the story of what happens during the Golden Week immediately prior to the events of Bakemonogatari. The focus here is all on Hanekawa Tsubasa and her original synthesis with the cat demon Sawari Neko. Throughout the final two episodes, the characters (including Tsubasa herself) attempt to suss out her nature and her motivations via a whole lot of expository dialogue. However, it is my contention that, rather than getting a clearer picture of who Tsubasa actually is, we get a couple of competing ideas of who the characters (including Tsubasa herself) think she is. I happen to think that these constructed identities ignore crucial information and, therefore, are inaccurate. In this piece, I will illustrate the casts’ interpretations of her character, and then I will provide my own thoughts on who Tsubasa Hanekawa is.
Spoilers, I guess.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS POST REPRESENTS MY VIEWS AFTER SEEING ONLY BAKE, NISE AND NEKO.***
Suggested Soundtrack for Reading – Jamie Cullum & Gregory Porter “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
Conflict is an important concept in Monogatari. Humans clash with supernatural beings. Words and bodies collide with one another. Some character relationships can be defined by conflict. However, it is not just a plot device; analysis of the meaning of conflict, distinguishing types of conflict, and commenting on the fallout from conflict are all thematic elements of the story of Monogatari.
The “philosophy of conflict” present in the anime really grabbed me. I decided to follow this theme through the early anime and discuss different kinds of conflict present therein. For each type, I briefly summarize a scene in which the conflict occurs, attempt to define the type and finally consider how the characters are effected by it. There will be tangents.
This article is not meant to be a complete taxonomy of the kinds of conflict in Monogatari. I haven’t seen all the anime in the franchise as of this writing, and the title indicates that the piece only covers the early productions (by this I mean Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari). That said, I stand by the entries in this taxonomy, incomplete though it may be.
Suggested Soundtrack for Reading – Future Islands “Seasons”
Apparitions. On its surface, Bakemonogatari is about teenagers getting rid of apparitions, gods, spirits and demons that are negatively affecting their lives. You may be looking at the title of this post and wondering: What can a story about ghost busting have to say about how we live our lives? Well, an awful lot, actually. In the world of Bakemonogatari, the actions of spiritual beings are deeply connected to the internal, psychological states of human beings. If someone is dealing with an apparition, you can be sure that it is a result of emotional problems–either their own or those of someone they know–overwhelming them. To exorcise the spirits is to confront these emotional problems.
In this post, I will discuss an issue that the show keeps coming back to, carrying emotional burdens. Burden here is sort of a catch-all for: consequences of your choices, memories of traumatic experiences, regrets, longings…You know? Burdens. Bakemonogatari has very specific things to say about how people walk around living with themselves. There are right and wrong ways to do this.
***BAKEMONOGATARI SPOILERS AHEAD***