Ten or so days into his summer vacation on either the 29th or 30th of July, Araragi Koyomi opens the season in chains inside the old school building when his apparent captor comes to visit him. Senjougahara Hitagi.
“Futakotome” by Hitagi Senjougahara/Chiwa Saito.
Who takes it upon herself to both torture and mess with him in his current state, making him beg to even be able to lick the water from her fingers, as well as swearing to protect him which leads to Araragi accusing her of making an unnecessary Evangelion reference and realises just how deep her love for him is. And as time passes he finds himself pondering her motives until they quickly become clear. After which he reflects back to the earlier morning and how he fell into this predicament, explaining how he had been constantly tutored by both Senjougahara and Hanekawa Tsubasa when Hanekawa unexpectedly cancelled, leaving him with nothing to do.
So he heads down and runs into one of his younger sisters Tsukihi and asks where her bigger younger sister Karen is, not trusting her when she says that she isn’t in any trouble when it’s quite obvious that she has gotten herself into some sort of fight. Getting a reaction out of her that makes him regret getting involved and trying to play the adult, suddenly remembering the offer Sengoku Nadeko had made about going to her house and deciding to take her up on it. However while he expected Tsukihi to come along for obvious reasons she refuses. And after that she brings up how he hasn’t been putting up much resistance lately, the reason that Araragi thinks to himself afterward is that as a former vampire he fears that he might go a little too far if things came to a fight.
So alone Araragi begins to make his way to Sengoku’s house when he notices a familiar figure in the distance, Hachikuji Mayoi and without a moment to spare he ponders his actions before pouncing on her. Once things have settled down though they begin talking, with her asking if he’s trying to recruit more members for his harem after Meme Oshino left, as well as informing him of the dangers in maintaining such. Instead he mentions just what he’s up to and from the sad expression on his face things somehow lead to her talking about how love is being sold at the convenience store for 298 yen as well as breaking the fourth wall about the ending theme. Aside from that after messing up his name yet again she explains how confiding such a secret as him being a vampire in those around him would make it easy for him, but not for them. After which she demonstrates how anything can be made positive by adding the word courage to it.
Leading to a challenge between them where he’ll do a handstand if she can prove it and defeat him, and if he wins she’ll do one instead and flip her skirt in the process, and while he is completely and utterly defeated the end result is pretty sad. However by using her own weapon against her he’s able to completely turn the situation around, let alone he has a pretty good view and manages to trick her into showing her underwear anyway. After which things manage to get back on topic as they prepare to part ways with her advising him that while he could guide his family out, the best answer is to do nothing until then. Parting on a fairly nice note with Mayoi explaining how she’s always lost, and perhaps this time it was on her way to his house to see him.
Despite barely reading anything actually written by him and most of my experience with his works coming from adaptations, would it be strange to say that I’m a fan of Nisioisin‘s style of stories? Or at the very least his style of fast paced and sometimes nonsensical dialogue that he uses for them, providing either fun comedic segments or interesting views on some things.
Let alone just how compelling these segments can be, at first they seem really long winded, and for this episode to simply consist of three conversations between Araragi, Senjougahara, Tsukihi, and finally Mayoi there’s probably not much else it could be seen as. Yet still, regardless of that this episode was still a good start to the season, if anything I thought that they may have carried it as at first glance not much really seemed to happen during them. At the start of the new season what it mainly seems to be doing now is reintroducing us back to the characters and telling us that at some point Araragi is going to end up handcuffed in the old school building, presenting things like how he used to be a vampire again as well as going from character to character while bringing in a few somewhat new ones.
The new characters being Tsukihi and Araragi’s other younger sister Karen, the latter to a lesser extent, two characters who have been featured heavily in the promo art for this season and who the next two story arcs (Karen Bee and Tsukihi Phoenix) that it should consist of should centre around. And before this point had only shown up to wake Araragi up at the end of an arc or to give the preview, so we weren’t exactly familiar with them. However so far I think I kind of like them, we mainly really got to see Tsukihi in this episode I think we were still able to get an idea about Karen as well from how she talked about her, that she had gotten into a fight for someone else’s sake. Aside from that it also felt as if her discussion with Araragi was suggesting that he had been kind of distant toward them recently.
After that our protagonist’s encounter with Hachikuji was also a lot of fun to watch, there’s just something strangely amusing how the first thing that comes to him whenever he spots her is to sneak up behind and grope her for no real reason at all. Even contemplating his reasons for doing so and just how pathetic of him it is as he prepares to go about it either way, aside from that the face he pulled was one of the best parts. Following that even amongst the amazing powers that adding the word courage to a sentence does, it also presented a possible struggle for Araragi. Revealing his secret in others may make it easy for him but not for those he chooses to confide in, that he may actually be making things harder for those around him and in a reversal of sorts he’s kind of an ass for doing it. That he’ll also be struggling to keep it a secret from his sisters for their sakes. Either way despite barely knowing anything about how these two arcs that this season should cover I’m interested to seeing how this will turn out.