After finishing his bath Araragi meets up with Tsukihi who after trying to dodge the issue a bit, explaining the her term “Platinum Mad”, asking if he has any regrets, and next why he has hardly any friends. Not even waiting for his answer, before he recounts what he heard about Karen’s confrontation with Kaiki.
It seemed to start out ordinarily enough with introductions and name explanations before Karen tries to get straight to the point, with Kaiki responding with a comment on how she could only reach his office from already being exposed to something super natural and then that he’s only giving kids like her what they want. And while he seems to wish he had a better motive for it all it’s actually quite simple, he’s really only doing this to make some money out of them and expects to make a decent profit out of it all. Countering each and every response from her with ease, noting that as a con man kids are easy to trick and that there isn’t much difference in the results of their deeds, she gets a good feeling from helping someone and he gets some cash, which should make someone happy after he spends it.
Then before she can kick or punch him he slowly approaches her and gives her a certain present, the Flame Wreath Bee, and takes what ever cash she has in her wallet as payment for it as he decides that he shouldn’t meet his clients in person anymore. After which it picks up as Araragi is walking Tsubasa home where in order to make up for how she had secretly been helping his sisters, she gives him an ultimately useless coupon to touch her breasts that would cause her to hate him if he uses it. Then going on to wonder where Oshino could be and to talk about the Flame Wreath Bee before they part just outside the school.
And when he gets home Araragi is left to take care of Karen, letting down her hair and offering to wipe her body down, having to undress her himself to do the latter while putting up with her weakened attempts to bite him. During which she admits that she knows that he was right about how strength is more important than being right, but still doesn’t think she should let it stop her, going on to tell him how disgusted she was with Kaiki’s reasoning and motives. That something has to be done about him and providing the same reasoning that he did to Hachikuji’s question about money, and that she isn’t going to give up, reasoning that she’s an adult now only to have Araragi shut her down by telling her she doesn’t compare to Tsubasa and that she should look up to her. And during all of this he gets the idea to transfer the Flame Wreath Bee from her to him, asking Shinobu if it’s possible and how.
Kind of uneventful but still an all right episode, we got quite a bit of Karen fan service this week as well as learning just what happened when she went to meet Kaiki. At the same time giving us a better idea of his character and his motives.
Which as simple as they were, were great all the same. When it comes down to it he’s just out to make ends meet and fill his bank account, it’s just that he chooses to do it by exploiting the foolishness and the ill wishes of others. The way he was portrayed in Karen’s recollection may have suggested otherwise, but in truth while he makes a good target for it but the blame of it all doesn’t entirely rest with him, with things like the snake curse that befell Sengoku he’s really only enabling them. In truth though I still wouldn’t say he’s a good person but that point still stands, his motives aren’t evil per se but his way of accomplishing them doesn’t make him good either.
Other than that I also liked how we were able see Karen’s character developed a bit, she still didn’t progress that far from the rash girl with a penchant for carrying out justice but her admittance to Araragi that he was right about how being strong enough to do something is more important than being in the right seemed to mean a little bit more. In a way she knows that she’s powerless but she still can’t sit back and watch if injustice is around her, even if it is in vain she’ll keep trying. Aside from that it’s also interesting how SHAFT manages to blend this sort of stuff with fan service, in this case how moments beforehand she was being wiped down. They must be one of the few studios today that can actually pull it off in a non-obtrusive way.
Finally it was also interesting to see the direction that the matter of curing Karen of the symptoms from the Flame Wreath Bee, that instead of outright curing it Araragi chose to find a way of transferring them to him instead. Something which I’m kind of unsure about, on one side it’s probably the most practical option, as a former vampire who still isn’t entirely human they probably wouldn’t even effect him, and as her older brother it’s what you would expect of him as well. If there was any way he could alleviate her suffering he would take it. But at the same time the way of doing it coming down to a kiss kind of throws a brocon/siscon aspect between them. But anyway I’m looking forward to seeing how things will play out in the next episode.