Not that long after the last episode left off Araragi finally manages to catch up with Karen, but she isn’t going to go down without a fight. Treating her now slightly weakened condition as if it’s her best as she starts to pummel her brother.
However no matter how brutal or powerful her attacks are Araragi still doesn’t back down either, begging Shinobu not to intervene who in payment wants him to stroke her breasts afterward, with Araragi lamenting that it isn’t the adult Shinobu asking him to do this. Immediately following which Karen kicks things off with a second round of attacks, surprised to see him still standing at the end of it and demanding to know just what he means by her and Tsukihi not being strong when she’s already stronger than him. For which he explains that he meant mental strength, that the reasons for why they act should be theirs, if not they’re not protectors of justice but mere imposters. And so he explains that even so there’s nothing wrong with such, that he’ll always be proud of them, and asking her to let him handle this and show her just how cool her brother can be.
So after dropping her back at home and writing some things on her and Tsukihi’s faces that would make them not want to head outside, Araragi meets up with Senjougahara to confront Kaiki who greets them recognising Araragi as the boy who was outside Kanbaru’s house and by telling Senjougahara that she’s gotten boring since they last met. And in an unexpected anti-climactic act Kaiki goes on to tell them that he’ll stop conning middle schoolers, that the Flame Wreath Bee was little more than something that an author mentioned a few hundred years ago, not even real in the slightest, Karen just made the mistake of meeting him alone and believed that it existed. Also apologising to Senjougahara for what he did to her family and that he’ll repay her father if he can, however Senjougahara refuses to accept such an apology and demands that he leave town. Something he’s actually glad about, accepting that he’s just an imposter and telling Senjougahara that neither of them are actors in a play, though he doesn’t know about Araragi, feeling something maleviolent from his shadow. Going on to compare himself and Araragi as Rubidium and Water.
Following which Senjougahara snaps his phone without a second of hesitation and warns Araragi that she’s going to say the most horrible thing possible, that those who were tricked are partially at fault, that she’s a punisher of evil, and not taking Kaiki’s comments about who she is now being boring lightly warns him not to do it again, as who she is now is who Araragi loves. A revelation that Kaiki finds surprising as he prepares to leave, mentioning that the cult member who tried to rape her a few years back died in an unrelated and not so dramatic car crash, that she shouldn’t be so focused on her past and implying that he may have been lying about everything just before. And once that he’s gone Senjougahara explains to Araragi that the one who saved her was her knight in shining armour and that it’s possible she may have fallen in love with anyone who saved her, though Araragi tells her otherwise as he admits he didn’t really do anything to save her. Leaving only the yet unspecified thing that she wanted him to do, pinning herself between him and the fence and telling him to be gentle. Other than that, during the epilogue the Fire Sisters run off to help repair the damage that Kaiki had done.
After the last episode it’s like everything has come rushing forward, honestly with the pace it was going at I was expecting it to go for at least one more episode but it suddenly managed to wrap this arc up. Nicely as well, complete with confrontations between Araragi and Karen as well as him and Senjougahara and Kaiki. Senjougahara herself also receiving some more welcome development.
The battle between Karen and Araragi, though kind of one-sided, was amazing as well, serving as one of those reminders that as lazy of a studio SHAFT is, every now and then and given the time, they can still churn out some amazing animation. In some cases a little over the top given that it was only a fourteen or so year old girl doing it all, pulling off ferocious explosive attacks in quick succession to pummel Araragi, and personally I’m taking it as SHAFT deciding to exaggerate things a bit, but it was simply great, the animation was smooth and incredibly fast paced and the scene itself grabbed your attention and refused to let go. That said while I initially thought it was something of a let down that Araragi didn’t really do anything to counter them, now I’m of the opposite belief, his role during it was to simply take her attacks until she burned out. Not to mention actually fighting her wouldn’t have been an option for him. After this though it was also nice to see it touch on why Karen and Tsukihi are imposters, likely this season’s namesake which can be loosely translated as Impostory, that the reasons for their actions aren’t truly theirs.
Following this I was also quite surprised at how anti-climactic the confrontation with Kaiki was, after the previous sequence I was expecting something, but something like that just wouldn’t have been his style. Instead what we got seemed to be a psychological confrontation of sorts, through out it all Kaiki stressed that he was apologetic towards his actions and intended to compensate Senjougahara any way he could. Seeming to go to lengths just to get things over and done with and move on. But due to his profession as a con man, a particularly good one at that, there still remained this air to his words that he could be lying about it all, just saying some words to get them off his back in the easiest way possible and go back to work. Let alone the very concept of the Flame Wreath Bee turned out to be little more than a figment of Karen and Araragi’s imaginations, that the Bee itself never existed to begin with, and a testament to his skill of suggestion and deception.
Let alone Kaiki’s apparent philosophy towards life was also fairly interesting, that since the points in your backstory won’t all link up in some grandiose way with your present and future there’s no point in being hung up about them, that if anything it’s best to live life looking forward without spending too much time thinking about the past. In a way also presenting some interesting things for Senjougahara, that the guy from the cult who tried to rape her had died a few years ago in an unrelated event, and that it was possible that Kaiki had been lying all along, that while it was an important point for her it was just another job for him. Which as a meta sort of reference was pretty interesting as well. Secondly it also presented the idea of whether she really would have been able to fall in love with Araragi under any other circumstances, that she could have fallen in love with anyone who turned out to be her knight in shining armour while at the same time adding a bit of ambiguity to it with just who actually saved her. However given this message and that she herself didn’t appreciate Kaiki insulting who she in now I guess it doesn’t really mean all that much anyway.