Having managed to escape Tsukihi’s onslaught of awls Araragi decides to keep his word to introduce Karen to Kanbaru, and on their way over to her house Karen offers to teach him how to always win at rock-paper-scissors.
So in order to make it so he can’t back out of it they decide to bet the loser will have to carry the winner around on their shoulders for the rest of the day, and planning just to go back on his word anyway if he loses, he convinces her that he’ll go along with it. However the unbeatable trick to always win is actually one to always lose, causing her to lose by default and meaning that she’ll have to carry him around on her shoulders. But having gained a good fifty or so kilograms after Hitagi’s arc he tries to back out of it, only to have any attempt back fire, leading to Karen cutting off her ponytail with the flick of her key. And while Karen easily lifts him up, just how high up he is now freaks him out.
After which they run into a particularly strange woman perfectly balancing on a mailbox who introduces herself as Kagenui Yozuru and asks them for directions to the Eikou Cram School, which after delightfully calling Tsubasa, Araragi finds is the same school where Oshino and Shinobu lived. And after exchanging introductions and sending her on her way, other than being creeped out that Tsubasa knew he was going to see Kanbaru, Araragi takes notice of how she referred to him along the lines of a demon and his sister as a wasp. Other than that Karen had taken notice of her balance as well as just how her fists were shaped, staying on guard just in case. Eventually they manage to arrive at Kanbaru’s place and after introducing the two of them, Araragi decides to start heading back ahead when he notices a familiar figure in the distance.
Hachikuji, facing him with a conundrum as to just what he should do, we the viewers expect him to pounce on her but apparently he now considers himself to be an adult, and such behaviour wouldn’t befit such. However in a split second he casts these hesitations away and makes his move only to have Shinobu shoot him down from behind and mess things up. After exchanging the usual pleasantries they eventually start walking together where their conversation shifts to his studying and just what his incentive must be, as well as him referring to the connection that he came to a while ago, that while he may be dating Senjougahara, and that he may love Tsubasa, in the end the one that he’ll end up marrying will be her. But just as he’s getting his reactions right, a girl who Kagenui told him about, an apparent companion of hers, arrives looking for the same cram school. With Araragi taking notice not only of how she referred to him the same way Kagenui did but also Hachikuji along the lines as a snail, finally making the connection between this referral and vampires.
A fairly good episode. I’m still disappointed by the lack of any Tsukihi screentime in her own arc while Karen still remains front and centre, but with this episode we were introduced to two new characters along with some more fun conversations between Araragi and Karen, and towards the end, Hachikuji. So it wasn’t all bad. And secondly we also got to see the impending meeting between Karen and Kanbaru.
Which as worried as Araragi was about it all, attempting to come up with an unwinnable condition in order to avoid it, didn’t really seem that bad from what we saw of it, though it did cut off a little too early, so I guess we can’t really draw much of an opinion of it. Putting that aside though the interactions between Aragagi and Karen on the way were pretty fun again as well, I can’t help but think that they’re strangely a little too close now, but they were still pretty fun all the same. With things like her half thought out ploy to always win at rock-paper-scissors and eventually have him carry her for the whole day all backfiring on her, and him freaking out because of it. Let alone it was also kind of nice to see Araragi’s weight gain referenced again, and even what may have been unintentional vampiric suggestion on his part. Other than that I was kind of shocked when Karen cut her hair, with a key of all things, it completely came out of nowhere.
Following that it was also great to see the cast expand in the form of Kagenui, voiced by Ryoko Shiraishi , and her apparent companion Ononoki, voiced by Saori Hiyama. The former managing to leave a particularly enigmatic feeling in her short appearance, giving off the same sort of atmosphere that Oshino and Kaiki gave off when they were around and even picking up on the sort of things that people would normally noticed. Seeing Araragi for what he really was, a vampire either through the fact that he was formally one or that Shinobu resides in his shadow, he may have been a little slow to pick up on it but it was as if she saw right through him. And secondly as Karen picked up on, her physical abilities, not only did she seem strong but her balance was impressive to say the least.
The former however didn’t exactly manage to leave the same sort of impression however, we still barely know her, and unlike Kagenui I think she left without properly introducing herself, however the fact that she’s somehow connected to Kagenui still makes her kind of mysterious. At this point I’m interested to see just why they’re looking for the abandoned cram school, could they be looking for Oshino? That said Ononoki’s introduction was probably overshadowed by yet another great scene between Araragi and Hachikuji, it’s always fun to see how Araragi ponders just what to do when he spots her so seriously even though we, and perhaps him, know that he’s still going to pounce on her in the next moment. And this time we even saw a somewhat jealous Shinobu interrupt things from their usual path. Other than that it was also interesting to see Araragi bring up the relationship chart he came up with, and even throw a Jojo pose at her.