Nekomonogatari (Kuro) Episode 1: Tsubasa Family
“You see, Araragi-kun…I don’t have what you’d call a family.”– Hanekawa Tsubasa
It’s the first day of Golden Week, and Araragi can’t get Hanekawa out of his thoughts – and so he asks his two imoutos for love advice, seeing as they both have boyfriends. Tsukihi chalks it down to sexual frustration, and directs her onii-chan to a book store so he can buy a porn magazine. On the way, Araragi bumps into Hanekawa, who is sporting a bandage over a bruised cheek. Upon asking, Hanekawa reveals that she has no biological family left, and is a victim of domestic abuse.
Welcome to Nekomonogatari’s first half – the Kuro side of the story, though I’m not quite sure what that entails just yet. Set between Kizumonogatari and Bakemonogatari, it tells the tale of “Tsubasa Family”, and is therefore centered around Hanekawa Tsubasa, who had an alternate personality in the form of a cat oddity that Araragi had to eventually deal with. At this point, we’ve just left the whole issue surrounding the former Kiss-shot (Shinobu) and entered Golden Week, with Araragi having yet to meet Senjougahara, Hachikuji or all the other girls he eventually gets to know. But all of those are stories for another time. Without further ado, let’s begin!
If there was something I missed about the whole Monogatari series, it would have to be all these seemingly pointless conversations and dodgy camera angles – with excellent witty tsukkomis from Araragi, sadly without Hachikuji around to set scenes up for him. Well, a discussion about love with Tsukihi isn’t too bad either, especially when it starts with her trying to be all yandere and stab him for some insane reason xD It’s good she made an appearance nonetheless. Her explanation over love is that people just fall in love because they…do, and it’s hard to specify a reason otherwise. According to her, anything else you say to try and justify your feelings are lies, and love is something that can’t easily be explained. You begin by concluding your love, then slowly try to find reasons for it. I…don’t think that’s entirely true, as reasons for falling in love, even things as shallow as looks and wealth are still reasons – but on the other hand, it wouldn’t really be love if you’re with someone for their money. Yeah, it’s surprisingly vague yet mature of Tsukihi, and to think – this was all before the phoenix thing xD
“If looking at their face makes you want to have their babies, then you’re in love with them. It’s that simple.”
Screw love though, because it was just sexual frustration in the end – typical Araragi, mistaking libido for love *shakes head* Karen got much closer in that respect, though again she’s oversimplified things – if only love was really as simple as she makes it out to be =/ Actually, a serious reason might be because of Hanekawa’s help during Kizumonogatari despite her having nothing to do with Kiss-shot or oddities at all, and with no reason other than the fact that Araragi was her friend. If Tsukihi (his little sister, need I remind you) ended up letting him feel her up, and somehow told him to his face to go buy a porn magazine, then that’s a win for Araragi regardless xD
“That bruise on your face…who did that to you?”
Araragi got to meet Hanyakawa (see what I did there), so he achieved something despite not getting any porn. Putting aside the black lace panties she was wearing, the bandage on her cheek made me immediately think that she was the victim of domestic abuse, which is slightly surprising from an honours student like her – I would have thought that she’d have a happy, healthy home life in line with her school successes. But that’s not how it is with Hanekawa, despite her old mentality of trying to get along well with them. Happy families do form even with step-parents in the picture, but it’s strange to see a situation where both parents aren’t biologically related, and you’re practically living as an adopted child. You sometimes get the case where your actual parent ends up bending to the will of the step-parent and the child feels betrayed, but here, it’s an unstable life for Hanekawa especially given the fact that her father isn’t exactly nice to her, and is hitting her on a whim. With her step-parents not even noticing whether the bruise has healed or not, it’s an image of neglect that forms here. Worse still, her trying to justify what happened hints that she’s possibly afraid of her father as well, and the possible consequences that might come out of Araragi telling someone about the incident. Hanekawa was a good friend to Araragi during the incident with Kiss-shot, so it’s possible that Araragi might do the same with her and make it his business, hopefully getting to the bottom of it as well. Domestic violence is serious business, after all.