Nekomonogatari (Kuro) Episode 2: The Curse Cat
“Hanekawa Tsubasa. A girl with otherworldly wings—”
Araragi goes to meet Oshino and runs into Shinobu, giving her a box of donuts she suddenly became interested in. When Oshino asks after Hanekawa, Araragi ends up telling him everything he can, including the burial of a silver cat with no tail – which Oshino identifies as a Curse Cat that has now possessed Hanekawa. Araragi meet the cat, who drops the bodies of Hanekawa’s foster parents in front of him and tears off his left arm, resulting in Oshino’s decision to go into action and deal with the cat.
Ah, it’s Shinobu! Wow, I didn’t really expect her to have a role in this arc, seeing as she can’t quite talk yet and still hasn’t fully reconciled with Araragi over what happened in Kizumonogatari, which she ended up doing during Karen Bee. Well, it’s fine if she still makes an appearance – and it seems that this is where she picks up her eventual love for donuts, to the point that she’s willing to act cute for them ^_^ I was wondering about Shinobu’s mental child-like nature as well, as she was a fearsome, proud vampire when she was still Kiss-shot in her adult form. It’s okay though, I don’t mind this form either.
The explanation that oddities are built and strengthened by human beliefs does work, as if you truly don’t believe it, it might as well not exist as you won’t ever associate an oddity to something supernatural. If oddities are shaped by human thoughts and beliefs, then their behaviour will match their surroundings – because the idea of a loli vampire is only truly believed by Araragi, Oshino and Hanekawa, Shinobu’s actions are thus based around those beliefs, with Araragi’s thoughts influencing her the most. As she’s physically eight, part of Araragi thinks she’s actually eight, and therefore she acts like she’s eight. It’s just like how you’re the sum of your own experiences – where how you grow up as a person is at least, partially shaped the views of your parents and those constantly around you.
I’ve actually forgotten a lot about what happened during Bakemonogatari, as it’s been ages since I’ve watched it. So, I’d completely forgotten about Hanekawa’s cat, and all the trouble it eventually caused Araragi, even after Golden Week ended and into the next term. A silver cat, wtihout a tail and lying on the floor after having been run over – it would be in Hanekawa’s kind nature to give it a proper burial. But as Oshino said (man, I missed that guy), let sleeping cats lie. Don’t touch them. By burying the Curse Cat, it’s now decided to possess her, and take over her body during the night. I remember now – it’s THAT cat, the white one that went around during the night in Bakemonogatari and absorbed people’s vitality, which turned up because of stress. The source of that stress was love for Araragi during that incident, and it went around attacking people to let go of that stress – but in this case, the cat’s only just turned up, and is completely uncontrollable, least of all to Araragi. Oh god, and it made really bad cat puns as well =_= Hanekawa’s parents were causing problems for her, so the cat attacked them (I thought it killed them for a moment) – and it saw Araragi as a threat as well, and tore his arm off as a result. In Bakemonogatari, Shinobu took away its energy, but can she do that as easily in this case?
Here’s a situation where Araragi’s immortality as a vampire didn’t work as it was intended to – when comparing vampires to Curse Cats, the cats are nothing. Energy draining is the speciality of vampires, while the cat’s version of it is extremely weak in comparison – but in the end, Araragi only has after-effects of being a vampire, and is also not a pure-blood kaii, but originally human instead, which is useless when going up against a real oddity. No matter how weak it is, it’s still real, and someone who started off fully human has no chance against it – Araragi’s vampire immortality was torn off with that left hand. It doesn’t help that the body the Curse Cat is using belongs to Hanekawa as well, whom Araragi isn’t likely to want to hurt.
It’s also an unusual scene to see Oshino sincerely apologizing to both Araragi and his family for the injury, which shows just how serious everything is – and how much of a threat that Curse Cat can be. Even as a Balancer, who mediates between oddities and humans, Oshino has always appeared very frivolous and light-hearted (unlike Kagenui for example) but him calling in his superior skill and ability as a pro, and getting directly involved proves the danger faced to Araragi in this case, whom Oshino isn’t willing to risk further injury towards.