Nekomonogatari (Kuro) Episode 3: Stygian Blackness
“If you find a dead cat by the road, bury it. Well, that’s the purrfectly right thing to do. You could even call it a law, or a furmula. So she obeyed that law. Followed that furmula. That’s all there is to it.”
After visiting Hanekawa’s house unannounced only to run away terrified, Araragi decides to visit Oshino at the cram school, only to find him beaten up by the Curse Cat. Questioning him, Araragi finds out that the oddity has risen to the level of being able to combat a vampire due to Hanekawa’s brilliant mind, making it hard to defeat but also bringing forward the hope that Hanekawa can still be saved.
When I saw Oshino lying there beaten up in his cram school building, it occurred to me that it was actually a really good idea to have Tsukihi and Karen not meddle around with the Curse Cat, even after hearing stories about a “monster cat” attacking people throughout the town. It’s a good thing Araragi acted on the Fire Sisters’ brocon tendencies in time, because even with Tsukihi as an immortal phoenix, it wouldn’t be a nice experience for amateurs to try and challenge the Curse Cat if Oshino did the same, and lost twenty times. He’s an expert, and a specialist on oddities yet I can’t believe Oshino lost – the guy who is much more of a pro than he initially looks, and has managed to help out Araragi with so many cases until he left at the end of Bakemonogatari.
The Curse Cat turned out to be a low-level oddity that usurped the bodies of those who pitied it enough to try and help it – and I can’t say I’m surprised to learn that it’s only ridiculously dangerous because of Hanekawa’s brilliant mind, to the point that it can now use strategies and tactics to attack people despite being an oddity. The traditional kaii-killing methods and techniques Oshino applied didn’t even work, as the cat powered by Hanekawa’s mind wasn’t part of the norm in the first place. Sharing a body is one thing, but sharing a brain is another – and normally it wouldn’t be anywhere near the strength of a vampire, the most powerful of oddities, but now the Curse Cat itself didn’t even flinch after realizing Araragi’s link to vampires.
Since Oshino is struggling, though, it means that Hanekawa is still there underneath the cat – however it also proves that Hanekawa is, to some extent, united in goal with the cat in attacking people to relieve her stress. If this goes on for too long, then using the word “possessed” won’t apply any more, as Hanekawa will have become the cat completely. The Curse Cat itself is actually pretty philosophical on humans considering that it’s an oddity itself – but then again, that gives it an objective viewpoint from which to look at the humans it possesses. What it says is true though – a human that is only virtuous and pious doesn’t exist, and with white there’s always black to accompany it. Within the amazing, perfect light that is Hanekawa you have a huge amount of stress piled up behind it, and the only way the cat knows to release it is by attacking random people. The cat is only helping Hanekawa out of a whim after seeing that she was interesting – because of the morals she upholds and the way she goes about doing them. Normal people wouldn’t even think of burying a random cat on the roadside, but with Hanekawa, it’s something she feels is the “correct” course of action to do, and so she’ll pull it off, carrying out her morals like some kind of machine, without any emotions . Even if you’re into burying cats you’d normally feel emotion or pity for the dead animal – it got run over, after all.
This time Araragi’s pretty resolved. He WANTS to meddle in Hanekawa’s affairs with the cat, and is willing to go as far as to die for her – maybe because of the massive amounts of help Hanekawa gave him during the Kiss-shot incident, without which he might not have survived at all. I don’t know how much he can actually do to beat the cat though – even if Shinobu did what she did in Nisemonogatari and made Araragi more of a vampire, the cat seemed confident in tackling an actual, full vampire – it even said it could have killed Oshino had it wanted to. As the cat appears again in Bakemonogatari I doubt it disappears even at the end of the arc, but given the arc’s name, Tsubasa Family, it’s likely that something will be done about the source of Hanekawa’s stress instead – her family.
Last but not least, here’s that random Senjougahara cameo that turned up ^_^