|So picking up where we left off, we move on to the finale of the Hitagi Crab arc. For the uninitiated, this is the 2nd in a series of posts on the Bakemonogatari DVD/BD character commentaries, played by the characters’ voice actors and written by original novel author Nisio Isin. I didn’t mention in the post before, but each of the first 4 volumes has the same 2 commentators for its episodes. One of the 2 commentators is always the arc heroine, and they flow from episode to episode as if they recorded all the episodes in the volume in one sitting. The 5 Tsubasa Cat episodes all have Hanekawa Tsubasa as a commentator, and each episode gives her a new partner.
Oh, and thank you to everyone who helped us advance to the semi finals of the Aniblog Tourney. We overtook a fine personal blog, Listless Ink to get there. Yi is a genuine giant killer who took down Random Curiosity in the 1st Tourney 2 years ago, so we’re all glad to have made it past her. But now we’re up against the giant of this tourney, reigning champion Star Crossed Anime Blog. As always, we’d appreciate any support; we’ve never needed it as badly as we do now!
Hitagi: Hanekawa-san, the 2nd episode has started, so why don’t you continue with your story about ants?
Tsubasa: No wait, why don’t we start by talking about what’s going on on-screen?
Hitagi: It’s fine; talking about ants is much more interesting than talking about my house.
Tsubasa: Why do you want to talk about ants so much?
Hitagi: I really love ants. I wish Araragi’s name were Aririgi (Ari = ant).
Tsubasa: Now you’re starting to sound like Mayoi-chan.
If you recall, at the end of the episode 1 commentary, the Fire Sisters said 80% of worker ants didn’t work, and Hitagi commented that she thought it was 20%. Over the OP, Tsubasa explains how they’re both correct. I’d have to translate pretty much every line to make the conversation make sense, so let me give you a summary of her explanation.
In any given group of ants, there are 20% who don’t do anything, but there are also 20% who do extra work. Which leaves 60% who are “average.” So there are 80% who don’t do much work compared to the top 20%, but you can also think of it as 80% who do a lot of work compared to the bottom 20%. This is just a way of explaining the Pareto principle, though the Pareto principle is generally considered “80-20” instead of “20-60-20.” Tsubasa generalizes this to humans, not just ants.
Hitagi starts questioning Tsubasa: What about the bottom 20% of the top 80% or the top 80% of the bottom 20%? Tsubasa clarifies that this is just a general statistical concept, not a hard and fast rule that dictates individuals. She touches on the flaws inherent in experiments: for example, even if a human observes 80% of ants working, that just reflects the population they observed, not necessarily the population overall. Plus, ants that appear lazy may actually be hard at work, coming up with new ideas or routes that they could take. She compares them to humans, since they don’t appear to be working when they’re thinking hard. Also, it’s important to get rest every once in a while in order to be more effective when working.
Tsubasa: Don’t you think the 20-60-20 split is a good thing, Senjougahara-san?
Tsubasa: The first 20% lay down the path, the next 60% follow, and the last 20% act as backups.
Tsubasa: Right, after all, you don’t say that the benchwarmers in professional baseball are just being lazy. And you can’t win a baseball game with just the cleanup hitter or the ace pitcher.
Hitagi: Right, right, right, right, right.
Tsubasa: So people are always rotating around, being useful at different times. In that sense, you can say that there are no ants who don’t do any work, and there are no humans that don’t do any work.
Hitagi: Please take me as your bride.
Tsubasa: No, no, no, no!
Hitagi: No, I’m serious. Right now, I feel like I completely understand how Araragi-kun feels. If the Fire Sisters were to hear you right now, I’m sure they’d also be so humbled that they’d propose to you just like me.
Tsubasa: Oh stop kidding around. Look, while we were talking about this, you were changing in the scene we were watching.
Hitagi: Wait just a moment. What crime did I commit to deserve having this image of me shown all around the nation?
Tsubasa: Hard to tell, since you’ve definitely committed a lot of crimes…
Tsubasa:While I was talking about ants, you were busy being in your underwear and putting on nice poses.
Hitagi: That’s true, but if that Senjougahara Hitagi you see there knew that she would be shown like this all around the country, she wouldn’t have acted like that. It was just because she thought she was only in front of Araragi-kun.
Hitagi: Oh, she’s started taking off her clothes again. Really, that’s enough, Senjougahara-san, there’s no need to go that far. Even if you weren’t to give them extra service, anyone who wanted to look would just rewind to watch the scene again.
Koyomi: But being optimistic isn’t a bad thing, is it? It’s not like you’re doing anything bad or cheating.
Hitagi: Those words.
Hitagi: It was upon hearing those words that I started opening my heart to Araragi-kun.
Tsubasa: Isn’t that a bit too simple!?
Hitagi: Yeah, so that girl who is comfortably drying her hair is someone whose heart is very easy to win. If someone else had also been a little nice to her, she would have been won over.
Koyomi: In Japan, we say that the patterns on the moon resemble rabbits pounding rice cakes.
Tsubasa: That’s pretty well known, so how come you didn’t know that, Senjougahara-san? I mean, you even chose earth sciences for your national mock exam.
Hitagi: How do you know what subject I chose, Hanekawa-san? That’s scary. Anyway, what I really know well are the actual stars in the sky; I’m not interested in the legends and stories about them.
This is obviously an allusion to the stargazing scene shown later in episode 12. In that scene in the novel, Koyomi narrated that she named every single named star in the sky.
Tsubasa: Whoa whoa whoa, your neck is bent back way too far!
Hitagi: But look at what a great smile I have there.
Tsubasa: Now onto part B!
Hitagi: Wait, couldn’t they have started this episode here? Was there some good reason for me to parade my body in front the whole nation for almost 15 minutes?
Tsubasa: Aren’t you glad you were shown at all? I haven’t appeared in this episode.
Tsubasa: Now now, aren’t you tilting your head too far again?
Hitagi: Maybe it sounds like praising myself, but isn’t that really cute? That image of me just now.
Tsubasa: You say “maybe,” but you really are just straight-up praising yourself.
Hitagi: I’d love to get a printout of that image of me with my head tilted.
Tsubasa: Such a narcissist!
Hitagi: Listening to how Oshino talks about them, it sounds like Araragi-kun and the vampire or you and the cat were quite different cases from me and the crab.
Tsubasa: That’s true. Those were more like, battle after battle after battle. I couldn’t even keep track of how many times Araragi-kun died.
Hitagi: Well, I’ve heard that he’s dying again and again even now.
Hitagi: Huh? Araragi looks taller than me here.
Tsubasa: Isn’t he just on a higher stair?
Hitagi: Oh my, he’s still working hard to make himself look taller than me. I am moved by his effort.
Tsubasa: I’m telling you, I don’t think he’s doing that on purpose!
Hitagi: So while I was frolicking around in my underwear, Oshino-san was busy setting all this up.
Tsubasa: Yeah, I wonder if Shinobu-chan helped.
Hitagi: Maybe Oshino-san is less serious a person than he looks.
Tsubasa: Maybe he’s the type who is diligent only when others aren’t looking?
Hitagi: So he doesn’t want to look like he’s trying hard when he’s in front of others?
Tsubasa: Not that, Senjougahara-san, don’t you know how some people don’t want to be acknowledged by others?
Hitagi: I can understand that some people might feel that way.
Hitagi: They included a scene of me drinking. More video evidence of me committing crimes.
Tsubasa: In this case, I think anyone would let this one slide.
Hitagi: I feel like you wouldn’t let it slide, Hanekawa-san.
Tsubasa: I don’t know what you heard about me from Araragi-kun, but I’m not such a narrow minded person. Is Araragi-kun trying to make me seem like a strange character? How upsetting.
Hitagi: Well, he’s the type to make a big deal about anything.
Tsubasa: Yeah, you’re totally right. He’s a genius when it comes to making a big deal out of something trivial.
Hitagi: Right, right.
Oshino: When is your birthday?
Hitagi: July 7th.
Tsubasa: Senjougahara-san, do you like Earth science because your birthday is on July 7?
Hitagi: I can’t deny it.
Tsubasa: Also, are you a fan of Yumeno Kyusaku-sensei?
Hitagi: Yes. I really like Dogra Magra. Though if you asked me to explain that poem, I couldn’t.
Tsubasa: I could. Should I?
Hitagi: Please don’t.
Hitagi: Wait, didn’t the number of lit candles increase?
Tsubasa: Yeah, looks like it. Maybe Araragi-kun did it while you had your eyes closed, Senjougahara-san?
Hitagi: Look at where he’s standing. That would have been impossible. Actually, what’s the point of him even being here?
Tsubasa: You’re right; he hasn’t been doing anything for a while now.
Hitagi: Couldn’t he have just waited for me on the 4th floor hanging out with that vampire girl?
Tsubasa: Things start to get quite dark right around this point.
Hitagi: That’s right…
Tsubasa: Oshino-san looks scary.
Hitagi: The imagery is scary, too.
Tsubasa: Well, it would have caused trouble if we showed this realistically.
Hitagi: I guess he was there just so that he could look shocked.
Hitagi: I wish he’d go away; he just gets in the way.
Tsubasa: He’s standing there because he’s worried about you, isn’t he?
Hitagi: You say he’s worried about me, but he didn’t end up doing anything for me here.
Hitagi: The imagery here is dark, so let’s talk about something more pleasant. I used to sing Miyazawa Kenji’s Be not Defeated by the Rain to a classic tune while playing when I was little. That was a lot of fun.
Tsubasa: I thought you didn’t have much interest in music?
Hitagi: It’s not like I have zero interest in it. After all, I sang the opening.
Tsubasa: Anyway, let’s stop talking about things unrelated to what’s on screen. I mean, we talked for way too long about ants back there. Oh, but who did you play with?
Hitagi: I played by myself, of course.
Tsubasa: … Let’s get back to talking about what’s on screen.
Tsubasa: Wouldn’t hitting the wall that hard have killed you?
Tsubasa: The hairs on Oshino-san’s hands make him look so sexy!
Hitagi: What, are you kidding me?
Tsubasa: Eh? Don’t you think it’s sexy? His body hair?
Hitagi: Hanekawa-san, please stop talking about the things you like. Let’s drop this topic altogether. It’s even worse than the talk about teeth, so let’s get back to talking about what’s on screen.
Hitagi: Seriously, I don’t want to be seen like this. They even included the scene with me begging on my hands and knees?
Tsubasa: Somehow this looks like the most difficult part for you.
Hitagi: On top of that, if you just look at the image, doesn’t it look like I’m prostrating myself before Oshino-san?
Hitagi: They showed footage from a peeping tom of me in middle school, then all the details of my medical treatment, and every little bit of me showering and changing, then my entire family background, and finished by showing me begging on my hands and knees. Does the production team have a grudge against me or something?
Tsubasa: But I think this image of you on your hands and knees is beautiful. It’s a great pose.
Hitagi: That doesn’t make me feel better at all.
Tsubasa: He says it was a serious disease, but here you look more like you were murdered and dismembered. What disease was it, really?
Hitagi: This was when I was young, so I don’t know the exact name either. For a disease to be this serious…
Hitagi: Wait, I’m basically a mummy here.
Tsubasa: Yeah, you’re a mummy.
Hitagi: These are just mental images, right? Even if I was little there’s no way I could have forgotten a disease this horrible.
Hitagi: I guess Araragi-kun must have imagined me as a mummy. Was he paying any attention to my story at all?
Hitagi: And Araragi-kun is visualizing this traumatic event from my past like a 4-panel comic.
Tsubasa: Well, depicting this realistically wouldn’t be appropriate, you know?
Hitagi: And now he depicts my family’s collapse using such a lighthearted sound effect.
Tsubasa: I’ve actually gotta agree with you there.
Hitagi: There was even a countdown. I can’t depend on Araragi-kun to handle flashback scenes.
Tsubasa: Yeah, this makes me feel uneasy too.
Hitagi: Being seen crying doesn’t bother me at all at this point…
Tsubasa: You’ve gotten completely acclimated to embarrassing parts of you being shown.
Hitagi: Araragi-kun is ignoring me who is crying and just intently listening to Oshino’s words.
Tsubasa: Let’s stop ragging on Araragi-kun. He did good here. Anyway, Senjougahara-san, we’re getting to the end of your appearance, so do you have anything you want to say?
Hitagi: Do I really need to add anything after the video showed so much of me already?
Tsubasa: I’m not asking you to make a confession.
Oshino: It actually isn’t such a bad thing. This case especially, since even if she got her feelings back, it’s not like her mother will come back. And her family will remain broken.
Hitagi: Those words really are fitting coming from Oshino, huh?
Tsubasa: He is a man who is all about balance, after all.
This is a call back to Kizumonogatari and also referenced again in Nisemonogatari.
Hitagi: It would be nice if we could be friends from now on.
Hitagi: There she is, that snobby woman. Senjougahara Hitagi was hit with her ultimate weakness.
Hitagi: She’ll fall for anyone who is nice to her. It’s a peculiar characteristic of hers.
Tsubasa: No, no, that’s not that peculiar. You don’t need to pretend to be cold. We’re watching a very touching scene here.
Hitagi: Well, you’re right.
Hitagi: He didn’t need to react that happily when I asked him to be my friend.
Tsubasa: I guess you’re right.
Hitagi: Just how bad is he at making friends?
Koyomi having no friends is a call back to Kizumonogatari. It’s referred to again in Nisemonogatari, though Tsukihi cuts Koyomi off before he can elaborate.
Tsubasa: Oh, his little sisters are so cute!
Hitagi: I’ve still yet to meet them.
Tsubasa: Really? I think you’d get along well with Tsukihi-chan.
Tsubasa: I wonder how many people actually got this ending. Maybe it wasn’t clear enough?
Hitagi: If it concerns you that much, Hanekawa-san, why don’t you explain it here?
Tsubasa: Ah, I’ll do that. So the idea is that the crab god took the weight that he was supposed to give back to Senjougahara-san and accidentally gave it back to Araragi-kun.
Hitagi: Oh, I see.
Tsubasa: Wait, you didn’t know it either?
Hitagi: Well, here’s finally the ending. My public shaming comes to a close.
Tsubasa: Public shaming?
Hitagi: I didn’t think I’d be treated this badly just for sticking a stapler into someone’s mouth. Remember everyone, good girls shouldn’t stick staplers into boys’ mouths!
Tsubasa: Any final words, Senjougahara-san?
Hitagi: If you are a businessman interested in producing the Infinite Stapler, please contact me, Senjougahara Hitagi so we can talk.
Tsubasa: You want to end with that!?
Hitagi: Don’t you have any final words, Hanekawa-san?
Tsubasa: Oh, me? I’m going to be doing commentary in the next volume too, so I don’t need to say goodbye yet.
Hitagi: Really? Wait, just wait a minute, Basa-nee.
Tsubasa: Don’t call me “Basa-nee!”
Hitagi: So does that mean I’m not showing up any more? This is goodbye?
Tsubasa: Well, yeah. The heroine of the next volume is Mayoi-chan, after all. Don’t worry, I’ll do a good job during the scenes in which you appear.
Hitagi: If it’s you, Hanekawa, I trust you. [Mayoi] has a tendency to talk on and on, so you have to be smart about handling her.
Tsubasa: Senjougahara-san, there’s still the next episode preview, so this is really your last chance for final words.
Tsubasa: You don’t want to end with a selfish joke like [the Infinite Stapler], do you?
Hitagi: Alright, will do. Everyone, I don’t have much to say, but thank you for buying this and thank you for listening to our commentary all the way to the end. This is goodbye for now in the commentaries, but I still make an appearance in the coming episodes, so please buy the next volume as well.
Tsubasa: Wow, that was normal!
Hitagi: Didn’t I tell you that I could speak normally as well?
Tsubasa: So you’re harsh only to Araragi-kun. Anyway, everyone, I’ll talk to you in the commentaries in the next volume. I hope something good happens. Until then, signing off, this is Hanekawa Tsubasa
Hitagi: and Senjougahara Hitagi.
Again, I hope you enjoyed reading this. One thing I liked about these commentaries is that Hitagi was making an effort to apologize for some of her harsh actions toward Koyomi. She occasionally talked directly to herself on the screen, admonishing her past self, and in a couple occasions criticized how easy she was to win over, something we saw referenced in Nisemonogatari. She came off as rather conceited and sarcastic at the beginning, but she certainly seems to have gained a new perspective after becoming Koyomi’s girlfriend. She was also clearly shamed by seeing how her actions appeared to the audience and learning that it was shown nationwide. Still, she displayed some of her abrasive wit at times, pointing out their height difference yet again and also calling out Koyomi for being useless during the crab scene. She’s softer, but she’s not yet the post-Nisemonogatari Hitagi.
As Tsubasa mentioned, up next is the Mayoi Snail arc featuring herself and Mayoi as the commentators, so if you’re a fan of Emiri Kato, that’s something to look forward to. And always, any feedback would be much appreciated. Let me know in the comments what you liked and didn’t, and if you want to keep reading more of this.