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Araragi and the newly revived first minion have their first encounter! The First happens to have a lot to say about his relationship with Shinobu – namely that he needed to make amends with her for all the horrible things that happened between them in the past and to eventually go back to fighting side by side against whatever apparitions happen to come their way. Fishy? I agree; however, our hero is safe for the time being due to the cute little foot mark left on his face by Yotsugi.

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The interesting thing about this conversation is that the wording and tone of both speakers lead one to think of the relationships with Shinobu as romantic ones, even coming down to the whole point of this conversation is that The First is making an argument for why he is a better suited companion for Shinobu. It was as if an ex-boyfriend was having a stand-off with the new boyfriend and picking apart at how much better former would be for her than the latter. He went further to even try to play at Araragi’s conscience almost to make it seem like it was he that was doing Araragi the favor. Eventually, after being saved by Gaen, the First makes his escape, but not before challenging our confused Araragi to a duel to the death.

Making his way back to the shrine, Araragi runs into Yotsugi, who pulls him into the nearby bushes to eavesdrop on a rather intense conversation between Shinobu and Kanbaru. With Shinobu straddled on top of her, Kanbaru seems to be arguing with the vampire over the First. She can tell that the First has residual feeling for Shinobu and demands that she give him the opportunity to express them. Nobody’s done so much as challenge Shinobu head on and survived, and from the looks of it, Kanbaru was close to becoming another one of those who didn’t. Kanbaru wasn’t doing this just for Shinobu, though, but rather for Araragi. As his friend, she can see that if the First is treated with this sort of disrespect and disdain – even if only out of Shinobu’s pride and insecurity – someday this may eventually happen to Araragi also. This scene ended resolved with a broken down Shinobu being comforted by Kanbaru. For Shinobu, she’s worried that it’ll hurt to see the First. Not only her, but him as well. Won’t this meeting mean that Araragi could be pulled into their confrontation? So many worries and questions, but sometimes the right thing to do is not necessarily the easiest, and may sometimes leave casualties.

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Episode Rating:

This episode showed us all the insecurities that Araragi holds, as well as Shinobu – something we have always been able to assume, but not been told directly. The music was well laid out, the scene with Kanbaru and Shinobu was amazing, and I cannot wait to see this duel-to-the-death.

8

Head-Tilt Count:

For an episode that was pretty much comprised of two lengthy confrontations, eight head-tilts is plenty.