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Episode four might be my favorite giving us the familiar Monogatari witty dialogue and use of plot derailment and what’s more exciting than that? A showdown between Hanekawa and Ougi (and a chance to cop a feel!) The writers use that classic Monogatari “fake left; go right” move on us again, beginning and ending the episode with the knowledge that both Araragi and Hanekawa are going to visit the absent Oikura at her single resident home. This episode is not so much about the visit, but rather the events that conspire between.

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Remember when I mentioned how Ougi is a strange character? How she seems to have been around the entire time, but really we’re not entirely sure where she popped in or how long we’ve known her? She exudes an aura of a manipulative, overpowering personality and does it with a grin on her face. Once again she’s feeding Araragi information that he’s buying without question. Just what is it about her that he can’t stop falling for her tricks? He readily believes her when she tells an outright lie that they made a promise to meet her “at 3:42 by the school gates.” The bigger and bolder the lie or excuse is, the easier it is for Araragi to accept and that will become a problem. Another point to make is that she’s breaking a physical barrier with Araragi – using her fingers to “zip” the imaginary zipper on his lips closed and talking within a breath’s distance, almost kissing him as she speaks. I found it odd that in that scene her fingers were gloved, however, you then she her hands again rolled up into her sleeves.  At this point, Ougi is definitely displaying a dramatic show of power over him, and at the peak of that she finally starts to reveal her true intention.

Slowly, she begins her appeal to Araragi that perhaps it would be best if she were to join him in this visit to Oikura. That would only make sense, right? After all, she was there to help him solve the mystery of the classroom, and she was also there to visit the abandoned house and regain his memory. In a twisted way, she convinces Araragi that he ought to be asking her for help, rather than offering it herself, like a serpent pushing forward a forbidden fruit.

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Luckily, the ever-so-reliable Hanekawa is there to save the day. This leads to a awfully amazing back and forth between her and Ougi, and the two square up. While Hanekawa is there to save him, Araragi still doesn’t realize he needs to be saved from the sneaky freshman. A few snide remarks between the girls eventually brings up the fact that while the short haired megane is thankful for her help with Araragi’s previous problems, she has no doubt that it would have been executed better if Hanekawa herself had handled it. I did love her offensive tactics this episode, all the way down to the final decision of who to take with Araragi to Oikura’s house being overwhelmingly won by a promise of “listen to me and I’ll let you touch my boobs.” (But then again, I am a sucker for fan service.)

The battle of the babes really was a highlight in this series so far, as with any of the series in the Monogatari lineage. Still, although Hanekawa won that battle, the war is far from over. This episode was rich with important dialogue to take note of between Hanekawa and Araragi. If you noticed, with every accusation or inquiry of Ougi’s hidden constructions and conniving manipulations, it was almost as Araragi had been brainwashed with a rebuttal. If Hanekawa mentions that it’s strange how she had brought him along to the abandoned house and brough up old memories, he’s simply reverse it and say that was the other way around. But why would he say that? None of it is true, and it’s painfully obvious, yet Araragi never realizes til afterwards that he’s been taken for a fool. Maybe we’ll find out more when they (finally) get into Oikura’s apartment.

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Episode Rating:

Amazing dialogue, great use of environment and color changes to evoke mood, and finally somebody steps up to Ougi.

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Head-Tilt Counter:

This episode was head-tilt heavy and Ougi had some rather creepy ones; my favorite is featured above.