A predominant theme in the anime I’ve been watching as of late is facing up to reality. The kids of Shin Sekai Yori, the show I am currently blogging, have spent the large majority of the show running away from the grisly truth: that the Ethics committee eliminate those in their community they perceive to be a threat, and the young male protagonist of Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade (a show I recently watched) hopped from dimension to dimension to escape the reality of his best friend moving away. But during this post I will be focusing on Hanekawa Tsubasa’s plight in Nekomonogatari: Kuro.
To put this post into context, Hanekawa had been living with abusive, immature parents, who were not even her real parents, but simply her guardians. The strain caused by maintaining such an impeccable character, and having these ‘parents’ resent her for it had built up over the years, resulting in her taking a monster cat up into her body, and attacking those around her. The role of Araragi in this messy scenario was to encourage Hanekawa to face up to the reality that her personality will never change, and she’ll probably never be loved by her parents because of that- a difficult pill to swallow, huh? But to the end Hanekawa remained adamant that resigning herself to such a grim fate wasn’t the right thing to do. But is that what’s best for her? Or any of us when stuck in a bad situation?
It’s extremely difficult to say whether or not we should all fight back as Hanekawa did. I can see the logic in Araragi’s argument- there are some things we cannot change no matter what- Hanekawa cannot change her personality, which is what causes her parents to dislike her- but will coming to terms with those things make us any happier? I don’t think so. I just don’t think it’s in our nature to settle for something that makes us miserable! So it’s funny Araragi should suggest Hanekawa is no longer human, because the way in which she fights back against something that’s not even within her control is undeniably human!
So if resigning herself to a hopeless reality won’t make her happy, but fighting back against that reality won’t change anything either, where does that leave poor Hanekawa? Or any of us that do the same? I believe that, even if the situation seems inescapable, in fighting against it you retain something. Not something tangible, or something that can be easily named… Dignity, perhaps? I certainly feel as though Hanekawa can walk away from this experience with her head held high, despite the fact she spent most of Nekomonogatari prancing around in nothing more than her underwear! Or perhaps it’s self-worth? ‘I MATTER!! AS AN INDIVIDUAL WITH WORTH, I SHOULD RETAIN SOME CONTROL OVER MY OWN LIFE!!’, and so on… At any rate, I believe Hanekawa’s resilience in fighting against an impossible situation is something we should, as human beings that do indeed matter, admire, and attempt to emulate.
What you need to bear in mind is that there are good, productive ways to fight fate and bad counterproductive ways to fight fate. I recently read a few chapters in a manga in which the main characters fate was to die at 20. He refused to accept it and since he happened to have a book that predicted the deaths of other people he decided to save them to prove the book wrong and thus give him the courage to fight his own fate. That is a productive way of fighting fate. Even if you fail you have still achieved great things and lifted your spirits.
Hanekawa decided to fight her fate by becoming a monster and attacking people indiscriminately. I don’t see how this helps fight her fate. She nearly killed the boy she claims to love and I don’t see how seriously injuring or even killing her foster parents would have made them love her or made her situation better. Basically, when faced with a difficult situation Hanekawa threw one hell of a tantrum and ran and tried to make people think that someone else was responsible for the mess she was making. Were it not for Araragi who knows how bad she would have ruined not only her life but the lives of everyone around her.
I still love her but, ironically despite what everyone thinks, she most certainly is not perfect and when it comes to her own problems not that smart.
Yes, yes, the way in which Hanekawa fought back against that which was making her miserable probably wasn’t the best way she could have gone about it, but we can’t look down on her for that. When suffering from prolonged stress, our cognitive reasoning is markedly inhibited, and you must remember that Hanekawa had been under a considerable amount of stress for years, so I don’t at all blame her for making a poor decision in that regard, and what she did certainly doesn’t stop me from admiring her spirit! She could have just as easily have given up and resigned herself to a life of neglect and/or abuse, and there’s nothing at all admirable about that!
A story about someone trying to save their friend from their own crisis and despair. nekomonogatari screwed that entire concept up with just one thing: oversexualizing the victim in despair, hanekawa. Nekomonogatari desperately tries to tackle the theme of despair, but makes it hard to take it seriously when it unnecessary sexualizes the victim to be a innocent sex object for horny guys to drool over.