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HITAGI SENJOUGAHARA | Bakemonogatari
PERSONAL JOURNAL: deloreans
ARE YOU OVER 16? yes
CONTACT: starcounts (PLURK) ; meido guitar (AIM) ; letterbee (GMAIL)
OTHER CHARACTERS: N/A
SERIES: Bakemonogatari (WIKIPEDIA)
CANON POINT: end of Tsubasa Cat arc (episode 15)
Hitagi Senjougahara makes a striking first impression; by reputation, that sort of fragile, beautiful girl in your class whose presence feels like absence, often sick and always distant. And that's setting aside the impression she'll definitely make on your forehead with her stapler if you go looking for a second. Hitagi is sudden danger with a polite smile, something sharp in your mouth when you least expect it. You won't even know to expect it.
Generally these two things: "your expectations" and Hitagi Senjougahara have very little to do with each other except for when the latter takes an interest in tripping you up with the former, like your hazy thought of "typical delicate girl" is an invisible wire she'll pull taut between your feet just as you're crossing into the really quite groundless land of thinking she's like anything like normal.
Any girl who openly labels herself a tsundere can only be trouble.
That thing with the stapler is just the tip of the Office Depot-built ice(school supply)berg.
Hitagi Senjougahara talks like an assassin, like a seme rapist from a yaoi manga, a slightly unhinged philosopher, drops anime and manga references like a character from Genshiken and all delivered in the tones of a properly brought up young lady. She's well-read (liberally so which explains the references), well-bred (all death threats delivered in a modulated tone) and well-defended because as they (who are they?) say, the best defense is a good offense and her offense wins points for creativity and effort.
"Tsundere" is a little misleading because Hitagi traded in harisens for a stapler and shouting "Idiot!" or "Don't get me wrong..." for a more intimate form of verbal abuse, tailored to your insecurities, your secret hopes, dreams and kinks (some of which you may not even know exist much less have). Hitagi works at her verbal abuse and you can keep your rote insults in your eroges. In the space of a ten-minute conversation, from the moment she greets you with "I thought somebody had left a dead dog lying on a park bench... but it was just you" Hitagi can question your place in the evolutionary ladder, your academic performance, your purity levels, your complexes, your tendency to enjoy talking to young girls, anything is fair game if you're foolish enough to open your mouth and provide her with more ammo. Conversation, with Hitagi Senjougahara, is a battlefield, seeded with mines that could go off leaving you labeled as a wife-murdering sorocon or that could land you an offer to appear in your room naked under an apron... Verbally, she doesn't play nice, she doesn't play fair and most dauntingly at times, she doesn't play at all.
For all her outrageous declarations and verbal depredations, she can suddenly be disarmingly honest. After her initial bouts with Araragi of threat, flirtation and insults, upon gaining greater understanding of his personality and of her own feelings, Hitagi immediately confesses to him. As Hitagi herself explains, she was at first attempting to get Araragi to confess to her but once she learned that Araragi was the kind of person who would help anyone and that his encounter with her was no indication of special feelings on his end, she drops the game and declares that she loves him herself. First strike and merciless leaving no time for half-hearted hesitation, that good offense coming into play again. In theory, on paper (confessing to a guy when it turns out he didn't help you because he liked you?) it's terrifying but somehow purely Hitagi because if there is one thing to know about Hitagi in relationships it's that she's intense.
(It's the late blooming crazy virgin thing.
Upon confessing to Araragi, she requests that they make what kind of relationship they'll have clear and agrees to his stipulations that they be open to each other especially about the oddities they encounter. As their relationship unfolds, it's clear Hitagi is the one driving them forward though this isn't to imply that Araragi is an unwilling participant. Hitagi is fully intent on moving forward and moving forward together. Hitagi as a girlfriend has plans for the future but those aren't plans that dictate Araragi's but plans to accommodate whatever he eventually chooses to do: Hitagi off to university but sharing an apartment with Araragi so they can be together even if their career/school lives diverge. Hitagi also seems to be dictating the pace their relationship is going, from platonic nights of studying together to asking him out on their first date to bullying him into spending time with her best friend, Kanbaru Suruga and then trapping him in a car with her father to planning everything for their first date with no input from Araragi to feeling him up while he's trapped in said car with said paternal unit. This isn't just about Hitagi's inexperience and somewhat warped way of romancing via conquering invasion. This is actually to her romance via revelation. She reveals herself to him gradually, the study dates, her father and best friend, their first date chosen from a memory when her family was happy. This is Hitagi laying out all her cards, this is who I am, this is what I can do for you, this is what I have to offer. This is everything.
A reckless incursion, defenseless, a tactic only for those who've totally committed.
She's committed and she's in her own unique, semi-yandere way devoted. She's the kind of girl who when she talks about killing you, it may very well mean she loves you. To be more specific, she'd kill you to be the last person beside you when you died and woe to whoever gets in the way of that (like a different murderer). She's committed and more than a little jealous and absolutely dangerous (that yandere thing and that school supply thing and isn't it lucky that Araragi still has that vampire healing ability because ouch. eyeball). She's committed to supporting him however many times he comes back smelling like another woman. She's committed to trusting him to do the right thing and she's supportive, no questions asked, she'll take care of everything (schoolwork, alibis) while he runs off to help someone else. She's supportive enough to let him get hurt, to take care of him afterwards (admittedly by standing over his injured body and flashing him but that only makes her The Best. Girlfriend. Ever.) and neutralizing any threats he can't. She's in love with a boy like that, loved him not because he saved her. She loves him because he's the kind of person who would, who would save anyone even if it hurts him, even if it hurts her. She's in love to the point that she needs him to understand and to love what she has to offer: a starry sky, her loved ones and a damaged girl who used to be strange.
"Strange" and "normal" are distinctions she makes herself because she lived two years with her weightless body and disconnected emotions making her alien and that's the sort of thing that doesn't just leave a mark but recreates you. This is what living without weight means: your shoes are hard to lift all the time and your clothes drag like tangible gravity. You don't carry bags anymore and you learn to work with only what you can keep on hand. Your health evaluations are done in private and your records say 5 kilograms of girl. You measure every step like you'd fly off because you are weaker than the wind and all that weighs you down are your secrets and the things you carry to protect yourself. The world weighs heavy on you and you hold the world away, behind books and edges. You draw lines around yourself, an absolute territory that cannot be crossed, behind that line: normal, behind yours: strange. Everything that seems unusual is because you yourself are strange so it's you, all you and not them. Your mind has two years to align itself to this perspective.
Living two years like that, even restoring her weight and emotions fixes nothing. She remains estranged from her mother and carries over almost everything else. Her past and her secrets are hers to divulge in her own time and kindness, when not asked for, a form of hostility. Good intentions are just another excuse for optimism and self-deception and she's been there, bought that, lost a lot of money to con artists. Hitagi handles human interactions like combat, in terms she knows how to survive. She uses distance to protect herself first and full-on aggression second. She has her defenses down to an efficient science. As Araragi notes, she was able to create a Pavlovian reaction to staplers in a single experience.
Traits that already existed even before her encounter with the crab were exacerbated or revealed to be what they are: the budding defense mechanisms of the ideal popular girl. Hitagi herself states that she has a trouble with resolving things from her past. Hitagi, even before she lost her weight, usually removed herself from difficult and painful situations. She became estranged from her mother as the woman was lured deeper into the cult. After the incident with the cult leader, she traded away her pain and the connection to her mother. After she lost her weight and Kanbaru figured out her problem, she forcibly cut ties and in the cruelest terms possible declared that there wasn't even anything like friendship between them. In Nisemonogatari, when Deishu Kaiki, the man responsible for conning her after she lost her weight and causing her parents' divorce, comes back into their area, Hitagi reacts incredibly badly at learning about his encounter with her boyfriend, Araragi. She kidnaps him and fully intends to hold him to keep him out of Kaiki's influence. While her reaction is understandable given his impact on her life and how much of a threat he is, it's still another attempt at running away from the problem rather than confronting it as Hitagi has reacted to her more recent difficulties.
Another notable trait of Hitagi's, something she repeats like a mantra, is that she relies only on herself. She will pay her debts by herself. She will handle things herself. A normally admirable stance but in truth one that she's not been as consistent in living by as she might seem. She had developed this attitude even before her mother had betrayed her by handing her over to the cult leader --- she viewed her mother's reliance on the cult as a crutch and thus became that perfect Senjougahara simply to prove to her that this is what she could be without needing a crutch like her mother. It became a painful lesson after her mother stood by as the cult leader attempted to violate Hitagi and she realized that she alone would act to protect herself. After she was repeatedly tricked in trying to find a solution to her oddity, Hitagi faced Araragi and Oshino Meme with hostility and an eye to what she would have to pay. But this refusal to seek or even accept help is made into hypocrisy by the fact that Hitagi hadn't always shouldered her burdens by herself. After all, she had wished to be relieved of her pain and a god had answered.
It is in finally accepting this that Hitagi was able to truly save herself. Though Oshino had neutralized the god, Hitagi insisted in facing up to what she had done. She offered first her apologies and then her gratitude and her request to take back the weight she had been unable to carry. And though it fixed nothing, it fixes nothing the weight hollowing her out with the reality of her losses: her mother gone, her father absent, Hitagi alone, fixing things was never meant to be the point. Some things are lost forever and people cannot suddenly reset two years, saved memory and a girl is whole again. Hitagi Senjougahara doesn't work like that. She's still a girl who backhands with a compliment, a question, a declarative statement. She will still turn menacing on a dime and question her boyfriend's status as a carbon-based life form. Regaining her emotions and her weight can't change her past and her mistakes or who she has become but it does allow for change.
And her changes are these: she's a girl in love with a boy who would save anyone and they find ways to save each other every day. She keeps him from killing himself with his good intentions and he retrieves for her the things she had lost: her friendship with Kanbaru Suruga, her connection with her father. She doesn't carry her stapler as often anymore and she's able to choose her clothes without regard for how they weigh on her. She's learned that distance doesn't always help and that the only thing to do with pain is to live with it, to accept that it is no one else's to carry but yourself.
And her changes are these: Hitagi, who once traded her pain away, saying that that she can be grateful for that pain because it led her to the person that she loves.
Give her time and she'll give you her timeline (because mapping her change is still something she'll decide for herself). She'll work to change the girl she'd become into a girl whose love won't be as cruel and if you go in despair because she's groping you then claims you're a uniquely deviant existence that it takes a deranged potentially yandere individually to love you, here's the thing to keep in mind:
she talks about love.
ABILITIES: Normal human being with a side of unlimited stapler works. (She just carries an enormous amount of school supplies on her at any given time.)
• writing implements: sharpened HB pencil, tricolour ball pen, permanent marker, mechanical pencil, eraser, correction liquid
• art materials: variety of gravers, painting tools, a paintbrush, blotter, blotter, cutter knife, paper knife, pair of scissors
• adhesives etc.: tube of instant glue, cellophane tape, duct tape
• miscellaneous office & school supplies: stapler, hole puncher, compass, protractor, 30cm ruler, isosceles triangle
• miscellaneous items: gem clip & round-head clip, safety pin & sewing set
( ᴊᴜᴅɢᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ ) ~ I believe this fits Hitagi and her arc in Bakemonogatari the best as its interpretations are related to accepting past mistakes and the end of repression as well as renewal. Hitagi lost her physical and emotional weight upon encountering a god but the truth was, it was something for which she'd asked. She was unable to deal with the pain of what had happened to her and her own guilt and the god granted her that respite. It's in accepting that and asking for the return of her emotions (all of it, the pain and guilt too) that her oddity was resolved.
( ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏᴏɴ ) ~ "...the feeling of uncertainty, where the past still haunts, unsure of a journey but still going ahead with it..." fits her rather well too. While her oddity arc is completed at the beginning of the series, there are still a number of unresolved issues that crop up for her and as stated, simply accepting her emotions and her ties won't actually change anything for the better. She's not fixed, not by a longshot and perhaps not for a long time. Her fears relating to a certain figure in her past comes up later in Nisemonogatari, for example and she reacts (or overreacts) badly to the return of that person. For the sake of full disclosure, I chose this partly out of the references the series makes to the moon in relation to the crab ehe.
( ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴏᴠᴇʀs ) ~ after the resolution of her arc, a lot of her development is intertwined through her relationship with Koyomi Araragi: reuniting with her best friend and reaching out to her father.
( sʜᴀᴅᴏᴡ ) ~ Truthfully, a number of Hitagi's issues are resolved in her arc and over the course of Bakemonogatari and as of the second season Nisemonogatari and the later novels, external threats cause of conflicts relating to Hitagi rather than internal issues. Not that she still doesn't have them! It's just that the core and life-threatening issues that could have created her Shadow were confronted and accepted and are still being worked on. She's still a verbally harsh girl and unpredictable and more than a little domineering but it's all balanced by those moments of her disarming sincerity. She's also working with Tsubasa Hanekawa in getting used to having her emotions and in expressing them in ways that aren't so warped. This isn't to say there isn't anything to work with as far as creating a Shadow, just that Hitagi despite the way she might act, would be capable of accepting her Shadow.
Hitagi's Shadow appears dressed in the track uniform she wore in her middle school days and her demeanour is that of the open, friendly and lively girl she used to be. Upon first encounter with Hitagi, the Shadow is non-aggressive and seems more interested in talking to the party. Unlike Hitagi, the Shadow claims an indifference to Araragi and directs the conversation questioning her relationship with Koyomi Araragi. Shadow Hitagi echoes what a lot of other characters have said, that perhaps Araragi will eventually end up with Hanekawa with whom most expect him to be better suited and whether or not they can maintain their relationship in the face of Araragi's continuing tie to the supernatural. Hitagi will remain adamant and easily accept that these are fears she may harbor but that she's determined to bear up under the weight of them. It's when the Shadow begins to try to talk Hitagi into ending her relationship with Araragi that Hitagi is finally provoked into denying her Shadow just as the Shadow hopes.
Despite the Shadow's avowed disinterest in Araragi, the Shadow does share her love for him and is in fact the manifestation of that extreme love. Shadow Hitagi is that extreme love taken to its most twisted extent. Hitagi herself has repeatedly proven willing to risk her life, make threats and cross any line in order to protect Araragi (from others and from himself). She makes a vow to go after anyone who kills Araragi (keep in mind that at this point, she's a non-supernaturally powered girl) in part as a way to prevent Araragi from risking himself so easily. She kidnaps him to prevent him from future encounters with Kaiki. In Koimonogatari, she's even willing to make a deal with that same Kaiki in order to protect Araragi against another threat. The Shadow Hitagi takes all that and more, being willing to eliminate anything that could and would pose a danger to Araragi... even if it's Hitagi herself. The Shadow has determined that Hitagi is Araragi's greatest point of vulnerability and must be killed.
( ᴅᴜɴɢᴇᴏɴ ) ~ The dungeon design is a bleak-looking train station/yard. Instead of trains, giant staplers sit on the tracks, shuttling black and forth as the staplers slam closed leaving giant staples behind. ( ɪᴍᴀɢᴇ ) The yard itself seems haphazardly laid out, with tracks unexpectedly crossing onto other tracks and warning lights going on and off ( ɪᴍᴀɢᴇ ) ( ɪᴍᴀɢᴇ ) but are quite useless in predicting when the giant staplers might actually pass through. It could be just as a hapless person might be trying to cross.
( ᴊᴜᴅɢᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ ) ~ Metatron
( ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏᴏɴ ) ~ Alraune
( ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴏᴠᴇʀs ) ~ Leanan Sidhe
PERSONA ACQUISTION: facing her Shadow in the TV world please but I'm fine with the other method if the mods decide on that instead!
THIRD PERSON SAMPLE: sample written for zodion but I'd be happy to write another set in the game if necessary!
The sky was wrong and that was the most disquieting thing about this.
The rest of the world was wrong too, trees and old world elegance and pools of water when just a step ago she'd been in her own school, finishing the preparations for the school festival like she'd promised him. The rest of the world was wrong but that hardly seemed to matter when the sky she was looking was wrong, not for the season, not for the world. The summer triangle she had shown him that night, obscured in the confusion of stars. This was not the sky she had shown him, and this was not the sky that they shared. She was not where he was and the thought pushed her forward, another step away from where she should have been. She didn't bother to look back; she was too familiar with the ways of strangeness to even consider an easy return.
She stepped into the pool of water and felt the burn on the inside of her wrist. Looked down at the curving lines forming a symbol. Looked up to the curtain of raised water, reflecting her image like glass. She didn't flinch in surprise at her nudity, her body bared was nothing she hadn't seen before, hadn't looked at and wondered how she could have been contained in such a thing. Such a thing that could be so easily altered. Once she had met a crab god (Cancer her mind recognized that symbol, appropriate) and it had taken her weight away. Her weight and emotions. This alteration was far smaller, a mark in gray on her skin but it meant the same thing. Her body had once again become strange.
Not too long ago that would have made her afraid. She'd lived years in a body that had been made different by the divine and she had been reduced to coldness, distrust and desperation because of it.
But this time it made her smile. Once she had met a crab god and it had made her strange and she had believed nothing could change her back.
And then she'd met him.
She stepped forward, meeting her altered reflection and walked to the altar. Whatever had happened, she decided not to be made afraid of it. She had dealt with the strange before and she had dealt with it alone. But that wasn't what made her smile, wasn't what kept her from being afraid. She was no longer where he was but she knew he would look for her and make his way to her. And when he did...
I knew you'd come here. was what she would tell him. And insult him and imply that it was his perversion that couldn't keep him away.
I knew you would find me was what she would mean.