"Tsubasa Tiger, Part 5" (つばさタイガー 其の伍, Tsubasa Taiga, Sono Go) is the fifth episode of the Monogatari Series Second Season anime series and the last episode of the Tsubasa Tiger story. It was first broadcast on August 4, 2013.
After the many events that had happened to her recently, Tsubasa Hanekawa decides to deal with the greatest problem at hand: facing the aspects of her identity which the discarded, one of which creating a life-threatening situation for her friend Hitagi Senjougahara. In a letter addressed to her alternate persona Black Hanekawa, Tsubasa writes all of her feelings for her and the tiger-shaped oddity now rampaging across town before stepping out of the Araragi Residence, determined to handle the problem by herself despite the risks involved.
After mustering all of her determination, Tsubasa sits down and, with the light of Koyomi's table lamp, begins to write her first letter for Black Hanekawa.
|Excerpt from Tsubasa's letter to Black Hanekawa|
To Black Hanekawa.
Nice to meet you. That sounds strange, but I'm Tsubasa Hanekawa.
First, allow me to thank you. Thank you for your bone-breaking labor for my sake during Golden Week and before the school festival. I really do feel apologetic that I've only been causing you trouble. Lately, I finally feel the reason I buried you after you were run over on the road was probably by own selfish ego. My responsibility for tying you to me as a result is not something I can truly ever make up for.
So I'm not really in a position to ask something like this of you... but if I don't do anything, my precious friends will be hurt as a result. I have no choice but to rely on you. I only have you to rely on.
So I'm saying this to someone for the first time.
Help. Please help. Please help me.
In Tsubasa's letter, after formally asking for Black Hanekawa's help in battling this new threat, she exposes some truths behind the tiger-shaped oddity called "Kako". According to Tsubasa, the tiger is an oddity created out of "envy" in contrast to Black Hanekawa created out of "stress'. Tsubasa admits that she had not grasped the real extent of her envy until two days ago, but soon reveals that her envy has been building up since three days ago, when she saw her parents live a happy life despite the events that had happened lately. And that envy was more than enough for Kako to manifest itself.
Unlike during her situation with the sawarineko, Tsubasa decides to look ahead, accepting all the stress she had pushed into Black Hanekawa and the envy from Kako and moving on. She thinks that by doing this, she might end up disappointing Koyomi and losing her only chance of saying her true feelings for him. However, Tsubasa shows her determination to do this for her "other sides", and is willing to wait for Kako to come back to her.
Black Hanekawa read the letter as soon as she takes over Tsubasa's body, and she feels rather disappointed to hear that Tsubasa treats her like family, when in fact she and Kako are oddities that may disappear in time. She thinks that she shouldn't do something about Kako, as it may burn itself up eventually and doing anything to Kako may produce the opposite effect.
However, seeing Tsubasa's sincere plea for help makes her consider actually helping her; besides, it was Tsubasa who gave a stray cat like this sawarineko a place to call home.
Black Hanekawa decides to pay back the happiness she has cherished all this time alongside Tsubasa. After writing down something on the notebook where Tsubasa's letter is written, she leaps away to the direction of Kako.
Elsewhere, Kako presents itself in the middle of the neighborhood, explaining his humble origins, her "twin sister" Tsubasa Hanekawa, and his motivations for destruction. Soon, he begins searching for his target, something that is to be envied, and thus, must be destroyed. And his next target to burn to ashes is Tamikura-sou, the home of the Senjougahara family.
Shortly, Black Hanekawa appears, asking Kako to come back with her to Tsubasa. However, Kako did not move an inch, doubting Black Hanekawa's credibility and pointing out that he cares little about Tsubasa or the concept of "natural parents", which Black Hanekawa refers Tsubasa as. In addition to this, Kako doesn't seem interested in anything else she is trying to say to him and is simply focused on burning down his target.
Black Hanekawa then declares that she has decided to stop him at all costs, since the death of her friend Hitagi through arson, although something that is only covered by human logic, would cause the sadness of her mistress, something that she wants to avoid. Kako, however, is confident that Tsubasa will eventually sever her heart even more, creating more and more oddities to cast aside while she maintains her pure whiteness.
Then, Tsubasa decides to take over for the meantime, and there, she outright denies Kako's allegations.
"I decided to end things like this. I'm sure that I will end up hating someone. I won't be kind to everyone like before and won't be able to love everyone. People are sure to dislike and hate me. I'll probably end up a bit angrier and unable to forgive. I might become stupid. I might not be able to laugh. I might sob and cry.
But that's okay. That's alright.
I don't want to be "real". I want to be "human".
I don't have to be beautiful. I don't have to be white. I want to be impure with you guys."
And there, Tsubasa lays out her hand to Kako.
However, Kako becomes enraged and leaps right towards Tsubasa.
Black Hanekawa decides to switch roles with Tsubasa at that moment and evades Kako's crushing pounce, then goes straight into his belly in an attempt to drain him out. However, Kako suddenly becomes enveloped by flames and Black Hanekawa was forced to let go before trying her energy drain once again. Kako is rather annoyed at the fact that Black Hanekawa refused to let go despite fighting a much larger beast, let alone a beast covered in flames. Despite the pain she is experiencing, Black Hanekawa refuses to give up, knowing that both her mistress Tsubasa and her friend Hitagi had already given their trust to her.
Soon, Kako finds an opening and throws Black Hanekawa into a railway post several meters away. As Black Hanekawa, her clothes still smoldering after the contact with Kako, tries to stand up, Kako decides to finish her off, but not after claiming that he would be kinder towards her as a form of consideration.
As Kako slowly inches closer, Black Hanekawa realizes that all of her efforts were worth just ten seconds of delay. Demoralized to even more, Black Hanekawa slowly faces her imminent face.
And then, with a familiar voice, a blade strikes down from the sky, impaling Kako by the throat. Black Hanekawa quickly recognizes the sword as Kokorowatari, and the voice was none other than Koyomi Araragi himself, his clothes severely tattered as if returning from another battle. After reassuring Black Hanekawa that those ten seconds were more than enough for him to make it, Tsubasa slowly takes over her body, overwhelmed by the bliss of seeing Koyomi after a long time. Koyomi then reveals that he had read the letter on his way back home and, after pulling out the Kokorowatari from Kako's neck, he decides to give Tsubasa the chance to use the sawarineko's ability on it while it was still clinging to its life.
Tsubasa is in disbelief that Koyomi would accept her as she is right now. However, Koyomi declares that he will do whatever he thinks is right for her even if she becomes a bad person or something else entirely... and he will comfort her if she cries.
At that moment, Tsubasa's heart lights ablaze as Koyomi rubs her head, something that she always wanted him to do to her.
The sun begins to rise in the switchyard, and Tsubasa decides to tell her feelings towards Koyomi. Of course, she already had prepared for the rejection, knowing that he already has someone else in his heart. She took the rejection quite well in front of Koyomi... however, as she drains away every single speck of Kako's existence, the realization dawned on her so much that she began crying. Fortunately, there is Koyomi to comfort her in this moment of sadness.
Ten days later, the Hanekawa family moves to new rental house, something much smaller than their previous home. Due to absorbing Kako's existence, her hair is now filled with silvery-white streaks, making it similar to a tiger's print. Every day, she would dye it black so that people wouldn't find it too unusual. Although the house is a bit modest, she was able to give herself a room for the first time, and the feeling of entering one's home and bedroom is something new to her.
Then, Tsubasa remembers of the lost cow named Mayoi Hachikuji, a spirit that appears to people who lost sight of their family and home. Although meeting her for the first time has made her a soul that wanders aimlessly, she admits that the encounter also allowed her to meet new faces, and those new experiences ultimately represents what she truly is.
As Tsubasa enters to her room for the first time, with joy in her face, she says the same thing written on the notebook that continues to stay in Koyomi's room, written by Black Hanekawa herself:
By order of appearance
- Tsubasa reminisces on her meeting with Mayoi Hachikuji on the first episode of Tsubasa Tiger in this episode.
- Why are Koyomi's clothes all tattered up?
- "I will love both of you, and I will love myself." — The last line in Tsubasa letter addressed to Black Hanekawa, pertaining to her decision to accept her good and bad sides
- "Just by having a home to go back to... Why do I feel like I can do anything?" — Black Hanekawa's question to herself as she ponders on helping Tsubasa or not
- "I don't know everything, but everything burns." — Kako's twist on Tsubasa's catchphrase as he prepares to burn down the Senjougahara Residence