Bakemonogatari - Devil’s Envy

Senjogahara and Kanbaru in the Bakemonogatari manga.

To get through life, we have to rely on other people around us. They fill gaps that are missing in our lives. From emotional support to being able to help with physical labor, these people can often become our friends. We grow to admire their strength. Yet their positive traits can often trigger a sense of jealousy within us. We start to compare ourselves to them and see how big the gap between us really is.

Envy is a very dangerous thing, especially when love is concerned. I’m reminded of this while reading the manga adaptation of NisiOsin’s light novel series, Bakemonogatari and the Suruga Monkey arc. How this arc is told in manga form provides a basic insight of how two conflicting emotions are handled by a teenager who’s felt neglected over the years.

Bakemonogatari is part of a series called Monogatari, which covers a young man named Araragi Koyomi and his encounters with young women who are affected by supernatural abnormalities. Araragi is considered abnormal himself as he is cursed with having traits of a vampire. Because of a previous encounter with a female vampire in distress, he decides to use his unwanted strength to help girls with abnormalities cope with their emotional and spiritual pain.

One of those girls is a student athlete in Araragi’s school named Suruga Kanbaru. Kanbaru is cursed with a monkey’s paw that causes her left forearm to appear ape-like. The paw grants its user a wish at a great cost and is part of a greater lore involving unintended consequences. She is in love with Araragi’s girlfriend, Hitagi Senjougahara. They were once friends as Senjougahara noticed Kanbaru’s talent in basketball. Once Kanbaru realized the two were dating, she made a wish with the monkey paw …continue reading