While bantering with Coburn in the comments section in one of my earlier posts on Bakemonogatari, I conjectured that Araragi instead of being a viewer avatar is actually a commentary on the viewer. From the presence of fetishes to the impotence in fulfilling them — it’s as if the narrative is having fun at the viewer’s expense.
I find this very interesting. What fun it seems for the text to rip into its fans like so. Araragi is powerless against Senjougahara (real), and more himself and can fight on equal terms with Hachikuji (loli, unreal, a ghost). Otaku’s fetish for loli of the 2D variety has something to do with the latter’s powerlessness against the otaku. In the face of a ‘realistic’ woman, Araragi is powerless, has no initiative. His relationship, his life, is directed almost entirely by Senjougahara.
On the way to ‘study group,’ Araragi has no problem dallying with Hachikuji, who teases him with sexual entendre, fights with him, speaks his fetishes out loud while posing no real threat.
She is a ghost, and he has regenerative abilities. The viewer may like a real Senjougahara to show up in their lives [->] but as an otaku will not let go of the loli fetish. This is the inauthenticity of Senjougahara Fascination.
Furthermore, this regenerative ability… I will further conjecture that it is representative of the resilience of otaku. Hurt them, troll them, piss on them, ‘betray’ them, have your way with them. They will come back if they love you enough. If the Endless Eight DVDs of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu doesn’t sell, then I’m wrong. If “The Disappearance” doesn’t get a generate excitement leading to its release, then I’m wrong.
So Bakemonogatari has no compunctions pissing all over Araragi, the representation of its viewers. Araragi can survive almost anything, even Senjougahara.
Also, in Dungeons and Dragons, usually the first encounter player characters have with a monster that has regeneration abilities is with a Troll.