“I have no choice but to rely on you. I have only you to rely on. So I’m saying this to someone for the first time. Help. Please, help.”
-Tsubasa Hanekawa, Nekomonogatari: Shiro, Episode 5
Where Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari focus on identifying one’s inner demons – exemplified through various oddities – Monogatari Series: Second Season, and subsequently the more recent Owarimonogatari, show characters actively dealing with their respective faults.
No one character in the series exemplifies this as much as Tsubasa Hanekawa. Placed on a pedestal from her first introduction by Koyomi Araragi, Hanekawa creates the perfect mask for her own desires and negative emotions. In her attempt to cast them away, she attracts a cat oddity whom she makes infinitely stronger by the wall that she forces between the image of a peerless student and someone who carries an exorbitant amount of resentment towards others – her parents in particular. The idea of a mask, or certain persona, is also something that permeates the entire series – and is later touched upon with Nadeko Sengoku, making the audience complicit in her character pigeonholing – and playing up to, or destroying said masks is
Asking for help falls into the category of appearing weak. The perfect image of Hanekawa is someone who not only doesn’t need help, but provides constant aid to others. Monogatari Series: Second Season shows a Hanekawa struggling further with her negative emotions, spawning an additional entity to the cat: a tiger. Unlike “Black Hanekawa,” her feline alter ego, the tiger is completely unreasonable, and simply wishes ill on everything. In order to deal with the tiger, Hanekawa writes a letter to her other self, Black Hanekawa. For the first time in her life, she asks someone for help and that someone is a part of her that she had previously discarded. While there are still some viewers that take umbrage with the fact that Araragi shows up at the end of Hanekawa’s arc and defeats the tiger, what’s important is not who commits the killing blow, but that Hanekawa learns to accept her imperfections. Hanekawa won, so to speak, as soon as she admitted that she needed help.