At the end of the episode Kaiki doesn't use any honorifics...

...when speaking with Hanekawa.

This is highly unusual since they have never spoken with each other before. What is the significance of him deciding to use yobisute?

  • Kaiki is older than Tsubasa, and I had understood that it was more acceptable to use yobisute towards someone younger than oneself in Japanese society. Also, he may have felt like he "knew" her in some sense, since he kept hearing about her from Hitagi. – Torisuda Jul 24 '14 at 20:03

I don't think there's anything unusual about it. You're right that in real life, omitting honorific suffixes (i.e. yobisute) when first meeting someone would be unusual, and may even be considered downright rude. When it comes to anime characters, on the other hand, that just isn't so. Characters will often refer to others in ways that would be considered inappropriate in real life.1

Kaiki, in particular, never uses honorifics, except for senpai for Gaen Izuko (and that, too, is inconsistent). Consider the first time Kaiki refers to Karen by name (in episode 5 of Nisemonogatari; also their first meeting):

KAIKI: どうした?震えているぞ、阿良々木。
KAIKI: What's the matter? You're shaking, Araragi. [no honorific]

And later, when Kaiki first refers to Koyomi by name (in episode 7 of Nisemonogatari; only their second meeting):

KAIKI: …あの元気のいいお嬢さん、お前の妹のことなら、心配することはない、阿良々木。
KAIKI: ...As for that lively girl, your sister - you needn't worry, Araragi. [no honorific]

All said and done, Kaiki's failure to use honorifics when addressing Hanekawa doesn't really mean anything. That's just how Kaiki speaks, and more generally speaking, is how a lot of anime characters speak.


1 This is why people who learn how to speak Japanese by watching anime often have a skewed sense of what is considered polite in Japanese society - anime characters are often pretty darned rude by real-life standards. This question on Japanese.SE has a bit to say on that topic.

  • I think I might have to rewatch the episode, but I don't think he ever referred to the character by name, just the pronoun. Also, perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but it looked like there was specific emphasis by Kaiki to use yobisute, and it was done as the last spoken word of the episode. – ton.yeung Dec 15 '13 at 19:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.