LN Review: Nadeko Pool (Monogatari Short Stories)

…. sigh. Alright I said Wednesday that I’d give this chapter a fair chance, but did it have to involve a swimsuit? Come on Araragi, I thought we covered this in Hachikuji’s chapter. Ehh who am I kidding? It’s Monogatari.

Now if you’re familiar with the Monogatari anime (which I imagine you are if you’re reading this) you may have already guessed where this chapter is heading. Nadeko needs swimming lessons, and who else but Araragi could give them to her? I mean even Araragi points out that either Karen or Kanbaru would probably be better teachers for her, but of course Nadeko doesn’t want to “waste their time”. Though to be fair, he spends a good portion of the chapter bragging about his swimming skills. So the pair take a bus to the public pool where I was surprised that Araragi also thinks chlorine gives off an oddly nostalgic smell. However the pleasant imagery describing the pool and the throes of youth is quickly dispelled when Araragi notices a crowd focussed on one spot — that spot of course being where Sengoku Nadeko is standing.

I’m going to go ahead and just let this chapter speak for itself now for a moment.

If I had to say what I would picture for a scene titled, “Together with Nadeko at the pool,” I would have definitely imagined Sengoku wearing her school swimsuit. The fact that this was the first thing I thought of probably means that Kanbaru is rubbing off on me. Well, then again, it wouldn’t be that strange to expect a middle schooler to wear her school swimsuit to the pool.
But Sengoku’s outfit blew my expectations out of the water. She was not wearing her school swimsuit.
Let me be a little more precise: the suit she was wearing was not a school swimsuit, but rather an extremely revealing string bikini that left very, very little to the imagination. I had never seen a bikini this extreme, even on gravure swimsuit models.
She was practically naked.

Comically Araragi begins to question the legality of full-body swimsuits in the competitive swim world as a means to say Nadeko’s swimsuit should also be legally questioned, but for the opposite reason. In fact, Araragi points out that his earlier statement that everyone was focussed on Nadeko wasn’t entirely accurate. They, like he, were going out of their way NOT to look at Nadeko. And as expected, she had no trouble making the situation more awkward by earnestly asking what he thought of her looks…

But I’ve got to say it’s the last paragraph of this chapter that brings the real zinger. You see after all the cringe, after all the awkwardness, Araragi managed to make a fool of himself in a way I certainly didn’t expect. He realized that vampires can’t swim…

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