Hitagi Figure (ひたぎスローイング) is a short story from the Monogatari series written by Nisio Isin and included in the <Monogatari> Series Heroine Book No. 5 Senjougahara Hitagi.
アニメ＜物語＞シリーズヒロイン本 其ノ伍 戦場ヶ原ひたぎ
Anime <Monogatari> Series Heroine Book No. 5 Senjougahara Hitagi
The story that started on that day when (I) caught her in my arms. The secret story behind the formation of the ‘Valhalla Combination’ – “Hitagi Throwing”. The long-awaited heroine book that is full of information about Hitagi.
Please give suggestion/correction/changes wherever needed! ^_^ Spoilers for Kanbaru Suruga and Hitagi’s stories!
As someone who has known Senjougahara Hitagi for many years and who continues to believe in her, saying something like this feels like a special kind of betrayal; but, when I first met her during the first year of middle school, the impression I had of her was not a good one.
Or rather, sorry for saying it as it is.
I thought, what is this person?
If I can say it a bit more informally, I thought that ‘a very dangerous person has come’—Just bear with me a little, this is all from very long ago, and back then I had just graduated grade-school and I was just a 12-year old whose interior and exterior appearance, intelligence and character were all very suitable to be called a brat.
But if you say that Senjougahara-senpai had no responsibility in what happened, I would like to assert that it was not so —- I want to emphasize that.
In the first place, when the ace of the track and field club (Senjougahara) marched into the gymnasium where the basketball club was training, like a raid, along with her followers (it was not only second and third year students, but some first year students were also there) looking like a daimyo procession, it only stands to reason (that Senjougahara also has some responsibility).
It is as though when I was about to slam dunk, Mitch appeared.
Though she was smiling kindly and had a gentle demeanour, it was actually more frightening that way — and the vigour of the followers was as usual.
“You are Kanbaru-san? I heard the rumour that you are very fast on your feet — if I’m not being a hindrance, would you please allow me to observe and study you?”
What is she, a lady?
Though I wanted to retort back like that, actually in those days Senjougahara-senpai was really someone like a rich, young lady — she had a behaviour that was as though she had just stepped out of a novel for young ladies.
I shivered on realising that such a person actually existed.
I want to make it clear that at this time, the ‘shivering’ was not a very good feeling — when I think back on it now, it felt like her way of speech and conduct was driving me away.
I understood that what she required from me was something different.
And that this person was different.
And so this was in fact my first impression of her —- of course, Senjougahara-senpai was a famous person, and so, I had been hearing about her since the entrance ceremony and even before joining the basketball club.
Along with Hanekawa Tsubasa, the two of them were the star players —- if you wanted to continue in this middle-school, I was told that (by my teachers during the entrance ceremony) that you cannot afford to go against these two (I was wondering what sort of people those two were; but it looks like the things I was told were not wrong).
But, as you can see, for various reasons, I was a 12-year old with an extraordinary obsession with the speed of my legs and speed of running — and for ‘various reasons’ I couldn’t become a member of the track and field club. When I went to the ground in April, it was not for a trial period in a club, but I had become interested in the ace of track and field club, Senjougahara Hitagi-senpai, and wanted to see her run.
Can a person run so beautifully like this?
It took my breath away.
I have not received any special guidance in my running — and even now I have not received any professional training in sprinting; so my running style is mostly self-learnt.
But that self-learnt style is also a style; and so I don’t have any complex on that point. Still, compared to my reckless style of running, Senjougahra-senpai’s running style was completely opposite and very beautiful.
It was the perfect form of a person running.
Surely I became interested.
Still, I felt that I could not imitate that style — this person is not the same as me, and I’m also different from her.
I thought that the track and field club’s uniform was a bit erotic, but this time it became irrelevant.
Though I never had any plans to join the track and field club – I think that on seeing that perfect running style, I gave up completely.
I was set free.
It could also be said that the reason the basketball player (Kanbaru) existed is because of Senjougara-senpai’s running style — of course nowadays I’m so enthusiastic about basketball that I had almost forgotten about that impulse that brought me here; but I will talk about ‘we don’t really know what will become the crossroads in our lives’ at some other time.
If I have to say, as far my life goes, whether it was that, surprisingly I was in the public gaze or that the contact had been initiated by Senjougahara-senpai who actively tries to avoid getting involved others; just that fact was enough to leave me dumbstruck. But, training while being observed by the aristocratic Senjougahara-senpai ( and party) was not easy.
“Is it ok? Kanbaru-san?”
In that way, I was called out by Senjougahara-senpai — just hearing those words “is it ok” made me feel absolutely not ok, but even leaving that, it still shocked me.
When I looked closer, I could see that she was a senpai with features that made me feel like she was one step higher than me,
“Like the rumours said, you are really fast, aren’t you — how about it? Won’t you join the track and field club now? And spend your youth with me and grow?”
….an excellent and magnificent scouting.
By the way, at that place, though the captain of the basketball club (a third year student) was there, she was behaving as though that Senjougahara-senpai’s (a second year student) recruitment activity was of no concern to her and did not say anything.
What are you doing checking the balls now?
No matter how many times you look, it is not as though any holes are going to appear, is it?
Though there was my disappointment towards my captain, setting that aside, there was also a little happiness — now matter what the circumstances, and no matter the tone of the words, ‘my speed’ which was something that I was proud of was being praised and recognised and this made me feel pleasantly surprised.
Such simplicity hasn’t changed even now.
It is a foolish trait of mine.
Still, I was not an idiot who would yield to such a scouting without thinking. I was an idiot who thinks.
While taking care not to destroy senpai’s reputation, taking care to be very prudent, I politely refused her.
“Please come back again sometime”
What is this memory?
Who is this cheeky brat?—-it is me.
I wonder if it was the age to go against authority or whether it was because I was afraid that if I did not refuse her so stubbornly I would be swayed by her — anyway, the phrasing may have been a little different (I want to believe it was), in this manner, I turned down Senjougahara-senpai’s invitation completely.
“Oh my my. It is very good that you are so energetic. I’m becoming more and more charmed.”
Although, Senjoughara-senpai large-heartedly accepted what I said (when I think back on it now, wondering “who was that” was not the complete thing), the eyes of the followers who were standing behind Senjougahara-senpai, were giving me piercing looks.
This is bad, I’m dead.
As you would expect I thought so, but, stopping the followers who were starting forward with both her hands and without even looking back at them, Senjougahara-senpai said, “It is alright. Taming such cute girls is incredibly enjoyable to me.”
Who are you talking about?
Though the images in my head are too strong and the Senjougahara-senpai that I remember might be a little different from the actual second year middle school student, Senjougahara-senpai; but generally, there is no mistake in my memories of the first contact with her which was like a stress-interview.
Saying, “Well, take care” Senjoughara-senpai left.
Leaving the way of speaking, she did not even concern herself with my rude response; surely she must have been hurt a little; still, I thought it is ok this way.
At least, this way is better than making her wait for my reply — of course as I have so bluntly turned down the invitation from the school’s most popular person, I will probably encounter obstacles in my middle school life; still even if I tried to falsely agree with her, I possibly couldn’t pull it off well.
If you are coming, come; I will take you up—-or something like that.
When I thought that, it really came.
But when I went back to the gymnasium on Sunday, it was not the followers-army, who wanted to punish me for not knowing my place and being rude, who was there; it was Senjougahara Hitagi. And that too, this time she was alone.
“Everyone, the weather is good today, isn’t it? It is ok if I observe (you) today too?”
The seniors of the basketball club became flustered — it felt like it was a different sort of commotion from yesterday; when I asked them later, it seemed it was a very rare thing to happen.
Instead of saying that she likes attention, it is more correct to say that she had a personality that draws people to her wherever she is — like the fact that Senjougahara-senpai came here alone means that she purposefully sent everyone away before coming to the gymnasium.
There must be some reason for accepting my reckless remark of ‘come back again’ and really coming back again and that to choosing a place away from her ‘home ground’…
Smiling and accepting the chair prepared by the members of the basketball club, Senjoughara-senpai watched over our, or more precisely my practice; but I couldn’t guess anything about what she was thinking.
After all, I had joined the basketball club on the strength of my legs and I was used to having spectators; still when watched so bluntly it is somewhat difficult.
On that day there were too many missed shoots and many misses in the dribbles —- the only thing I managed to exhibit without mistakes was my legs.
But I suppose that was what she wanted to see, so Senjougahara-senpai must have been satisfied.
“Hey, Kanbaru-san, have you changed your mind about what I asked you yesterday?”
“No, not at all…”
Without even thinking, I answered.
Of course, it is difficult to be rude to someone who has come to see me for two days in a row.
“Hmm. Why don’t we do this? Let us have a 100m race. If I win, you are to transfer to the track and field club. Isn’t this a wonderful idea?”
She tilted her head.
Don’t be saying ‘eh’
It is not as though you don’t understand what she means, right?
“I will not be doing that”
I turned her down clearly.
“But doing that will stop me from coming to the gymnasium daily without a break.”
“You are planning to come every day….”
I said no.
I took care not to be rude like yesterday, but still I conveyed it to her.
Senjougahara-senpai covered her mouth as though surprised.
“That is strange, was it my miscalculation?”
“I expected that people like you, once challenged cannot stop till they see it through to the end”
That expectation—–was correct.
But, leaving that be, I cannot compete in a race with anyone.
Of course, if I rise to her provocation here, accept the challenge and win, it may all come to an end here; but the damage that would be caused if I lose cannot even be imagined.
No, it is not sure that Senjougahara-senpai will back down if I win — so it is disadvantageous to take such a risk .
She said that she understood.
Leaving me dumbstruck, Senjougahara-senpai left first — before going she put away the snacks she was eating and the chair that she was sitting on, thus not betraying the way she was brought up.
If she has really understood I’m also good with that, but what exactly Senjougahara-senpai has understood is a complete mystery.
And that mystery was solved the next day.
Senjougahara Hitagi who came to the gymnasium for the third time was not wearing her uniform like she was till yesterday — it was not the erotic and stylish uniform of the track and field club either; so if you ask what she was wearing, she was wearing the uniform of our basketball club.
The number on the back was 4.
The number was written on the front too, so it is not correct to call it ‘back number’ (athlete’s number?), anyway, it was our captain’s number.
When I looked back, for some reason our captain was in her gym clothes — in her gym clothes, she was polishing the balls as if none of this concerned her.
That is the ball that I just polished.
How shiny do you want to make it?
If you polish it any longer, it will become smooth.
It seems, on being requested by her junior, she has lent the uniform, which could be called as the symbol of our team.
You can say that all the authority that she had held has in this moment disappeared completely.
Once this matter is resolved, it will be a coup d’état.
“If you say you won’t compete with me on the track, let’s compete in your field, basketball? Is that ok?”
At this point it was more of hesitation, and when someone calls me to participate in a competition, as a first year student, I really do not have much of a choice.
Just for the sake of it, getting permission from the captain (the sad reality is the ‘just for the sake of it’ being attached to ‘captain’), taking half of the court, it was decided that Senjougahara-senpai and I would have our basketball showdown.
Still if you ask whether it was a dramatic battle like the ones the words ‘showdown’ and ‘duel’ call to mind, it was not so — of course it was not too quick, and there was a lot of tension; but when the main event is a free throw contest the tension does go down a little.
We received the warning that physical contact would not be allowed from the ‘just for the sake of it’ captain, er, ‘captain’ — I was only the newest member of the club, and though Senjougahara-senpai was not specialised in basketball, there is a small chance of something happening – for those reasons, i did not object to that restriction.
The one who got 10 points first wins.
A contest with no handicaps — as it was a simple contest of deciding the order and then shooting one after the other , it was not going to be an intense contest; starting it properly, shooting in order and it will be over in 30 mins.
10 to 9.
In such a close contest, it was Senjougahara-senpai’s victory.
While both of us did miss targets, and the score went back and forth, the first one to reach the 10 points was Senjougahara-senpai.
“It was a good match”, said Senjougahara-senpai, while elegantly flipping her long hair.
“Kanbaru-san, it seems that basketball suits you more than track and field — from now on too, continue in this same way.”
she continued —- and with that she turned on her feet and left the gymnasium.
I was thinking, now that I have lost I have no choice but to join the track and field club; I should shift to something other than running (like high jump of long jump); even while deciding make-shift solutions like that I had prepared myself. So when Senjougahara-senpai withdrew so suddenly, it left me stunned for an instant.
But, it was just for an instant.
I immediately chased after Senjougahara-senpai —- I ran after her at my maximum speed and soon caught up to her as she walked away elegantly and grabbed her wrist.
The way I grabbed her wrist was maybe too violent or wild, and though Senjougaha-senpai loked back at me puzzled it was very like me.
Has she gone back to her usual self? It was a straight strong gaze.
While accepting that gaze, I…
I asked, “Is this what you had in mind from the start?”
I— my tone becoming like I was cross-questioning her is also very like ‘me’.
“Was it all a game to compete with me and win and and then let me off the hook?”
“….what are you talking about? Why do I have to be doing something like that?”
Senjougahara-senpai answered so without trying to avoid anything. To her, I…
“In order to protect me.”
It was a simple plot —- it was not a mistake to think that (Senjougahara) approached me who was making a name for myself in the basketball club, for scouting.
Senjougahara-senpai must surely have been previously prepared for the scout not being a certain success.
And if that happens, though Senjougahara-senpai would mediate it somehow; well, it would not have been a case of bad news spreading like wildfire, but rumour that that the a first-year student who had just entered the school had gone against the famous Senjougahara Hitagi would surely spread —- and if that happens, my school-life would certainly become dark.
If that happens, when that happens, it was my way of thinking, but —- it was my foolish idea.
But Senjougahara-senpai prevented such a situation, before it happened.
Though she might have been able to control her followers who could be considered her close associates, she would not be able to make everyone understand —- though people are good, each and everyone is also full of ill-will.
That’s why, it was necessary for Senjougahara-senpai herself to take the initiative and settle things with me — with her winning, the matter ended.
No, just winning would not have been enough, it had to be a close contest with the new member on whom the basket ball team had high hopes and to stand in front of me after.
On top of that, it was a free-throw contest.
…if I think back, the captain, who usually listened to what Senjougahara-senpai, deciding the rules of the match at that time strongly was strange…for example, an exhibition-like match of shooting in order, keeping score, a free-throw contest that can be controlled, all of this could have been informally conveyed while borrowing the uniform (I’ve changed my views).
If I had accepted the challenge on the second day – of course, for Senjougahara-senpai this was the best plan – at that time by adjusting her running speed, she would have created a close contest.
Someone who can say “I will make it a close contest and win” whether it be a race or a free-throw contest must be someone with great self-confidence — of course as long as you win, nothing can be said against it.
By challenging me clearly and by clearly recognising me in front of everyone, it was like me being awarded the license to go on continuing in the basketball club by Senjougahara-senpai. And so, her fans who wish me ill will not appear.
“…just for example, even if I was thinking about something like that”
Senjougahara-senpai said in a serious voice — very suddenly the mood was different from just before, it was a flat voice.
“If you said that to me, don’t you think everything would be ruined? Don’t you think you would reverse my consideration for you, now?”
One shouldn’t recognise the casual considerations shown, Senjougahara-senpai was admonishing me saying that —- and I let go of her wrist gently.
And then I took her hand again before the wrist.
This time, gently.
Following the example of Senjougahara-senpai’s behaviour, softly, gently — Probably Senjougahara-senpai must have been expecting a handshake to become friends again, but doing something completely surprising, I kissed the back of her hand.
Senjougahara-senpai said in a surprised voice, it was almost a scream. Facing her I declared,
“I don’t think so”
“Because, I have decided that I am going to accept you consideration towards me more than it is necessary, Senjougahara-senpai”
From now on, I am your dog.
I said so.
Senjougahara Hitagi and Kanbaru Suruga.
For the two people who would later on be referred to as ‘The Valhalla Combination’, this was the starting point —
“Are you an idiot?”
Even now, I think that, the acceptance that came like that with a scornful laugh from Senjougahara Hitagi probably came from her impartiality.
Spoilers: Kanbaru Suruga cannot race because of the wish she made to her ‘kai’ that manifests and hurts anyone who wins a race against her (from Suruga Monkey)
Bonus Photo :D
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