The Secret in the Old House: A Sodachi Oikura Mystery

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“When you think about what is scary in this world, those that despise you for some incomprehensible reason and attack you are the scariest. There’s no way to deal with it, because you don’t know the opponent’s objective.”

-Koyomi Araragi, Owarimonogatari, Episode 2

And so begins the search for Sodachi Oikura’s motive, along with the supposed “end” of Koyomi Araragi.

Presumably, the mystery is of the root of Oikura’s hatred towards Araragi. It appears incomprehensible not because it actually is beyond understanding, but because it’s still beyond the scope of Araragi’s understanding. The scope of Araragi’s understanding – we, as viewers, come to realize – is limited by his own inability to accept his past and personal convictions.

From the moment of Araragi’s introduction and initial monologue in Bakemonogatari, we know that he is a person who can’t help but try to save other people, or get involved in their lives. Much of this is for his own self-satisfaction and possible self-loathing. He repeatedly stated early in the chronological Monogatari timeline, that he just wanted to die for someone.

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“Well, it’s true that you did often take care of me. You were always kind to people who were below you.”

-Hitagi Senjougahara to Sodachi Oikura, Owarimonogatari, Episode 2

Bakemonogatari reiterates this almost immediately through the character of Hitagi Senjougahara. She points out that Araragi didn’t come to her aid because he wanted something in return, or because it was her, he simply would have done the same for anyone. Not-so-coincidentally, it is one of the reasons why she falls in love with him. Owarimonogatari returns to Senjougahara’s roots in her statement to Oikura about none other than Araragi. Senjougahara is helping Araragi prepare for college entrance exams because she wants to attend the same school as her lover. She’s not worried about Araragi expressing gratitude or appreciation because, should he be accepted into the same college, her goal will have already been met.

Senjougahara’s pointed dialogue with Oikura – along with Oikura’s heated response – suggests that Oikura was another person who had tried to help Senjougahara in the past, and it’s heavily implied that Oikura did it not for the glory of helping others, not for the love of self-sacrifice, but to place others beneath herself. More importantly, Oikura is separated, both figuratively and visually, from two young women who have already made peace with their own shortcomings: the aforementioned Senjougahara, and Tsubasa Hanekawa.

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In contrast, Oikura has allowed her past with Araragi – whatever it may be – to fester and stew for years. Owarimonogatari‘s second episode makes it clear that Oikura and Araragi’s relationship with one another goes well beyond the classroom mystery that was introduced, and relatively solved, in the previous episode. It is also clear that this mystery of Oikura’s hatred is rooted in the reasoning behind a person’s affinity for helping others, be it altruistic, selfish, or somewhere in between.

Araragi’s natural tendencies to interfere in the lives of others at the cost of his own life or humanity were called into question by Yotsugi Ononoki in the more recent Tsukimonogatari, as well as Kaiki Deishuu in Koimonogatari. The former warned Araragi against bargaining away his own humanity in exchange for saving everyone, while the latter skewered him for aiding Nadeko Sengoku’s descent into madness. In both cases, Araragi watches as someone else – Ononoki and Kaiki – solves the problem for him, rendering him unable to play the hero. Owarimonogatari returns to Sengoku Nadeko ever so briefly in this second episode and, like Tsukimonogatari before it, leaves a lingering sense of Araragi’s guilt regarding both his treatment of Nadeko and his inability to save her.

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Araragi and Oikura have shared interests, primarily mathematics, and they both appear as people who desire to help others, or who have helped others in the past with varying results. Unlike Oikura, Araragi has seemingly buried his personal past until now, where Oikura – along with constant prodding from the ever-creepy Ougi Oshino – has allowed previously interred emotions to bubble to the surface. Meanwhile, Oikura has allowed her emotions to continuously eat away at her for the past two years. Both are unable to face whatever ails them, but come from opposite ends of the learning and healing process.

One comment

  1. Your posts are always such a delight to read. It’s a happy moment when I realise you’ll be writing about a show I’m watching 🙂

    One thing – if I’m not mistaken we’ve now gone back to before Nadeko Medusa, which would make that shoe locker moment you mentioned about Ougi and not Araragi. Unless you’re saying Araragi’s already aware that Nadeko needs help? If so, I disagree.

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