OP2 Sequence

OP2: 「mathemagics」 by 井上麻里奈 (Inoue Marina)

「そだちリドル 其ノ壹」 (Sodachi Ridoru Sono Ichi)
“Sodachi Riddle Part One”

At some point—perhaps in a later episode—we need to talk about the impact of having Araragi as what is essentially the first-person protagonist. Even in the anime, it’s clear that we’re getting the story from his point of view (barring the parts when he’s not around, of course). How reliable of a narrator is he? It’s already obvious that his personal perspective colours what we see (which is one of the reasons why the Monogatari Series gets suggestive routinely, because, y’know, teenagers and their hormones). Now his internal monologue tries to tell us that Ougi’s presence has no bearing on this arc. Right. Pull the other one.

Oshino Ougi clearly has an effect on Araragi’s mind, what with making him blab and fiddling with his memories. How malicious is it? Hard to say, at this point. But we, as savvy viewers, should probably think twice before trusting anything right now.

Switching gives a 2/3 chance of winning. Unless you actually wanted a goat.

This week’s maths topic is conditional probability, as demonstrated by a guest star from Splatoon. The Monty Hall problem is a fairly famous brainteaser that I’m sure many readers are already familiar with, so a I won’t labour on it overlong in this post (as for an explanation if you need it in the comments!). The simple way to think about it, without getting too mathematical, is that game show host Monty is effectively allowing you to pick two doors (you win unless they’re both hiding goats) versus the one you picked originally. 2 > 1.

What made the Monty Hall problem famous was that, when it was first popularised (noting that the problem itself was not ‘new’), the solution did not feel very intuitive to many. If only thinking about each door as having an independently 1/3 chance of winning, it’s not immediately apparent why one should switch. That disjuncture between intuition and correctness contrasts with the view of mathematics as presented last week, that its truth is elegant and absolute. In the Monty Hall problem we see that ‘truth’ may not be necessarily be obvious. Which is why Araragi has to keep digging up the past.

That said, I don’t know why young Araragi had to care about Monty Hall problem at all. He’s free to open all the envelopes, in any order he pleases.

… This game show sucks.

I guess the maths angle makes it obvious who left him the letters. And that she was apparently always a maths nerd.

Hatred leads to suffering

The main subject of the arc, maths aside, seem to be hatred, and Owarimonogatari pulled no punches there. Araragi’s had enemies before, and has been disliked plenty, and people get angry regularly on this show, but Oikura Sodachi’s seething, irrational hate is another thing entirely that Araragi may be unfamiliar with. ‘Irrational’ is the descriptor I want to stress here, because it’s an unusual quality for the maths loving, Sodachi, so obsessed with proper cause and effect. Yet, she spews this one-sided vitriol, mercilessly attacking Araragi’s character without giving real reasons as to why. Unlike the self-evident nature of mathematics, her hatred needs to be explained subjectively. There is a truth out there in Araragi and Sodachi’s past—beyond even the class assembly in Ougi Formula it seems—but, like the Monty Hall problem, the answer is not immediately intuitive.

Props to Inoue Marina, by the way, for giving voice to both Oikura Sodachi and the OP song, and making them suitably intense. It was entirely as uncomfortable a scene as it should have been. Unfortunately, nothing in her tirade was as terrifying as the entry of Senjougahara. Compared to poor Sodachi, she’s just on another level. I wonder why their little catfight was played comically though; they could have certainly sustained the tension for a while longer. Or maybe the point was to diffuse the tension quickly, to get into the second half. I imagine that if this was two episodes instead of one, it could certainly have maintained drama and ended in the air.

I suppose Senjougahara was less mad about the assault and more about the plagiarism, anyway. It’s all cool.

Looking ahead

For those wondering about where this arc fits into the timeline, it’s implied that we’re back during Nadeko Medusa (and six months before graduation). Ougi’s meddling in that one is more or less confirmed too. She (/he/it) gets creepier by the episode.

So it seems that Owarimonogatari is tasked with filling in the past, in multiple ways. Unravelling the mystery behind Sodachi’s hatred is interesting, of course, but it’ll probably also come with a character deconstruction for Araragi. And both Senjougahara and Araragi attribute their current contentment as being thanks to Sodachi, and if that wasn’t just politeness/sarcasm, it will make the past doubly enlightening. At the moment, I would guess that young Sodachi and young Araragi used to be close, but due to thickness on Araragi’s part the relationship turned sour. Such a clichéd plot would be uncharacteristically straightforward for the Monogatari Series, but it’d make sense; love turns easily to hate. What’s just as irrational as hate? Love.

Full-length images: 17.


End Card


  1. Owarimonogatari: teaching you a maths class per episode. God knows a lot of people need it.

    As for the episode, the arrival of Senjogahara reminded me, for some reason, of that climatic scene at the end of Jurassic World
    Show Spoiler ▼

    For all her scary aura (those effects! You’re right, Passerby, the Monogatari series is really Araragi’s first-person perspective of the world around him), Oikura’s hate seems to be toxic and burning, not dangerously cold. Even before the funny “1479 damage”, when she realized she had stabbed Araragi she had a face of surprise and disbelief. More “did I really do that?” than “yeah, suffer, you bastard!”. So the “love turned hate” guessing may be right.

    1. Right, I doubt Sodachi’s going to end up being outright villainous. Probably a has a grudge that has been festering for a bit too long. If it was just something trivial, though, I wouldn’t think Ougi would be so involved.

  2. “And both Senjougahara and Araragi attribute their current contentment as being thanks to Sodachi, and if that wasn’t just politeness/sarcasm, …”

    The phrase they both used is おかげさまで and it’s just being polite. It’s used all the time in Japanese even when the other person had nothing to do with anything. This is why both characters are taken aback by the way Oikura responds (which I’m sure will turn out to be full of all sorts of irony).

  3. Man, Sodachi’s hatred reminds me of Kanbaru’s, way back in the day. Only scarier, in some ways. Because as Araragi points out himself, there’s nothing more disturbing than being deeply despised by someone when you don’t even know the reason why. It’s an interesting little mystery they’ve cooked up there, anyway.

    Though I had a big ‘Oh Shit!’ reaction when Senjougahara showed up, that wasn’t gonna end well. Aaaaand it didn’t. Sodachi got fully decked in the face, ouch. Oh Senjougahara, ever the yandere.

    Interesting to see an Inkling girl from Splatoon too. That IP is making waves.

  4. Ah, the choice to actually tint everything with Araragi’s perception filter is still, methinks, one of the most brilliant ones Monogatari has made. I’m still low key bitter that they decided to skip the blinking white stillscreens and quotes from the dictionary past Bakemonogatari, made the impression I’m inside of Araragi’s head tha much deeper – but I understand that they wanted to clean and tighten the narrative somewhat, with enough flourish and distractions as it is. Never had an issue with with the lack of background characters either – why bother, if the surroundings make the point across ten times better? You can always utilize the classroom furniture and be more than sufficiently expressive while at it too. Also banzai for the dramatic tangents he goes on every two minutes – as someone who frowns on a sentense if it contain less than twenty words, I can relate.

    Coming back to this arc, they are working the whole mathematical aspect of it so the whole thing has a clear rhythm to it. The blinking checkered lockers, the way Koyomi speaks and especially Ougi – I’m pretty sure I can time the intervals on which she laughs and taps her feet and come up with some coherent pattern. Wonder if it’s somehow meant to emphasise or hint her as an existence different from human, meant to bring and sustain symmetry in the universe. Her whole character feels like a computer simulation for some reason. This is where I veer off firmly into intellectual masturbation, but it’s it why we are all here anyway?

    Also totally agree that the “forgotten childhood love/hate” angle feels too heavy-handed for Monogatari. The way they are hinting on it with a subtlety of a neon sign seems too first choice for the series liking, but guess we’ll see how it plays out.

    1. I personally think they’ve struck a sort of happy medium in the visual style. While Bakemonogatari‘s minimalist business (oxymoron?) was nifty, it wasn’t very practical to actually watch. As it is now, I still pause a lot each episode, but I don’t feel like I need to watch it as a slideshow, while still making it clear that we’re bouncing around in someone’s head.

      1. Oh, absolutely. Back when they just started out, each episode required pausing every 5 seconds and studying lest you were out of the loop. Then they really dialled it back for Nise- (although it could just as easily be named Hormones: The Anime so it was less thickly laid surrealism, more vaguely unsettling sensual imagery), and then reached the golden middle by the second main series. In general, on a scale from realism to Salvador Dali’s wet dream, the deviation ratio was 60% for Bakemono, 15% for Nise, and 20-30% for later stuff.

        I wonder who’s POV we are getting in the arcs when Araragi’s not in the picture, Hanamonogatari etc?

    2. Not only that. I think Sodachi Riddle also flirts with the idea that life itself can be defined as a Mathematical formula. Not sure what kind of fanciful Math shenanigans but I believe they are there.

      Any Math majors here? P.hD perhaps?

    3. and especially Ougi – I’m pretty sure I can time the intervals on which she laughs and taps her feet and come up with some coherent pattern. Wonder if it’s somehow meant to emphasise or hint her as an existence different from human, meant to bring and sustain symmetry in the universe. Her whole character feels like a computer simulation for some reason.

      I accidentally spoiled myself quite a lot on Ougi a long time ago, but I can assure you, everything will make sense and turn out to be an interesting story once the full truth is known….Unfortunately, that would be in the other half of Owarimonogatari, which hopefully would be animated by next year.

      This episode had quite an indirect hint too.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Spoiler merely points out two lines of dialogue from this episode, probably not the exact words, but as how I understood the meaning.

      1. Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Show Spoiler ▼

  5. Wasn’t that the end card for the first episode? The one I saw was a blond girl with glasses and Ougi. BTW the end cards are fantastic IMO.

    The Monty Hall problem throws people because Monty shows you one of the doors. If he didnt show the door with the goat but had said “you can keep the door you picked or take the other two doors most people would jump at the offer of the two doors.

    As far as Ougi goes, it doesn’t seem to be about her directly. She almost acts as a court jester: the one who could tell the king the truth in the form of a joke because he was a fool so he was not a threat to the monarch. She prods and manipulates Araragi while all the time denying it while acting something of a fool. What I find fascinating about Ougi’s depiction is that the creepiness is less about how she looks or sounds but how she acts and the way she says things. The creepiness is implied rather than explicit (except for maybe the eyes).

    Ah Senjougahara! I’ve missed you! Your “I’m the only one who can stab Araragi with stationary” has to go down as a classic Yandere line. Of course that leaves the question that she might be fine if someone stabbed him with a non-stationary implement. 😀

  6. That punch was awesome.
    I’ve taught my girls to never initiate violence, but if someone else does, punch back twice as hard; this was a wonderful demonstration of that!

    All completely ruined by doofus Araragi,as he fails to catch his girl as she collapses. She’ll remember that, boy.

    1. It’s because we’re seeing the world through Araragi’s perspective. Araragi have little to no concern about the world outside of the people he actually cared about, that’s why we don’t see other people unless they’re being deliberately introduced to him.

  7. Always a fun of the monogatari series, though have not read the novel myself.

    The part about the letters I think Araragi did open all the letters, or at lease the right one which is C. Because Ougi opened letter A and it says the B has nothing in it, so they must have open C to acquire the map right? At least that is what I think.

    And I also have a similar speculation about why Sodachi hate Araragi so much. I think Sodachi was a friend with Araragi from mid school,and even helped him before because she think he is ungrateful to the help of others. What else can you know about one person but personal experience? Also with the incidence from the math quiz, she picked Araragi to be the leading judge but he never helped her after she was framed and I suppose Araragi did not even visit her since all he remember was that she hated him so much.

    1. Just to add a bit about the OP. The song I don’t quite remember but the imagery really caught my attention with its reflections and inverse and what not. Maybe it has some hidden information about Sodachi’s character as well?


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