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.
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.