「そだちロスト 其ノ貳」 (Sodachi Rosuto Sono Ni)
“Sodachi Lost Part Two”
Here in the happy nanny state of Australia we have a fairly interventionist and, er, enthusiastic Department of Child Services, so I was somewhat surprised that a horror household like the Oikuras (or rather, one based on what we’re told of it by Sodachi and what is implied; the Oikura parents are never on screen to make their own case) can go on for so long without attracting heavy hand of the government. At least, once the kid was in protective custody, I wouldn’t imagine that any half-motivated social worker will just let her waltz back. Respecting the wishes of the child is fine and dandy, but the place was obviously not healthy for her, especially if she was going all Stockholm over it. I suppose it’s probably just a matter of Japan being different, but the more logical conclusion is: Sodachi a wizard, and she needed to live with her family to protect her from Voldemort.
Something else that Japan does differently is their discussion of mental health, in that they seem to have implicitly agreed to not discuss it. One of the things this episode does very well—and makes the full three episodes for Sodachi Lost seem worthwhile, is the way it makes Sodachi seem truly unstable. She goes from haughtily posing in her PJs to losing her cool and hurling tea (miraculously saved with arcane wire-fu techniques that I can’t quite discern) to wide-eyed denial to complete breakdown. Even as she tells her life story, Sodachi switches between emotions and voices rapidly, matching a deliberately jarring procession of visuals. Props again to seiyuu Inoue Marina for delivering quite the chilling monologue. I feel like its effectiveness is diminished though if, after all the effort into making Sodachi go off the deep end, she is brought back from the edge by little more than a rousing pep talk and some warm feelings. It’s just a bit trite, don’t you think? I expect slightly more depth from Monogatari, but here’s a girl who subconsciously blames herself for everything that has gone wrong with her life (as impressed upon her by her parents), and the best we can come up with is, ‘yeah, it kinda is, you’re not trying to be happy.’? Yeah, I know it’s important to not let oneself get trapped in the downward mental spiral, and Hanekawa has some authority on this topic, but it does seem to trivialise domestic abuse somewhat. If anything, Araragi and Hanekawa should have waited around for the social services guy, because Sodachi is definitely not okay.
Thankfully, there does seem to be more to it, and this is where the supernatural angle, a requisite of the Monogatari Series, can come into play. What did happen to Sodachi’s mother? Sodachi was suspiciously specific (and fervent) in denying that she wished her mother gone, which means she almost definitely had something to do with it. Surely, Hanekawa and Araragi were not so interested in the circumstances of Mrs Oikura’s disappearance just because they needed to keep the conversation going. If you recall, the case of Hitagi Crab, when Senjougahara wished for the removal of her ‘weight’, was about mothers as well. So Sodachi is similar there, and she’s got family issues like Hanekawa, and has inconsistent problems with Araragi’s name like Mayoi. Hmm. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but Sodachi is turning out to be a pretty interesting kettle of fish.
Full-length images: 06.