「そだちロスト 其ノ參」 (Sodachi Rosuto Sono San)
“Sodachi Lost Part Three”
I was hoping that Ougi was out of the game for the rest of the arc, because her meddling has never been good news for our heroes, ever. Indeed her re-entrance was heralded by as much foreboding as a Transylvanian stormcloud. I guess it’s too much to expect that Hanekawa’s breasts had banished Ougi for good; if anything, it just makes her come back with a vengeance. Ougi is definitely a serpent, of the biblical variety, whispering subversive words and spitting passive-aggressive venom. I’ve always found that a much more sinister image of Satan than the stereotypical red, horned demon (or, I guess, America), and Ougi pulls it off very well. Even Hanekawa, Araragi’s goddess, has to put in desperate effort (and enter zebra-mode as a byproduct) just to match Ougi. I’d chalked Ougi up as the ‘final boss’ for some time now; she is the prime candidate for the role.
Well, I’m glad that Hanekawa managed to figure things out as well, because I actually don’t think I’d be inclined to just trust an Ougi-only version of the solution. Not only do her ulterior motives make me wary (whether she’s telling the truth or not), there do seem to be some flaky logic and circumstantial arguments that do not build the most robust case. For example, the idea of a corpse simply disintegrating, or being accidentally taken away by garbage collectors is a bit much, though I suppose I can accept a deranged Sodachi having a cognitive failure about her mother. It simply means her denial was super strong; gone full Psycho, even. Her mother starving to death out of depression is the simplest theory, but it would also mean an even greater social services failure; Mrs Oikura evidently needed psychological help no less than the younger one. I guess with the arc ending with Oikura having to move away because her financial support had been halved, it’d be unfortunately fitting. Still, I would have liked these potential plot holes to have been addressed with a bit more depth, because I’d hate to have to take Ougi’s word for it just because she’s omniscient.
Considering how sordid the entire affair was, everything was resolved rather painlessly; if this were the Alfred Hitchcock version, Sodachi would have stabbed a few people before she was through. The explanation was that Sodachi already suspected that something was off, but considering how strong her cognitive dissonance was I didn’t expect her to be serene about it. I don’t begrudge things ending neatly, returning to the status quo, but it’s also no good to be too neat. Too neat, though, and one starts to wonder why Araragi has to beat himself up so much over this. All this trauma, all this crazy, and all he had to do was to tell her straight what happened with her mother. Not to diminish the task of having to tell a girl who professes to hate you like hell itself that she’s not sane, of course. I wouldn’t have blamed Araragi if he had decided to back down since, when one thinks about it, very little of this is his responsibility, unless we were to argue that an Araragi not even old enough to spell ‘melancholia’ should be faulted for not understanding Sodachi’s silent cries for help.
So, what was that all about? There was hardly anything supernatural about Sodachi’s case, and it was strangely intense until it got the ol’ happy ending anyway. Mostly, it was just a personal story of Araragi’s, about him having to face up to some uncomfortable truths that were buried in his past, about healing a relationship with an old something-like-a-friend. What was Ougi’s interest in something like that, with her driving the plot in her unnatural way? Her interest in Araragi is clear, but to what end? She spoke of ‘balance’ again (or is it for the first time, chronologically?), but I don’t really have a good grasp of what she means by that. Does she mean that Araragi did good, and deserves his happy ending? Or does she mean to bring balance to the Force i.e. kill all the Jedi? Even though Sodachi’s arc is over, there’s evidently a lot of Owarimonogatari left to uncover.
Full-length images: 05.