Episode 5, “Sodachi Lost”, can easily be taken as the most emotionally wearing episode thus far in regards to its content. We hear the whole relationship between Araragi and Oikura unravel from the mouth of the white-haired shut-in herself, and Hanekawa delivers some delightfully uplifting and encouraging words to the bitter girl – after all, Hanekawa knows best!
From here on out, we’re confirming the details we’ve sleuthed together in the preceding episodes and we do get all of our questions answered. How did Oikura know about Araragi’s parents’ occupations even though he rarely speaks of it? Because she had been taken into protective custody by his parents. Whether he didn’t notice because he’s dullor because he has the Koyomi air-headedness about him, it’s not stated clearly, but one thing is for sure: she was there, and she hated it. Being with the Koyomi’s and seeing how happy they were, how normal, or how “bright” their house was, gave her a comparison on how wrong her own household must be. Now we already know he household was a mess, she had an abusive father and a mother who was only the best parent because she only beat Oikura when her father was beating her. Realizing other homes and families weren’t that way just made it worse and worse, until finally her father had left, leaving Oikura with her mother in a garbage-ridden, decrepit house. As if her father leaving wasn’t enough, one day she comes home to find that her mother, too, had abandoned her. Being all alone and living off government welfare in a single apartment is all she has.
The momentum of this scene is great, and by scene, I pretty much mean the entire episode. This was another one of those “24 minutes squeezed into one long scene in one room” type of episodes. Some great use of camera angles to represent Oikura’s sense of isolation and aloneness; hiding her face just beneath the shots, using a well-placed lamp to cover her eyes, and such artistic use of the lack of furniture to display her sense of seclusion and dullness. Oikura’s rollercoaster ride of emotions was one hell of a performance (if you can say that about an animated character). When she was upset, she was pushed to a half-crazed rant of how much she hated herself. When she was feeling vulnerable, she suddenly would go into a monotonous faked sense of clarity. With each line, we dove deeper and deeper to her dysfunctional childhood and why she placed Araragi at the target of her hatred. She used him as something to cling to in order to keep her sane, for if she let herself stop blaming someone else or her parents, then she’d only have herself to blame. She couldn’t handle that, she believes she didn’t deserve that, and yet she can’t seem to be happy.
Oh, Hanekawa, sweet, Hanekawa. “I only know, what I know.” And at this point in the Monogatari series, the one thing I’m sure she knows is how to deal with students and underclassmen with deep rooted problems at home. Hanekawa gets to have the strongest dialogue this arc, delivering the line, “you’re not happy because you’re not trying to be happy. Nobody can make someone that’s not trying to be happy into someone that’s happy.” While they weren’t telling her that her suffering is meaningless, or that her hatred is misguided, what they were trying to get across is that being happy starts with you. Araragi chimes in to remind her that she can use him as her villain if that makes her happy, because if seeing his happiness is what’s causing her pain she ought to understand not to “overestimate happiness”. This was my favorite point – happiness isn’t something that you just acquire and depression isn’t just something you get over – it’s an everyday challenge.
Emotions were high, and my chest was heavy; I loved every second of this episode. While most of our questions were answered, we were also given an ultimatum: Oikura decided that she’ll come back to school and apologize to Senjougahara if Hanekawa and Araragi find her mother. One thing that does worry me is now that the truth is out, we’ll finally see what’s that sneaky little Ougi is up to. Let us know what you thought of this episode and comment below!
This one’s an easy A. The chilling, yet refreshing way that Monogatari can use powerful emotions juxtaposed with it’s comedic timing is untouchable.
I counted 15 for this episode, including a quick cameo head-tilt from Nadeko. My two faves up above; who wore it better?