Bakemonogatari Episode 3 – Mayoi Snail, Part One

With Hitagi Crab having concluded, the story of Koyomi Araragi continues. Ever since that incident with a vampire, Koyomi’s life has become much more involved with the supernatural.

Which eventually led him to meet a certain lost snail…

Synopsis

Koyomi Araragi sits alone at Namishiro Park. The day is Sunday, May 14th – Mother’s Day. He spots an elementary school girl for a brief moment, before she leaves. And then Hitagi shows up.

After much teasing, Hitagi offers up one favour to Koyomi – anything he wants, in return for his help earlier. She also presses him as to what is troubling him – why is he alone at Namishiro Park on a Sunday? The reason is.. because it’s Mother’s Day. And as Araragi is a bit of a delinquent, he didn’t feel comfortable spending the day at home with his family – so he snuck out, only to get caught by his younger sister Karen, resulting in a quarrel.

The two spend more time together at the park, until Koyomi notices the elementary school girl once again looking at the neighbourhood map. Her name is Mayoi Hachikuji. Koyomi approaches and is shut down by her twice, and then, because he insists on helping her, Koyomi hits her to get her attention. This ends up resulting in a fight, which Koyomi wins, because he is a high schooler.

After this Hitagi approaches, and because she used to live in the area, Koyomi enlists her help in guiding Mayoi to the address she is looking for.

May 14th – Mother’s Day

I mentioned last post how it was semi-important to remember that Koyomi is a delinquent. He skips class, stays out late, and doesn’t really care about his studies. And once again, we see his delinquent side here. It’s not explicit, so it’s easily missed. I personally didn’t see Koyomi as a delinquent / social outcast (I believe these two go hand-in-hand in Japanese society, for a high schooler at least) the first time I watched the Monogatari Series. But that’s what he is.

In his dialogue with Hitagi, she even refers to him as “the type who doesn’t make many friends“. To which he agrees that he was, until a paradigm shift occurred during Spring Break (he met a vampire).

Anyways, once again I felt like I should point out Koyomi’s reputation, because it’s not explicitly stated. Rather, it needs to be inferred, based on what we see – from his actions and conversations with others. And this reputation, which very likely has created some strain between him and his parents, caused him to sneak away from home on Mother’s Day.

By sneaking away, he ended up getting into an argument with Karen.
And.. that’s about it.

How important is all of this? Aside from giving us some insight into Koyomi’s character, I’m not too certain at the moment. Perhaps something will tie back to this in the future…

The only other real importance, which is noted by Koyomi himself, is that this sequence of events led him to meet a lost snail.

Lost Snail

Mayoi Hachikuji, the lost snail, as she calls herself – although Koyomi doesn’t understand what she means at the time. After all, she looks like a normal lost elementary school girl who needs to be helped – by force. Luckily for Koyomi, Mayoi’s memories were jumbled after being thrown to the ground.. probably.

As I’ve seen this arc before, I know what’s to come in regards to Mayoi herself, as the lost snail, and also the other twist of this arc that involves Hitagi.

Hitagi Senjougahara

It’s something that is very well done, because unless you were to study Hitagi’s behaviour after Koyomi spots Mayoi, you would miss it. Which I most definitely did the first time I watched Mayoi Snail, and I’m sure you all did too.

Hitagi’s reactions tell the entire story though, as she begins asking Koyomi many questions as to what he is doing, where he is going… when he reacts to being rejected by Mayoi, she expresses outright confusion as to what he is trying to do. There were many hints, the absolute biggest of which being when Koyomi tried to hand her the paper with Mayoi’s address and she refused to take it.

Anyone who is a fan of mystery stories, pay close attention to Hitagi in this episode. It’s a perfect example of how a conclusion can be so heavily foreshadowed, while also remaining completely unnoticeable. You’d really have to study Hitagi to realize something was up, but once you know the truth, it’s so obvious that you almost can’t believe you missed it.

On another Hitagi note, she offers to be Koyomi’s girlfriend. To which he pauses, and then decides he doesn’t want one. Again, being that I know their future together, I thought this was a nice interaction. Hitagi, being as forward as she is, clearly has an interest in Koyomi. It’s not often in anime that a girl would be this forward about a relationship, unless she was serious about it…

The interaction between those two takes up a large portion of the episode, and much of it is word salads and Hitagi taking jabs at Koyomi. I really enjoy the relationship these two have, because they are both simply so awkward and yet they fit so well together. Trying to follow Hitagi’s words also makes me realize just how bad my Japanese is.

Wrapping Up…

Mayoi Snail, Part One, is a great example of an episode that is almost more about what isn’t said than what is. An episode where actions speak louder than words… so to speak.

We learn more about Koyomi, his petty nature as he calls it, his reputation, his perverted mind… who else but a bonefide delinquent would beat up an elementary school girl after being ignored by her? While it’s presented as an innocent enough interaction, let’s be frank – that’s exactly what happened. It’s always important to remember that this story is told through Koyomi’s eyes – he is the narrator, and this is his story.

Of course it’s going to look like some innocent fun!

Which introduces another factor to remember in addition to Koyomi’s delinquent status – he is an unreliable narrator. While it’s harder to see, often you just have to think about the context of what is happening and compare it to how the story frames it. Things will be overexaggerated, or downplayed, depending on how it’s framed through Koyomi’s eyes.

Finally, this episode contains some top tier foreshadowing in regards to Hitagi and how she acts after Koyomi spots Mayoi. I genuinely wonder how many people noticed Hitagi’s demeanor here and figured out what was going on, although I have a feeling the vast majority of first-time viewers had no idea. I certainly didn’t back when I first watched this.

And to add to that, for most first-time viewers, just getting through any episode is confusing enough when you don’t know ANY contexts or references. At this point, we technically still don’t know anything about what happened over Spring Break, or Golden Week.. we don’t know anything about Koyomi’s sisters, Oshino, why Koyomi used to be undead…

There are so many loose threads at this point that it’d be hard to consciously forget all of that and focus on Hitagi enough to actually figure out what is being foreshadowed. Or for Koyomi’s assault of an elementary school girl to properly click, contextually. But damn, it’s so satisfying to watch it now and appreciate just how great this episode is.

That initial Monogatari Series confusion is what makes the first watch through so different from the rest – because so many details are obfuscated, until they aren’t. And when everything clicks, it’s such a satisfying thing. Which is why this is one of the best series to rewatch, in my opinion.

Anyways, that does it for Mayoi Snail, Part One.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

Bakemonogatari

2 thoughts on “Bakemonogatari Episode 3 – Mayoi Snail, Part One

  1. Dez Polycarpe

    I also want to add that this episode also debuted the amazing new OP. As this anime is one of the only series to change the opening for every arc. Which just adds to it greatness.

    Liked by 1 person

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