Bakemonogatari Episode 4 – Mayoi Snail, Part Two

On Sunday May 14th, Koyomi Araragi came across a lost elementary school girl named Mayoi Hachikuji. Due to his kind nature, Koyomi was able to strong-arm Mayoi into letting him help her find the place she was seeking, with Hitagi’s help.

And that leads us to Part Two of Mayoi Snail.

Synopsis

Hitagi leads the way while Koyomi and Mayoi lag behind, chatting. Mayoi, sensing Hitagi’s hostile energy, hides behind Koyomi as they walk. Koyomi successfully bribes Mayoi into telling him where they are going – a person with the name Tsunade lives there. However, they never reach the place, as Hitagi realizes several times that they have ended up going the wrong way. Instead, they end up back at the park.

Hitagi takes Koyomi’s bike to go see Oshino. In the meantime we learn that Tsunade used to be Mayoi’s surname, but then she ended up living with her father and it was changed to Hachikuji. The Tsunade that Mayoi is searching for is her mother.

Hanekawa then arrives, as she can’t stay put at home. She scolds both Mayoi for biting Koyomi, and Koyomi for using violence on Mayoi. After a short conversation regarding Mayoi’s name and Hitagi, Hanekawa leaves. Oshino then calls Koyomi using Hitagi’s phone, to tell Koyomi that he will send Hitagi back with the strategy required to deal with the lost snail.

A Lost Cow

We learn in this episode that the lost snail is also known as the lost cow. Oshino mentions this, saying that when you write out the word for snail, you also write the kanji for cow.

蝸牛 = snail
牛 = cow

Simple enough.
But why a lost cow then?

Well, we never really get the answer to that, but it has to be a lost cow, according to Oshino. If you think about it from a folklore perspective, I suppose it makes more sense for there to be a story about a lost cow rather than a lost snail. Perhaps more light will be shed on this detail in the future, I don’t remember.

Oshino also mentions that a snail is not as troublesome as a crab. If he had to guess, it’s likely a demon or a spirit. He then brings up more Japanese wordplay regarding the Hachikuji name, as Hachikuji is spelled as 八九寺.

From Hachikuji’s name, we can then take a particular reading from each of the first two kanji, which gives us the following:

= 8 = “ya”
= 9 = “ku”

If we put those numbers side by side, we get “89“, and “89” can be pronounced “yaku“. And “yaku” is a word that means “misfortune(The kanji – ).

Make sense?

Here’s a fun little tidbit for you that plays off of this.
Yakuza, as in the name of Japanese gangsters, comes from “893“.

How important is all this? Probably not all that important. The point is that Mayoi Hachikuji is afflicted by a lost cow, or lost snail, and that her name might have played a role in why she found the lost snail, or it found her. If anything it’s an interesting little insight into some kanji wordplay.

Hitagi Senjougahara Cont’d.

Continuing from last episode, we see more signals from Hitagi that something doesn’t seem right. Well, she does admit that she hates children, because she doesn’t understand how to properly act around them. Hitagi is a fairly proud person, so having to emotionally appease a child just doesn’t click with her.

Hitagi walks far ahead of Koyomi and Mayoi. So far that it almost seems like a nuisance, and likely is, for her. But she also wants to help Koyomi in order to pay him back, so I suppose she’s not really against it.

Koyomi is constantly slowing down and lagging behind while chatting with Mayoi, who acts scared of Hitagi. But I would argue that Hitagi’s actions this episode signal that she is also afraid of Mayoi – for reasons that have yet to be explained.

“Don’t leave me alone with that child.”
– Hitagi Senjougahara

The way she says those words tells the story. Sounding like a desperate plea, it’s clear that Hitagi is not comfortable with the idea of being left alone with Mayoi. The reasons for which once again, will become clear soon enough.

Wrapping Up…

Tsubasa is a stark contrast to Hitagi, having no trouble interacting with Mayoi. After Mayoi delivers her “I hate you” introduction, Tsubasa simply smiles and taps Mayoi on the head, scolding her. Tsubasa seems like the type of person who is good with everyone.

Also, once again, Koyomi beat up an elementary school girl.

“A repeated victory will lead to one feeling empty.”
– Koyomi Araragi

Wise words.

This episode felt like it was more focused on displaying Mayoi’s affliction, the lost cow, in action with the affects spreading to Hitagi and Koyomi in addition to Mayoi. No matter how many times she tried, Mayoi was just unable to reach that address. And this also held true with Hitagi and Koyomi.

One interesting point to note is the way that Mayoi mentions this.

“I’ll head toward my mother’s place whenever I get the chance.
But, no matter how many times I search for it, I still can’t find it.”
– Mayoi Hachikuji

The original premise, that one would naturally assume, is that on this Mother’s Day, Mayoi is trying to get to her mother’s house. But those words indicate otherwise – that Mayoi has been unable to find her mother’s house for much longer than just a single morning. Which introduces some questions.

How many times has Mayoi tried to find her mother’s house?
And for how long has she been searching?

No answers just yet, but this is a train of thought that someone picking apart the episode could pick up on. It’s fairly clear that Mayoi has been searching for longer than just this one Sunday morning, which happens to be Mother’s Day.

And so, the answers to those questions, and more, will be revealed soon enough. Hitagi has the strategy and should be on her way back to Koyomi. All we need to do now is watch Mayoi Snail, Part Three!

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

Bakemonogatari

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