Koyomi Araragi snuck out of his house on Mother’s Day in order to avoid his family. While at Namishiro Park, he runs into Hitagi Senjougahara, as well as a lost elementary school girl named Mayoi Hachikuji. While trying to help Mayoi find her way, they soon realize that there is more to her than it seems – Mayoi is afflicted by a lost snail, preventing her from finding her way.
Hitagi leaves to meet up with Oshino in order to find a solution, and in the meantime Tsubasa Hanekawa arrives at the park, as she too wanted to leave her home for the day. Hitagi is now on her way back with the strategy given to her by Oshino…
The time has come for everything to come together.
While waiting for Hitagi, Koyomi and Mayoi chat. First about why Koyomi had run away from his home on Mother’s Day, and then about Mayoi’s family situation. Mayoi’s parents broke up, her father received full custody, and he then prevented Mayoi from visiting her mother – eventually, when she feared she would forget her mother completely, she decided to go on a journey to her mother’s house.
Hitagi returns, and all is revealed. First, that Hitagi cannot see Mayoi, because Mayoi can only be seen by those who do not wish to return home. Second, the solution is to simply distance oneself from the lost cow.
Koyomi, being one who tends to work on others’ behalf, refuses to just leave Mayoi. Hitagi, realizing this would be the case, reveals the other strategy given to her by Oshino – one can reach their destination by taking new routes that the lost cow cannot anticipate. The reason for this is that the lost cow is a weak ghost-type anomaly – it cannot store new information-oriented memories, and is limited to what it knows. So the trick is to simply take a route it doesn’t know.
Once they reach the location of Tsunade’s house, a vacant lot, Mayoi breaks down in tears and disappears while walking towards the lot – “I’m home”. After this, Hitagi and Koyomi have a moment of their own and become girlfriend and boyfriend.
Lot to unpack this episode, so let’s start with the arc’s namesake, Mayoi Hachikuji.
Koyomi actually notes something interesting at the beginning of the episode, which essentially provides us with the question we are seeking the answer for…
“There was a reason why I was attacked by a vampire.
For Hanekawa’s case and for Senjougahara’s.
So, there should be a reason for Hachikuji as well.”
– Koyomi Araragi
Why did Mayoi Hachikuji come across a lost cow?
Was it just because of her name?
Well, there’s no use speculating after this episode.
I’ll just give the entire Mayoi story in one go here.
Mayoi Hachikuji was an elementary school girl. When she was in grade 3, her parents, who always used to fight, split up. While Mayoi loved both of her parents, her father received full custody. Her surname was then changed to Hachikuji, and she was prevented from seeing her mother. After some time had passed, Mayoi became shocked when she could no longer recognize her mother’s face in an old photo.
And so, she decided to go and visit her mother on that year’s Mother’s Day. However, she never reached her destination, because a car hit and killed her on her way as she was crossing the street. From then on, Mayoi was always lost.
However, many, many years later Mayoi came across a high schooler named Koyomi Araragi who had some experience with the supernatural. With Koyomi and his friend’s help, Mayoi was able to find her mother’s home.
So then, why did she end up finding a lost cow after death? Or perhaps, it was just prior.. I’m not entirely sure. Her name does have “misfortune” in it, but I doubt that’s the primary reason, if anything that’d just increase her chances of running into an anomaly.
I’ve got a theory for all of this.
As we know, Mayoi had an unfortunate childhood in that her parents split apart. Despite loving both parents, her mother was essentially cast out of her life. And it got to the point where she feared she would forget her mother altogether – remember she was very young when it happened. I don’t remember much from when I was in early elementary school, personally.
We also know that the lost cow can only be seen by those who do not wish to return home. Now here’s my question – which home did Mayoi not want to return to? Her father? Or perhaps a part of her was apprehensive about seeing her mother? Finally, maybe it’s both, because Mayoi desired to return to a home where both of her parents were present. Whichever it is. all of these three options would serve to create that desire to not want to return home, which fills the criteria needed to see the lost cow.
After finally reaching her destination, we learn that Mayoi was promoted from an earthbound spirit to wandering spirit, for reasons unknown to us at the moment. All we know from there is that Mayoi is still around, wandering, for reasons unknown. Likely still affected by the lost cow, but technically not lost, as she has no real destination anymore.
In addition to Mayoi’s story semi-wrapping up, as she is now a wandering spirit, we learned more about Koyomi, who we’ve come to learn is quite the delinquent. At least, I hope I’ve emphasized this enough!
Koyomi used to be a model student. Throughout his childhood he was a good son who respected his parents and appreciated them, focused on his studies, et cetera. However, once he entered high school, his grades began to slip. His image of being a model son quickly turned around, and now Koyomi is judged by his family as someone who “hasn’t grown up”.
Basically, Koyomi started to fall behind in his studies, his parents began to apply pressure to him, and instead of causing him to step back in line, their pressure instead pushed him away. You could call it a rebellious phase, and you’d be right, because that’s exactly what it is.
Koyomi doesn’t say anything about his parents applying pressure on him, but I can pretty much guarantee that this is what would have happened. He is the oldest child in the family, and his parents had high expectations for him based on his pre-high school success. It’s only natural to assume that they would have tried to pressure him into maintaining those expectations.
A New Relationship
When Hitagi returns from Oshino, she tells Koyomi about the lost cow and the strategies for overcoming it. Once Koyomi resolves himself to helping Mayoi, Hitagi smiles as she had expected this – it’s the same part of Koyomi’s personality that caused him to pursue her even after she stapled the inside of his mouth. Koyomi has a strong internal desire to help others.
Hitagi tells Koyomi “I love you” before they depart to find Tsunade’s house.
Once they have reached the destination, and Mayoi has disappeared, we get this dialogue:
“By the way, Araragi-kun.
You still have not given me an answer yet.
What will you do?”
“No, I think you might have misunderstood something.
Look, didn’t you mention something about repaying me?”
“That was only an excuse.
I merely wanted you to confess on your own.
But don’t worry.
I don’t really feel that I owe you something big.
Because you love to help others.”
It’s a nice moment as the sun sets. The background music changes to a piano rendition of “Staple Stable”, which is the opening song for Hitagi Crab and also Hitagi’s theme. Koyomi agrees to be Hitagi’s boyfriend, but he has a condition: that Hitagi doesn’t pretend to see something she can’t.
Koyomi was quite shaken when he found out that Hitagi wasn’t able to see Mayoi, and that she had just been sort of playing along with him. Because she had thought that maybe something was wrong with her. The reality is that nothing was wrong with Hitagi, and Koyomi was the one with an issue (not wanting to go home).
So Koyomi’s condition for their relationship is that they don’t lie to each other like that, and in a way, he is once again looking out for someone else by setting such a condition. Once again it’s not about him, but about Hitagi, in this sense.
After establishing their new relationship with the words “Senjougahara fascination”, Koyomi goes home and promises that he won’t leave the house on next year’s Mother’s Day. He is dragged out of bed the next morning and that’s where he runs into Mayoi, who tells us about her spiritual promotion.
Mayoi Snail ends with Mayoi’s smile as she says the following:
“I will probably be around here for the time being.
If you see me, please talk to me.”
– Mayoi Hachikuji
A nice ending to a nice story. While Mayoi’s story is a bit sad, at least she is still technically alive as a wandering spirit, and friend of Koyomi.
Just like with Hitagi Crab, there really wasn’t much in terms of action. Mayoi Snail in particular is a very dialogue heavy arc – but that’s because the Monogatari Series is a very dialogue heavy story. A series of mysteries that are discovered and answered as we progress. Some are presented right to your face, and others hidden away in the details.
Anyways, that’s it for Mayoi Snail.
But of course there are still so many more stories to come!
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.
- Hitagi Crab, Part One
- Hitagi Crab, Part Two
- Mayoi Snail, Part One
- Mayoi Snail, Part Two
- Mayoi Snail, Part Three
- Suruga Monkey, Part One
- Suruga Monkey, Part Two
- Suruga Monkey, Part Three
- Nadeko Snake, Part One
- Nadeko Snake, Part Two
- Tsubasa Cat, Part One
- Tsubasa Cat, Part Two
- Tsubasa Cat, Part Three
- Tsubasa Cat, Part Four
- Tsubasa Cat, Part Five