Bakemonogatari Episode 10 – Nadeko Snake, Part Two

Nadeko Sengoku has been cursed, and as a result, has scales wrapping around her body. Koyomi Araragi was able to find out about this, but now he needs to figure out his next steps…

Synopsis

Koyomi visits Oshino Meme to find out about Nadeko’s snake problem. There Oshino puts a name to the snake – Jagirinawa. An aberration that moves according to one’s ill will. In Nadeko’s case, it has taken on the form of an invisible snake and is constricting her body. Meaning the scales we see is actually an imprint of the snake on Nadeko’s skin. If they reach her head, she’s done for.

Koyomi and Suruga Kanbaru gather up some supplies and then head back to the abandoned snake shrine with Nadeko. There Koyomi gives Nadeko a charm to hold, and tells her to pray. She does this, and the Jagirinawa appears to be leaving her body. However, Koyomi had made a mistake – there were multiple Jagirinawas wrapped around Nadeko. During the ritual one of them reached Nadeko’s neck and began to strangle her.

Koyomi runs in and pulls the snake off of Nadeko, and then begins to fight it. As usual, he gets fairly bloodied. He loses sight of it, as it is invisible and hard to track. Just as it’s about to take his head off, Suruga jumps in and holds Koyomi down. She tells him to stay still and wait for the snake to leave. And the snake does leave, headed somewhere undesirable.

Nadeko is saved, but Koyomi ends up feeling regret over what had happened.

The Jagirinawa

As usual with arc finales, there’s a lot to unpack this episode.

First off will just be the Jagirinawa itself. The story goes that Nadeko was cursed by a classmate due to romance – a boy that the girl liked confessed to Nadeko, but Nadeko turned him down. Why? Because she likes someone else. And that someone else is none other than the harem king himself, Koyomi.

She doesn’t explicitly state it, but it’s inferred based on a flashback from Nadeko’s childhood when she used to play with Koyomi and his sisters. Her time spent with Koyomi had left such an impact on her that it seems she still likes him to this day, many years after the fact. A detail that is not very important right now, but will be in the future.

Anyways, Nadeko read the book on snake curses and went to the snake shrine to perform the ritual to remove the curse. According to Oshino, she was correct in doing this. However, unfortunately, that shrine has become an aberration hotspot thanks to the recent appearance of a certain vampire, which was why Koyomi had gone to place a seal there just a day prior. And because of that, the Jagirinawa was there. Multiple Jagirinawa.

The rest is history, as all but one Jagirinawa were removed through the ritual and the last was removed using force. Problem solved.

Problem Solved?

Sort of.

Nadeko was saved, and so all is well in that department. However, all is not well. Here is some dialogue regarding if Koyomi should try to physically remove the Jagirinawa:

“You really shouldn’t do that.
If you do, the Jagirinawa will undoubtedly attack you instead.
Plus…”
– Oshino

“Even if I’m able to get away from it,
it’ll just go back to the classmate who placed the curse.”
– Koyomi

“So basically, what goes around comes around.”
– Suruga

That snake that got away will go back to the classmate who placed the curse. So not Nadeko, but the girl who cursed Nadeko. And this is why Koyomi is so disappointed in the solution. Because there will be collateral damage, in the form of that girl getting cursed herself.

Koyomi, the one who wants to save others, and who is always willing to put his own life on the line to do so, was unable to save someone. Some middle school girl was going to be visited by a Jagirinawa that night. It’s not clear whether Nadeko knows the exact girl who cursed her either. If she does, it’s not mentioned. Considering a lot of girls stick together in groups, it could be a girl from some clique in her school that placed the curse.

Either way, that girl will be getting a taste of her own medicine.

The Future

“What goes around comes around.
Araragi-kun, I’m repeating myself,

but remember that saying and really think about what it means.

I don’t really know what you’re thinking about,
but someday I’m going to leave town.
When that happens, I won’t be able to give you advice anymore.

Aberrations aren’t the type to get involved with humans on purpose. But you’re the person that jumps in,
even when you should leave something alone.”
– Oshino

Once again Oshino mentions that he won’t always be around. I didn’t bring it up the last time he did, but I believe it was during Mayoi Snail? I wasn’t making note of it at the time, because it was a fleeting comment. But I should have, because it’s a theme that we’ll see for a little while from Oshino. “I won’t always be around to fix the problems you keep jumping into”.

Oshino is essentially warning Koyomi here. Telling him that his selfless nature to just get involved with everything, and always jump right into problems, with his own life on the line, is going to come around and bite him one day. And despite the warning, he once again tried to fight the Jagirinawa after removing it from Nadeko’s body.

Suruga had to stop him.

The fact is that even though the outcome wasn’t desirable, Koyomi was not physically able to stop the Jagirinawa. Either it would have killed him, and then gone to that girl who placed the curse, or it would have just gone to that girl. Sometimes a person can only do so much.

“Basically, what you’re saying is that my desire to help people is immature, right? But Oshino, I can’t be like you.
I’m one-tenth vampire, an aberration.
I can’t become someone that exterminates them.”
– Koyomi

“Araragi-kun, if you abandon Shinobu-chan,
you can turn back into a normal human being whenever you want.
I don’t want you to forget that.”
– Oshino

This is the last very interesting piece of dialogue we get from Oshino. Koyomi could go back to being a regular human whenever he wants. But being one-tenth vampire is convenient for Koyomi, because it lets him do the impossible, and put his body on the line, time after time. There’s more to it than that, but we’ll see a lot more of Shinobu soon enough with the Kizumonogatari movies coming up after Bakemonogatari.

“What disgusts me most, though, is that even if you didn’t have that body, I know you would have thrown yourself at this problem in the same way.

If you did these stupid things simply because you knew you could rely on your immortal body, I would tell you to do as you please.
But, Araragi-kun, the way you just jump into these things like it’s the obvious response… I just don’t get it.”

– Hitagi Senjougahara
(Ep 8)

While these words from Hitagi didn’t strike me back then, they sure do now. Koyomi is an interesting character who has a serious problem in that he can’t help but sacrifice himself whenever the opportunity presents itself. His immortal body, while not perfect, lets him indulge himself a but too much. And this is what has Oshino worried, as well as Hitagi.

To throw some shade Koyomi’s way though, Hitagi even admitted that this side of Koyomi was something she admired in him. After all, he still helped her after she put a staple in his mouth. If that tenacity of his was able to help others too, then that is something worthy of admiration.

Wrapping Up…

This episode had some interesting moments regarding Nadeko and the Jagirinawa, especially the twist of finding out that there were more than one wrapped around her!

But what really caught my attention was everything else – all of the minor details that shine more light on the characters, and that foreshadow future events. Learning about Nadeko’s crush on Koyomi, and Oshino’s words of warning are both details that will be important moving forward.

I’ve already been emphasizing Koyomi’s recklessly selfless character, but it seems I really didn’t have to because this episode just drives it home. First Hitagi scolds him for it in episode 8, and now Oshino. In fact, even Koyomi laments his actions this time, which we can see from this dialogue:

“Please don’t thank me.
I don’t deserve your gratitude.
I did something unthinkable, and tried to save even the person who cursed you.”

– Koyomi Araragi

The subtitles for that last sentence were “guy” instead of “person”, but when I listen to the audio I hear “ningen” which means “human / person”, so I think that was just a small oversight. At first it had me thinking of another certain character, a guy who peddles in curses that we will meet much later on.

But I believe the quote is directed at Koyomi’s actions in risking his life by fighting the Jagirinawa. And we don’t know for sure if it was a male or female who placed the curse – but it was implied that it was a female who was jealous of Nadeko, so “guy” didn’t make sense to me there.

Anyways, as always with the concluding episodes for arcs, I had a lot to say about this one. It really feels like we are eased into the arcs, before a lot of information is thrown at us – both directly related to what is happening, and to the overarching story / characters.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

Bakemonogatari

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