Sengoku Nadeko’s adventures with a snake have ended up with her sleeping in Koyomi’s bed!
What’s next for Otorimonogatari’s middle-school protagonist?
Sengoku wakes up to Tsukihi, who then wakes up to find herself not next to Koyomi, but Sengoku! She quickly understands the situation, and begins to prod Sengoku on her feelings towards Koyomi. The talk takes a little while, and it ends with Tsukihi getting frustrated and cutting Sengoku’s bangs.
Sengoku goes to school and while changing shoes, she is approached once again by her homeroom teacher. As expected, he asks her if she’s made any progress on easing tensions in the class. Her lack of bangs makes her realize that she can’t hide her gaze properly. Her usual tactics of looking away and saying “sorry” don’t work, and her teacher continues to press her. In the end, she snaps at her teacher, raising her voice and causing a scene. She then goes to her class and gives them all a lecture, before leaving school early.
Outside of school, the snake tells Sengoku where his corpse is. He’d noticed it the night before. It’s at Koyomi’s house. And so Sengoku heads over there, and locates the snake’s corpse, which is actually in the form of a talisman (the energy was transferred into the talisman). The snake tells Sengoku that he will grant a wish of hers, once he becomes a god again.
Sengoku wishes for her love for Koyomi to be requited by him.
Just as she does, Koyomi enters the room.
A Chat with Tsukihi
Tsukihi wakes up next to not Koyomi, but her childhood friend Sengoku Nadeko. Immediately she begins to prod Sengoku in a way that no one else does.
It’s a long conversation, so here is a paraphrased version.
“Don’t look down like that.
Makes it hard to see your cute face.”
“I-I’m not cute at all.”
“What are you talking about? You are cute!
You’re adorably, charmingly, lovably cute!
The very moment I laid eyes on you,
I wanted to be friends with you.”
“Wh-what if I wasn’t cute?
Would you not have become my friend back then?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Forget I said anything.”
“I didn’t ask for an apology.
I asked what you meant.
Could you give me an answer, Nadeko?”
Or can you not answer a question from me?
Do you not want to?”
“Like I said, I don’t want an apology.
What, am I asking the wrong way?
Is it my fault?”
This little introduction is cute, as we see Sengoku’s usual strategies to deflect or escape talking about uncomfortable topics fails completely. Tsukihi is having none of it, and just keeps pressing until she gets an answer. Averting her gaze and apologizing won’t work here.
Someone said this to me…
“Good for you that you just happened to be cute.”
…I-I’m not “cute” because I want to be.
Getting special treatment like that makes me…”
Is that why you grew out your bangs
and covered your face?
And I guess that’s why you never dress up,
and wear such lame clothes all the time.
That’s why you’re wearing that lame white scrunchie.
I see how it is now.
Then let me take all that into consideration
and offer you just one piece of advice.
…I get what you’re trying to say,
but isn’t that your fault for being cute and nothing else?”
Once again, Tsukihi just tells everything as it is. No beating around the bush, no mercy. The one and only thing she is incorrect about is the reason Sengoku is wearing the white scrunchie… but it is a funny little jab at the snake. And if she knew what was happening between Sengoku and the snake, she’d probably think that was lame anyways.
The best line she delivers, possibly in the entire conversation, is the last one in the exchange I just shared.
Isn’t it Sengoku’s fault for having zero personality outside of being cute?
Honestly, I think so. I’ve pointed out before from what we’ve been shown so far about how Sengoku is basically a shell of a human. No visible interests, no visible tendencies, nothing interesting. Aside from her love for Koyomi, what do we know about her? Nothing. And clearly, we’re not alone in that – everyone around her is in the same situation.
Soon after, the topic shifts to Koyomi.
“Look, you don’t have to try and hide it.
It’s clear as day.
Obvious as hell.
He’s probably the only one who hasn’t noticed.
To begin with, why’d you even fall in love with him?”
“Well, the two of you only interacted during
that second year of elementary school, right?
So how could you still be in love with him
after all this while?
What’s up with that?”
“…I-I love Koyomi…”
But he has a girlfriend, y’know?”
After the opening, the conversation continues, about how Koyomi has a girlfriend, and they seem perfect for each other. And Sengoku, with her lack of self-confidence, mentions that she won’t do anything about it, and that she can’t do anything about it. Which prompts this nice line from Tsukihi:
“…I have no idea what you’re talking about.
So what, my brother is just like
some silver-screen idol to you?
Just like some manga hero?”
There’s much more to share, enough to take up an entire post. But I want to cover the whole episode here, so I’ll give a summary of the rest. Tsukihi’s jabs are just too good to not share.
Basically, Tsukihi decides that she’s sick of cheering on her childhood friend who has given up on trying. As a result, she decides to use scissors to “put an end to this”, as she puts it, and cuts Sengoku’s bangs.
Of course, the intention here is to prevent Sengoku from being able to hide and use one of her key tactics to blend into the environment and avoid confrontation. She’s probably hoping that doing so will force Sengoku to engage more with others, which may give her the drive to duke it out with Hitagi Senjougahara for Koyomi. Or something like that.
Sengoku is a little depressed about her lack of bangs as she heads into school. While changing her shoes, the snake offers to restore her bangs once his corpse is found. It’s the least he can do. And on that topic, he mentions that he knows where it is – Koyomi’s house.
When her teacher arrives, Sengoku tries her usual tactic.
But her teacher just patiently waits for a response.
Once again, here are the highlights.
Like always, I averted my eyes,
looked downward, and said nothing.
I did that and waited for Mr. Sasayabu
to get tired of me and walk away.
…It didn’t matter if I averted my eyes
or looked downward.
Mr. Sasayabu could still see my face clearly.
If he could see my expressions,
then he must’ve figured out that I wasn’t
as troubled by it as I was letting on.
And after realizing this, she decides to move onto her next tactic – apologizing and making vague excuses. But when she opened her mouth, it wasn’t an apology that came out…
“Shut the f**k up!
Like hell I’ve made any damn progress!
You think you can force me
to do all your work for you?
Every f**king time you see me, it’s the same old
“what happened to that thing” schtick.
Well, nothing f**king happened!
Don’t you know better than anyone
that you’re asking for the impossible?”
Things continue from there, but that’s the gist of it.
After chewing out her teacher, she proceeds on to her classroom. Whatever has come over Sengoku isn’t done yet, and she’s moving on to chew out her classmates.
Again, will paraphrase a bit here.
“Do you have any idea how pointless this s**t is?
If you don’t reach a compromise somewhere,
this s**t will keep going on forever!
So you’ve gotta turn over a new leaf!
You’ve gotta rewrite it all!
…Yeah, you guys are the lowest of the low.
Hypocrites that put up facades!
Scumbags who betray someone
the moment they have their trust!
…However, there must’ve been
some truth to it all somewhere!
Lies? Deceit? Even hypocrisy!
Why don’t you have the damn heart to forgive it all?!
…I f**king hate the lot of you!
But we’re still classmates, for f**k’s sake!”
The whole speech is great, but there it is in a nutshell.
While she hasn’t exactly revealed much about herself in terms of interests and such, for Sengoku to put her honest thoughts into the open, thoughts that no sensible person would share, was quite a change.
Immediately after the scene, as Sengoku has left school early, it’s clarified that the snake didn’t take control of Sengoku. Instead, he says that his influence may have caused the “shackles she normally places on herself” to come loose. And she doesn’t fight him when he says that, instead, agreeing.
I have to imagine that the reason for this scene is simply to tell us that Sengoku wasn’t possessed, that what she had said was what she had wanted to say deep in her heart. She just never had the courage to say it, until today.
“You didn’t do anything wrong.
But I do think it was your fault.”
It is interesting to point out how while Sengoku is lamenting the end of her school life, she seems oddly peaceful. Like her outburst took a weight off her shoulders. That, or she’s resigned herself and given up on regular life.
“Hurry up and feed me that talisman.
Don’t worry. I’ll keep my promise.
I’ll revive your bangs for you.
Actually, I guess that won’t be enough to thank you.
I’ll also grant any other wish you may have.
Don’t you have any other wishes, Nadeko?
I don’t care if you aim too high. Do it.”
“A wish I’d like granted…
I’d like my love for Koyomi to be requited.
Could that kind of wish also come true?”
“No, it won’t, Sengoku.”
It’s a pretty intense way to end the episode.
I’ll go over it and everything else in the conclusion.
Basically, we see Sengoku do many things out of character, ending with her decision to go after Koyomi. Before, with Tsukihi, she had stated that she wouldn’t, and couldn’t, go after Koyomi. Because he had a girlfriend. But by the end, she’s emboldened enough to ask the snake to grant such a wish.
It seems like Sengoku has gone through some serious changes in the course of this episode. But in reality, Sengoku has been changing since the moment she first saw the snake. It’s possible that she was changing even before that, considering what we’ve seen her try to pull with Koyomi in previous episodes. In fact, I think that’s more likely – that Sengoku’s love for Koyomi, and desire to go after him, began long ago. This arc is just the consequences of that playing out.
It’s either that, or what she did at the snake shrine, killing all those snakes, actually did cause this snake spirit to attach itself to her somehow.
Regardless, this arc is the product of something that began long before the snake revealed itelf to her at school.
And so while her changes seem extreme, all happening as they are, and it can be easy to point to the snake as the cause, I would argue that Sengoku is ultimately the cause. Even if she acts meek and complacent on the surface, this episode revealed to us that underneath the surface, Sengoku does have some very passionate thoughts.
And again, it shouldn’t even be that surprising, considering what she’d tried to pull with Koyomi in previous arcs.
I guess this arc, and her behaviour, including willingly going along with the snake (when she could have said no, or told Koyomi the truth), are just the culmination of her deeper feelings building up.
That’ll do it for this one.
There’s more I could have said, or highlighted, but the post is getting long as it is. There’s just too much great dialogue in this episode, both by Tsukihi and by Sengoku herself. That, and it’s pretty exciting to watch Sengoku’s transformation.
We still have to find out exactly what the snake is after, like what was hinted at in Otorimonogatari episode 1. While it’s made all sort of promises to her, and told her that it just wants it’s body back, we know that there is some sort of hidden intention. One that still wouldn’t have stopped Sengoku from doing what she did. But still, one that we don’t know yet.
And with that hopefully we will learn everything, not just about the snake, but about Sengoku and her relationship to the snake. It’s seemed like both are using each other, and perhaps that’s the case. We’ll find out soon enough.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.