Alright, let’s finish this off with the real meat of Nadeko Medusa: the ultimate reveal behind what’s been going on, and the finale!
We now go back to the present, after Sengoku has defeated Shinobu and Koyomi.
“At the end of the day,
what kind of story is this anyway,
“Come on, Nadeko.
Haven’t I been telling you that
you’re to blame for everything?”
And this marks the beginning of the explanation for everything. I’m just going to summarize it here, and maybe include a quote or two if I think it’s a good one.
Basically, prior to eating the talisman, the snake never existed. It was entirely Sengoku’s delusion. When she was speaking to the snake, she was in fact, speaking to a white scrunchie on her arm. The snake explains it to her as such: her life was not worth telling in a story, and so she created one that she could live out. A form of escapism, according to the snake.
Now, this was all done subconsciously. Her subconscious desire to become interesting, to escape from her boring, empty life is what created the story. Mentally, her mind blocked certain information out, so that it was revealed to her in the future, it seemed like new information. Everything that the snake told her was actually something she already knew.
There’s a nice quote that isn’t spoken, but quickly displayed on a few frames that touches upon this.
The reason the white snakes only appeared from airtight containers, and the reason the snake could not leave the shrine were exceedingly simple. Otherwise, the coherence of my delusion would have fallen apart.
That aside, the two primary sources of information for were: books Sengoku read back when she was afflicted with the constricting snake, and the meddlesome Ougi Oshino. Back at the beginning of Otorimonogatari, when Sengoku spoke with Ougi, she remarked how the conversation felt like it took a long time. That’s because Ougi told her more than what we saw. A little unreliable narration at play here.
Ougi preyed upon Sengoku’s weakness, and set her up, by planting the idea in Sengoku’s head that if she were to, say… consume the talisman in Koyomi Araragi’s possession, and unseal the snake god, it would likely grant her wish. Ougi also gave Sengoku the white scrunchie, and if you look back at the beginning of Otorimonogatari, she was also the one to first mention the idea of “living a life that’s worth telling as a story”.
“Wait, don’t tell me…
You don’t think you’re living an everyday life
that’s not at all worth telling as a story, do you?”
In other words, Ougi was the mastermind behind all of this. After all, Sengoku couldn’t have known where the talisman was, or even that it existed, if it weren’t for Ougi. And Ougi spurred her on, encouraging her to become more interesting, so to speak.
“Boy, did that niece wannabe ever pull a fast one on us.
It was all her doing, huh?”
All of that said, as the snake reveals one other important piece of information for us. The motive, sort of. It’s the event that triggered Sengoku’s weakness and desperation in the first place.
The moment Sengoku first saw Koyomi with Hitagi Senjougahara.
As expected, Koyomi was involved, because Sengoku doesn’t care about anything else. After that moment, we learn that Sengoku had been visiting the snake shrine to pray, even though there was no snake god there. That is, until Ougi told Sengoku where the snake god could be found. And that it most likely grant her wish.
Her own mind did the rest, even if she was not conscious of it. She must have been in quite the state to somehow repress all of the thoughts that she did when setting everything up so that she could end up at Koyomi’s place, so she could steal a key, so that she could visit during school and locate the talisman.
And while Sengoku and the snake surmise that Koyomi arriving when he did must have been a coincidence, Shinobu perhaps suggests otherwise.
“Q-quite the convenient train of thought, I must say.
That doesn’t explain why I, nocturnal as I am,
was running about during the day.”
There’s no actual scene of Shinobu going about during the day though, so either Shinobu is saying that she (and possibly Koyomi) were following Sengoku (or something like this), or she is referring to the fact that they decided to confront the now god Sengoku during the day. Which isn’t really related to what Sengoku was saying. It’s an interesting line, and I’m leaning towards the former, that Shinobu and Koyomi were keeping an eye on Sengoku, which is how they were able to arrive when they did.
With her story up until now told, Sengoku ultimately decides to kill Koyomi. By doing so, she will be able to make him unattainable to her forever as the man she loves but can’t have.
Luckily for Koyomi, his phone rings. It’s master negotiator, Hitagi Senjougahara, on the line.
Her first offer to Sengoku is this:
“You can kill me, so could you spare Araragi in return?
And if she’s still alive, Shinobu, too.”
I’ll kill Koyomi, and you.
I’ll also kill Shinobu.”
After hearing that her bargain didn’t work, Hitagi decides to offer Sengoku some advice as to the order in which she should kill her three targets. And she doesn’t hold back when talking to Sengoku, even when Koyomi’s life is on the line.
“…and you should kill me first,
before you even get to that point.
If you don’t, not only will I kill you,
but I’ll kill everyone…
You shouldn’t underestimate my anger.”
“I’ll start with you, then.
I have to kill Shinobu after that,
and Koyomi last, right?
“No need to thank me.
In return, could you do me a favour?”
How is that for master negotiations? Hitagi not only tosses a threat out at Sengoku, but she also gives unsolicited advice in order to try and spin a favour from Sengoku in return.
I won’t write it all out, but Hitagi then sucks up to Sengoku a little before asking for half a year. The stated reason being graduation. Why Hitagi chose graduation specifically, I don’t know. But maybe we’ll find out in the future. Either way, it’s a pretty important day in one’s life, as it’s when people typically transition from the full-time student life to entering the workforce. (Or, they put it off and attend post-secondary education for many more years, but that’s a whole other topic).
Anyways, Hitagi’s negotiations are successful.
What’s maybe the most interesting part of this scene, really highlighting Sengoku’s naivety, is what she says to Hitagi afterwards:
“If… if we’d met each other in a different manner,
the two of us might’ve been able to become friends.”
“No. That wouldn’t have happened.
I’m sorry, but I hate cute brats like you
more than I hate my past self,
Hitagi then hangs up on Sengoku.
What in the world would lead Sengoku to think such a thing?
I have to assume that she was thinking something like “we both love Koyomi, so…”. Like if they weren’t “rivals in love”, they could have gotten along. Or maybe Sengoku was just happy to converse with someone, even if it is the girlfriend of the man she loves. I mean, it worked for Ougi, who Sengoku had never met before, but just showed up and had a long conversation with her.
I do think this is different than the situation with Ougi, but honestly, considering Sengoku has literally no friends, no life, no nothing… I have to wonder if that had anything to do with why she said what she said to Hitagi.
While she looks a little sad when Hitagi hangs up, we soon get a sort of creepy shot of Sengoku looking up with this derpy smile on her face. So I guess she wasn’t really all that sad. To me, it looks like Sengoku is displaying her naivety on her face. The last thing we see before the episode ends.
That just about does it for Otorimonogatari.
I suppose the “decoy” mentioned in the title is the scrunchie. It became the “snake” that Sengoku thought she was speaking to, when in fact, it was just a delusion. The scrunchie itself ended up playing a key role in acting as a decoy in that sense. There are probably other interpretations for it, but this is the clearest one that I could think of.
And with that, I believe that we’ll be moving on to Hanamonogatari, which to be honest, I should have covered before moving on to Otorimonogatari. While it wasn’t included in Monogatari Series: Second Season, the novel for Hanamonogatari was actually released between Kabukimonogatari and Otorimonogatari.
It slipped my mind when I started Otorimonogatari, but anyways, we’ll get to it next.
So until then,
Thanks for reading.