Otorimonogatari: victims and wrongdoers…

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I should probably confess that, even though we’re just entering the third season of the Monogatari series, I expect Otorimonogatari to remain the one I have had the most trouble writing about. Out of all of Nisio Isin’s heroines, Nadeko is by far my least favourite. My main problem is that I find her story to be the most unbelievable one: a girl that lives by deception, to the extent that she even deceives her way into becoming a god. I’d have to agree with Hitagi — it would not matter how I come to know her, she’s someone that I would never get along with.

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“Who the hell do you take me for?!”

Admittedly, the way that Nadeko snapped at her teacher and classmates was amusing. I’ll give you that. However, the very reason that it was amusing is probably one of the reasons her character doesn’t work for me. The story is that a request from Hanazawa Kana was behind Nisio’s decision to make Nadeko go berserk, quite possibly in ‘rebellion’ over the roles she’s typically cast in. And, as fans of Kana-chan would know, she’s got a bit of a dark side that belies her own cute appearance. The problem is that it’s obviously an act – and that’s how Nadeko going crazy comes across to me as well, even though the suggestion in the story is that the quiet side is the mask.

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Do you still consider yourself as a victim?

That said, it might be fate that I chose this year and month to rewatch Monogatari’s second season. What grabbed my attention was Ougi pointing out that “people never remain victims forever. Sometimes, they are victims; at other times, they are the wrongdoers.” It almost sounds like ‘she’ could be talking about Japan, which is often accused of hiding behind its atomic victimhood. But Ougi could just as easily be referring to a whole range of countries. I know that the Otorimonogatari novel came out in 2011, nowhere near any major war anniversaries, but I can’t help but wonder if the debates over historical memory might have been on Nisio Ishin’s mind…

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Otorimonogatari also has links to the other big societal issue that grabbed my attention this year, namely questions about tatemae and honne—the facade that one puts on in public and the true feelings shown only to one’s closest friends and family. But I’ve already gone on about that at length, courtesy of Sound! Euphonium, so I won’t bore you with yet another spiel, at least, not yet…

Enough of that tangent, however. Ougi’s words and leading actions start Nadeko down the slippery slope that gave us the shocking in medias res that began this arc. That is also where it ends, with Hitagi convincing the newly awakened god to put her killing spree off until after graduation in March. So, if Otorimonogatari feels incomplete, that’s because it is. But that, too, fits perfectly with the state of the aforementioned history issue, don’t you think?

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Will March end the way this new god forsees…?

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

One Response to Otorimonogatari: victims and wrongdoers…

  1. Pingback: Monogatari Series: Kamimashita! | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

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