I’m going to say this right now. THIS IS THE BEST EPISODE THUS FAR! I kind of agree that until ep 8, the new Monogatari hasn’t been as captivating as Bakemonogatari or its sequels. But last week brought hope, and this episode has returned hope to me for a great season.
Remember when I mentioned last time that I wished for Mayoi to show up more often considering the arc is named after her? Well that wish was granted in more ways than one. Araragi’s firework display attracted a large amount of failed vampires, but all of them dissappear after being rained with Rice(yes, rice). And none other than a GROWN-UP Hachikuji shows up being the one who saved them.
Despite her not meeting Araragi in her lifetime, his appearance as her savior has helped her survive. She’s now familiar with Meme Oshino and gives both Araragi and Shinobu a letter from him explaining what happened. After Shinobu went rampant, her attempted suicide failed. He explains that both Araragi and Shinobu misunderstood how timelines are. They didn’t change the future; they created a new one.
Older Hachikuji’s small talk with Araragi is bittersweet, as she’s somewhat familiar with Araragi despite her never meeting him. It’s clear that she does have interest in him and her life has changed drastically thanks to helping her in the past. However, we can also tell that she’s lonely during these times, and her offer to Araragi and Shinobu to join her is enticing. And yet the sweet part ends here, as Araragi knew from the start that even if he meets Hachikuji alive, their relationship would be that of strangers. So he decides that her being alive in this timeline is enough and moves on as such.
Shinobu’s eventual confrontation is even more tragic, as it doesn’t even result in an actual fight. She’s already been broken from her attempted suicide and witnessing her other self being so close to Araragi makes her realize how great things could’ve been if it weren’t for her jealousy. Finding very little reason to stay alive, she lets the other Shinobu use her remaining blood as power for going back to their timeline and ending her life in this timeline. But not before asking Araragi for one last pat on the hat does she finally accept her fate.
Thankfully, all this sadness is given an amusing conclusion once they reach back to their own timeline. Other than him landing at the next morning with his summer HW incomplete, Hachikuji pulls Araragi’s harassment routine on him for a change. After that is a brief exchange that goes back to the beginning of this arc: Is Hachikuji happy about being an oddity. Her answer is that while she’s unhappy with having to die, meeting Araragi in the process was worthwhile. And that’s the end of the Mayoi Jiangshi arc, and it was a blast to go through. Here’s hope for a new arc and no more recaps!