“Let me help you find the truths, Araragi-sempai.”
Araragi said, “No, Ougi. You are the truths.”
And then Ougi was the truths.
Ougi questions Araragi.
Ougi opens the ‘C’ envelope. Ougi kicks down the door. Ougi finds out that Araragi’s parents are police officers. Ougi leads Araragi upstairs. Ougi explains why it’s strange that Sodachi hates Araragi. Ougi says, “This is strange. This is mysterious. This is suspicious. This is scary.”
Oshino Ougi’s role in the Monogatari series is a strange one. The questioner eternal, indeterminate in gender, she slithers about the narrative, punctuating the show’s emotional mysteries with acerbic commentary and pointed questions. She takes an almost perverted joy in dismantling other characters’ lies, as she does with Nadeko, Kaiki, and most recently Araragi.
Ougi is most content, however, when she’s talking to Araragi. She can intrude into Araragi’s personal space. She can mock his every statement. She has the control of the situation; it genuinely unnerves Araragi that she can so easily get him to say things.
And I think the reason for this is because Oshino Ougi is an Oddity created by Araragi himself.
Araragi is addicted to the mantle of a heroism he believes was thrust upon him once he ‘saved’ Tsubasa Hanekawa in Nekomonogatari. Ironically, however, he’s never done much saving: the majority of the cast’s problems are solved by someone other than Araragi, by a character who has themselves sorted out. Oshino Meme did all the work in Bakemonogatari. Araragi didn’t do anything for Ononoki in Tsukimonogatari or for Nadeko in Koimonogatari. And this causes him a great deal of guilt. So he slaves away at helping others—at pursuing his personal justice. Reconciling with Sodachi is just one step in the process.
Fortunately, Sodachi isn’t too willing to play along with Araragi’s games. As Araragi tries to brush off the years of hatred Sodachi has harbored for him, the girl snaps. She lambasts what she sees as Araragi’s tendency to take people for granted and his lack of introspection. Araragi is in his final year of school, and he’ll be graduating soon and taking on adulthood, complete all the baggage that transition entails. Like Tsubasa before him, he’s going to have to learn how to be honest with himself.
It may be that, in a twisted bit of irony, Araragi’s final obstacle before adulthood is to save himself. He wants to improve. But he’d never do it on his own initiative. So he, unconsciously, creates an Oddity to give him the push he needs to look inwards.
This is where Ougi comes in. She knows more than she should about Araragi. Her conversations with him always end up with Araragi realizing something. She asks the questions that Araragi doesn’t want to ask himself and forces herself through the chinks and inconsistencies of Araragi’s comfortable conclusions. She won’t let him rest until he can get at the truth he’s so willingly hidden from himself. If Araragi tries to layer the truth behind multiple ‘Araragis’, Ougi won’t let him.
What catches Araragi’s eye as he walks through his middle school’s shoe locker is Sengoku Nadeko’s locker. It serves as a reminder that a part of Araragi is his failure to save Sengoku Nadeko. Araragi desperately wants to find what it is that constitutes him, but he’s scared of introspection. He’s an enigma to himself because he’s terrified of what he’ll find.
So, through the maze, Ougi has to find Nadeko’s locker first.