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If aberrations resemble mental illness, then Araragi's illness is depression [SPOILERS for Owari S2]

#1
Mar 16, 2018 2:09 PM

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DON'T READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED OWARIMONOGATARI SECOND SEASON OR KIZUMONOGATARI!

I don't see many people talking about this-- and I too just realized it but a day ago, but
, and how he interacts with them, seem to be a metaphor or a motif for depression.

As we all should be aware, aberrations, or at least the effect that they have on many of the characters, seem to resemble real-life mental or physical illnesses, though mostly mental. For example, the most blatantly obvious (mental illness) would be Hanekawa's cat causing a condition similar to Dissociative Identity Disorder. Physical illnesses such as anorexia can be seen in Hitagi's crab, while typical psychological afflictions (that aren't classified as diseases, more like troubles or hang-ups that everyone experiences) can be seen in Nadeko's Snake and Mayoi's Snail and Suruga's Devil.

It's been bugging me for a while, what significance
actually had towards him specifically and what they represented. But then it hit me. They represent different stages of his depression, or rather different ways his depression affects him.

I am no doctor, so I am not going to give medical terms to specifically identify what stages of depression he is at any given time, but I do see some similarities from my own experiences with depression that I can't help but draw comparisons to.

Kiss-Shot Aceraleon Heart-Under-Blade, as a vampire was the biggest hurdle for me to understand his illness, that is because when looking at vampires in literal terms, it should be terrifying and traumatic on its own. That said, the vampire has always been a form of escapism since the time of its inception, whenever that was. In media, it still falls into a horror fantasy, that has been growing popularity in the most recent decades, even when they should be cruel instead of cool. Vampires themselves, when looked at as characters can also be seen as representative of depression, that they can't go out into the sun and lack interaction with their own humanity and with other humans. But I think we can go a step further with this metaphor and say that Vampires are also easy scapegoats. See where I'm going with this?

Okay, let's take a step back and look at what Koyomi was doing when he met Kiss-Shot for the first time during Kizumonogatari. He was buying magazines, alone, of girls that looked like Hanekawa. He was fetishizing her, indulging in his fantasies, and doing something he thought was immoral. This happened but hours after he made his first friend. Here we have loneliness, shame, and temptation, things that people that are introverted and depressed usually have to face. Then he finds Kiss-Shot and abandons all of his rights for the sake of someone else.

At this point in Kizumonogatari, Koyomi has yet to bring down the first barrier to connecting with other humans- even though he had just made his first friend, they only ever felt the need to talk with each other because of a coincidence and didn't exactly bond to any degree. That said, if he thought that Hanekawa only talked to him because she was taking pity on him (he did), then it would make sense to think that was the only way he thought he could make connections with someone because he thinks his life is worthless.

He gave up his own neck to save Kiss-Shot on his own.
But he did so with the intent of dying for her sake.


Araragi Koyomi isn't a hero that stands for justice, he just lacks self-worth.

Yet he uses this to try to hide all of his insecurities and solve all of his issues. Almost like a scapegoat.
But it goes further than that. What's something he blamed everything on in Kizumonogatari? (before the vampire attacked, and this is easier to remember if you read the light novel)
Other people.
Vampires are the aberrations called friends. The burden of other people.
Learning to share wounds with another soul is the heart of Kizumonogatari.

Fast forward 12 volumes to Owarimonogtari we see how Ougi Oshino is introduced to Araragi. She is introduced under the pretense of solving an oddity related case to him (by Kanbaru, his friend) directly after Shinobu Mail, and more importantly, Shinobu Time (the ark where Mayoi disappears). Actually, NisiOisiN actually goes out of his way to include Araragi confiding this dark memory to Ougi, for then she gives the hint that she may be a quazi-darkness (right after the telling the story of the Darkness attacking Mayoi).

He's blaming himself. Self-doubt. Another indicator of depression.
He thinks he could've saved Mayoi, possibly his best friend at this point in the story at this point (the one that got him lost on the right track), somehow. Even though that isn't the case, and this massive strain on his mental health causes Ougi to appear before him.

Back in Tsukimonogatari, Araragi loses his humanity to vampirism as a result of transforming too many times to save Nadeko from her snake aberration. There isn't much to say here, except that as a result of his inability to save Mayoi, he recklessly tries to sacrifice himself for another's sake, just like he did in Kizumonogatari. He's reverting back to a vampire and he can't get out of it. His obsession with helping others is literally poison to him, as it ruined his human form and will continue to worsen as he continues to rely on that obsession. If Vampires are the aberrations called other people, then he's trying to take everyone else's burden off of their shoulders and carrying it himself, which damages his humanity and sense of self.

Again, he's seriously lacking in self-worth, but he's at a point in his life now that he realizes his own philosophy is utterly foolish, as he knows he has to live for Hitagi, Tsubasa and the rest of his friends.


Think about Ougi's role in Owarimonogatari now. She constantly criticises him on every action or inaction he takes. Forcing him to reveal his true nature to the audience, something that has only been hinted by other narrators throughout the story, and that he has been brushing over until Owarimonogatari. He created Ougi to criticize himself because he was unable to willfully recognize his own flaws in judgment and needed someone else to do so.

Now let's get to Mayoi Hell, where he finally has the opportunity to save Mayoi and bring her back to Earth as a god. Notice how this plot-point is cleared up before the big reveal in Ougi Dark, and how he literally saves himself by the end. He finally saves Mayoi- but this was the reason why Ougi showed herself to him in the first place. Thus, he doesn't technically need her anymore, but he does. He still needs his other self around because Ougi is the one who not only keeps him in check but is the representation of his past mistakes, his past, that he doesn't want to erase, because if he does, not only will he wind up in the same rut again, but he will also lose his experiences that makes him such a developed character.

Owarimonogatari is about Araragi Koyomi's transition from childhood to adulthood, and all the uncertainty in between, to move to the future with his head held high and with confidence in himself and his decisions. Thus, it is fitting that the ending of Ougi Dark is that of saving himself, is that where his chosen family (Oshino Meme) lied to keep him safe from the cruelty of the world, and that of accepting the experiences that afflicted him to begin with and to this date, and ultimately, other people into his heart.

This is how one gets out of depression, by realizing you have worth to others around you, and to yourself.

Learning that the cruelty you do experience can save someone else one day, but that ultimately you are living all of it for yourself.

I'm not sure how many people thought of this before reading this, but I hope it was helpful in some way. Maybe this sheds some light for some of you why this series is absolutely amazing, and more importantly, how Koyomi's character arc is handled subtly throughout the series.

Modified by Draconix814, Apr 4, 2018 8:38 PM
 
#2
Mar 20, 2018 4:30 AM

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I plan to read this, but can you change the title? The mere mention that Araragi even has an aberration is a spoiler in itself, and at this point in the story since it is hinted at it will be obvious who you mean. That is only revealed in ep 7, so if anyone comes here to post on the earlier episode discussion boards they will see that and have it spoiled.
Modified by GoldNautilus, Mar 20, 2018 4:33 AM
 
#3
Mar 20, 2018 5:05 AM

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GoldNautilus said:
I plan to read this, but can you change the title? The mere mention that Araragi even has an aberration is a spoiler in itself, and at this point in the story since it is hinted at it will be obvious who you mean. That is only revealed in ep 7, so if anyone comes here to post on the earlier episode discussion boards they will see that and have it spoiled.

What are you talking about, Shinobu is an aberration. Pretty sure that's revealed earlier in the series.

Edit: I changed it to Spoilers for Owari S2, does that suffice?
Modified by Draconix814, Mar 20, 2018 5:09 AM
 
#4
Mar 20, 2018 5:12 AM

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You should hide the pictures using spoiler. It was irritating to read with those in the way, but at least it made me re-read back the title and realize I haven't watch owari yet.
 
#5
Mar 20, 2018 5:30 AM

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Draconix814 said:
GoldNautilus said:
I plan to read this, but can you change the title? The mere mention that Araragi even has an aberration is a spoiler in itself, and at this point in the story since it is hinted at it will be obvious who you mean. That is only revealed in ep 7, so if anyone comes here to post on the earlier episode discussion boards they will see that and have it spoiled.

What are you talking about, Shinobu is an aberration. Pretty sure that's revealed earlier in the series.

Oh? I thought you were referencing Ougi. Like I said, didn’t read it. AH I see, I misunderstood, I thought you were saying Araragi’s aberration, not Araragi’s mental illness. This is exactly my point though, the way you worded it is confusing and could possibly lead people to realize that Ougi is Araragi’s aberration prematurely.

I would name it something like “If aberrations resemble mental illness, Araragi’s illness is depression.” Then it is clear you are speaking about his illness and not his aberration. Does this make sense or am I an idiot?
Modified by GoldNautilus, Mar 20, 2018 5:39 AM
 
#6
Mar 20, 2018 5:43 AM

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GoldNautilus said:
Draconix814 said:

What are you talking about, Shinobu is an aberration. Pretty sure that's revealed earlier in the series.

Oh? I thought you were referencing Ougi. Like I said, didn’t read it. AH I see, I misunderstood, I thought you were saying Araragi’s aberration, not Araragi’s mental illness. This is exactly my point though, the way you worded it is confusing and could possibly lead people to realize that Ougi is Araragi’s aberration prematurely.

I would name it something like “If aberrations resemble mental illness, Araragi’s illness is depression.” Then it is clear you are speaking about his illness and not his aberration. Does this make sense or am I an idiot?

That makes sense, I'll do that.

Well, I was talking about both the aberration and the illness, but I'll make the wording more ambiguous for newcomers just in case.
 
#7
Mar 23, 2018 12:01 AM

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This is a nice depiction. Well worth the read. Although I have not read elsewhere about aberrations resembling real-life mental issues, what do you think the other characters such as Karen and Tsukihi resemble? I'd be interested in reading what you think.
 
#8
Mar 23, 2018 5:47 AM

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Holo_or_Horo said:
This is a nice depiction. Well worth the read. Although I have not read elsewhere about aberrations resembling real-life mental issues, what do you think the other characters such as Karen and Tsukihi resemble? I'd be interested in reading what you think.

Modified by Draconix814, Apr 4, 2018 8:36 PM
 
#9
Mar 23, 2018 8:06 PM

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Draconix814 said:
Holo_or_Horo said:
This is a nice depiction. Well worth the read. Although I have not read elsewhere about aberrations resembling real-life mental issues, what do you think the other characters such as Karen and Tsukihi resemble? I'd be interested in reading what you think.


Those are my thoughts for those two right now. I hope I didn't miss anything.

As for Karen, I do agree and guess she does lack a lot to resemble anything related to a mental illness, although I don't really understand where you were going with your explanation of Tsukihi, since you started thinking of it in a simplistic manner. I believe depicting that any of the aberrations are representing their personality is too straightforward in the first place.
Draconix814 said:
She goes around being a protector of justice and is content with it, but she also helps others with their relationship problems as well. She is quite literally supposed to be someone that everyone relies on to solve their problems, although she does it in a way that seem kind of ruthless, even sticking a toothbrush up someone's ass one time to make them confess. That's really who she's supposed to be, but it really doesn't have anything to do with mental illness. But she's similar to Araragi in that way, only she will never move forward. She alkso burdens herself with others' problems, even if they don't bug her that much.


While I do see your point of Tsukihi always staying the same like her aberration, I didn't understand anything else that came after, since it didn't have to do with anything you pointed out or stated earlier.

I apologise for not understanding most of what you have written since I was the one who asked you about it in the first place, and it may just be me who doesn't understand it, but thanks for posting your thoughts.
 
Mar 23, 2018 9:01 PM

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Holo_or_Horo said:
Draconix814 said:


Those are my thoughts for those two right now. I hope I didn't miss anything.

As for Karen, I do agree and guess she does lack a lot to resemble anything related to a mental illness, although I don't really understand where you were going with your explanation of Tsukihi, since you started thinking of it in a simplistic manner. I believe depicting that any of the aberrations are representing their personality is too straightforward in the first place.
Draconix814 said:
She goes around being a protector of justice and is content with it, but she also helps others with their relationship problems as well. She is quite literally supposed to be someone that everyone relies on to solve their problems, although she does it in a way that seem kind of ruthless, even sticking a toothbrush up someone's ass one time to make them confess. That's really who she's supposed to be, but it really doesn't have anything to do with mental illness. But she's similar to Araragi in that way, only she will never move forward. She alkso burdens herself with others' problems, even if they don't bug her that much.


While I do see your point of Tsukihi always staying the same like her aberration, I didn't understand anything else that came after, since it didn't have to do with anything you pointed out or stated earlier.

I apologize for not understanding most of what you have written since I was the one who asked you about it in the first place, and it may just be me who doesn't understand it, but thanks for posting your thoughts.

Modified by Draconix814, Apr 4, 2018 8:36 PM
 
Mar 24, 2018 10:48 AM

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Draconix814 said:

Actually, I apologize if I didn't make it clear enough, but I was referencing how Tsukihi is related to the general conception of the Pheonix, and how her role/ personality provides a sense of stability for Araragi (also related to her oddity) as one of the biggest themes present in Nisemonogatari. Rereading it, I can totally see where I went wrong in my explanation, because I didn't reiterate or iterate the ideas I was referring to. My bad.

First keep in mind that the Phoenix is more of who she is and has been all of her life, compared to everyone else in the series. Hitagi encountered the Crab because she wanted to forget the weight of her past, Mayoi became the snail because she died while trying to find her way home, Suruga wished upon the Monkey's Paw, Nadeko was attacked by the snake because she was acting the role of "prey", Tsubasa encountered the Cat because she was acting the part of a perfect class-president, Koyomi encountered the Vampire because he acted like his life didn't matter, Karen got stung by the bee because she acts like nothing matters but her own warped perspective of justice, but the Phoenix plays the role of Tsukihi Araragi because the Tsukihi Arargi is the Phoenix. Phoenix are heavily influenced by their environment but are also very passionate. Fire. That said, they are also very sacred beings that people worship as a means to find stability in their lives, especially when a family member is sick. Phoenix have healing properties, that is why people rely on them, like Karen, Araragi, and all the people Tsukihi helps with their relationship problems. Like I said, she's also very passionate, so when provoked, she can get really ruthless, hence sticking a toothbrush up someone's ass, or trying to wake someone up by swinging an awl at them. That said, she does it with the sincerest intentions because there are no two sides to her, unlike Araragi, so she doesn't mind burdening herself with other's problems and doesn't look at it as an obligation. But being stable also means she isn't thinking about her future- As Ougi put it "There is no future for you, there is only a never-ending present...", she is referring equally to her personality and her oddity, meaning she always lives in the present and never thinks about tomorrow. She is very content with this, because what would a Phoenix aspire to be exactly when all it cares to do is give warmth? She has everything she needs right in front of her at all times. You can also tie this back to her obsession with traditional Japanese clothing, or her fashion sensibilities in general. She's apparently going to become an aspiring dancer in the future, which kinda contradicts what I just said, so I am not really sure how else NisiOisiN wants to expand on the Shide no Tori oddity later on. That said, if she becomes a celebrity the comparison can still work, or maybe she'll just call it quits and become a nurse, who knows? At any rate, I hope I cleared up my thought process a bit and I'm sorry that I explained it poorly the first time around.


I see. I understand, and I can imagine what you have depicted from the series based on the things you have pointed out, although I couldn't pick up the points that weren't in the anime, as I never read the novels.
It's interesting how you saw something in Tsukihi that would usually be overlooked as something that actually defines Tsukihi herself. I found Tsukihi to be one of the more ambiguous characters in the series so I didn't pick up a lot from Tsukihi as I could never make many connections from her. Having you point these parts out does show how straightforward some of her was.
A small example was that I never picked up the fact that Tsukihi always having a traditional appearance was something that may have been intentional by NisiOisiN, or the statement that Ougi made "There is no future for you, there is only a never-ending present" having a double meaning, referring to her personality as well.

How the series and characters are always ambiguous yet straightforward at the same time always amazes me, and makes me love this series so much. This series is an amazing example of a story that "shows and doesn't tell", and I believe Shaft managed to adapt this into an anime very well. While I haven't read any of the Monogatari Series novels, I don't feel the need to do so compared to other series I've watched, because watching the anime feels like the novel itself, with the point of "showing, not telling" the story and characters. Every time I re-watch the series, I always gain new perspectives after picking up many of the things I previously missed that I didn't even know I missed.

I seldom read the forums, and I saw your post by chance, and I'm glad I did since I never did see the similarities between mental illnesses and the characters. Reading someone else's opinion covering most of the similarities between them does save me the time of deliberately trying to spot them when I go to re-watch the series the next time as well and I thank you for that.

Once again, thanks for posting your thoughts on this subject.
 
Mar 24, 2018 12:03 PM

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Holo_or_Horo said:
Draconix814 said:

Actually, I apologize if I didn't make it clear enough, but I was referencing how Tsukihi is related to the general conception of the Pheonix, and how her role/ personality provides a sense of stability for Araragi (also related to her oddity) as one of the biggest themes present in Nisemonogatari. Rereading it, I can totally see where I went wrong in my explanation, because I didn't reiterate or iterate the ideas I was referring to. My bad.

First keep in mind that the Phoenix is more of who she is and has been all of her life, compared to everyone else in the series. Hitagi encountered the Crab because she wanted to forget the weight of her past, Mayoi became the snail because she died while trying to find her way home, Suruga wished upon the Monkey's Paw, Nadeko was attacked by the snake because she was acting the role of "prey", Tsubasa encountered the Cat because she was acting the part of a perfect class-president, Koyomi encountered the Vampire because he acted like his life didn't matter, Karen got stung by the bee because she acts like nothing matters but her own warped perspective of justice, but the Phoenix plays the role of Tsukihi Araragi because the Tsukihi Arargi is the Phoenix. Phoenix are heavily influenced by their environment but are also very passionate. Fire. That said, they are also very sacred beings that people worship as a means to find stability in their lives, especially when a family member is sick. Phoenix have healing properties, that is why people rely on them, like Karen, Araragi, and all the people Tsukihi helps with their relationship problems. Like I said, she's also very passionate, so when provoked, she can get really ruthless, hence sticking a toothbrush up someone's ass, or trying to wake someone up by swinging an awl at them. That said, she does it with the sincerest intentions because there are no two sides to her, unlike Araragi, so she doesn't mind burdening herself with other's problems and doesn't look at it as an obligation. But being stable also means she isn't thinking about her future- As Ougi put it "There is no future for you, there is only a never-ending present...", she is referring equally to her personality and her oddity, meaning she always lives in the present and never thinks about tomorrow. She is very content with this, because what would a Phoenix aspire to be exactly when all it cares to do is give warmth? She has everything she needs right in front of her at all times. You can also tie this back to her obsession with traditional Japanese clothing, or her fashion sensibilities in general. She's apparently going to become an aspiring dancer in the future, which kinda contradicts what I just said, so I am not really sure how else NisiOisiN wants to expand on the Shide no Tori oddity later on. That said, if she becomes a celebrity the comparison can still work, or maybe she'll just call it quits and become a nurse, who knows? At any rate, I hope I cleared up my thought process a bit and I'm sorry that I explained it poorly the first time around.


I see. I understand, and I can imagine what you have depicted from the series based on the things you have pointed out, although I couldn't pick up the points that weren't in the anime, as I never read the novels.
It's interesting how you saw something in Tsukihi that would usually be overlooked as something that actually defines Tsukihi herself. I found Tsukihi to be one of the more ambiguous characters in the series so I didn't pick up a lot from Tsukihi as I could never make many connections from her. Having you point these parts out does show how straightforward some of her was.
A small example was that I never picked up the fact that Tsukihi always having a traditional appearance was something that may have been intentional by NisiOisiN, or the statement that Ougi made "There is no future for you, there is only a never-ending present" having a double meaning, referring to her personality as well.

How the series and characters are always ambiguous yet straightforward at the same time always amazes me, and makes me love this series so much. This series is an amazing example of a story that "shows and doesn't tell", and I believe Shaft managed to adapt this into an anime very well. While I haven't read any of the Monogatari Series novels, I don't feel the need to do so compared to other series I've watched, because watching the anime feels like the novel itself, with the point of "showing, not telling" the story and characters. Every time I re-watch the series, I always gain new perspectives after picking up many of the things I previously missed that I didn't even know I missed.

I seldom read the forums, and I saw your post by chance, and I'm glad I did since I never did see the similarities between mental illnesses and the characters. Reading someone else's opinion covering most of the similarities between them does save me the time of deliberately trying to spot them when I go to re-watch the series the next time as well and I thank you for that.

Once again, thanks for posting your thoughts on this subject.

Modified by Draconix814, Apr 4, 2018 8:37 PM
 
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