Manga by Oh!great
Original Story by NISIOISIN
Original Character Design by VOFAN
Edited by Kristi Fernandez
Translated by Ko Ransom
Production by Grace Lu & Hiroko Mizuno
Oh!great’s Bakemonogatari manga is back once again for its third volume! The Mayoi Snail arc is underway, with Araragi helping the young girl Mayoi Hachikuji find her way home. While Araragi appears to have found a new aberration to face, not everything is what it seems.
Hachikuji’s story centers on the perception of love. When Hachikuji’s parents got divorced, she viewed it not as a loss of love between her parents, but instead a choice to no longer strive for love. Hachikuji believes that loving another person is a conscious effort, and by not trying to continually love an individual, you slowly drift apart from them. It’s this ideology that motivates Hachikuji’s desire to reunite with her mother. Hachikuji thinks that the longer she is away from her mother, the sooner the love that she had for her will wane. Hachikuji’s journey to her mother’s house is her effort to keep the love she cherishes alive.
That said, Hachikuji’s story is only one piece of the Mayoi Snail arc, as the other focal character is Araragi himself. As mentioned in the previous volume, Araragi feels isolated from the rest of society due to his life being bound to the supernatural. Through Araragi’s interactions with Hachikuji in Volume 3, we dive further into the complexity of this predicament. Araragi feels inferior to those around him, viewing the achievements of his youth as flukes rather than genuine efforts. His overwhelmed feelings resulted in him losing motivation in his daily life, subsequently straining his relationship with his family. While Hachikuji wishes for a united family, Araragi desires the exact opposite. Isolation from his family has become a coping mechanism for Araragi’s regret, failing to live up to the expectations set for him. Solidarity has become a detrimental part of Araragi’s life but it is a habit that he can’t live without.
Senjogahara also plays a vital supporting role in this story arc and is given some great characterization as a result. Being plagued by an aberration her entire high school life, Senjogahara has become accustomed to being abnormal. This has also affected her confidence in her own perception of the world, and that uncertainty ties into the mystery of the snail aberration. When Senjogahara reveals the mystery of the aberration to Araragi, it serves as her trusting in the instincts that she had believed to be folly. It emphasises that Senjogahara is not a damsel in distress, but rather someone who wants to break free from her past inhibitions.
As usual Oh!great has outdone himself with this volume’s artwork. From the intricate backgrounds to the varied character expressions, every page of Bakemonogatari is a work of beauty. The manga also places meticulous effort into emphasizing the critical moments in the narrative through its paneling. Senjogahara’s declaration of love deserves the most praise, being presented in a series of three two-pages spreads. Oh!great has a perfect grasp of the moments in Bakemonogatari that fans love, and it is always exciting to see what he has up his sleeve.
Once again, the Bakemonogatari manga manages to be a stunning adaptation, perfectly presenting the Mayoi Snail arc to audiences both new and old. As the series continues to get crazier, it will be interesting to see how Oh!great brings his unique flair to the series. We enter the Suruga Monkey arc in the next volume, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.