With dried tears on my cheek, I've come here to analyze. : D
Surprisingly Complex: M.S.S.S Episode 20
I didn't guess it. I never saw it coming that Hachikuji was the target. On the other hand, I did saw it coming that the anti-existence/darkness is something that appears when apparitions stray from the path, so to say.
Once again, I was completely oblivious of the obvious lyrics in the ending, just like in Bake. This time though they didn't get me to a crazy conclusion, but just deepening the understanding the characters of Hachikuji and Araragi. Once again has our rightful champion saved a girl from darkness, and get rewarded with love. Of course that makes it sound cheesy, but I think Hachikuji's final conversation with Araragi showed something else too. Araragi is once again hypocritical, and I think that it's one of his defining characteristics. But he's not hypocritical because he thinks himself better than others, but because he was born a martyr. If someone gets in trouble, it's not okay because they might get hurt, where as he can go through extended periods of all kinds of hurt because then the others don't have to suffer. His overprotective nature is destroyed here, when one of the first times ever, he just can't do anything. He's powerless, mentally and physically.
OH MY. I just realized something. We saw some effects of true character development in this episode. Remember... What was Araragi asked to do with Hachikuji when they met the first time? Exactly. He was asked to abandon her, let her go, as that is how Lost Cows are handled. He just couldn't do it, but ultimately solved the problem by finding her home. This time, there was no luxury of destination, thus he was forced to give in. The Araragi of the past would have been more stubborn, he wouldn't have let go, but I think this proves his growth as a person. Sometimes you just have to let go.
On the matter of Hachikuji... This episode makes it pretty clear what she feels. She's not too disappointed in her fate, and one of the last things she says is: "At least I had fun." Which is relative to the fact that she lived 11 years in anguish, leading people away from the path that they were on. Interestingly, the way Gaen put it was "-- Apparitions who have strayed from their path", which could be an nod to the fact that Hachikuji strayed from the path by not leaving it. And ultimately, her path led her to her untimely leave.
Hachikuji was one of my favorite characters, and she provided lots of the "air" that the series needs for it to progress naturally. She was the X, the variable. She could come by whenever, and leave whenever. That cycle kept the pace of the series natural, where sometimes we would go on with the story and sometimes get interesting viewpoints from Hachikuji. She was the other side of the coin, often showing the flaws in Araragi's and the viewer's logic, and thus improving the philosophies that the Monogatari series has.
Now I'm only asking...
Are we going to lose that part of the show completely?
And if not...
How are we going to replace her?
I don't know, I really liked the character.
Hachikuji is X, and Araragi is haunted by the question from his past.