The intricacies of time travel
Time travel. If it were possible, what would you do? The possibilities are simply endless. I presume many would go back in time to right their wrongs, or go into the future to know what’s coming and to prepare for/avoid it.
For the not-so-normal people like Araragi, they think about
having fun bettering the lives of the people whom he has met so far. However, in the stories that include some sort of time traveling, there are always rules and quirks to follow, despite time traveling being an act that defies the laws of the universe itself. Araragi and Shinobu both quickly realize that they are mostly unable to interfere with the lives of the Monogatari heroines due the limited time that they have (not to mention the consequences that might occur due to time paradoxes), save for one individual.
So why save Mayoi out of all the possibilities? Aside from the subconscious decision by Araragi to travel back to the day before Mayoi’s death, let’s think about it this way. As Mayoi is already an apparition when Araragi first met her, by preventing her demise, the only difference that would occur 11 years later is that they would not have met each other and nothing else. But was that really the outcome? Of course not.
The butterfly effect
Despite this episode being a “setup” episode, there was a moment of brilliance that almost got me excited (for nothing though). In other time traveling stories such as Steins;Gate, there is this loose term known as the “Attractor Field Theory” (borrowed from S;G), where no matter what you do, certain events cannot be avoided (for the sake of avoiding paradoxes). Applying that theory to this episode, it would also mean that Mayoi’s death would have to be inevitable, and it looked to be the case when Mayoi started fleeing from Araragi, into an oncoming truck. For a second I thought that the irony was strong, for the it was none other than the present Araragi who caused the death of Mayoi, leading them to meet each other in the events of Bakemonogatari in the future (or past).
Alas, that didn’t turn out to be it as Mayoi successfully met her mother, thus changing the future as a result. As the end of the episodes indicate, the world was annihilated 11 years into the future after saving Mayoi. That one little act of saving a girl’s life lead to the destruction of the world 11 years later.
What is this..I don’t even? This phenomenon is also known as the butterfly effect, where the flap of a butterfly could potentially cause a hurricane. A seemingly small decision that you make today could alter the rest of your life, or in this case – the fate of the world. How and why? Also, let’s not forget about Ougi and Yotsugi and their involvement in this arc.