Monogatari: The Skeptic’s Guide to Monogatari

The Skeptic's Guide to Monogatari

Studio Shaft’s anime is long-running and has three movies. franchise Monogatari, split into three “seasons” over ten years between 2009 and 2019, seems almost purpose-built to deter newcomers. It has a confusing naming system that names each story arc independently, creating a tortured continuity and non-linear storytelling. AniplexThe series’ hideously expensive Blu-ray volumes make it a comparable investment to buying your first car. Inconsistent streaming availability combine to shout “Stay away!” It takes so much effort! There are many complex flowcharts that can be found on the MonogatariYour watch order will be clarified by wiki competitors

That’s not even taking into account MonogatariHigh frequency and intense of fanserviceThis includes the sexual objectification of all female characters and regular, uncomfortably explicit elements of suggested incest or pedophilia. Even if these scenes are played mostly for laughs, it’s no wonder that the series, although popular amongst certain subsets of anime fandom, has never broken into “mainstream” anime acceptance.

Based on the prolific Japanese light-novel author NisiOisin‘s twenty-eight-novel Monogatari series, the anime adapts the first eighteen of these into its three “seasons”, and tells the story of seventeen-year-old main character Koyomi Araragi’s final year at high school, the female characters he befriends, and the unusual supernatural occurrences that befall them. It is a harem anime in its structure. MonogatariThis genre is far more sophisticated and complex than it would seem.

The term Monogatari in Japanese literature means, roughly translated, “epic novel”. Only a few authors are as prolific as this. NisiOisinCould transform a boring, overdone Japanese high school setting into a thought-provoking and entertaining, sometimes even profound, story. This is if you can get past the raging torrent. ecchiContent and endless circular conversations stuffed with untranslatable wordplay. There’s a reason. MonogatariHas never received an English dub. It would not be possible.

The nearest MonogatariThe audiobook translations of the first few novels are available in English. They were read by some highly-respected North American anime voice actors. The novels themselves are available to buy physically and digitally in English, at least up to Japanese volume eighteen, where the “Final Season” ends. Spoiler — it’s not very final, as two further book “seasons” follow. It’s not known if the anime adaptation will be made, but Shaft’s chief executive Akiyuki Shibou stated previously that he wanted to continue adapting this series for as many years as possible. NisiOisinContinue writing it.

Monogatari‘s central conceit regards the existence of “oddities” (or “aberrations” or “apparitions” depending on translation or context). Although they look very similar to some Japanese Yokai, Oddities are dependent on humans for their existence. They can often assume the form of animals and represent an individual’s inner pain or unacknowledged wants. When oddities attach themselves to a person, the consequences may be dire, and the services of supernatural “specialists” may be required to combat them. His love for complex Japanese wordplay is what led to his obsession with Japanese wordplay. NisiOisinHe often infuses the bizarre elements of his stories with powers derived from words or character readings that are difficultly translated into English.

MonogatariThe first anime season started in 2009 with fifteen episodes of adaptations of the first novel. Bakemonogatari (Monster Tale). BakemonogatariKoyomi’s interactions with the female cast include the frighteningly sharp-tongued and purple-haired Hitagi Senjogahara who became his girlfriend. Despite the fact that there are many, it is not uncommon for them to be a…” ecchiAraragi’s shenanigans are perpetuated by Araragi. MonogatariIt is noteworthy in the way it establishes its central relationship early. There’s none of this wishy-washy “will they or won’t they” nonsense so common to high school anime, and Araragi never strays from Senjogahara. Except for a few arcs, their romantic relationship is mostly hidden. This allows Araragi’s friendships to be the main focus.

Confusingly, BakemonogatariThis is not the first chronologically. It’s actually the third. NisiOisin2. MonogatariNovel was Kizumonogatari (Wound Tale), and instead of comprising part of the anime’s first TV season, it was instead produced as a trilogy of three movies, finally released after many delays in 2016 and 2017. KizumonogatariThis is the story of Araragi’s encounter with Queen of Oddities, a gravely wounded European vampire Kiss-shot Acerolaorion Heart-under blade. (NisiOisin(Sometimes,’s characters have a lot of names. He saves her life, and then he becomes a vampire. This isn’t a sad story. TwilightIt’s not a romance story, but a satirical one. It’s darker and more melancholy.

The KizumonogatariMovies, even though they look different than TV series, are a microcosm for everything MonogatariThis is what it’s about. They are probably my favorite part of the franchiseDespite their flaws, they are still very enjoyable. The combined runtime is almost three and a quarter hours. KizumonogatariIt feels too long as a whole, and sometimes bloated. It is full of the trademark long, digression-filled, rambling paragraphs. MonogatariConversations, but also includes amazing visuals, action animation, and incredible gore (fountains full of blood!).), and even slapstick comedy referencing the very best of Chuck Jones and his deranged Looney Tunes. But not with vampires.

Anyone who is unsure whether or not to watch would be wrong. Monogatari?, KizumonogatariTo see if you can handle the slow pace, verbose dialogue, and the intentionally unsettling films, a good place is to start is to watch movies. ecchimaterial, the shocking violence, and at times frustratingly obtuse character. Both for the better and worse KizumonogatariAll of these aspects are doubled.

Whereas the TV series is relentlessly colorful, the movies stick to a limited color palette of yellow/red/black/white, likely an overt reference to the vampire Kiss-shot’s design. This creates a trilogy of movies that look almost nothing like anything else. The films’ queasy, hazy ambience is reminiscent the unimaginable nightmare Araragi must traverse. I definitely recommend sticking through the slower scenes for the absolutely bonkers climax where two continuously-regenerating vampires battle each other in an empty stadium, each gleefully lopping body parts off their opponent, only for them to instantly regrow. It’s both hilarious and gross.

2012 was the year of the next big chunk MonogatariSeason 1, the eleventh episode Nisemonogatari(Fake Story), in which Araragi discusses his sometimes contentious relationship to his younger sisters, Karen & Tsukihi. The Araragi parents are absent completely from the household (his mom appears only once, in a separate arc), which might help explain why Araragi’s interactions and those of his siblings seem so weird and strange.

It is impossible to discuss it. NisemonogatariWithout mentioning at most the MonogatariThis is the most iconic scene from the series. That one with the toothbrush. This is an extremely uncomfortable extended sequence in which Araragi offers his sister Karen to brush her teeth. It’s portrayed with excruciating detail and is romantically, sexually explicit, and filled with groaning sounds. It’s implied that Araragi would have done illegal carnal activity if he and Karen hadn’t been interrupted at the last moment by Tsukihi his youngest sister. If the viewers are not exposed to disturbing incest-containing anime, it’s easy for them to be turned off by such a disturbing scene. Although I believe this scene is intended to be humorous, my wife laughed at me after I showed it to her. MonogatariThis is not a show you can safely watch with your wife.

The 2012 short concludes season one Nekomonogatari (Cat Tale) BlackThe second story in continuity,. The second season opens with 2013’s Nekomonogatari White. This story is thematically related to the first but takes place much later in continuity. These stories focus on Tsubasa, a seemingly perfect student, and Araragi’s vocal desire after her voluminous breasts. Their attraction is mutual but Araragi keeps his fidelity to Senjogahara. The strain of their relationship and Hanekawa’s neglectful/abusive home life cause Hanekawa many destructive cat-themed oddities. This section of the site will be appreciated by cat-girl lovers who are enlightened. franchise. Meow.

If season one can be said to have a theme, it can perhaps be distilled down to “Araragi meets a girl with a supernatural problem, he sacrifices himself to help her with it.” The second season often relegates Araragi to a supporting role, while the girls deal with their own issues, gaining independence and autonomy from him. In the first season, supernatural specialist and mentor figure Meme Oshino repeatedly announces that “you can’t save people, people just go and get saved on their own.” It takes the rest of the show for Araragi to truly internalize and comprehend this concept, but the second season provides several examples. The first season introduces concepts that are deeper in the second, but not all of them may be obvious at first. MonogatariIt is a show that rewards repeated viewings for its sophisticated callbacks and subtle themes as well as character nuances.

The second season also introduces one of my very favorite characters — the spooky and mysterious Ougi Oshino, the clearly inhuman, empty-eyed, malevolent and mysterious girl who wraps Araragi around her little finger. Through the second season, the mystery surrounding her identity and motives persists. The final will be the primary focus. She is the primary instigator of a plot that develops non-chronologically over the second half.

However, I am not a huge fan. HanamonogatariIt is an arc that was added to the end of the second episode. It primarily stars Suruga Kanbaru, a second-year highschool student. It is a perfect example of a female character working out their issues independently from the main male character. Kanbaru is also gaslighted by Ougi Oshino, who dresses as a boy and convinces Kanbaru that she was always this way. Ougi is such an entertaining, but messy source of chaos.

MonogatariThe last season of’s is the most difficult in terms of continuity. It was released between 2014-2019. There are episodes that take place across the entire timeline. franchise. It seems to be a common practice with NisiOisinThis is how you approach MonogatariThematically, the arcs of’s storytelling are organized. It helps to follow along with a flowchart, or a database. The twenty-episode OwarimonogatariMy favorite part of the TV program is this: so many wonderful character moments, revelations, emotional resolutions.

This final season forces Araragi to confront his past choices and take responsibility for them. Whereas the previous seasons featured great character development for the peripheral female cast, this last segment of stories really drills down into Araragi’s character — his strengths, his failings, his assumptions and beliefs, and challenges each one. The story is framed as Araragi’s transition to independent adulthood.

Themes that were established from the beginning and further developed through character interactions are brought to life here. They’re emotional and ultimately uplifting. As Araragi grieves, his character arcs end and his relationships progress and change, long-running characters are finally resolved. It’s refreshing to see a thematic conclusion like this in an entertainment medium that is so heavily based on long-running franchises and lengthy stories. MonogatariFinal Season. It retroactively removes the remainder of the franchiseIt is so much easier and more rewarding, which justifies the effort to get through the slower or less objectionable parts.

MonogatariShaft’s exceptional production work adds to the film’s entertainment value. The visuals are stunning and never dull. MonogatariThis is anime eye candy at its best. Akio WatanabeThe character designs of’s characters adapt and simplify VOFAN‘s beautiful light novel illustrations to give the show a striking, instantly-identifiable look. This isn’t a show where every character looks the same — there’s more than just color-coded hair used to tell the girls apart. Each girl’s character is defined by her clothing, posture, recurrent themes, and actions.

Koyomi’s obsession with attractive girls may be reflected in the fact that no background characters appear other than the main characters. These placeholder figures are similar to those of the later works. Kunihiko Ikuhara (Mawaru Penguindrum, Yuri Kuma Arashi, Sarazanmai). Backgrounds can be ever-changing, psychedelic or colorful and evocative. They can be quite realistic at times, Araragi’s school’s almost art deco-like design being a prominent feature. However, characters often walk through mindscapes that reflect their mental states. There is a lot of symbolism. MonogatariIt’s not a show that should be taken as it is.

Especially early on the series, due to the sheer density of information presented in quick-cut staccato manner, an unsuspecting viewer is likely to feel utterly overwhelmed by the walls of text lifted straight from the light novel, spewed onto the screen frequently as blink-and-you’ll-miss-them title cards. Later, however, this does improve. A little. Maybe as a distraction from the very limited animation. MonogatariDirectors of’s employ many visual tricks to keep the viewers engaged during long conversations. This is a technique that would have been interminably boring for lesser series. Although some episodes are still difficult for me to watch, I find others enjoyable. Weird camera angles, innumerable head-tilts, frequent visual pop-culture references, exaggerated slapstick, and constant surreal imagery help to keep the viewer’s brain in a constant state of “what the hell did I just watch?”

Although each story arc can only have two episodes, the opening song is sung every episode by the voice actor of the main female character. MonogatariThere are so many openings. They almost all feature fantastic pop songs and wonderful animation. Even if I hadn’t seen the show, these songs would be in my permanent playlist. The lyrics are a testament to the immense effort Shaft put into this anime.

I feel like I have only scratched the surface of the depth and quality that lies deep within the MonogatariBehind flashy visuals are series ecchi nonsense. It is a fascinating tale, well-told, with memorable, sympathetic characters and a wicked sense humour. It was a fascinating story, and I am happy I decided to give it another chance. If you are willing to overlook some of the more unpleasant or tedious aspects of the film, I highly recommend that you get on board. Monogatari train. It’s a tiring, but enjoyable and rewarding journey.

Kevin Cormack is a Scottish doctor, husband, father and anime enthusiast. He appears on The Official AniTAY Podcast regularly as Doctorkev. His accent is real

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