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Bakemonogatari

Review: Kizumonogatari

Jan 27 // Anthony Redgrave
Kizumonogatari: Wound TalePublished by: Vertical Inc.Written by: NisiOisiNIllustrated by: VOfanTranslated by: Ko RansomReleased: December 15, 2015MSRP: $14.95 Despite being the third light novel released, Kizumonogatari is effectively the start of the series as a whole. High schooler Araragi Koyomi meets with a vampire during his Golden Week Spring Break holidays and subsequently joins the legion of the undead. As a bid to get his humanity back he has to serve  his new master or be damned to live in the darkness forever. It's a tale that has been hinted at throughout the TV show so fans will enjoy experiencing it first hand. Once the story gets going, the plot is set to a rigid structure with a few interesting turns keep it from being stale and providing a steady pace from start to finish. At times, the pacing can become slow especially during the first few chapters and in-between set pieces.  Despite the difference in medium, the feeling of a Monogatari story is still present. The mounting supernatural pressures, off-kilter dialogue, and perverse situations all find their way into the novel in at some point. Kizumonogatari keeps your eyes glued to the page by intertwining the normal with the paranormal. Readers of the popular Japanese author Haruki Murakami will feel right at home with the pacing and themes visited in this book.  As usual, the lead is the internally loquacious but externally laconic Araragi Koyomi, a high schooler stumbling through life with no direction. This character archetype is common in Japanese novels rather than Western ones although common strings can be drawn to the everyday reluctant hero with a quick mind and tongue. The cast is kept small and intimate with returning faces from the show making their first appearances in this novel. Araragi's interactions with the supporting cast are great as it explores their initial interactions and helps long time fans understand the basis of their relationship. Character quirks, catch phrases, and snappy dialogue makes it hard to dislike anyone. A personal highlight is Araragi's relationship with Tsubasa and how it evolves. It treads the line between strong friendship and romantic interest in such a way that when it is later followed up in Nekomonogatari Black you know where they stand perfectly.  The story is told entirely in the first-person perspective putting you right into the mind of Araragi. A constant long-running internal dialogue throughout the book. Readers that prefer to have dialogue-heavy novels with little in the ways of the description will enjoy the trimming of the 'adjective fat' in favour of getting to understand Araragi's personality more. This close intimate relationship between the reader and Araragi helps you relate to his plight even if first impressions are bad. In terms of writing style, this could come off as lacking in variety as you are only getting information from one viewpoint. It takes some getting to used to as I had found the first few chapters difficult to read. Odd interruptions, stray words, and abnormal punctuations cause the writing to stop and start mimicking the short snappy thoughts of Araragi that break the flow. Once you get used to this style and the story picks up the rest of the story flows a lot better. For the most part, the English translation of Kizumonogatari does a great job in capturing the tone and style of the original. The characters are still fun, quirky, and just as animated as they were in the show supported by the strong dialogue. Tsubasa's words are sweet with a drizzle of flirtation, Araragi is an over-analytical opportunist and Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade continues to carry a brazenly confident demeanor despite all circumstances. There are some points of the novel that may be very peculiar for readers not versed in the ways of Japanese anime and this could be very hit and miss. I can see where the author was intending with these sections for future use in an anime but in a novel they slowed the pace down considerably or made me feel very uncomfortable to read. They are rare and far between and that is why they could be a deal breaker as they come from the far left field.  Presentation wise, this isn't a normal Western paperback novel. Partly because the cover has paper flaps and the size gives it a nice heavy chunky feel to it. There are a few pictures on the first few pages of the book that look nice and a blurb in the inside of the paper flaps giving it the feel of a hardback book. The book clocks in at 344 pages with a short translated afterword from the author. It's a decent sized book that will keep keen readers busy for a week and casual readers for a little longer.  I've been an active follower of Araragi's adventures on the screen so I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of where it all started. After overcoming the initial challenges, I was immersed in familiar territory and enjoying every step. The pacing, dialogue, characters, and feel is pure Monogatari and fans of the series will not be disappointed by the translation. The book comes at an excellent time coinciding with the release of the movie so fans should give this book a flick through if they want to get the full experience. Newcomers, especially those not accustomed to conventional Japanese literature, may experience a culture shock in some of the scenarios visited in the story; however, they may find the charm in the intricacies and storytelling that made this series so appealing to many people from around the world. [This review is based on a review copy provided by the publisher] The Art of GrassHopper Manufacture: Complete Collection of SUDA51Published By PIE International + PIE Books (Website)Written By: SUDA51Released: June 2015MSRP: $28.95 (Amazon)ISBN-13: 978-4-7562-4586-1
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Monogatari without Shaft
I don't think I could ever think of the Monogatari series without Shaft's trademark animation and visuals. It would be like eating PB and J sandwiches all my life and then discovering peanut butter could exist on starch witho...

Let's break down the Kizumonogatari movie trailers

Jan 04 // Anthony Redgrave
Before we start, Kizumonogatari is actually the first part of a trilogy of movies. The first one coming out is called Tekketsu-hen, second is Nekketsu-hen, and finally Reiketsu-hen. Or to put it in English terms; Iron-Blooded, Hot-Blooded, and Cold-Blooded referencing Kiss-shots full name and title Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade the iron-blooded, hot-blooded, cold-blooded vampire.  If you thought the trend of splitting the last book of a series into two movies is bad, they're doing a Hobbit here by splitting a 344-page book into three movies.  [embed]34670:5332:0[/embed] Kizumonogatari I- Tekketsu Trailer (10.10.15)  One of the first shots is of a tree with narration in the background. The tree isn't actually referenced in the book at all, or at least in any significant detail. However, we do know that there is a massive tree that grows out of the Cram School which is featured heavily throughout the series and that includes Kizumonogatari. The tree grows out of a hole in the roof of the cram school that was created by Kiss-Shot once she regains her true form.  Oshino and Araragi are sitting down in a sparse room that looks like a station. While the two of them are seen conversing with one another alone it is often done in the Cram school rather than any other location so that leads me to believe that this is still the cram school. However, the cram school has always been described as abandoned and unused. This being Shaft I can always suppose it holds a cinematographic purpose more than an accurate one.  Kiss-shot is shown bloody and limbless on the floor of a train platform. While this is the basis of Kizumonogatari the location differs from the book. In the book Araragi finds her on the street illuminated by a sole street light and is able to identify her as a Vampire due to her lack of shadow. 'You aren't going to save me' is a reference to Araragi's initial hesitation to help Kiss-shot. Ah yes, the panty scene. During Araragi's initial encounter with Tsubasa, a gust of wind blows up her skirt while she is adjusting her braid causing her panties to be revealed to Araragi. The book takes a long time describing the situation in great detail for something that takes a few seconds in the trailer. Earlier in the trailer, you see Tsubasa catch up to Araragi. This takes place after Araragi sees Tsubasa pants. I know this compared to any other times Araragi meets Tsubasa throughout the book because of the line 'You walk fast, Araragi' as Araragi was trying to get away without embarrassment from seeing her pants.  Araragi inspecting a young blonde girl on the ground surrounded by chairs is just after he awakes after saving Kiss-shot. The location is supposed to be the cram school which I can see through the use of the plastic school chairs. Araragi running crazily to the right in a sort of frenzy is when he attempts to save Kiss-shot. In the book Araragi internally debates whether or not he should save her and ultimately abandons his humanity to do so hence the crazy running. Some of the last shots in the trailer have people engulfed in fire. This is because vampires are weak to certain things and sunlight is one of them. The first figure is Araragi having just discovered this weakness and the second is Kiss-shot in her now 10-year-old form saving Araragi from burning to death. [embed]34670:5331:0[/embed] Kizumonogatari I- Tekketsu Trailer 2 (12.24.15)  The second trailer doesn't have a lot more to add that hasn't already been seen in the first. But we do get a glimpse of the three vampire hunters that are after Araragi and Kiss-shot throughout Kizumongatari.  Araragi's first bites of dialogue follow the novel as he pleas with the Vampire Hunters not to kill him because he is human. Despite at this point having just turned into a Vampire by Kiss-shot. The first Vampire Hunter shown is Dramaturgy, as described in the books to be a seven feet tall man with unkempt hair held back with a hairband.  Next is Episode. Now he has already made a reappearance in the latest Owarimonogatari as part of Shinobu Mail and also earlier in Tsubasa Tiger as part of Monogatari Second Season. For the most part, he looks the same as his TV anime counterpart including the giant cross he slings over his shoulder.  Last is Guillotine Cutter. The trailer has a glare behind him so it shadows most of his clothing. In the book, he is described to be wearing priestly robes, docile face, and hedgehog-like hair. The light shining from behind him may be a reference to his holy background. Another interesting point is Araragi's duds. Araragi is never described in the books and it was character designer Akio Watanabe who had made him the way he looks now. What's interesting is that Araragi has the same sense of style as he does in the anime; hoodie, vest, and jeans but he is also rocking a peace medallion. Could this be referencing the lie he tells his sisters that over the holidays he is on a journey of self-discovery? One of the last shots is Araragi holding Kiss-shot in his arms with blood spray across the ground. From the pose and Kiss-shot's lack of limbs, I think this is just as Kiss-shot feeds on Araragi to save herself.  [embed]34670:5333:0[/embed] Kizumonogatari Movie Trailer (2012)- VERY MUCH SPOILERs This is a little bonus. Before Kizumonogatari exists as we know it now, there was a lot of talk about releasing it as a stand-alone movie in 2012. There were a lot of delays and radio silence about the project before 2015 finally revealed the trilogy. They were able to bring out a trailer for Kizumonogatari before all this uncertainty and it shows a lot more of the story than the previous two.  This section will include massive spoilers for the whole book since there are scenes from the finale featured in the trailer.  First it is more accurate than the more recent trailers having Kiss-shot actually being found on the street illuminated by a sole street lamp just as it's described in the book.  Next is Araragi's first confrontation with the Vampire Hunters. Dramaturgy is seen in the left lane, Episode can be identified in the right fork with his massive silver cross. And Guillotine Cutter appears from behind Araragi just as it's described in the book. The character designs for the three Vampire Hunters look a little rougher than their other anime counterparts. Episode looks a tad older and without his white school uniform and is instead in a generic white shirt.  Dramaturgy doesn't even look human here although his hair and physique still match his description. It could be a reference to his true form as a Vampire. We get a better shot of Guillotine Cutter here as it's obvious that he is in a priestly garb, still with a calm demeanor. No better shot of his hedgehog-like hair, though. Next we see Meme Oshino intervening against the three vampire hunters taking down Araragi. This is very faithful to the book as he adopts the same weird pose to block all three simultaneous attacks.  Episode's cross is seen connecting with Araragi with a splash of blood emitting from his shoulder. This is from Araragi's battle with Episode where Araragi discovers another one of his vampire weaknesses.  Tsubasa watches the fight from the background. This is either from the first or the second fight as she is witness to both. However judging from the previous shot referencing Episode's fight with Araragi I'm thinking it's from that fight also. Tsubasa faces away from a pair of hands inching creepily towards her. From the background, I know that it's the scene where Araragi asks to touch Tsubasa's breasts. Next is Oshino Meme holding up Kiss-shot's stolen heart moments before he returns it to Araragi. The corpse is Guillotine Cutter after he is eaten by Kiss-shot in her newly regained perfect form. The next few scenes are fairly chronological. Kiss-shot arrives on the school sports field to do battle against Araragi. Her landing destroys the ground due to her leaping from the Cram school to Araragi's school grounds. Then Araragi and Kiss-shot fight each other, completely decimating each other with each hit. Again very similar to the novel as their vampire strength is able to destroy the bodies but their healing factor can regenerate the lost flesh. Overall this trailer is very faithful to the novel it is based on. It also retains the anime style that Shaft had been using for the past few seasons compared to the style being incorporated into the films now.  Kizumonogatari I- Tekketsu Trailer (10.10.15)
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Did something good happen just now?
It's a very interesting time for English literate Monogatari fans. With the first officially translated Monogatari light novel coinciding with the often delayed and heavily anticipated Kizumonogatari movie set to re...

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari Episode 12

Dec 21 // Anthony Redgrave
The episode opens with Araragi still at the shrine and calling his significant other Senjougahara. He explains the danger he will be going through soon and questions his position as Shinobu's second minion, a minion that has been chosen by Shinobu but is inadequate for the position compared to the Samurai. He goes about it by asking Senjougahara if she would leave Araragi if she had found someone better than him. In classic Senjougahara fashion, she bluntly agrees and goes on to explain a relationship is a continuous process of effort and love to prevent the other from leaving for a better suitor. Their conversations often have Araragi and Senjougahara throwing witticisms at each other making this scene very endearing for the couple. Rarely do they open hearts and discuss their problems and when they do Senjougahara would step up to the plate since she is more dominant in the relationship. This does not happen as she lets Araragi fight for Shinobu and puts his mind at ease about Tsubasa. Lastly this conversation marks the first time they explicitly express their love for each other. And it's wonderful. The episode moves briskly onto the dual. On the school grounds, Gaen explains the rules. As Araragi has waning Vampire powers and the Samurai has recently been reborn with his oddity powers relatively intact, the dual has been designed in regards to the power difference. Gaen places a Kendo sword between Araragi and the Samurai and the first to reach it after taking ten paces away and strike the other will win. A mix of both marital ability and agility. During the preparations, Gaen informs Araragi that Tsubasa and Senjougahara are in danger. As this scene takes part side by side to Tsubasa Tiger, she is referring to the tiger oddity that burnt down both the cram school and Tsubasa's house and is currently targeting Tsubasa who is staying with Senjougahara.  This puts Araragi at a crossroads. Does he stay and fight a meaningless fight for the sake of a Vampire that refuses to face her past, or does he try and save his loved ones. This part really exemplifies Araragi's three-way commitment to the three most important girls in his life. Each one plays a large role in his life and his choice will determine as the most important. He ends up sending Kanbaru to attend to Senjougahara and stays for the dual. Even though it is a pointless fight, Araragi has to prove to himself that he is deserving of Shinobu. It's a matter of pride more than anything. Before the fight begins, without showing herself, Shinobu drops the Kokorowatari blade in place of the Kendo sword raising the stakes. Previously Araragi could lose the dual but not die and then Gaen and Episode would've exorcised the Samurai and now there is a real danger of Araragi losing his head in the dual. As the fight begins, the Samurai ditches the armour and makes it to the sword first. Araragi, however, outsmarts everyone by placing Meme's seal (previously used in Nadeko Snake) onto the Samurai. The rules had called for the first strike which can be translated as 'first touch' thus being victorious. The seal causes all the oddities that made up the Samurai to wash away as the Samurai calls out for Shinobu. A poignant end as Shinobu appears distraught at the sight of her first minion dying again. In the end, the Samurai really did have feelings for Shinobu and wanted to return to being her minion. I think in a way so did she but was too afraid of confronting him about it and was already with Araragi despite the separation. Shinobu tearfully eats the remnants of her former minion as Araragi dashes to save Tsubasa from Kako. Only these last two episodes reveal Shinobu's tragic relationship with the Samurai. He was someone she didn't think she would see again like an ex and like an ex, carries lots of emotional and psychological baggage she doesn't want to let out. This is why she was being very cautious about avoiding him, about not wanting a confrontation. The only time she sees him is when she has to devour the oddities he is made up of.  Owarimonogatari had some of the darkest and troubling arcs of the series and it wrapped up the loose ends introduced in Monogatari: Second Season. A chronological release of the series would've made me understand the series a lot better holistically and retain the fine minutia behind each scene. This is especially true for the final arc Shinobu Mail and Tsubasa Tiger as they happen at the same time as each other. Everything is interlinked and you'll only find it if you have a stupid good memory or are Gaen. There isn't a year long break between Monogatari instalments as Kizumonogatari will be released next month following on with it's official English translation of the novel.  The Monogatari fan inside me would've liked more funny wacky moments and more Tsukihi (there is never enough Tsukihi) in this season. Owarimonogatari has slate my thirst for the oddity ramblings and drop dead gorgeous art direction and provided some very interesting stories and character development in the process.  [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]
Monogatari photo
I hate break ups
The Monogatari series can be sometimes hard to follow. Lots of characters interact in the background, a substantial amount of lore and exposition is dumped on the watcher every two episodes, and if you're a subtitle reader yo...

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari Episode 11

Dec 14 // Anthony Redgrave
The first minion or Samurai as I have been referring to him in these recaps doesn't engage in immediate fisticuffs with Araragi after their meeting in the bookstore. Instead, they go the diplomatic route and exchange their differences with words and a drink. The Samurai doesn't want to hurt Shinobu but does want Araragi to separate from her. Araragi is naturally skeptical over the sudden change of heart. The foot mark left by Ononoki that has been a point of ridicule and humor throughout this arc plays an important role here as it is a mark of a Specialist. Similar to how animals mark their prey, a specialist will mark their oddity so other specialists are unable to harm them.  Araragi is then saved by Gaen and Episode prompting the Samurai to make his leave. Before departing, he challenges Araragi to a dual at night for Shinobu. To me, Episode appeared to be a new character to the series and is another oddity specialist working with Gaen. Looking into the Wikia for the character, he has appeared before in Tsubasa Tiger. His design is much more shonen than the other males or specialists, carrying a massive red cross as a weapon and hurling it at oddities. Other specialists don't seem to carry weapons unless you count drowning people in exposition.  Heading back to the temple finally with books, bra, and magazines in hand, Araragi is pulled into a bush by Ononoki as she has been spying on the fight between Kanbaru and Shinobu. The bulk of the second half of the episode is spent between the two girls arguing over Shinobu's actions. The relationship partner metaphor is shown in full light here as Kanbaru is trying to make Shinobu face the Samurai directly instead of having Araragi or Gaen pass on the message. It's the "messy breakup, no closure scenario". Kanbaru wants Shinobu to face up to her actions and end the relationship with the Samurai since she is with Araragi, but Shinobu doesn't want to go through with the anguish of doing so. The layout of the scene is fitting. Shinobu has clearly overpowered Kanbaru and threatens to kill her as Kanbaru speaks the harsh truths. Shinobu's dominant position is her trying to squash all the difficult feelings and thoughts she has for her past minion as represented by Kanbaru. Kanbaru is still able to get to her and slowly grinds her down. It's the thoughts and feelings that cannot be overcome by physical prowess and only through resolution will Shinobu be able to overcome this burden. [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]
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Relationship advice for the Vampire
The Monogatari series is part of the rare breed of anime genres of having a lot of harem traits and showing the consequences of misleading actions. Araragi being a harem lead has perverted tendencies, but also the decency&nbs...


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Kizumonogatari

The new Kizumonogatari trailer goes back to where it all started


Won't you help a fallen vamp?
Dec 08
// Josh Tolentino
It's finally happening. The now venerable and celebrated Monogatari Series may be coming to a conclusion with Owarimonogatari, but it won't really be over until we return to the beginning with the movie adaptations of K...

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari episodes 9-10

Dec 07 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 9: Shinobu Mail, Part ThreeKicking off this episode is action. A fitting opening since in the last episode ended with a cliffhanger. The oddity had a very interesting form. It was an amalgamation of all the oddities Araragi had dealt with in back in Bakemonogatari, but it's body was made up of floating kanji. The art direction for the opening was bold and beautiful with the muted black, grey and white background contrasting with the bold yellow jacket of the oddity.A decisive play is made by Araragi and Kanbaru using their odd dojutsu (kanji in the iris) that goes wrong because Araragi is an idiot. Shinobu throws them a bone and by bone I mean the Apparition Killer blade allowing Araragi to deliver the killing blow.   After the fight, Shinobu informs the duo that Izuko Gaen is in another castle in a very odd fan servicey way possible. I'm a fan of Shinobu's character design since she is a ridiculously cute girl with an archaic way of talking. But because of her 10-year-old appearance that makes me uncomfortable when the show sexualizes her as fan service. I'm just not into lolis. Fortunately, this episode is more prude in this area, if only it was like this for most episodes involving a loli character. After making their way to the shrine and finally meeting with Gaen, we get a massive text dump that takes up the rest of the episode. Gaen falsely introduces herself as Meme's younger sister then proceeds to talk for the rest of the episode about her thoughts on the mysterious man in the Samurai Armour.  Bottom line is as a Vampire you can never die even when exposed to sunlight so Shinobu's first follower that had committed suicide by walking into the light has now regenerated 400 years later.  Episode 10: Shinobu Mail, Part FourGaen continues to leak out exposition and explanation like a gushing water tap almost designed to piss off both Araragi and Shinobu. Whenever Gaen refers to the Samurai she always says that he was Shinobu's first prompting the jealous side of Araragi to become exposed. Shinobu later reassures Araragi that the number before or after doesn't matter and that she is with him now. I thought this was a nice line to include as it shows the strong connection Shinobu has with her current host Araragi. The North Shirahebi Shrine (or Kita-Shirahebi Shrine) is a location revisited many times in Monogatari and it has shown up again as the location of an air spot. The place where all the ashes of the Samurai also known as Shinobu's first partner had gathered and began resurrecting.  Gaen leaves the problem with the team saying that if things aren't sorted out soon then they will need assistance from Kagenui since she specialises in immortal oddities.  Gaen is an interesting character for the series. I really like her character design, taking a lot of inspiration from hip hop fashion and appearing very youthful considering that she is actually classed as middle age. Her character in the story also wavers from mildly antagonistic to helpful to the protagonists. Never directly helping but serving as an adviser for Araragi and company even if she does so in an incredibly arrogant manner.  I found this episode to be dull. A lot of it was more exposition from Gaen and it began to be confusing to understand what the next plan of action was. The episode does try to tie everything back together by putting all the oddities encountered in Bakemonogatari chronologically and it would've been useful if I had seen that season recently. Since the original had first broadcast almost 7 years ago, it's hard to remember details of what occurred in each story. At least the last third of the episode lightened things up with some playful banter between Araragi and Kanbaru.  Kanbaru's Boys Love interest is revisited as she requests Araragi to buy her the latest issue of Brutal Garcon Huff-Huffs a Half-Blood Boy and a bra. The title is strange enough on its own so when I saw that the book had a Kaiki look alike (I assume this is the Garcon) suggestively holding an Armin look alike (again assuming that's the half-blood boy). I don't think I'll ever understand the yaoi genre. Araragi also ponders whether he has been showing too much interest in young girls bordering on fetishistic and picks up a couple mature gravure magazines. This also doubles to hide the BL novels he is also buying though the cover is quickly blown by the cashier. Then he bumps into the Samurai having taken a leaf out of Orochimaru's book of possessing a girl and looking super creepy doing it. [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] Episode 9: Shinobu Mail, Part Three
Monogatari photo
Gaen is hippest of the hop
Monogatari fans that love reading will really enjoy these next two episodes. Monogatari fans that like Izuko Gaen and think that she isn't in the show enough will really like these episodes. Monogatari fans that also like Monogatari would also be excited by the new trailer for Kizumonogatari part 1: Tekketsu-hen that was released recently.  What a time to be a Monogatari fan.

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari episode 8

Nov 23 // Anthony Redgrave
After the desperate escape and rescue by Ononoki, Araragi recaps the events to the doll and his plans his next moves. Ideally he wanted to take Kanbaru somewhere safe so she won't be harmed by the Samurai oddity but since she had made physical contact with it, she is now connected to it. Also, Araragi still hasn't fulfilled his promise to Gaen of introducing Kanbaru to her so that Gaen can make use of Kanbaru's monkey paw. This is all laid out and recapped by the conversation between Araragi and Ononoki. This clears a lot of the motivation and goals of the show as previously I was unsure of which person Araragi wanted to introduce Kanbaru to. Trying to follow the story of Monogatari can be difficult amongst the streams and streams of dialogue that is spouted out every episode and it's made even more difficult when it does the Haruhi thing of airing the series out of chronology.  I once spoke to a friend about the airing schedule of Haruhi and he replied it was part of the show, that it was supposed to confusing and awkward. However, when a show has large amounts of continuity with the same characters all interacting with one another both on and off screen, it is really difficult to grasp the story and relate to the characters. Since Araragi wants to continue to protect Kanbaru from the Samurai, he proceeds with his original plan to meet with Gaen in the park. Namishiro Park specifically. A commonly revisited site for Monogatari. It has a really nice design too with boldly coloured jungle gyms and play sets contrasting strongly against the uniformly grey block of flats in the background. The middle portion of the episode has Araragi and Kanbaru getting lost a la Mayoi Cow, wondering the streets endlessly. In a case of fourth wall smashing, Kanbaru remembers the solution for the Cow oddity better than Araragi who actually experienced the oddity first hand and they arrive at the park 3 hours past the original meeting time. In a strange turn of events, they do not find Kanbaru's Aunt but a sleeping Shinobu underneath a swing set having just fought off a Monkey oddity. I really like Shinobu as a character. She is coy, confident, and the loli appearance rounds it off. Having Kanbaru jumping up and down excitedly behind the fence is great too, acting as a proxy for Shinobu fans.  The episode concludes on a cliffhanger as the oddity Shinobu was fighting returns. The dark shadow that reaches towards the camera is imposing and the glare of the background light masks the oddity in shadow, capturing the feeling of mystery and menace in one shot.  [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]
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Eat up!
From reading posts by anime fans whenever a show has a selection of female characters (often attractive) one of them will be selected as best. This is an entirely opinionated but I think the most common favourite in the ...

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari episode 7

Nov 17 // Anthony Redgrave
Jumping back a spell, this story takes place after the long Summer and the start of a new school year. However, Araragi is playing truant and takes residence in Oshino Meme's old haunt. Shinobu has been largely absent this season and in the opening there was talk about her being separated from Araragi. My memories of the previous seasons are a bit hazy so I'm unsure about the situation. From what I remember they should still be together albeit their last real arc was Shinobu Time that explored Shinobu's backstory. A little bit of digging around on the Bakemonogatari Wikia reveals that this arc actually takes place during Tsubasa Tiger.  Kanbaru makes an appearance shortly after and the two share a lengthy exchange prolonged by diverted topics. Kanbaru is the same headstrong sexually directed person as always and has been growing her hair out foreshadowing her appearance in Hanamonogatari. Araragi asked to meet with her at the abandoned cram school because he wanted her to meet someone else in another place. We don't learn who they are supposed to meet or where. We only know that Araragi is only there to act as a medium between the two parties and they are not meant to meet in the cram school. This isn't out of the ordinary except Araragi starts to question his own organisational skills; why did he want to meet Kanbaru separately from where they were going to meet the other person, or why he was being vague about the other party in general. All this mystery is sandwiched between Kanbaru's requests for Araragi to take her virginity (which was her original thought when Araragi had texted her) and books about famous Japanese author Shugoro Yamamoto. My guess is that Araragi was arranging Kanbaru to meet his sister Karen since he did promise this to Karen at the end of Monogatari: Second Season. By the way, the title of the book referenced 'Bishoujo Ichibannori' or 'Pretty Girl First to Arrive' is entirely fictional. Don't waste those 5 minutes googling it as I did.  The second half of the episode moves the story along with a chance encounter with an empty Samurai armour that attacks the duo. Pushed to defeat, they are only saved by the tiger featured in Tsubasa Tiger engulfing the building in flames. The enemy reveals that he is here for the Oddity Killer Sword (Kokorowatari) that Shinobu had taken from him drawing more connections to last season's Shinobu Time. I'm hoping that they will do a quick recap of the events of that arc as I have forgotten a lot of these details. All the shots that had the Samurai as the subject were great. You never really saw all the details since he was always hidden in shadow and only until the end did you see his full design.  This was my least favourite episode this season. The visuals had a cold dark colour scheme and the tone was more serious. Even during the fun jokey parts at the start of the episode had underlying sinister and mysterious music motifs. You could feel that this was a more serious episode compared to last arcs which ironically dealt with a more serious real world themes. The verbal banter between Kanbaru and Araragi was ok with most of the comedy came from Kanbaru's sexual advances.  Coming away from this episode I did learn one thing; fait accompli. This is a French saying that means 'a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected had a chance to hear about it or act upon it and ultimately have to accept it'. It's funny that I heard a French saying in Japanese and learnt about it in English [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]
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The beginning of the end
Today marks the start of the last of arc in Owarimonogatari; Shinobu Mail. This arc will last half the season and clocks in at 6 episodes. It has only just dawned on me after this episode that I've found the entire season inc...

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari Episodes 2-6

Nov 08 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 2-3: Sodachi Riddle The opening to each Monogatari arc fits in with the theme, belle du jour, and style the arc is portraying but rarely do I find myself watching them all the way through. Sodachi Riddle is one of the rare exceptions where I really liked the opening. The jazzy instruments, mezzo-soprano vocals, and reflective imagery invoked a mysterious detective vibe, perfect for what the arc had in store.  The story does take us back to the present with Araragi meeting with Sodachi after two years. She has mysteriously come back to school after Araragi had solved the case in the last episode. Thinking the past was behind them, Araragi tries to strike up a friendly conversation with the former class president. It's odd to see Araragi being formally friendly. Normally his sullen look is only broken by an appearance of a loli character or Senjougahara. The sudden change in color from the corridor's warm inviting orange to cool mysterious blue once in the classroom stages the uncertainty of how Sodachi is going to react to Araragi's presence. Suffice to say it's not a friendly reunion. So much so that Senjougahara intervenes putting Sodachi out cold and leaving Araragi to solve another mystery. The story continues with Ougi in tow as Araragi dives back into his past and the origins of his relationship with Sodachi. Ougi's presence is great as she is always one step ahead of Araragi, probing and pointing into Araragi to the right direction. Her friendly personality and helpful demeanor in pushing Araragi makes us completely forget about her ghostly appearance. The arc ends nicely with the main puzzle solved and leaves enough strings curiously un-tied to help lead into the next arc.  Episodes 4-6: Sodachi Lost It's time to tackle the present problem of Sodachi tardiness. But who does Araragi choose as his partner in crime? This is the basis for the first episode of Sodachi lost as we have two contenders; newcomer Ougi or dear sweet Hanekawa. Ougi has already shown her deductive prowess in the first few episodes so she should be the obvious choice. However, we have known Hanekawa longer and she is one of the best at socializing amongst the Monogatari cast. It is also worth noting that Hanekawa is class president so is responsible for the wellbeing of her student body. This would've been a dramatic choice that needed to be made if it weren't for the series tradition of starting each arc in media res.  It doesn't suck all the drama out of the moment. The verbal catfight that ensues between Hanekawa and Ougi is great with the backdrop of congested traffic and factories spewing smoke amongst a red sky framing the entire scene. I really liked how Ougi interacts with Araragi in this scene too. The way she persuades and worms her way into Araragi's head confirms our suspicions that she is one not to be kept too close.  The middling episode of this arc is verbally draining. You may need to prime your eyes for fast subtitles if they are out of shape. Araragi and co. arrive at Sodachi's new residence and confront her about her tardiness. This spills into Sodachi's past, her outlook on life, and why she hates Araragi and her past connections with him. We learn lots about this girl and there aren't a lot of light moments here. Her past is dark and explores domestic violence, neglect, and jealousy. These themes have been explored with other girls in the series but none that refused Araragi's aid. There has been no mention of oddities at this moment so all the bad things happening to Sodachi is real. No external forces requiring exorcising, no supernatural beings, Sodachi was born into a harsh environment making her suffering hit harder than the others. The episode concludes with Sodachi burying the hatchet with Araragi and only returning to school if they can find her mother.  The mother search doesn't require much traveling. Ougi rendezvous with her sempai taunting Hanekawa at her lack of an explanation for her mother's disappearance. Ougi's manipulative nature almost gets to Araragi as she will explain it all if Araragi begs for the answer. Hanekawa makes Araragi refuse the request and asks for 10 seconds to figure out the answer. It's the most intense 10 seconds hair was you will see in anime. I know that last sentence doesn't make much sense and it doesn't make much sense in the context of the anime either, but it does look really cool. Now both the heroines know the answer and it's just us and Araragi that are still in the dark. What follows is both girls giving out various hints hoping to lead Araragi and us to the answer. It's a really good part of the episode as it got my brain working trying to decipher the various hints being spewed out at lightning speed. The answer is equally as dark as the episode that precedes it. The ending to Sodachi Lost takes up the second half of the episode 6 and is filled with warm cozy visuals and Araragi's nonchalant voice recapping the aftermath. The final scene is open-ended allowing for viewer speculation on what was written on the letter. Personally I think it's a thank you in the form of a mathematics problem that only Araragi was able to decipher thanks to his practice with Sodachi.  [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] her friendly personality and helpful demeanor in pushing Araragi 
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Hanekawa's boobs > Ougi
Since I've been behind on recapping Owarimonogatari, I was planning on writing a recap every time an arc had finished. This plan would've been perfect as it gave me more time in between each write up to catch up on other stuf...

First Impressions: Owarimonogatari

Oct 06 // Anthony Redgrave
It's a jump back in the timeline from Hanamonogatari and a jump forward since Tsukimonogatari as we join our favourite half vampire Koyomi Araragi still enjoying his days as a high school student. The audience is launched straight into the episode with talk about a Euler's identity and how it is the most amazing mathematic formula ever made. It's plucked straight out of a textbook and would put anyone to sleep if this weren't Monogatari. Taking an abstract concept and linking it into the story in a tangential way to make it seem smarter forms the basis of the Monogatari story telling style. Lots of discussion over different things made entertaining because of the visuals and sharp writing. The first few minutes of this show is a great litmus test to see if Monogatari is a series you can put up with, if not then I suggest Nekomonogatari since that's got a lot of Tsubasa Hanekawa fanservice. The bulk of the episode is a locked room mystery that spirals into a whodunit mystery with color commentary provided by Araragi in his nonchalant style and the mysterious belle du jour Ougi Oshino piping in with probing questions. Araragi's interactions with the different girls of the series is a highlight as he has a totally different dynamic with each of them; overly nice to Hanekawa, on edge with Senjougahara, and tough with his sisters. It's interesting to see him interact more with a character that isn't played off as sexualised. There are far less panty, chest, and poses from Ougi and more on her interaction with Araragi. Ougi is a mysterious character and sometimes we question whether she is a female. The ambiguous nature of Ougi in the story is complemented by her androgynous character design. Always appearing sounding like she's one step ahead of Araragi, her demeanor puts us on edge as she probes Araragi through the mystery.  Since 90% of the episode is spent in a classroom trying to solve a mystery the writing and art have to be on point to keep the episode from dragging. The plot does move along at a steady pace and doesn't linger too long at any one point or repeat/ reiterate the same point over and over. In fact, little is needed to be repeated as the writing and dialogue are at a pace where the story is always moving forward. Viewers not accustomed to this steady stream of words may find a new best friend in the pause button as even seasoned Monogatari veterans like myself still needed to tap the pause more than once to keep up. Throughout the series, the focus has always been on the girls and their oddities. Each oddity effects one girl and Araragi is often the man to guide them through their troubles, but we know very little about the man. Despite having Ougi as the main female lead, it is Araragi who is in the spotlight for character development and this is very welcome addition into the series. We may still have to wait until 2018 for Kizumonogatari, but this provides a deeper understanding on the half vampire lead.  I mentioned before that pausing the episode to catch up with the rapid fire text is a requirement, but it's not just to understand the story. It's to fully appreciate the art direction and cinematography of the episode. An empty classroom as a background can be monotonous especially to those of us that have gone through 18 years of schooling, coupled that with endless streams of dialogue it may be a one-way ticket to snore town USA. But Shaft has the alchemic ability to change these mundane environments into a visual ecstasy. The color schemes of the room are always changing, matching the mood and beat of the plot making the objects pop with contrasting colours and making backgrounds ooze with character. A key scene midway through the episode as chaos erupts in the classroom as it's filled with silhouettes and clashes of chairs and tables. It's effective in conveying the absolute carnage happening in the room despite the verbal debate reality. Another really cool visual was how it represented the other classmates as floating kanji. It's a really smart way of conveying the sense of bizarreness that comes with oddities in Monogatari and also a way of cutting down on designing characters.  The big reveal at the end of the episode was fairly predictable and it's nice to see Tsubasa making another appearance. If I could criticise this episode it would be that there was a lack of comedy throughout. It was a serious episode with little to no gags. I hear that Ougi Oshino will be the main antagonist throughout this season and I can't wait to see how that pans out. She treads the line between welcomingly cute and disturbingly intense at the flip of a switch.  [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Himouto! Umaru-chan on Crunchy Roll!]
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The return of Arararararararararararagi
Like Christmas, Halloween, and other holidays that I like to celebrate maybe once or twice a year and the same holds true for the release schedule of the Monogatari series. Last year's holiday season brought the four-par...

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I'm sooo happy right now
Shaft has to be one of my favourite anime studios just because they made the Monogatari Series. I love that anime to pieces; from the extremely witty dialogue to the contrasting colour art style. The studio is coming up to it...

Monogatari photo
Monogatari

Nise and Nekomonogatari Kuro Blu-ray set announced


Ararararagi. Oops, kamimashita!
Jun 27
// Anthony Redgrave
A limited box set containing the Nisemonogatari and Nekomonogatari Black Blu-rays has been announced. New cover art by character designer Akio Watanabe was released recently featuring Araragi and his vampire counter...
Monogatari photo
Monogatari

More toothbrushes featured in Monogatari short stories


What is onii-chan doing to my sister?
Jun 13
// Anthony Redgrave
The Anime Monogatari Series Heroine line of books is something I desperately want translated. Each one focusses on a heroine from the anime Monogatari and includes interviews from voice actors, production ...
Music photo
Music

The Dose: Luna Haruna


Tis the season
Dec 09
// Hiroko Yamamura
You know the holidays are really upon us when you start seeing snow in your favorite music videos! This week we're kicking off the dose with the painfully adorable, Luna Haruna. The Gothic Lolita superstar seems to have made...
Monogatari photo
Monogatari

Short PV for Koimonogatari storyline


Monogatari finishes up its second season with Koimonogatari.
Nov 22
// Ben Huber
Briefly: here's a fresh PV for Koimonogatari, the last story arc of Monogatari's second season. There's not a ton here, but if you're breathlessly awaiting each episode, this is a good way to tide yourself over. I haven't be...
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Monogatari

Kotobukiya releases all new Monogatari figures


My heart says yes, but my wallet says please stop
Nov 20
// Amber Hunt
Is it just me, or does it seem that I'm like, the biggest Monogatari fangirl here? Anyways, ahhhh! An entire new series of figures for the anime are going to be released by Kotobukiya in 2014! I'm mainly focused on how c...
Turn off your phone! photo
Turn off your phone!

Madoka Magica x Monogatari shorts coming soon


New shorts before 3rd Madoka Magica film.
Oct 07
// Ben Huber
Looks like the third Puella Magi Madoka Magica film in Japan will get something extra! SHAFT has announced they'll be releasing four Madoka Magica x Monogatari shorts that will air prior to the movie encouraging courtesy and ...
Kabukimonogatari photo
Kabukimonogatari

See the next chapter of the Monogatari Series


Kabukimonogatari incoming!
Aug 16
// Josh Tolentino
I have to say, it feels almost weird to be posting this trailer. Not that this new trailer for the next part of Monogatari Series Second Season is at all "weird", but that the show is still going. I usually expect Shaft...
Monogatari S2 on Daisuki  photo
Monogatari S2 on Daisuki

Brush your Teeth! Daisuki.net to simulcast Monogatari S2


Will they get the streaming quality right?
Jun 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
This is going to make me into a big target, but I could never get into the Monogatari series. However, I will admit I did enjoy the relationship between Araragi and Hitagi, along with the fact that Karen made a reference to D...
Aniplex Monogatari GET photo
Aniplex Monogatari GET

Toothbrush time! Aniplex licenses Monogatari S2, Nekokuro


Streaming and discs to follow
Jun 14
// Josh Tolentino
Rejoice, fans of licensing acquisitions, for another one of those has happened! In a move that's sure to delight fans of the Monogatari franchise, Aniplex of America has announced their pickup of the latest two Monogata...
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2013 is the year of Monogatari shows, it seems


[Insert word here]-monogatari
Jan 02
// Josh Tolentino
I'll admit it: I love me some Bakemonogatari and can't get enough of it. But really now, SHAFT and Aniplex seem dead set on testing my dedication this year, having just announced a bumper crop of -Monogatari-franchise an...
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Purr in excitement at the Nekomonogatari (Black) trailer


A catgirl is more than fine, too
Dec 12
// Josh Tolentino
Rejoice -monogatari series fans, for your catgirl goddess has arrived! Or rather, will be arriving soon, as Nekomonogatari (Black) has just received a trailer in advance of its December 31st airing. In case you've ...

Friday Night Fights: Urabe vs Hitagi

Nov 09 // Salvador G Rodiles
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The clash of the stationery tools!
*ding, ding, ding* It's over! 00 Raiser thought that it could gain the upper hand by using Trans-Am, but Jehuty's reflexes and Zero Shift ability allowed it to dodge Raiser's attacks with ease. And going straight for the kill...

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Purr in delight: Nekomonogatari (Black) getting an anime


Nya-re Mew Excited?
Sep 26
// Josh Tolentino
Time to rejoice, fans of all things -monogatari, because yet another installment of the favored -monogatari property, Bakemonogatari, is on its way. Not content to animate Nisemonogatari (Bakemonogatari's 2nd season) some mon...
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Bakemonogatari BD US release date and price listed


That's a lot of bucks.
Sep 10
// Elliot Gay
I know Bakemonogatari can be a pretty divisive series, but for what it's worth I really dug it. Aniplex announced earlier this year that they were planning on releasing the series on BD in America this fall, and if Right Stuf...
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Lawson is giving away this stupid Nisemonogatari hat


May 15
// Bob Muir
Remember Yotsugi Ononoki, the familiar from the "Tsukihi Phoenix" story in Nisemonogatari? Remember that derpy hat she wore? Now you too can put that silly hat on your head! From May 22 to June 4, Lawson convenience store cus...
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Golf and Nisemonogatari? Sure, why not?


Apr 26
// Michelle Rodanes
SG Interactive’s golf MMORPG Pangya United has partnered with Aniplex USA to bring several in-game items inspired by Shaft's hit series Nisemonogatari. Starting today, players will be able to have their avatars “...
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All of the Monogatari novels will be animated


Apr 07
// Chris Walden
While Akiyuki Shinbo, the director over at Shaft, had mentioned before that he would like to animate all of the novels in Nisio Isin's 'Monogatari' series, it still comes as somewhat of a surprise that it is actually happenin...
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Sakura-Con '12: Aniplex USA licenses Bakemonogatari


Apr 06
// Bob Muir
After tons and tons of begging, a US licensor has finally heard our plea. Aniplex USA announced today at its Sakura-Con panel that it had licensed the beloved Shaft anime Bakemonogatari and its follow-up Nisemonogatari. ...
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Get 'em here, fresh screens of Bakemonogatari PSP


Apr 06
// Josh Tolentino
Making random-ass PSP adaptations of your favorite late-night anime shows is all the rage for publishers looking to make a quick buck in the game industry, and nothing is safe, not even talking-and-harem-building anime like B...

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