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!]
Monogatari photo
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...

Shaft photo
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

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

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

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

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...
Monogatari  photo

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

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! to simulcast Monogatari S2

Will they get the streaming quality right?
Jun 22
// Salvador GRodiles
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...

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...

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 GRodiles
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...


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...

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...

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...

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 “...

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...

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. ...

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...

Final Impressions: Nisemonogatari

Apr 06 // Bob Muir
The final episode depicts the conclusion of "Tsukihi Phoenix." Realizing that he needs to keep Yozuru and Yotsugi from killing his sister the next day, Koyomi goes to confront them with the help of Shinobu, revitalized from drinking some of Koyomi's blood. A battle ensues, with Koyomi getting his ass kicked while Yozuru makes her intentions clear. In the end, however, he manages to argue for Tsukihi's continued existence. Yozuru leaves, and Koyomi's life is normal...for now. While Bakemonogatari was just about supernatural beings in general, Nisemonogatari focused on the theme of fakes (nisemono). Many of the characters can be drawn into this theme in some way: Kaiki is a con man, Karen's sense of justice isn't true justice, and Tsukihi is technically not even Koyomi's real sister, just to name the obvious ones. The message is about accepting these contradictions and overcoming them. Tsukihi has been the only little sister Koyomi knows, so she is real; Karen's heart is in the right place, so the details don't matter; Kaiki may not even believe in ghosts, but in trying to persuade others that he is real, he puts more effort into being real than the real things. Kaiki's justification seems to be the central interpretation of fakeness that the entire storyline hinges on, but the first time this is explained at the end of "Karen Bee," the message just isn't clear. The anime was trying to state that fakes can be more real than the real thing, but whether it was due to the translation or the original script, it just never made much more sense, coming across like those lofty zen sayings that occasionally pop up in anime trying to be deep. I was happy to see Kozuru indirectly expand on how fakes can be more valuable with her philosophical discussion near the end of her fight with Koyomi in episode 11. It felt like this even touched Koyomi, who deals with his own issues of believing he is still human despite his vampire tendencies, as well as reconciling all his sexual perversions, pulling his attention in different directions. Lots of these revelations came from the character's discussions, which are quite frankly some of the best writing I've seen in an anime. I freely admit that some of the wordplay with roots deeply in the Japanese language went over my head, but that wasn't enough to ruin the topics and conversation flow between the characters. That said, it's a shame that both storylines felt very padded, which is strange to say about an anime that only ran 11 episodes. Part of that was an effort to give every previous character as much air time as possible, which reeks of fan-pandering. I did like meeting up with all of them, but when their appearance feels obligatory instead of natural, even the wonderful dialogue couldn't shake the feeling that things could have been faster-paced, more like the stories of Bakemonogatari, which wrapped up in a few episodes. Conversely, there should have been a lot more Senjougahara all over the place. Viewers are lucky that there was a plausible reason to include her in "Karen Bee" beyond the haphazard way Koyomi meets the other characters. I know Shaft was limited by the novels they were basing the anime on, it's unfortunate that she genuine character development she undergoes at the end of "Karen Bee," then practically disappears. When the entire series feels full of fanservice, overlooking the most popular character seems like a big oversight. At least Shinobu picks up the slack with her odd mixture of ancient wisdom, sleeping power, and love of donuts, making me really excited for her to take center stage in the eventual adaptation of Kizumonogatari. Speaking of fanservice, the ecchi content on display was at least doubled, if not tripled, with plenty more "forbidden love" elements emphasized like lolicon and incest. Nothing ever comes of these scenes, and Koyomi remains true to his girlfriend, but it doesn't change the fact that Koyomi is taking a bath with what looks like a kindergardener or is brushing his sister's teeth in a very erotic manner. Some anime make it clear from the start that there's going to be lots of perversion on display, but seeing the fanservice pop up in a "classy" or "artsy" like Nisemonogatari always surprised me, even when I knew I should expect it after the first episode. In some ways, this is probably the dirtiest anime of the season. I don't believe Nisemonogatari will be remembered as fondly as Bakemonogatari. It tries to do the same thing, only doesn't pull it off as well. That doesn't mean it isn't totally worth a watch though! Like I said in my First Impressions, this series won't change the mind of those who didn't like the original series, but for those that did, it's still essential viewing with more gorgeous abstract scenery and complex conversations. Just do yourself a favor and make sure to watch episode 8 away from anyone who might judge you.

Director Akiyuki Shinbo and studio Shaft are one of my favorite pairings in anime. The series they work on usually have an extremely strong sense of identity, style, and vision, so even if they have failings, they're worth a ...


A Daily Dose of Music: Our Favorite Anime Endings

Mar 31
// Hiroko Yamamura
Well guys and gals, it's that time again! We peek into that dark and disturbing place known as the souls of your all star Japanator editors. We had a great time sharing our favorite openings with you on The Daily Dose, but th...

Nisemonogatari ends "To Be Continued," hints at more

Mar 19
// Bob Muir
Speaking of anime endings, it's shades of Bakemonogatari all over again, as Nisemonogatari goes off the air with the promise of more. Last time, Shaft ran into production troubles and had to release the final three episodes o...

First Bakemonogatari Portable commercial tells us nothing

Mar 09
// Bob Muir
Banpresto is making Bakemonogatari Portable for PSP, despite the fact that the anime it's based on is almost entirely talking. This first trailer shows some 3D versions of the characters, but otherwise gives no indi...

Oh hey, Bakemonogatari is getting a videogame

Feb 21
// Josh Tolentino
Imaginatively, it's going to be titled Bakemonogatari Portable. Not much else is known, but given the "Bakemonogatari" moniker, it'll probably involve girls with both personal and supernatural problems to be solved by one Koy...

A Daily Dose of Music: ClariS

Jan 31
// Hiroko Yamamura
Clara and Alice are back to cause some musical mischief! This time they bring us their new single, Naisho no Hanashi. The cute song is currently being used as the ending to Nisemonogatari, which to my surprise, I've been really enjoying. Hrmm, I wonder what these two supposed Junior High School kids look like? Wait a second, that's Elliot's job!  

First Impressions: Nisemonogatari

Jan 11 // Bob Muir
Picking up where the first series left off, we are reintroduced to Koyomi Araragi, a high schooler who was a vampire (but then he got better), and Hitagi Senjougahara, his sexy, threatening, tsundere girlfriend. Nisemonogatari is supposedly meant to tell stories of Koyomi's two sisters, starting with the story "Karen Bee," but for now, SHAFT feels like playing with its audience. The first scene is shows that Koyomi has been handcuffed by Senjougahara in the building his departed mentor Oshino Meme used to occupy. Some hints are made as to Koyomi being poisoned by a bee, but really, this feels like an excuse for Senjogahara to toy with his emotions and tease him. We do know that she's crazy for him -- and just crazy -- after she promises to love and protect him, even if he's covered in feces from the diaper she's provided in this weird prison fantasy. This is a terrifying proposition that I hope never comes up again in the series. After the opening credits roll, time has presumably jumped back to before Koyomi found himself at the mercy of a staple-wielding nutjob. His sister Karen, who is supposedly the focus of this story, is out of the house and never appears in this episode, so we are instead introduced to Koyomi's other sister Tsukihi. After chatting, Koyomi heads out to meet with another old friend, Nadeko Sengoku. However, this never happens. Along the way, he is waylaid by Mayoi Hachikuji, the ghost of a little girl, and ends up talking with her for the rest of the episode. As in Bakemonogatari, you can see that not much "happens," at least if you're going by a list of actions. It's all about the dialogue, and I'm happy to say that it did not disappoint. While we only got a tantalizing glimpse of where Koyomi's relationship with Senjougahara has gone, his verbal sparring with Hachikuji is exciting to attempt to follow. In the process of catching up, they discuss the essence of courage, where to buy love, whether Koyomi should "come out of the coffin" to his family, and the viewer's expectations of this new anime. As in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, SHAFT knows exactly where to break the fourth wall without being obnoxious about it. Tsukihi left less of an impression on me. She seems more interested in being physically confrontational than in navigating a minefield of words. I suppose her character will be expanded more, but for now, she comes across as whiny and lazy. I just find it odd that in the first episode of "Karen Bee," we have seen more of her younger sister so far. Similarly, we currently have no idea where this story is going. Koyomi wants to go talk with Sengoku, but there is no telling what problem Koyomi might have to solve in a few episodes time. The opening scene suggests that Koyomi needs to be contained, but it could just be Senjougahara getting off on some bondage. Still, this show was never going to have much momentum, and I'm fine with that. Koyomi's lackadaisical approach to getting to his destination means we get plenty of time to see beautiful artwork and hear artfully written dialogue. The only real difference that fans will notice is the absence of Bakemonogatari's omnipresent title cards. Surprisingly, it doesn't make much of a difference; the editing feels similar, with cutaways going to other images instead. I'm not sure if they'll make a return down the road, but for now, I don't miss them. Really, my only complaint is how creepy some of Koyomi's interactions with Hachikuji are. As I've gotten older, I've become more and more annoyed by older male characters acting lecherous towards little girls. I would like to claim that Koyomi is just messing with Hachikuji, but his insistance on seeing her panties only detracts from some really smart dialogue. Koyomi has not only seen his girlfriend's panties, but he's seen her naked. There should be no incentive to look at a little girl's undies. That aside, I'm excited to watch more of Nisemonogatari. Many of you are already familiar with Bakemonogatari, in which case you only need to know that it feels just like you never stopped watching the first one. Those who disliked the first series will do well to stay away. For me, I'm happy that nothing has changed and I can join this haunting world once again. [Watch Nisemonogatari on Crunchyroll]

Every person I know who watched Bakemonogatari either loved it or hated it. There were plenty of reasons to dislike it. There was little-to-no action, with even backgrounds feeling static. The unyielding dialogue often consis...


Crunchyroll simulcasting Nisemonogatari, among others

Jan 04
// Bob Muir
The Winter 2012 season is upon us, and that means it's time for the licensing announcements to start rolling in! Bust out your Crunchyroll accounts, because they've acquired simulcasting rights for Bakemonogatari sequel Nisem...

NisiOisin's next work is set to be a detective story!

Nov 29
// Elliot Gay
Weaver of words NisiOisin is looking to move away from his Monogatari series and begin anew. Kodansha has announced that his brand new novel series will be called Tantei Toshi Densetsu (Urban Legends Detective). No word yet o...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...