Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Shaft
The Monogatari series is one of my favorites of all time. It’s actually quite rare for me to like an anime that is mostly focused on dialogue. My only issue with the series is the nebulous timeline in terms of the events that take place in the series. The story jumps around quite a bit during each season. Events might be concurrent to events that took place in a previous season. Others might take place a long time afterwards. It can be confusing to figure everything out because past events are often referenced.
The first adaption, Bakemonogatari mentions two significant events that were crucial for Araragi’s character: his meeting with a vampire and his dealing with a cursed Tsubasa. The latter event was covered in Nekomonogatari, but fans have been waiting a long time to see Araragi’s meeting with Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade. The light novel that covers these events, Kizumonogatari, serves as the prequel for the entire Monogatari series. Fans were met with delay after delay and it seemed like this adaptation would never see the light of day. However, the anime gods smiled upon all of us and it was announced that this story would be told in a set of three films. The first has already been released and by the time this piece comes out, the second will have been released as well. I wanted to cover the first film somewhat, but I can’t fully review it because it is merely the first third of a story. It is not the complete work. That means there will be no rating at the end of this piece. I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime feature.
Story & Characters
This first film mostly serves to set up the backbone of the story. Araragi encounters a vampire that has been recently defeated by a trio of vampire hunters. He offers himself to her and she turns him into a vampire with the goal to retrieve her stolen body parts. That is pretty much it for the story of this movie. There is actually a lack of dialogue for an adaptation of a Monogatari work. There is one dialogue scene with Hanekawa, another with Kiss-Shot and a final one with Meme Oshino. Having read the original light novel, it was a wise decision to cut Araragi’s monologue from this first film. In the light novel, there was way too much focus on a certain incident that happened with Hanekawa. From a story perspective, the real meat will occur in the next two parts where Araragi fights the vampire hunters.
Animation & Sound
As for the rest of the film, the voice acting and presentation is astounding. The Monogatari voice actors are known for their excellence and they continue their work well in this film, despite the limited amount of dialogue. The main draw is the animation though. This film continues the heavily stylized work of Studio Shaft. There are a ton of cutaways to stills with text. Being a film, the animation is beautiful. At times the animation is the only means by which the story is told. The background work is especially amazing with this film. Everything is just so stylized and interesting to look at. The opening ten minutes is a dialogue free walk through a building and it manages to be amazing in a visual sense. It really is Monogatari made for the big screen.
I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone check out this movie. The gorgeous animation makes up for the rather introduction-focused plot. Again, I can’t exactly give this a rating because it is only a third of the story. After the next two are released, I will come back to give these films a proper review. Thanks for checking this one out and I’ll be back for another feature next week.