English: Nekomonogatari Black: Tsubasa Family
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Dec 31, 2012
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.121 (scored by 67033 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please not that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
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Yesterday, 10:02 AM
As a chronological prequel to the events of "Bakemonogatari": Nekomogatari (as I will slightly abbreviate), is the first short, fast-paced, single arc installation of the "Monogatari" series. Some may be skeptical at first about the franchise's storytelling prowess, following the fanservice ridden antics of "Nisemonogatari" (that tilted many heads to say the least). But fans following the series up until now will be pleased to know that Nekomonogatari very much reverts back to its highly praised, "Bakemonogatari" inspired roots.
Taking on the task of presenting the "Curse Cat" arc alone, Nekomonogatari brandishes a relatively simplistic, and more so romance-oriented story line than in previous seasons. As usual, we are plunged into the very "Monogatari", occult-influenced world, riddled with hidden dangers, and home to our main protagonist: Araragi. Nekomonogatari is clearly oriented about the relationship between Araragi and the heroine elaborated upon in "Bakemonogatari"'s 5th arc: Hanekawa.
An arc, a plight, and a problem-solving protagonist. It's become a somewhat consistent and charming formula throughout the series, but Nekomonogatari proves that each time: It works, and is always appreciable in a slightly differing manor.
To an extent, disregarding "Nisemonogatari"'s tangent of documenting "Evil and Justice", these 4 episodes bear an uncanny resemblance to our masterfully crafted "Bakemonogatari" (aka: Ghostory). Nekomonogatari IS a nostalgic taste of that memorable concept we had previously kept
referring back to: "Overcoming personal demons". It's an inherently engaging plot line that emphasizes a familiar sense of struggle. It's another hurdle for us to watch Araragi overcome, which means that from the start... Nekomonogatari outlines the context, introduces the problem, introduces the goal, trials some methods, and we get a result. It's direct, trialed and tested, and here we see ample "(Bake)Monogatari" elements shining through.
So while staying away from confusion tactics, the story line itself: about Araragi's perception of love and overcoming obstacles to perhaps develop his first romantic experience... is debatably the most simple, and simultaneously the most complex conceivable plot line. This is dependent ironically on YOUR perception of love, but I found the story aspect pretty easy to follow.
While slower to begin with and set the scene, Nekomonogatari follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, by continuing to incorporate a lot of substance into the show's dialogue. It plays a big part in the Monogatari series' signature presentation style, and allows us to gain an intimate insight into the thought processes of the main characters. It gives the viewer an omnipresent eye, and diversifies the dialogue: making it expressive, highly descriptive, somewhat poetic, metaphorical, and even humorous. Above all, it's more than just speech. It is the epitome of well-crafted expression. It has meaning, doesn't become dry, and strays from being conclusive, which means that viewer interpretation becomes an increasingly important factor.
Introducing the context, and returning us to Araragi's POV (nearing 2013) is done rather casually. The beginning of this short season is above all: fresh, charming, and enticing. It certainly doesn't hint at the rapid, and imminent escalation of severity and situational struggle that is to come. This adds impact and a strong sense of development from "situation A to situation B", and really does introduce the viewer quite thoroughly, to this new state of affairs.
Being a mere 4 episode season, is obviously a cap on potential development. But in spite of this fact, Nekomonogatari "does do" what it sets out to in the way of character development, on top of this rather familiar plot development "stance".
Now to start off, there aren't any new faces to note within Nekomonogatari.
Again... 4 episodes: A wise move, don't you think?
The "Character front" of the show is simply an extension to our prior knowledge of the Monogatari series' characters. Suprise suprise, it's Hanekawa who (besides our obvious primary character: Araragi), steals the spotlight.
Hanekawa's "evolution" adds to our understanding of her stresses. Her perspective (as opposed to Araragi's) is given more attention, and therefore she blossoms to life rather well as characters go. It's far from an epiphany of understanding and sympathy, but Nekomonogatari will at the very least, suffice as a season to reveal more personal traits, of our beloved "class rep".
Besides that, Shinobu is actually fairly involved, but only in terms of the plot. She's merely used, but doesn't even speak properly until the last episode. Following her considerable development in "Nisemonogatari", we got a lot more of her (arguably too much), and gained quite a satisfying insight into her life. Here however, nothing is added.
With the themes of "Bakemonogatari", and a similar balance of development: this time spread fairly equally between plot and character, there's not really much new substance that Nekomonogatari has to offer.
Animation-wise: we are once again subjected to Monogatari's masterful and unique visual representation style. Highly stylized Patterns, vibrant, simplistic, and yet vivid art is abundant. Visual metaphors, and text: they are again used boldly to maximize the show's expressive potential. It's a familiar art style that should've already grown on you if you made it to this 3rd Monogatari installment. And while it's not new anymore, it's always going to remain, as one of the series' immortalized strong suits.
Sound-wise: A notable lovely opening sequence in particular. More highly fitting and appropriate BGM to set the tone of any scene. As part of a series that prides itself on audiovisual prowess, it's undoubtedly a pleasant sensory experience to say the least. There's nothing that I would change in this department.
Nekomonogatari ultimately takes a strangely simplified approach. The complexity and extent of the plot and character aspects, are unavoidably limited by this season's duration, and its subject. It covers one arc quite comprehensively, and adds some more contextual information to the last story we witnessed in "Bakemonogatari". While this is the reason for the story making sense in the first place, it's safe to say that we pretty much knew, of could quite easily have guessed everything that these 4 episodes attempt to "add" to Hanekawa's plight.
On a strictly technical front, besides duration limitation of development: Nekomonogatari doesn't exactly do anything wrong, but it is simply far too much of a simple iteration of the "Curse Cat" arc we experienced in "Bakemonogatari". There's just not much of a purpose in this season. We've experienced the story (or a variant at least) before, and so it becomes predictable, not particularly intense, or great at adding new substance. There is the appreciable novelty of an elevated contextual understanding, and with 4 episodes, it's worth watching for this reason alone.
Just don't expect Nekomonogatari to be that big-a landmark within the series' timeline.
~ Is it love, or lust? ~ read more
Jan 3, 2014 8:11 PM
Now coming from the markedly huge success of both Bakemonogatari and the controversial Nisemonogatari, fans may likely enter this third installment with a few qualms. After all, Nisemonogatari occasionally acted like a completely different series than its predecessor Bake, with the most divisive issue being its more prolific fanservice. And now viewers are left wondering whether Nekomonogatari will continue the footsteps of Nise or tread back towards the more "conventional" success from Bake (well, at least more conventional than Nise). The result?
A mixed oddity.
Structurally, Nekomonogatari is like a bizarre child born from a vile yet oddly alluring incest between Bake and Nisemonogatari. It takes the most successful aspects of both series and tries to mash them into its own masterful direction. But the end result is less a full-on masterpiece than an overall great but not perfect special: Neko thrives and yet occasionally suffers from the very compiled aspects it relies on.
On a holistic level, the story follows Bakemonogatari's arc formula quite closely. It starts off—much like a visual novel or eroge—with several cameos of the "see girl then talk to girl" type. Here, it stays light-hearted in its comedy while tossing in some witty dialogue between our sexually frustrated Araragi and one of Nekomonogatari's several supporting characters. The overarching mystery is then introduced, some character development and macrabre-like drama ensues, a solution is finally realized, and the status quo is achieved again.
While this formula is nothing new coming from the five alike arcs in Bakemonogatari, it is nonetheless executed in a well-woven and highly enjoyable manner. Really, this alikeness to Bakemonogatari is actually one of Neko's strengths, as it keeps the plot structure fresh and interesting coming from the slower and more casual pace of its predecessor Nisemonogatari. Even the sudden, fast-paced action scenes involving some form of an Araragi massacre continue to be outlandishly eye-gripping and exciting, not only in its sudden change of pace coming from the heavy dialogue, but also in its vivid detail and fluid animation. It is no exaggeration that these extremely gory scenes keep viewers on their toes and high on the suspense, even if these scenes are just part of the arc formula to reach the end conclusion. After all, being the subject of mutilation is Ararararagi-kun's modus operandi, a lose to win scenario, and he certainly doesn't disappoint in being the best loser there is (I'm bad at puns).
Now aside from the story structure, what the Monogatari series truly shines in is its engaging, witty dialogue. Nekomonogatari is certainly no sloucher, as it touts some of the best soliloquys in the series and continues to make great use of its art direction in keeping the dialogue-heavy script truly captivating. Regarding the subject of much of the dialogue itself, Nekomonogatari acts more like Nise in employing a raunchier perversion and boning up the sexual tension to the largest tip. This isn't to say in contrast that Bakemonogatari is the Virgin Mary of anime, but the sexual undertones and fanservice in Bake is arguably done in a more playful and "intellectual" manner, though it still has its fair share of ecchi(-ish?) slapstick comedy and deadpan humor.
This brings us to the most controversial topic in the series—fanservice.
Whether you may be in the "too much" or "too little" category, there is no doubt that the Monogatari series lives by its unique art direction, strong characters, and witty, often sexually charged dialogue. All of these elements, including fanservice, are just as frequent in Neko as they were in Nise, and whether it's discussing porn and fondling breasts with your sister or licking desks and gaping at a scantily clad Hanekawa-nyan, Nekomonogatari does not hold back on its fanservice—for better or worse.
However, there is a lot to be said about the source material here. This four-episode series stays pretty true to the light novel it adapts to, and does quite a good job at condensing the entire novel into only 96 minutes. That said, the fanservice could have been a lot more prevalent given the elaborate detail and flamboyant panache of the novel (where's our 2-page rant on Tsukihi's pantsu??). Personally, I find the occasional subtle fanservice more enjoyable than the crude masturbatory imagery done in most fanservice-inducing series or specials; and in this respect, I think Neko does a decent job at providing enough fanservice to stay true to the novel and pander to fans, but not so much that it completely bars one from enjoying the story or characters.
Character development-wise, the story explores Araragi's love for Hanekawa in great detail, as he questions whether his newfound love is one based on romance or one based on lust. There is certainly a plethora of great analysis here given Neko's connection to Bake and Nisemonogatari. For one, we have a clear juxtaposition between Araragi's relationship with Hanekawa and his relationship with Senjougahara. In Neko, for instance, Araragi discusses Hanekawa's cat problem with Oshino, and Araragi promptly asserts, "Only she can save herself." And yet in early Bake, Araragi discusses Senjougahara's crab problem with Oshino, and it is not Araragi but Oshino who spouts the very same line. Is Araragi perhaps more willing to save Senjougahara than Hanekawa? More interestingly enough, this becomes ironically subverted: Senjougahara essentially overcomes her crab problem by her conviction alone, while Hanekawa overcomes her cat problem not by her own will, but by direct intervention from Araragi himself (well, technically it was Shinobu but you get the point).
Hanekawa's development alone is also quite strong, though little can be said without spoilers. In a very early scene where Hanekawa explains to Araragi why her step-father hit her, she undermines herself in her step-father's defense, saying that she was a "seventeen-year old that speaks like she knows everything," a subversion of her very well-known catchphrase, "I don't know everything, I just know what I know." Ah, what a woman.
Other supporting characters get a fair amount of detail as well. While Nekomonogatari features a smaller supporting cast (for continuity's sake), this is actually quite convenient given the limited 96 minutes, as Neko doesn't have to deal with adding short fanservice cameos to every single character in existence. This isn't to say that Nekomonogatari doesn't suffer from this problem however, as Karen makes an awfully short cameo with a small role in the story and a big role in the fanservice.
At the very least, however, the rest of the supporting cast get their just deserts. We get some much needed interaction with Tsukihi, who was largely lacking in Nisemonogatari as her sister Karen took up almost all the spotlight—even in Tsukihi's own arc! Oshino also makes a few great cameos in Neko, and it's interesting to see his character again considering the discussion surrounding his philosophy from Nise's finale. And perhaps an even more vital character, Shinobu gets a good deal of much needed air time as well. With her intimidating yet all the more cute capriciousness, she continues to be the looming lolicon vampire guardian that we've all come to love from the past two seasons, possibly the most fleshed-out character of the supporting cast. While she still hasn't gotten the attention she deserves as a prospective main lead, it will certainly be interesting how her role will play out in the events of Kizumonogatari.
Animation-wise, SHAFT artwork in general has always been controversial. Some consider it a beautifully original direction while others consider it an expensive slide show. Nekomonogatari is certainly no different than its predecessors in its production quality. As such, we get a fair share of one-liner screen slides, SHAFT head tilts, eye-cropped shots, and outrageously comical blown-up views to make the current situation more over the top than it already is. The series can immediately shift from cheaply made 5-second-long stills to the most beautifully hand-animated artworks in existence, taking the "sudden shift in art style" trope to the utter extreme. Nekomonogatari's attention to detail here is excellent, with a vibrant array of colors and overall strong use in appropriating the lighting and physical setting to suit the current atmosphere. Really, if you've watched the previous installments or any modern SHAFT work, then you know exactly what to expect, and at the very least, it's undisputedly better than two talking heads in a fixed panned-out shot. Whether you're a fan of SHAFT's eccentricities or not, animation style is all about complementing and enhancing the story, and a dialogue-heavy series—however good the script may be—just wouldn't be all too compelling without fresh ways to keep viewers piqued.
Suitably in that regard, it is even more vital that the seiyuus do an excellent job at conveying proper emotion and keeping viewers entertained. And Nekomongatari certainly doesn't disappoint, employing the same brilliant cast. The soundtrack is pretty decent, and as with Bakemonogatari arcs and their respective OPs, Nekomonogatari's OP "perfect slumbers" is composed by Satoru Kosaki, lyrics by meg rock, and vocals by Hanekawa's seiyuu Yui Horie. It's a nice mellow tune featuring the beautiful Hanekawa, with a soothing yet melancholic mood revolved around loneliness. Dire fans (and/or the masochist-equivalent) may recognize that SHAFT certainly loves its train tracks and vibrant geometric imagery, and "perfect slumbers" is no slouch on either account.
All in all, Nekomonogatari doesn't do much different from its two predecessors, combining a Bakemonogatari-like storyline with a more sexually charged dialogue and more rampant fanservice suitable to Nisemonogatari. And for a four-episode prequel, Neko does a great job at handling a focused cast and molding their characterization and relationships to fit its congruity with the rest of the series.
This review is written by members of the club Quiet Discourse. For more details, please see the club frontpage. read more
May 22, 11:08 AM
Nekomonogatari is a four episode arc focusing on the events leading up to Bakemonogatari. It follows Araragi’s search for the meaning of love and his quest to save his “love” interest, Hanekawa, from a cat spirit. This isn’t a particularly necessary arc to enjoy the first two seasons and I’m assuming that Monogatari: Season Two doesn’t reference the events of this arc too often, but it is still an entertaining piece that develops Hanekawa a little more and explains the weird relationship between Araragi and the class rep.
Neko is, of course, chock full of dialogue and comedy, though the focus on an inclusive few means character development is much better for those being focused on. Once again, it shoehorns Shinobu in for no apparent reason, not adding to her character so much as leaving her as a stagnant member of the cast. I want to like her, but she’s not presented well in the series. At the very end, I can understand her involvement but the donut scene was sort of pointless except for unneeded explanation.
Nonetheless, the script is still solid, the gore is great, and the ecchi is still there (though by no means on the level of Nisemonogatari).
Once again, the animation and style is where the series shines. Visual metaphors and sight gags abound. Cue cards are used much more here than they were in Nise.
A pretty good opening song, a decent ending song, and the great voice cast along with some hilarious sound effects makes for easy listening.
I’m not going to go out of my way to write a best girl for this measly season. Hanekawa is developed pretty well, giving us a better glimpse at her stress and how she’s dealing with it. The romance between her and Araragi is also developed enough to give us an idea of why he picked Senjougahara over a girl who’s obviously a lot easier to get along with. Meme makes a triumphant return, and, as usual, is brilliant and completely awesome. Shinobu is just…there, wishing to be a larger and less plot-device-y part of the series. And Araragi’s sisters are around, though don’t do too much. Character-wise, I felt it was lacking quite a bit of the charm of the other seasons, though this could come from the smaller cast rather than bad characters. I like Hanekawa and think she’s interesting to see develop, but she’s about the only one worth watching flower. Araragi’s development is okay, but he’s still really bland to me. And Meme doesn’t develop because he’s already a total badass.
It’s not at all a bad arc by any stretch; it’s just not at all one of the better arcs and doesn’t add much to the overall story that we didn’t already know. Despite that, Nekomonogatari is entertaining and does provide enough of what makes the Monogatari series great to keep fans sated for the short runtime. read more
Jan 17, 2014 7:28 AM
The story is great. It is one of the main strength of the series. This part is before the start of the first series and we learned the past of Hanekawa and how she met oddity. The story is great because it made us realize that Hanekawa is not perfect and also susceptible to emotions.
The art is the other main strength. I watched this series because of the way they show the art. It is not the normal one and it fits perfectly with the settings of the story. It uses the same style of art from bakemonogatari and nisemonogatari.
The sound is awesome. It really gives the viewer the right feel for the scenes that gives a very good viewing experience. The opening and ending themes are also great.
The story is mostly about Hanekawa. Koyomi showing different emotions and reactions to different situation but in the end, he's the same common protagonist that saves the girl in the end.
I watched this during the season that is usually joyful. Even though the story is far from that, i find the episodes enjoyable.
This is a must watch for Bakemonogatari series fan as it gives back story of Hanekawa and I'm sure you will find this enjoyable and worthwhile. read more
Jan 5, 2013 2:48 PM
"Cat" (neko), and "story" (monogatari) – the title Nekomonogatari is a pun. That is to say, it is a pun in so far as one could say its author "catered to the clientele by making a cat's-paw of a catalogue of puns he played cat and mouse with to catch our attention". If one were told this quote accurately mirrors the content of the anime, one would probably predict a dubious end product. That's why it's against all odds that Nekomonogatari actually lands on its feet remarkably well.
While the plot slowly creeps in, the first fraction of the anime remains light-hearted. Skits and dialogue compose this prelude and prove their author's ease with comedy. It is delicate for comedic effect to be powerful within a serious storyline: many jokes may throw away important characterisation for the purpose of comedy, or may blend in poorly with the mood, sometimes outright crushing it. Have no fear, however, because Nekomonogatari not only gracefully avoids these pitfalls, but also manages to masterfully tie comedy with characterisation.
Let us picture Araragi Koyomi and his love interest Hanekawa Tsubasa, having a grave discussion at the beginning of this anime. As the tone becomes darker and more relevant to the plot, the protagonist suddenly starts acting delirious – making for hilarious gags, but also out of character behaviour shattering the mood. The act and fun go on for a while, building up towards the punchline without the viewer's knowledge. And when the preparations are set, the punchline of the skit only reinforces the deception, making the protagonist come off as entirely degenerate. After the fact, though, the punchline and entire act is shortly explained as a purposeful defusing of the mood and the punchline an actually very considerate line of the protagonist. As a result, the hilarious nonsense that was presented becomes perfectly logical and adds volumes of depth to the main character.
The comedy is further supported by the commendable voice acting in the series. Kamiya Hiroshi as Araragi Koyomi knows of many tones and makes a varied use of them during the skits. But the most impressive feat is that he does so in a stunning speaking rate. Where common actors would lose any sense of intonation when speaking at a fast rate, Kamiya becomes even more expressive, making for great comedic effect.
While it seems odd for a serious story to waste time with comedy, Nekomonogatari's pacing is masterful. It is difficult, when examining this work's pacing, to forget its format; although the series is listed and sold as separate episodes, its small number of episodes is no coincidence. When the series first aired on TV, the episodes were broadcasted back-to-back: it's as a whole that the series is best and supposed to be appreciated. The pacing irregularities between the episodes may feel heavy-handed for a fractioned viewing, yet as a film it flows smoothly and follows a tight structure.
The slow discussion at the start tackles issues very relevant to the story, which allows for the plot to remain in constant movement. This way, the related accident is given appropriate foreshadowing during the beginning of the series, and its characters are also handled with care. During the two skits the first part of the series is made of, Koyomi is extensively fleshed out. Long introspection is expressed on his romantic feelings for another person: is it love, or is it lust? What is the nature of love in the first place? Not only does this heart-searching add to the characterisation, it also showcases a down-to-earth approach many high school romances lack: where many anime take themselves more seriously than they should, overdramatising trivial romances that can be accounted for by lust or teenager delusions, Nekomonogatari shows an exceptional awareness for these issues.
For the third instalment of a long-running franchise to stand on its own would be required a story that is formally flawless, and this is definitely the case with this anime, in which the audience gets a story that is both extraordinarily conclusive and whose unfolding is under control all the way through. Firstly noticed is the recurrent emphasis on the time period. The time at which the series takes place is precisely bound in time (and using a well-known holiday as the context isn't innocent): before that period, nothing relevant occurs, after it, the story is wrapped up definitively. This is made so by fully foreshadowing the incident within the Golden Week itself, not in the rest of the franchise; and at the end of the adventure, not only is the story left behind using the end of the holiday as a symbol, but one of the character is said to have no recollection of it, putting a final conclusion to the case as the characters fully move on.
The plotline is a fascinating one. Sometimes posing problems, the monogatari series is very formulaic; rarely is the same schema violated. "An Oddity appears, and it is dealt with by the characters, end of the arc and onto the next one". But using one of the characters' own words: "this is a case filled with irregularities". Nekomonogatari's approach takes a twist – and plot twists, the series has many. Dei ex machina they are not, for their nature is limited to the exploitation of introduced data and foreshadowing. In truth, only the introduction of a powerful weapon unknown to the characters will be remembered as a possible plot convenience, and yet it is this very unknown nature that is presented as its strength, defeating even the most knowledgeable enemies and thus justifiable in the context of the story.
This tightly-knit story is helped by the art, for example by limiting the number of characters involved. Very few characters are depicted; not a single extra character figure in the streets. When the anime needs victims, they only are mentioned; when these victims appear in the script but do not possess any line, they are depicted as shadows with no character design of their own.
Naturally, as far as art goes, Nekomonogatari offers delicacies par for the course with the monogatari series. We have the same surreal environment with flamboyant colours and dreamlike architectures; the colour scheme is an entirely original one to craft the gloomy atmosphere, using atypically saturated colours and various techniques to create surrealism. One such technique, for example, is the contradictory use of vivid white to colour background elements when the scene takes place at night with an environment otherwise dark. Like in many other visual fields, Nekomonogatari does a splendid job at playing with contrasts; and the surrealism it crafts is both daring and very cohesive.
The artistic direction results in a pompous feel – in an impressive way – which well-composed shots accompany to emphasise the surreal vastness of the surroundings. However, it can be noticed that the attempts at dramatising the scenes sometimes do not flow well. Epitome of pomposity, many close-up shots are made on the characters' faces using large camera movements, creating a beautiful effect. The problem is that the camera movements in these shots connect very poorly to adjacent shots and the flow of the storyboard is slightly affected as a result.
As to fanservice, it fits, this time, quite well the theme of "lust" which isn't brought up gratuitously but for characterisation; for once, it is rather welcome than unwanted. It is made in sometimes conventional ways, but always in tasteful ones – and the dissonance produced when a catgirl in underwear is depicted next to a mutilated body is bound to make an impact. Talented as ever, the author yet again explores new fetishes. The approach of risqué, half-naked clothing combines delectably well with the fact that the character in question is also the victim of a spell injuring anyone making skin contact with them, taking the concept of femme fatale to new heights.
Sound in Nekomonogatari is beautiful. While the tunes aren't memorable, the different tracks use an instrumentation that fits perfectly the different moods each scene conveys, and this is also strengthened by the realistic sound effects; in Nekomonogatari, even smoke produces sound, and the eerie sound of blood flowing or limbs flying makes for an unsettling atmosphere of the best quality.
But when the credits roll, unsettling mood invariably turns into a smile on the viewer's face, for to an outstanding anime, it is a most natural response to feel happy and smile. read more
Apr 20, 2013 5:15 PM
Ah, the Monogatari Series. After seeing Bakemonogatari and what a masterpiece it was, Nisemonogatari was a big disapointment. It was still great, but it paled in comparison to Bakemonogatari. Because of this, I can understand why a great many would be unsure of this series, Nekomonogatari. Well, you can put your fears to rest. Nekomonogatari brought the series back to its brilliance. It's just as good as Bakemonogatari, in my opinion.
First, the art:
Being a SHAFT series, and even more being in the Monogatari series, as always one can expect brilliant artwork and extremely smooth animation, however lacking in the actual amount of animation there is. Nekomonogatari continues the trend having lots of sequences of very little movement and mostly talking, but with animation here and there that is absolutely amazing. One can also tell the animators had a lot of fun with the show, going crazy by adding a few over the top sequences of animation or adding a bunch of different art styles here and there.
The storyline feels more like just a small part of an actual Monogatari series, which is normal since a lot of parts in Monogatari series often involve some particular supernatural event. When the event is solved, the part ends. Being only 4 episodes, this felt less like a series and more like a movie. The story was still entertaining to watch, but in reality it was pretty simple; Something causes a horrible event involving a supernatural entity and the main character, Araragi-Kun, has to go fix it.
Character wise, the show has extremely well written characters, and considering the focus of the Monogatari series seems to be dialogue, the writing is naturally brilliant. Araragi-Kun feels like a fun immature kid, but with a genuine mind and interest in understanding others. He wants to help people for sure, as he is genuinely caring about Hanakawa. He is troubled over the fact that he is unsure as to whether or not he loves Hanakawa or is just lusting over her. Its interesting to see his troubles involving this. Hanakawa herself, in cat form, is a rather entertaining character who loves using a barage of cat puns, so much that it may annoy some people. Nearly every sentence she says involves them. I personally found them to be amusing and a little fun. She's also extremely dangerous, and very much a threat, which is good for those who are tired of shows with less than dangerous bad guys. It's also interesting in that cat Hanakawa, while dangerous, actually has a good cause. She wants to help normal Hanakawa. I won't explain why, or how a form of herself can help her, as that would probably be a spoiler, but just know that.
Many probably had issues with Nisemonogatari's change in the music to something less interesting and lackluster. Fans of Bakemonogatari should be happy to know that Nekomonogatari reuses some of Bakemonogatari's music and consequently is a whole lot better, and the music is used really well to fit the scenes and set the mood.
Overall, this show is brilliant and great to watch, especially for fans of Bakemonogatari, however, because its so similar to Bakemonogatari, it definitely is not for some people. The lack of animation and large amount of dialogue may bore people. Though it may be worth mentioning that there seems to be more animation in this than Bakemonogatari, probably because it was so short. read more
Sep 4, 2014 1:01 PM
The story is the prequel to the original, telling us what happened during the spring brake or "Golden Week",as the students there refer it to, of the year before the events of the original series. It is presented rather well and worked out through a lot of dialog something i enjoyed in the original, and you should make sure to pay attention to what the characters say since almost none of the screen time is pointlessly wasted.
Art and Animation (9/10)
The show looks beautiful and is animated the same characters and backgrounds look grate nothing in particular against it but from time to time i did find it kind of stiff on rare occasions. Still grate to look at.
The soundtrack is ok it sets the mood just right for a certain scene, but I can't give it more than 6 since I can't find any track that i could listen to on its own.
This is where this show really shines, since the story is worked out through dialog as i said earlier, and that help a lot in developing the characters . With two of the characters Araragi and Oshino already developed to the large extent in the first series, the show concentrates on Hanekawa (the story is about her, duh) who was, as I felt, a little left behind the other mains of the original.
I enjoyed the show yes, but not to the extent i hoped to. I always got the feeling that this prequel lacks something that the original had and that fact really bugged me.
Well when i put everything together Nekomonogatari deserves by my opinion a 7/10 just because most of my grades depend on my enjoyment and I would still reccomend you to watch this show. Further more I would reccomend to watch this before you go to watch nisemonogatari, since some of the events mentioned in the original and not properly explained were shed light upon and that can leave an open door for more enjoyment for Nise arc. read more
Jan 2, 2013 10:03 PM
What does those two words reminds you of? A cat perhaps? Well, neko (in Japanese) does translate to cat, an ordinary theme in many anime series we see today. Oh but Nekomonogatari is anything but ordinary. In fact, for Shaft fans and those who have experience already with the monogatarai series, you will know the way these type of works go. Once again, the franchise brings forth the latest installation from the monogatari series. So, if you're curious just like a cat/neko, then this series is definitely worth some time to invest on.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro is the prequel of Bakemonogatari, an anime series adapted from the light novels written by Nisio Isin. Nekomonogatari: Kuro actually translates to Nekomonogatari: Black which is adapted from the sixth light novel written during the summers of 2010. The series details of the Tsubasa Family Arc with cameos from other characters and of course features our beloved main protagonist, Koyomi Araragi.
For anyone new to the monogatari franchaise, there are a few things that you should first familiarize yourself. It's hard to exactly describe what Nekomonogatari is because it's quite an unique series. In fact, many words can describe the monogatari series like strange, bizarre, otherworldly, sexy, clever, enthusiastic, humorous, entertaining, amusing, and maybe...just something like you might never ever forget.
To me, Nekomonogatari and most of the other monogatari series is like a reading a textbook with pictures. Only difference is that there seems to be no limits on how many pictures are on each page, or at least ones that convey to the words written. The series Nekomonogatari and like many of its other titles is an actual portmanteau or combination of two words. In this case, the words “neko” and “monogatari” is used. Neko means “cat” when translated in Japanese while “monogatari” means story. At this point, one might assume that this series may be about the story of a cat.
Like its other works, the animation studio Shaft (Maria Holic, PMMM, Bakemonogatari) handles this prequel. They are known for its unique gags and references that are used for their ways of conveying their storytelling to the viewers, often with the usage of word plays. The word plays themselves are heavily incorporated into this series as well because a lot of the scenes often comes up heavy dialogue, references, and parody. In fact, the visuals themselves represents a way of presenting to scenes of showing rather than telling. Most of the times, they are humorous, bizarre, amusing, and a way of expressing a particular word or dialogue.
The series starts off with Araragi doing what he does best and who am I kidding, it's already blasts off with humorous quotes with his beloved sisters. He talks about various subjects although his interest seems to be focused on “love” that he portrays in his peculiar way. From there on though, we later meet the other main character who represents the title: Tsubasa Hanekawa. She is seen as the class president at school and nicknamed “Class Rep-chan”. To me, that title fits her well. I mean, just look at her! Hanekawa's hair is braided, wears glasses, and has a mature personality just like how a class president ought to be. In fact, the way she is has made Aragai call her the “class president of all class presidents”.
Besides that part though, there are other characters who makes their cameos and return to this series. For vampire fans out there, our beloved vampire Shinobu Oshino makes her cameo in her amusing way. Her love of donuts remains strong as ever during her brief reunion with Aragai. Her personality changes somewhat according to Aragai but let's another story. On the other hand, there's also Karen Araragi who also makes her short yet very entertaining cameo. Unlike Shinobu, she is every talkative and hot headed with an equally hot body that she boasts about. Unfortunately, her dialogues are limited in this series but the moments she presented were entertaining. Speaking of moments, there were quite a bit that some of us may never forget...
In fact, despite the many humorous scenes presented in Nekomonogatari, there is also some violence with blood being shed by a vengeful cat. Blood getting spilled is often depicted as violent in anime or real world culture, but in this series, I found it to be near comical. In fact, I found many of the scenes in this series to be comical. Whether it's the various parodies, dialogues, violence, or fan service, Nekomonogatari presents these type of scenes as almost classical. Its abstract and absurdity is so often set up that it becomes a work of art; even the fan service. Oh and speaking of the fan service, there are quite a bunch of them especially involving our neko and those delicious scenes during the classroom. The way she talks, dresses, and uses parody of the “nya” that are incorporated into her speech patterns is absurd yet amusing to watch. She's pretty much nude wearing those skimpy clothing in the way of a cat with those ears and suggestive positions. It's no surprise though especially for fans who got a taste of the original series. In fact, the fan service expands beyond just the bare skin. The violence is also over exaggerated to the point of “gore” and blood. Although it's an overused trope in todays' anime cultures, I found it visually appealing by the way Shaft uses it to present the monogatari series. It's like a work of art rather than to show off.
In the meantime, there is a darker scene of the series as the episodes progresses especially later on. It's hard to tell the exact direction due to the way most of the dialogues are used as well as the visuals presented. Therefore, it's just best if you go with the flow and to follow what you see rather than analyze the series to its finest details. Like I said before, the details in the series is portrayed in that way which is Shaft's way of doing their works. It is artistically unique and presented in a way in which...*gasp* done right with the fan service. Whether you agree or not is up to you but I personally found it quite entertaining.
The artwork of the series remains generally the same as its other works from the franchise. Many of the series' visuals are presented with geometric designs in simple shapes and sizes. It's not complex and easy to watch. If you want some spectacular artwork, go watch some Shinkai Mikoto's films or something. However, the way it approaches its visuals is quite unique. It's like going to an art museum for the first time in a room where you see the walls and walls of abstract works.
The soundtrack, music, and voices of the series is imperative for this to flow well. Because there is a lot of dialogues, the voice actors have to step it up to the plate (unless of course if you're playing a vampire). Luckily, it works quite well and most if not all the mannerisms fits well. In particular, Tsubasa Hanekawa's voice actress Yui Horie (Higurashi, School Rumble, Little Busters!) perfects her skills with her voice by using her speeches similar to a cat during her scenes. In fact, the OP song, "perfect slumbers" by Tsubasa Hanekawa even has her involvement. It is quite a purrfect match that fur her roles well. Similarly, many of the OST played during the word plays scenes are orchestrated in that way of the monogatari style.
All in all, Nekomonogatari was a fun experience for me. It's clever, entertaining, fun, sexy, and an unique watch similar to its other title works. I do admit though that it occasionally tries too much especially in the fan service and dialogue department. In fact, some of the presented word plays are a bit repetitive and hard to adapt. If you're new to the series, you will likely get one of those “what the fuck did I just watch?” moments. But if you're already familiarized yourself with Shaft's works, then this could definitely be an enjoyable experience for you. Whether you enjoy Nekomonogatari: Kuro in the end is up to you however. It's not a purrfect series but definitely one hell of an experience. read more
Jan 9, 2013 11:14 PM
"The golden glittering nine days that I will forever remember with lingering affection"
The light novel series of Monogatari has always been unique in the sense of narrating a deep and serious story in a rather light mood. Nekomonogatari, the 6th volume of the novel and 4th season of the animated series, in this case was no different. This 4 episodes describe the events that led to Araragi Koyomi's first encounter with the oddity that became a part of Hanekawa Tsubasa. If you have already seen Bakemonogatari, then you would be familiar with the event.
Monogatari series has always been a series with more non-story content than actual story, and Nekomonogatari has well lived up to that reputation. The contents of the episodes were mainly talks, perverted in many cases, short action scenes, mostly Araragi get beaten up, and of course, fanservice. But in case of original story, there is not much to mention. A gist of it was shown in the last arc of Bakemonogatari, and it was merely an expansion. Still it retained its fast paced, somewhat unpredictable course of events, and twists. So even after knowing most of the story, it's worth a watch.
The art style of Nekomonogatari, like always, is unique with its dynamic change and detailed backgrounds. However, in case of Nekomonogatari, the art has been much more regular and steady. Although some may see it as a good point, I'd say it lost a charm.
The season depicts only 6 characters - Araragi, Oshino, Hanekawa, Karen, Tsukihi, Shinobu - who hasn't been named yet and a flash of Sejougahara. If you've seen the first seasons - which you should, before seeing this - there isn't much to tell about the characters. Being an anime mostly driven by it's characters, it has retained every aspect of the characters form the series.
Overall I've been a big fan of the Monogatari series from the start. I've enjoyed this new addition as much as the older ones. Seeing how even an already narrated story was made into it so finely, the hopefully upcoming seasons of the series should definitely be worth watching. read more
Jan 9, 2013 11:04 AM
The story is a prequel to the Hanekawa arc of Bakemonogatari describing how Hanekawa becomes possessed by a cat demon.
As always the script and characters, the best parts of the Monogatari series, are sharp and witty and there is a sense the voice actors have really got into the characters. The story itself is well paced and enjoyable. Once again the anime manages to justify the fan service for which as always is plenty mostly involving Hanewara who spends most of her time looking like a schoolboy's dream.
Sadly the artwork has taken a step backwards. You can see they have tried to improve it but it just didn't work. Luckily being only 4 episode long it the artwork doesn't detract the series too much.
Nekomonogatari is a huge improvement on Nisemonogatari as far as taste and story is concerned yet it doesn't reach the heights of Bakemonogatari but is more than a useful addition to the Monogatari fold. read more
Mar 28, 5:55 PM
Considering this is a special, It's done incredibly good.
There's blood, gore, cute girls, weird mythology things, lewd comedy and more. Just what you'd expect from Monogatari.
If put in contrast with Bakemonogatari this uses the art direction, the "slides" with text and the animation thing a lot less spountaneosly which also leads on to the whole mood and tone of the episodes looking a lot more structured. There is also a heavier lean towards the "lewd comedy" part of the show rather than the mythological aspects. The character relations are brought to a whole new level with Araragi finding out what are his actual feelings towards Hanekawa, we also get a bit more of Vampire-chan.
Basically, if you liked the last arc of Bakemonogotari and you want to know more about what happened prior to to Bakemonogoatari then this will be a good watch. What i really dislike about it is the inclusion of the worst girl and how much screentime she got.
Not recommended for people not familliar with Monogatari Series. read more
Jan 6, 2013 10:45 AM
Story: Good 7. "Meow"
The plot maybe complicated, but as one watches this anime one will get the idea behind it.
Art: Good 7. "Meow"
The score is for Hanekawa's fanservice.
Sound: Mediocre 5."Purrrr"
Character, Enjoyment, Overall: Good 7. "Meow"
The Hanekawa X Koyomi arc is something that we audience desired for and everyone will agree with me that the 2 would be a purrrrrrrfect match, but it cannot be establish if Koyomi does have any feeling for Hanekawa, enjoyment, pretty good for the fanservice and Koyomi's sacrifice for Hanekawa was cool, but in the end it was Shinbou who did the finishing touch in which we were hoping that it would be Koyomi would used the very long katana thingy on Hanekawa to release her from the cat's curse, so overall the ending was good but not good enough to be given a score higher than 7. HISSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 9, 2013 10:30 AM
My category ratings:
Story, sound, character, enjoyment, overall: Fair 6, Purrrrr
The whole anime itself may not be much, but still worth watching.
Art: Good 7. Hiiissssssss.
For Hanekawa's lingerie fanservice. read more
Jan 1, 2013 2:10 AM
Nekomonogatari - kuro is the last installment in the 'first' Monogatari series 'season' as Nisio Isin calls it. And with shiro part they are about development Hanekawa Tsubasa as a character. Stories of books are paired - first one marks Hanekawa's problems and second makes an attempt to fix them in some ways. In my opinion, Bakemonogatari - kuro is not as good in story department as second series books, so I rated it 8, but it is definitely better than Nisemonogatari. You still would see a lot of bras and pantsu, but they are part of main character of this story.
Art style, direction, and sound are just awesome. SHAFT studio knows its job and know it very well.
tl;dr If you liked Bakemonogatari this is a must, otherwise YMMV. read more
Jun 14, 2013 5:13 PM
Story - 27/35 - This series is less like Nisemono and more like Bakemono, which is a good thing. There is even less fanservice in this series, and the pace is pretty fast, feeling like a movie (which it pretty much is). Because of time constraints, they couldn't add in any useless fanservice, unlike Nisemono which had too much time. I want to give the story a higher score, but I can't because it's a prequel where too much of the story was told to us beforehand. Bakemono told us too much about what happened during Golden Week, leaving for few surprises.
Characters - 29/35 - We learn more about pretty much every character in the show, aside from the Fire Sisters. What we learn most about is Araragi and Hanekawa's relationship, in particular Araragi's feeling about Hanekawa. I think many people were wondering why he never went after Hanekawa in Bakemono, especially after saying all those nice things about her. It was still a little confusing at the end, but at least it gave us a reason. We learn more about Hanekawa as a whole and about what her aberration is. We even get to see more of Oshino, which is always a good thing.
Sound - 11/15 - I feel like they made less use of the music compared to the other series. Aside from that, the music is still above average.
Animation - 12/15 - It seems as if Shaft went back to using more of those stupid flashes again. I didn't like them in Bakemono and was glad they were gone in Nisemono. I feel like they were used a lot less here compared to Bakemono, so there is that. Aside from that the animation is a beautiful as always. The show still likes to oversexualize scenes, but since half the show is Hanekawa in a bra an panies it doesn't really matter.
Overall - 79/100 - The lack of fanservice is what increased this score over the other shows in the series. Even though Bakemono got a lower score from me (77), it is still the better show in terms of Story and Characters. This show was just fortunate enough to not have any fanservice, while also toning down on the flashes. Overall this series could have been better if Bakemono spoiled less of it. It's a shame a show like this is hindered because of another show in the series but that is the burden all prequels have to bare. read more