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Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 26, 2010 to Dec 11, 2010
Duration: 50 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.501 (scored by 42605 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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Dec 12, 2010
Katanagatari (directly translated to English as Swordstory), is from the same guy who wrote Bakemonogatari. As famous as that anime was, I wasn’t very thrilled with its episodic nature. The smart gags and the wordplays were all nice but all the rest felt like random psychedelic rambling with lots of otaku culture cliches. But it still had enough artistic expression and weirdness to be memorable in a way.
Katanagatari is practically reusing the same formula, only here it offers a better feeling of progress, focuses more on the main characters and less on most others who come and go in the same episode they appear. I for once welcome this change in a positive light. You can’t watch the episodes in random order and the characters don’t mysteriously disappear after their use in the story is over (even when killed they are still mentioned in passing).
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 8
The strongest feature that exists here is its style of conscious trolling, you literally know the scriptwriter is messing with your expectations but you actually like it. That means, things are made as to make you expect something that never happens and surprises you with its unexpected turn of events. In most other series, being trolled is a very negative feature, the cause to hate an anime and downvote it for disappointing you or ruining your expectations. Easy examples are the wars foreshadowed for dozens of chapters/episodes in famous fighting shounens such as Naruto and Bleach. We were promised a war of epic scale and were offered a lukewarm and poorly handled line of small spars that were hardly exiting.
Katanagatari managed to reverse the feeling with smart gags, wordplays, and using a famous literature devise of foreshadowing called “Chekhov’s Gun”. If you are given a detailed description of a gun, you are given the impression it will be useful in the plot later on; that is, someone will fire it or it will be a key element in revealing the mystery. Most authors are advised to hide their guns as best as possible with subtle hints and red herring (intentional misguide) in an attempt to make the revelation less expected. But not this author. No sir, he is firing his gun all the time and throws it at your face. You are of course expecting for this gun to be damn important later on. And no, that moment comes and goes as if the gun was just a cigarette lighter. Ooooh, you didn’t see that coming! How unexpected!
As I said, this works only because the show never tries to be too serious to anything other than the core reasons every character is fighting for. All your expectations from the plot, formed by decades of stereotypes and tropes are in this case working against you, being used by the author in a way to make YOU the reader/viewer the expected and the stereotype. The roles are in a way reversed and you become the kitsch factor; the joke is on you and in this case it is funny. It is a kind of humor that directs at you, making you part of the show. Just like when a magician makes a building disappear, you being present and gasping at the illusion is actually part of the act as well. You don’t know it but DAMN it works.
So yeah, I liked it how I was being trolled all the time with events I couldn’t predict. To the overcritical this will feel like the show is going through totally random events and stupid character reactions, which is true and made deliberately as such. It was funny, unlike those stupid wars in other shows that were supposed to have seriousness and consistency. The only reason I didn’t give a full mark is because I’m not fond of the long talking feature. I prefer more action and less blah-blah, which is a personal taste that can vary from one person to another.
ANIMATION SECTION: 9
First of all two warnings about what will follow. By any means, do not try to view this show as historically accurate. It has ninjas dressed more colorfully than circus clowns, while it features guns and robots centuries before they are even invented and introduced to Japan. Also, by any means do not try to view this anime as an action series. It has action alright but it is much undermined in favor of dialogue. Plus, most battles are made to last only a few seconds as part of being trolled again. You would expect them to last for entire episodes yet they end quite fast and anti-climactically. Sounds frustrating but it’s meant to be funny.
Now onwards with the rest of the animation.
A nice contrast of plain character designs next to a broad range of colors and patterns filling said designs; it creates a dreamy feeling, open to personal interpretation. I mean, how old is each character or how does he look in real life? The artwork does not help; you need to imagine all that; and this is what makes it great; making you imagine the scene despite it being shown to you. You are forming the details in your mind, practically embracing the characters. The environments are basically colorful cartoons so even when you don’t want to think, you are still taken in by the visuals, like reading a very well made picture book. Once again you are tricked to be part of the act, which is what I call genius.
But you don’t need to think so deep if you don’t want to; there still is a large amount of fan service present, as each scene with the main duo is basically passing like sexual foreplay. It is not original in any way but in this case the author once again manages to turn the joke on you. Because the stereotypical couple would be about a tsundere loosing her clothes all the time before the guy, who would immediately have a nosebleed, she will scream, call him a pervert and hit him a hundred times. Well, again this is not the case here. The lead guy has NO idea how to be ashamed of nude and the girl is NOT afraid to be naked. Heck, they spend a lot of time being naked or him smelling her hair and although it doesn’t feel sexy to them, we are completely taken in by the fact that for us it is. Ingenious!
I will still not give full points here. Although the cinematography part is brilliant, the characters remain terribly frozen for several minutes. It is supposed to be part of the whole picture book act but ten minutes of endless talking with the screen showing the same picture slowly scrolled sideways can get to your nerves. Not a tragic problem but I sure mind it a bit concerning animation... which means something moving.
SOUND SECTION: 9
Voice Acting is superb; although at first it will feel like amateurish or stereotypical, in reality it’s again just more trolling. Each character will have a very distinctive voice, accompanied with personal catchphrases and different pinch in voice. It may feel like a repetitive joke at first but in reality it is a basic way of character immersion. At some point all their reasons for talking like that are exposed. So yeah, voices are not random cartoony squeaks, they are part of one’s personality.
The dialogues are again great to listen too; I get easily tired if they are long but they are great nonetheless. After all, most of the series consists of talking rather than acting, so we are talking about a lot of speech here. In fact you can watch half the show without even staring at the screen but just listening to what they say. What makes it interesting is once again the trolling part as you are constantly fed with possible future actions that are proven fault or meaningless a few seconds later. Heck, the characters themselves are constantly fooling one another with misunderstandings and wordplays, so the feeling is mutual.
But jokes aside, the seemingly endless talking offers insight to each character’s personality. Ten minutes of a monologue and you know who someone is or what he/she wants. It will feel artificial or forced at times because of the long duration but it still helps you to get to know them. So yeah, great work here as well.
If I need to lower the score a bit, that will be the Music Themes. Nice pieces of pop with folklore and ambient overtones but not something to hum for life. Not a real minus but I only give full score to series with memorable songs. There are otherwise numerous and each episode even features a different ending.
STORY SECTION: 8
The core story is quite the simple one; one guy and one girl, stroll around Japan to find twelve magic swords. One each episode they face a villain of the month (well, it was a monthly series) and acquire a sword. This pattern does not change from beginning to end but what DOES make it feel better is the way each sword is acquired. The method used each time is different, the circumstances are different, heck, the whole aim of the episode is different. So don’t expect the lead to constantly use his signature move as panacea every time; each adversary needs a different approach. Another minor but nice detail is how the weather slowly changes per episode to signify the time of the year it takes place in.
So even in such a formulaic show there are plot twists. Some events occur in moments or in ways you were not expecting, thus being trolled once again in a good way. Even the ending is considered quite uncommon for such shows. Not only it is strong and solid but features events most would never expect the outcome despite the info being offered by previous events.
But as I said earlier most of the plot is talking rather than acting; the actual screen time of getting the sword lasts only around 5 minutes at each episode. The rest is getting to know the characters and fooling around; thus the core series is way too small next to the side stories of the characters they meet in each episode. Very good entreating-wise but rather poor story-wise. Most secondary characters are never shown for more than an episode so the feeling of expanding future possibilities as the episodes go by feels a bit off.
But other than that the pacing does not feel erratic at any point. Since each episode is pretty much self-contained in plot there is no room for fillers or staling. And no episode is really treated as unnecessary since there always is a sort of progress present; so it is not really bad. It’s just that powers and characters found on one episode would make an interesting event if they met powers and characters from following episodes. Sounds like poor excuse for needless crossovers but I still like the idea.
CHARACTER SECTION: 8
The prime thing any series needs to have is memorable characters. This show succeeds and wins by failing, thus performs a double victory. Sounds weird? Let me explain.
The main duo is definitely worth to remember. Although they initially feel like the usual tsundere and blockhead of so many anime out there, by the end of the show they are given so much color and insight that you have all the reason in the world to cherish them for life. That is something I can’t say for other shows with similar duos like Inu Yasha or Spice and Wolf. Their development and presence was a lot less bold, stretched amongst several episodes, most of which are fillers, while the ending was lukewarm at best. But here they did an excellent job at making them worthy. I mean, Shichika is a clueless to the world swordless swordsman; he fights better against swords when he is not holding one. Isn’t that weird enough? And here I though the three-sword style of Zorro from One Piece was too much. As for the lead girl, her title is Strategian (a fusion of tactician and strategist) Togame looking for 12 hentai swords, who keeps using the word “cheerio” with the wrong meaning. Isn’t that weird as heck? And it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what their personalities are like.
The secondary cast is also memorable for being… killed right away. Sounds weird but it’s the trolling effect again. Most adversaries will be presented as super powerful and will be handed a Chekhov’s gun. But when the action happens they will pretty much not use the gun and die fast and anti-climactically. What is funnier is how a simple handgun is far more powerful than elite ninjas, which is true but still not something you would expect to see in a show about superhumans. Trooolled!
But anyway, most characters will still be colorized enough before they kick the bucket on the same episode they appear in; it will frustrate you but you will probably like the feeling.
Besides that, all characters have a really strong presence on screen; they all have their set of catchphrases, unique uniforms, special attacks, demeanor, etc. For a cast where most are killed right away and the rest just talk to the end, they did a great job and I salute them for that.
And no, I still don’t give a full mark for a cast where most are rather stereotypical and die 20 minutes after they appear. This trolling trick still has its limitations.
I am not a fan of episodic plots or this trolling business. It worked on me all right but only this time. I am also not willing to sit down and relive all those long dialogues either. But heck, going though rough times in the anime industry I say this anime feels like an oasis in the desert. I mean, it is not devoid of moe, sex jokes, or meta-modern feeling but at the same time it is not aimless, carbon-copied, lukewarm adventure either. So ok, some say it pays tribute to Rurouni Kenshin, or Dragonball, or even Inu Yasha and Naruto. The similarities are still not clear enough to make it a retelling of those shows and to my knowledge it has a lot better directing and feeling than most of the above.
So yeah, it’s a good show… Even for MY strict tastes. read more
Feb 25, 2014
The defining strength of this anime is the relationship and romance between Togame and Shichika in particular the witty and masterfully scripted dialogue between the two MCs. But be prepared. There is a LOT of dialogue and it very rarely stops. But as I said, the dialogue is top-notch and what drives the character development. The banter between Togame and Shichika almost never gets old whether they are piling on jokes or delving into deep philosophies. And the action (when it finally does come around between all the talking) is excellently done although it can be short at times. Each episode is 45 mins in length and this is both good and bad in a sense. It's good in that each episode's story gets fully developed and it helps drive the character development. However, it makes each episode a bit more of a challenge and a chore to go through along with the simplicity and predictability of the story, amount of talking and overly episodic nature of the series.
Still, this is a unique gem that should be watched and appreciated by all anime lovers. Katanagatari may not be for everyone but if you liked Bakemonogatari or want to try something that is a bit different, definitely give it a shot. "Cheeeeeeerioooo!"
8.25/10 read more
Feb 10, 2013
This is where the Story takes a bit of a left turn. The show has a very loose definition of what a sword is, and as the episodes continue, the swords become increasingly bizarre and eventually impossible, hence the show existing as fantasy. There's also mentions of a prophesy, and the hint that the events of the series are being manipulated in some kind of grand scheme that reaches across time and space itself. To say more would be to spoil the plot entirely. What I can tell you is that while the plot is serviceable enough, that's what it is - a vehicle for everything else. 7/10.
The good news is, everything else is GREAT. The Art style is different, to say the least, and looks a bit like a fusion of Samurai Jack and Naruto. While you're getting your head around that bizarre visual, let me say that it's very pretty, though the minimalist method occasionally has you begging for more detail. 8/10.
The Sound design is pretty good, and let me say while the music itself does a great job of capturing the feeling behind the moment, the actual sound you're going to hear can get a bit annoying. Some of the twangyness from a few songs stuck with me like the auditory equivalent of gristle in my teeth - mildly unpleasant but not enough for me to reduce the volume. 7/10.
Characterization is the strongest aspect of this show by far. Shinchika and Togami have a wonderful dynamic that slowly progresses from episode to episode, and you can track specific qualities of their character growth with ease. Perhaps the best part of the characterization is how the protagonists always get to know the owner of the Deviant Blade before doing battle, and the human qualities we see in them create a subtle cognitive dissonance. Most of them are not using their weapons to do any harm, so are the protagonists the 'good guys'? The show never gives any easy answers, and at the very least the nature of the characters will stick with you long after the show is over and you've forgotten the plot.
One character in particular keeps this from a perfect score - Shinchika's sister. To explain the exact nature of her character would ruin the plot of at least two episodes, but in advance she's probably the greatest Mary Sue to ever exists. Episodes with her are entertaining, but her complete lack of meaningful flaws and poor character development make her a liability more than an asset. 9/10
I really enjoyed Katanagatari, far more than the studio's previous show Bakemonogatari. The relationship between characters feels natural, the fights are a fun mix of physical prowess and cerebral strategy and tactics, and the slower pacing of the show never felt like a hindrance, rather it gave the writers more time to explore the nature of the characters presented. 9/10
I give it a solid 8 out of ten. If you're looking to blow a full day (the episodes are 50 minutes each, not 22) and you're into historical fiction or martial arts, you'll have a good time. Just don't analyze the plot too much, and just roll with it.
As a final thought, I should mention that the final episode of the show is ALL payoff, and contains one of the most brutal, one-sided series of fights I have ever seen, culminating in an incredible final showdown that will leave you wanting to watch it all over again. read more
Feb 22, 2011
Story- Great story, not the most original I've seen since there are many anime's out there based on sword fighting and the edo period but everything else makes up for the story's lack of originality. 7
Art- The art was gorgeous, I loved the traditional spin on the animation and it's consistency.9
Sound- I'm not one to pay too close attention to the sound but I liked the background music, nothing really to complain about. 8
Character- If this show has a strength, it's in its characters. Not a single one of them has a boring or stereotyped personality, it was especially enjoyable to watch Shichika and Togame's interactions and development. read more
May 30, 2010
Now, let me start off by saying, if anime was judged on artistic style alone, Katanagatari would probably be one of the greatest of all time, as the artwork is beautiful. Scenic landscapes, great character design, and a whole lot else to create a beautiful vision before your eyes. The plot.. starts off on a rather simple footing, with Shichika and Togame beginning their journey, but begins to branch out wildly, creating quite a lot of sub plots. And to make things better, Katanagatari does a very nice job of keeping these plots understandable, and doesn't let itself get drowned in side stories. Every episode you can begin to enjoy the very layered plot, starting with what the sword of the day is, followed by what Togame and Shichika's topic of the day will be, and maybe even the back story of an enemy ninja or swordsman that they have to fight. Needless to say, the story is well layered and overall very interesting to follow along.
As for the characters, Katanagatari seems to do a pretty decent job with them as well. Both Shichika and Togame are rather interesting to watch, and have a strange chemistry that makes you laugh and genuinely bond with them as characters. Each has a back story that even now (5 episodes in) has been looked into a fair bit, but still left in enough mystery to keep the viewer immersed in the series. The series being episodic by nature, has many MANY characters that appear for maybe an episode or 2 before disappearing or being killed. Each usually don't have much of a back story, but often are acted on really well and make one wonder what their life must be like. Overall the cast holds together quite well, with no one being particularly memorable, but nobody being bad by any means.
Now every series has some flaws and katangatari is no exception. Each episode happens to be set for 45 minutes, which helps make the one month wait less painful, but generally leads to a lot of filler. The action scenes are usually pretty short for what they could be, and the characters quite often seem to get caught up in idle conversation... that can be funny at times, but you know its just padding out the episode. Another problem is the release schedule for this anime. Now releasing one hour long episode every month for a year is a pretty unique way of doing it, and sounds pretty cool when they do it, but it really does dowse the overall feel of the series a little bit. One can forget a lot in a month, and usually you don't go into the new episode with quite as much enthusiasum as you might of a month earlier.
But really, those are rather small complaints. The story is good, the characters interesting, and the show itself works quite well. I'm not exactly a huge fan of the action genre, but Katanagatari definitely got my attention, and I plan to see it all the way to the end, and I recommend you do to. read more
Jun 19, 2013
Katanagatari is one of Nisio Isin's serial works and is, in all honesty, really interesting in it's transformation from a standard 'fetch the sword' quest, to it's ultimate conclusion of being that something more.
Story (8/10): Being a Nisio Isin story, it's not going to be simple. In fact there'll probably be parts where the story makes no sense (that part actually comes along in episode 11, but spoilers kiddies). But the fact that it transforms over the course of the 12 episodes makes the story pretty fascinating. Shichika and Togame's quest across Japan for the 12 swords is detailed, filled with action, and some throw-ins in the form of comedy/romance/etc.
Art (9/10): Katanagatari is brightly colored, all smooth lines, and filled with little details that make it a beautiful show. Thanks in part to the wonderful art by Take, this show had uniquely designed characters that just kinda lept off the screen with how vibrant and interesting they were. Plus the fight scenes are a real treat thanks to the great designs.
Sound (8/10): While the openings and endings were OK to me (the first is probably the better one, if I had to pick), the incidental music is what really sets the mood for the show. From very traditional Japanese music, to something that reminds me of rap, to slower jazz-ish sounding background music, these songs were what helped you really get into a scene.
Character (9/10): The main draw to the show is it's main characters. Shichika and Togame are the most interesting duo that you'll come across, which makes watching them develop so much fun. Shichika starts out as an out of touch, muscle headed idiot with virtually no emotions to a hero that we have really be entertained by. Togame is much the same, beginning as a the devoted strategist who will complete her mission, to a girl who comes around to being more interesting. Both characters transformations are evident by the last episode, so paying attention to them during their travels makes the entire show worth it.
As well, Nisio Isin adds in some interesting secondary characters that just add into the whole experience, with the mysterious Princess Hitei and her servant Emonzaemon, the Maniwa Ninja Corps, and the Deviant Blade wielders. They add into the character of the show and make the progress on the main duo's journey all the more interesting.
Enjoyment (9/10): This show really does almost have it all: adventure, action, comedy, romance, tragedy, philosophy, and political intrigue. Thanks to hitting so many little pieces like that makes this anime really interesting. I was never bored, I had fun with the characters and the fight scenes. Hell, I even wrote a philosophy paper on Shichika's starting characteristics in the first and second episodes for a class. Katanagatari is entertaining to the end and you won't be disappointed.
Overall, Katanagatari is another success for Nisio Isin, with it's interesting format, story, and characters. Even when the story was odd or the characters were rambling in that certain NI way, the payoff for this show was wonderful and I highly recommend that you check this show out.
"And so, we draw a close on Katanagatari this review." read more
Jan 18, 2012
Katanagatari is an action adventure anime that spans across a certian period of time whilst maintaining a fast pace.
We are met with a streetwise, serious yet not-too-competent female who is soon joined on her quest by a fairly clueless male who has a lot to learn.
The two form an unconventional relationship and set off on the female leads quest - encountering new friends and opponents along the way.
Quite creative - the character design isn't consistant; some characters are a lot more human looking then others, yet only slightly, which somehow works.
The scenery is very pleasant; in brightness and in darkness, there is always plenty of detail within the strong colours which always stand out.
Unusual characters in comparrison to many other anime characters, especially compared to those who are ususally appointed the 'lead' - we have a male who doesn't play butmonkey dispite being genuien 'clueless' and a strong willed female lead who isn't a high level tsundere or moe; these characters have something to say, as do the minors we encounter during the series.
If you're familiar with this authors; 'monogatari series's, then you may recognise a some of the authors approach to wit threw the headlining characters, such as mocking anime cliche's.
I really enjoyed this. I have watched many upon many anime's and frankly, it can be hard to find something that really qualifies as different, yet this is one of those that could entertain an anime veteran - someone who has watched a lot of anime will pick up on the blatent use of cliche's that otherwise, may or may not annoy people, aswell as the regular breaking of conventions many anime's would avoid doing in order to keep the audience happy.
A must see, especially for all of you who feel you have pretty much seen it all.
Nov 13, 2012
this anime was one of the best short series anime out there. Although it's not as renowned, the qualities of story, characters, artwork, and overall content are simply marvelous and unprecedented.
There are many interesting points to elaborate on in this anime;
First of all, the story is quiet the surprise. Although the whole "quest for finding swords" seems rather cliche and (quite frankly) boring at first, this story takes on a whole new outlook that clearly distinguishes itself from other adventure stories out there. Because of the character development, interaction, and dialogues filled with philosophy and humor, each episode approaches with a completely different feel.
In terms of characters, I was a bit (really, just a teeny tiny bit!) disappointed. Not because of the fact that I don't like the characters--given that I'm in love with our dense and naive Shichika--but more because of the development of relationship between Togame (heroine) and Shichika (hero). Although Shichika was supposed to be in love with Togame, his naivete and failure to make any initiatives sorta kept me on my toes as a girl who would love to see a touch of romance here and there to a beautiful story of a couple.
Togame's personality irked me a little; I'm not a huge fan of Togame, who I can describe as selfish and spoiled. To completely stand back and look at the anime, she's not the pivotal character. No one is. Everyone has equal amount of contribution to her journey. It's her background that earned her the position as a heroine. My superficial complaint would be how her voice tone changes so drastically that it was a bit annoying to my ears.
Yasuri Shichika. Ahh, Shichika. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that Hosoya Yoshimasa was the voice actor. He did a great job of acting dense yet keeping keenness during battles as well as softness and unspoken love hinted when with Togame. He adjusted accordingly to Shichika's development and quite frankly, it wouldn't have been as good if it weren't for Hosoya Yoshimasa.
Other than the fact that it lacked the romance that should be developing between a couple (but then again--it enhanced the character of Shichika who was supposed to be the thickheaded, dense guy), the interactions between characters seemed a bit unnatural; heroine and hero, Maniwa Groups, the sword bearers, and Princess Hitei and her servant Emonzaemon were all involved in this journey yet there wasn't much significant of a substance when they actually met.
However, the specific interaction between the protagonists and the antagonists (for example, Princess Hitei) was confusing yet so obvious and realistic. Can't say much without spoiling, but the fact that both the heroes and the anti-heroes have equal footing was interesting--and realistic.
Artwork? No comment. Too good, must watch. Beautiful. Character drawings may be simple but simple doesn't mean boring. It turns out very elegant at the end. Blends in with the background which has subtle care in color, texture, and placement.
It confused me a little when in Edo era there'd be things like European style armors, guns, tux, and whatnot... and don't forget the costumes that resemble animals for Maniwa groups. It was a bit strange, but in a good way. Each characters were unique and I appreciate care put into every single character.
To those who don't appreciate dialogues, avoid this anime, or at least don't complain that it doesn't have a lengthy fighting scene. They talk a lot--but every sentence is nicely thought out that you'd be missing a big chunk without it.
The dialogues, although they may not seem much, are one of the most crucial elements to Katanagatari. You'd be surprised by how captivating the conversation is, as well as by such clever, witty remarks going back and forth when humor intended. No wonder it aired once a month; it would require that much time to come up with meaningful dialogues.
Overall story was good, but a bit of a shocking end to it; I have to admit, I almost threw my laptop because the ending angered me. But it all contributes to the story... just be prepared for the ending. Personally, I loved every second of this episode except the ending. Should I hint that I almost cried after finishing?
I definitely recommend this anime to those who like cynical, a bit explicit, and both light-and-dark stories. It's not your ordinary action, shounen, adventure-with-romance story. It's much deeper. But seriously, go watch it now I guarantee you it'll be worthwhile. read more
Aug 1, 2011
Each of the twelve episodes of Katanagatari features a different sword and the struggle for the protagonists to obtain it. Even though each episode is around 50 minutes long, it would be going too far to say that they become boring. Rather, each episode goes a lot like the other episodes and any remotely attentive viewer will pick up on the formula quickly. However, the show is not episodic and the main story progresses interestingly. There are a lot of things to pay attention to, even if the main plot of any given episode is somewhat obvious.
Katanagatari's art is a mixed bag. The backgrounds are extremely detailed and consistently gorgeous. The characters tend to have exciting, if impractical, outfits. The cartoony bright colors of the characters and their pleasantly simple faces contrast nicely with the scenery. Here's the problem: the animation is frequently static and even lazy. This is less of a problem because much of the show revolves around the dialogue, but even so there is far too much panning of the background and many shots seem to have been chosen to protect the budget, rather than to enhance the scene. Fortunately, the dialogue and the quality of the voice-acting are good enough to distract even the most critical from many of the animation shortcuts.
Katanagatari's characters stand out from the crowd in regards to the generic ones found in most animes. Shichika's deadpanning and Togame's heckling go great together and sometimes it's difficult to tell if one of the characters was trying to be humorous. Their relationship progresses so interestingly that the show would be worth watching just to listen to them converse. Even characters that only appear for one episode or sit on the sidelines tend to be worth focusing on. Every character's motives are understandable and the viewer will even find themselves caring about the "bad guys" like the members of the Maniwa Ninja Corps.
Katanagatari is a great anime. It's a must-watch if you can get over the predictability from episode to episode and the static animation. The story is good throughout and has a lot of great themes. Even though you will predict a lot, a lot will take you by surprise. As an added incentive, the last episode is so great that it more than makes up for all of the show's flaws. read more
Dec 19, 2010
Katanagatari, or "Sword Story" strayed from what is now the norm in Anime, and managed to create a masterpiece. Of course, some may not see Katanagatari in such a way, but one should also stop to consider that you don't need hot anime girls to make a series interesting.
STORY - 9
At first the story would seem like your average "collect all the weapons". And for the earlier part, it would seem so. However, as the story progresses, the story gets deeper and deeper. It baits you in with a promising start, and build that up as you go. Be ready for a lot of twists, comedy, some romance, and some epic fight scenes.
On a side note, being based on a light novel series, this story is very dialogue heavy. Think along the lines of Bakemonogatari, or even Spice and Wolf. Saying this, the conversations are not boring at all.
ART - 9
The art for Katanagatari very unique. The characters are really fresh to look at, and the scenery is superb. The art is also very consistent all through out 12 episodes (which were released a month apart from each other) so yeah.
I don't believe there was a moment that the art disappointed me. The movements were very fluid and well drawn.
SOUND - 9
The OST for Katanagatari is basically...badass. We've got mellow tones, to fast paced music, all used to match the scenes mood.There was never an out of place score in it. A special mention here is the track they use in a majority of the fights, it sets up the mood really well. If you want, you can try to hear it for yourself. Just look up Bahasa Palus.
Voice acting was great. They conveyed emotions very well, and trust me...there's a lot of emotion here.
CHARACTER - 10
I believe this is what makes this show what it is. The main cast are all very unique individually. We've got an expert strategist, partnered to a swordless swordsman (right?) fighting with professional Ninjas and what not. It's a wide and very colorful cast.
Character development is done very well, as we see the main character, really mature within those twelve episodes.
ENJOYMENT - 10
Although I don't prefer the"one episode per month" in anime, I didn't mind it on Katanagatari. It gave me something to look forward to. And it never disappointed me.
Every episodes has it's laughs every now and then, but it also manages to mix it up with it's seriousness at times. It's a perfect balance really.
OVERALL - 9
Katanagatari is one of those anime that's easy to overlook, but hard to forget as well, truly a hidden gem for some.
If one were to give it a chance, I'm very positive, they will not regret it.
Feb 13, 2013
Sep 2, 2011
Katanagatari is a truly unique piece of storytelling. From the outset the art style jumps out at you as being unorthodox, which fits the series justly. But Katanagatari is more than unorthodox, it's unorthodox done well. Just because I may not have liked elements of it's story, it's personality or it's conclusions, I couldn't possibly fault it. Just as sometimes you may despise the villain in a movie, if it weren't for that villain's existence, the protagonist couldn't shine so bright. Such is Katanagatari. It itself depicts and builds upon this principle of discomfort so masterfully that in the end, whether you liked it or not, you can't help but appreciate it.
That being said, the journey is the most important part of an adventure. You may reach the end at some point, but it's not about obtaining your goal, it's about what went into obtaining your goal that matters. Katanagatari is a tale of swords. Collecting swords, wielding swords and even being swords. And if/when you watch it, reflect on this notion that Katanagatari approaches storytelling like a sword. It is emotionless, but can play with emotions. It is comical, but doesn't need to laugh. Sorry if this all sounds like some sort of superfluous mumbo jumbo but it's very interesting to reflect on the story as if it were itself a sword. One swing, and you follow it's path. It ends it's swing with it's original intent in mind, nothing else. No matter what it may encounter during it's swing, it will finish it with it's goal in mind.
That out of the way, the story of Katanagatari was well-founded and intriguing. The characters really brought to life the progression through their journey. This is an interesting point to consider as Katanagatari is fairly episodic. There is of course reference to past episodes every now and then, but for the most part watching an episode out of order wouldn't be particularly disturbing. If there was anything I could fault the story on, it would be dialogue. Katanagatari is extremely dialogue-heavy, which seems rather strange considering it's the story of swords. This heavy dialogue, coupled with longer episodes (45 minutes/epi) can sometimes leave you feeling a bit fatigued mentally, but nonetheless engrossed. A word to the wise though, if you aren't one for lengthy, uninterrupted conversations, this may not be the anime for you.
Visually Katanagatari is stunning. The animation style is unique and intriguing, albeit initially somewhat off-putting to some. It doesn't take long to start to really appreciate the style, nor the incredibly well-done animation. That being said, much of Katanagatari is* dialogue, and as such much of the episode is done with still-frames and perhaps a mouth moving up and down. But when action breaks out, and it always does, it's visually stunning and extremely well done. Movements are fluid and purposeful and the fight-scene animation remedies any drowsiness you may have felt from the dialogue earlier. Admittedly it's most of what you'll remember after the episode anyways, and if it weren't for me pointing this out now, you may have been surprised upon re-watching this series to see just how little action each episode contains. Nonetheless, animation, amazing.
The score for Katanagatari is wonderful. The music is suspenseful when it needs to be, and drives the mood of each and every scene. And that is by definition, a well-produced soundtrack. The voice-casting is also very well done. Shichika in particular really stands out, as being a blank slate upon which experience is carved. And as the show progresses, his voice reflects his newfound confidence and purpose. And it's fortunate the voice-acting is so well done, because as I've mentioned numerous times now, with such a dialogue-heavy show, it needed to be.
Katanagatari is somewhat episodic. This aspect of the show leaves character development in between a rock and a hard place. However, to say it's entirely episodic is incorrect. I would say it's more like the show can be viewed as episodic groupings. Through the course of the show though, the mounds of experience Shichika ascertains genuinely builds his character, and it's an interesting progression. Togame, being much more experienced from the start, has nowhere near as much to learn. Though she too develops alongside Shichika to an extent, for obvious reasons. More importantly, the characters in this show are just appealing. Each of them, from Shichika to Togame, from the Maniwani to Princess Hitei, has something about them that just works. This definition of character and personality, rather than it's development, really stands out in my mind.
Overall, I really enjoyed Katanagatari. In particular I rather enjoyed the ending. I wish more anime could end like Katanagatari. That's not to say all anime should, but it is extremely refreshing to watch something where your core is shaken up and tossed aside, and you're left just appreciating things for what they are rather than what you want them to be. These sorts of anime, and indeed plots as a whole, leave the greatest impact upon the viewer. And because of that, I think Katanagatari may go down as one of the best animes I've ever seen.
I can't really say much more without spoiling anything, but Katanagatari is an experience I would recommend.
~Marquis read more
Jun 17, 2011
anyways im not leaded by subjectivity and this review is done in the most objective way possible.
Now that i said this lets begin with the review.
first of all, katanagatari is a show that really attracted me. i mean i looks good, has acceptable number of episodes and the story has potential to good comedy and action. i feel this is the reason why its so overated as you see most of the reviews here have really good scores. my theory is that those are made because people start this show with the illusion its good and keep believing in it cause its potential. however im not.
Now, strong points:
-The art and animations are beautifull, you get attracted to it when you see it and its very easy to get use too for being that unique.
-formula that cant fail: action+comedy+romance usually is the way to go if you want target general public.
-story seems very good. its simple but that simplicity manage to tell you what to expect.
-The actions scenes are great. the fights are dinamic and with cool techniques
Now the flaws:
-Senseless dialogs. huuuge flaw i mean, i feel they went for 45minutes episodes because they wanted to speak more. i mean it could easily be a 21minute episode if you were to erase that. and its not comedy, they try to explain every little thing they do even its too obvious. it really annoys you if 90% of the episode is talking.
-Short action. for a 45min episode i would expect a good amount of action. however not only the action scenes are very short they are caught between senseless dialogs.
-Bad comedy. really a lot of jokes are just not funny. however they manage to pull out some good ones but screw them out. how would you say? well they take a good joke and talk about it for 10 minutes when the joke just isnt funny anymore.
-having a narrator is annoying to much to explain here.
-Lack of characters. i mean besides the two main characters and maybe one more there are no other characters that you would expect to see in other episodes which makes each episode less related to the previous one.
-the first fight i was really looking for wasnt shown. really maybe a good prank for your cousin but its lame when you expect a good fight and end up with a dialog of how good the fight WAS.
There may be more to these lists but i state again i HAVENT seen all episodes but i have to say if the first 5 episodes didnt attract someone (half the series) the other half is wasted cause everyone will drop the series before it. so maybe all thsi flaws are repaired in the next half i dont know but if you want to risk and go for 5 boring episodes go ahead.
Jun 8, 2014
…people who like colorful and expressive art styles and lots of historical and pop-cultural references in their anime.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR…
…people with a short attention span, though even people with a normal attention span will be brought to their limits. It takes a lot of endurance to watch Katanagatari.
Katanagatari features an episodic adventure story about two people, the hillbilly Shichika and the shogunate member Togame, travelling around the country to collect twelve legendary swords by defeating their varied wielders. The show’s genre is a combination of adventure, martial arts, comedy, and historical and cultural references.
Katanagatari’s greatest asset is its expressive art style. It gives the show a fittingly eastern vibe and makes the character designs extremely expressive. It also merges perfectly with the show’s rather light-hearted tone and brings the adventure aspect to light with colorful and varied environments.
The show’s soundtrack also does a great job in creating the appropriate atmosphere. There are only very few truly outstanding tracks but the music fits well nonetheless.
The basic presentation and atmosphere of the show is very consistent and without a doubt the highlight of the show.
Another great thing about Katanagatari is its finality. Without giving too much away, the climax of the show is nothing short of amazing and contains one of the most fantastically executed pop-cultural references to be ever seen in anime.
Most of the other aspects of Katanagatari are at least decent, though they’re not without their faults.
Shichika is a decent main character whose personality develops gradually and in a relatively subtle manner as the story progresses. His development may not be the most original or in-depth one out there but it was done well enough to make him a convincing and worthwhile protagonist. Togame is also fine, though her role in the show leans more towards giving exposition and serving as fanservice than actual gradual change as it was with Shichika. The relationship between the two is acceptable as well, though hearing the same jokes and seeing the same slapstick and sexual inconveniences over and over can get quite repetitive if not annoying after a while.
What the cast of Katanagatari lacks are more main characters. Having only two consistent characters with barely any dynamicity in their development just isn’t enough for a show of this length. The side characters may be very colorful and their often extreme personalities might be enough to temporarely enhance the variety and liveliness of the show, but the depth of a consistently accompanying and eventually growing main cast is something that can’t be replaced by side characters alone, no matter how expressive they may be at first glance.
The story itself is told in an episodic fashion in which the main characters collect one of the twelve legendary swords in each episode. This structure makes a lot of sense for this type of story and helps the viewer to easily keep track, though it also makes the adventure very linear and predictable.
Everything so far would lead to the conclusion that Katanagatari is a very solid anime with an expressive art style, a strong soundtrack and an adventurous “journey to the west”-like feel to it. That would ultimately be the final verdict if there wasn’t that one problem that basically ruins everything.
The biggest, most jarring, and most inexcusable flaw that completely breaks this anime is the complete inability to utilize the most basic rule of visual storytelling known as “show don’t tell”. Katanagatari is comprised with so much senseless, pointless and downright mind-numbing exposition that it turns the show into an unwatchable mess. And it’s not even the experimental kind of exposition in which the dialogues and monologues become a stylistic part of the narrative. It’s just one or two characters standing there (or moving in a constantly repeating frame) while talking to each other about things that aren’t even necessary for the audience to know and doesn't enhance their understanding of the plot or the characters in the slightest. Combining this with the fact that each episode is more than twice as long as it is in regular shows, it’s not a rarity that the viewer has to endure 20 if not 30 minutes of nonstop exposition per episode. And combining this again with the linear and predictable nature of the plot, it becomes just tiresome and a chore to watch, which is exactly what this type of show shouldn’t be.
In short, Katanagatari has a fantastically expressive art style, but isn’t able to take advantage of it due to the overabundance of static exposition that kills every momentum and makes a seemingly expressive and lively presentation into a tiresome chore with barely any action or dynamicity to it.
It has a solid soundtrack, yet doesn’t leave any room for it to truly shine due to the absurd amounts of dialogue that usually takes over the sound volume. The only moments the show’s soundtrack has any chance to leave an impression on the viewer are the fight scenes, and like already mentioned those are very few and far between.
Katanagatari can be best described as a pile of wasted potential. And just like it is with most potentially great shows that promise an expressive world with tons of action, colorful characters and fun, it’s once again the pacing that has to be its ultimate demise.
It may seem like a breath of fresh air in the storm of uninspired mediocrity, but all it really has to offer is a wall of sleep-inducing exposition that nips every feel of excitement and adventure in the bud. And even a great finality cannot make up for a flaw that crucial, as fantastic as it may be. read more
Apr 29, 2012
While some may argue it's far easier when you have a whole month to plan ahead, I'd say Katanagatari is the perfect example of what happens when you aim for quality and art, rather than dvd sales and ads.
(Relatively) No one knows this anime, whereas everyone should do so.
How comes I didn't give Katanagatari a 10 then? The ending left me a bit blue.
Somehow, the finale doesn't feel right to me. While there are some notable precedents to jaw-dropping finales, this was more shocking than surprising.
Yes, I'm that much selfish. However, works of entertainment should be judged on how well they did provide leisure, right? So it's only normal that a less enjoyable ending influenced the score.
Still, Katanagatari is extremely close to being a masterpiece, and might well be so once I get over the end.
The art is amazing and even better at times, if anything it can serve a little too much fanservice: the fans of the genre will be elated, however.
The narration has no fillers, an extreme intellectual honesty, and a really enticing narration.
Music is in a class of its own: perfectly tailored to the setting, and actually pleasurable to listen to! I even have the first opening on my MP3 alongside Mozart.
Bottom line: watch it if you're not doing so already! read more
Dec 15, 2010
The first time I laid eyes upon this I thought this would just be another average shounen, with a set number of bad guys to fight on the main character’s journey. The art was sort of odd too and it was on a year schedule for 12 episodes. To say the least I was deterred.
The first episode was a surprise. There was quite a lot of talking going on top of an actually legit plot. However it still was not immediately catching.
Expectation: 6 (Fine)
Final Grade: 8 (Very Good)
Individual episode rating: -,-,-,-,-,-,-,-,-,-,9,10
The story did stick to the one sword an episode, but that did not limit what it was able to produce. Although it takes a while for the plot to pile up, by the last few episodes it really conglomerated together. In the end I would not claim the story to actually be all that great. Indeed, it was very episodic which didn’t allow for a very good flow. However, the keystone to the shows worth comes in the characters.
While Shichika is the average idiot which is fitting for one who must act as his partner’s sword, many of the other characters have quite the quirks. Togame is a very likeable character, who exploits Shichika’s willingness to server her. Indeed, she is the brains of the combo, and makes sure she gets treated as such. The owners of the deviant blades have their personality matched to their individual sword, and span the spectrum from noble samurai, to ninjas, yeti people, robots. What might not be obvious is that the term blade is used quiet loosely, as the blades all have their unique uses and shapes; think bleach but ignore the stigma associated with this reference. The Maniwani ninjas take the cake for the most interesting characters with their animal costumes fit to their ninjutsu.
Words of caution, if you expect this to be a true action show I suggest you reconsider. Although this seems to be the case with most action shows anyways, there is a marginal amount of real action. Shichika is a unarmed fighter who is incapable of holding a sword, against the specialized ability of the other sword. He doesn’t have any real special ability of his own, so the focus is more in finding the weakness of the opponent rather than powering himself up.
The quality is not bad during these scenes, but the focus is more on the behind the scenes preparations. The duo usually will meet their opponent, togame will try to think of a strategy, and then implement it.
A lot of the show consists of long monologues, either for the plot, or just random attempts at comedy. It took me some time to get used to the heavy conversation, as you will find them to drag on to great lengths and have great depth. For an example, during one scene a character talks for 15 minutes with minimal interruption. While it requires some concentration to read all the subtitles, you will come out with a net gain.
None of the OP or ED are particularly a favorite, but there is a great number since they have 14 songs total. A few weren't bad, so you might find a few you will enjoy.
I am glad I stuck with the show. As time went on I grew accustomed to the show’s style and the better episodes are later on during the series. Though it was rather straightforward and episodic, It came together in quiet an epic finale that sort of surprised me. If we consider how we only follow two characters, and how Shichika slowly gains knowledge of the world and how to think, since he has been shut on an island all his life, the development is not horrible. If the start had been more enjoyable for me I would have given this a 9/10, but I am a tough grader after all. read more
May 9, 2014
Jul 28, 2013
Jul 22, 2013
The story of Katanagatari is one that I have also never seen done before. It was so simple yet was simply able to hold me for 12 episodes straight. The story practically revolves around the number 12 and the main protagonist Yasuri Shichika. 12 Episodes, 12 deviant Swords, 12 Maniwana heads...you see where I’m going. The story follows Yasuri Shichika and Togame on their quest to find these deviant Blades. Yasuri Shichika utilizes a martial arts (Kyotouryuu) only known to those of the Yasuri Bloodline.
The story was beautifully set out and really easy to follow, except for the fact that there are so many characters it’s easy to forget the protagonists name… Yasuri Shichika.
Only of the most epic endings I’ve seen to any anime. The ending is both sad and awesome at the same time…sad to see it end but awesome how they ended it. We finally get to the true power of Kyotouryuu, which is just amazing.
Solid Plot: 8
The plot is extremely solid and consistent; I don’t believe they ever sway away from the main story line and if they do its only ever for character development.
The moral of Katanagatari is something very simple bit not a lot people ask themselves it. “What do you fight for?” Find the answer to that and you find the answer for your reason to live. Or so I believe.
Everything in Katanagatari is explained in a lot of detail, so all the Who’s, What’s, When’s, Where’s, Why’s and How’s are all ticked off. Sometimes you have to just stop and think about it for that light bulb to finally glow.
When there’s a suspenseful moment suspenseful music is played, when it’s a sad moment sad music is played…I think I was sadder because of the type of music instead of the moment.
The Music is Katanagatari is really complimentary to the scene/moment.
The art style is Katanagatari is something I’ve never seen done before yet I found it quite to my liking. The art shifts at time going from classical art, to visual novel art and then back to normal art.
Yasuri Shichika is now easily one of my favorite male protagonists. I’ve simply never seen anything like him, I loved him…only way to put it. By far the best male protagonist. The character art style was also flawless and no two characters looked the same. The character art style is bar far one of my favorites in any anime to date. Each character was modeled differently and you could tell how much effort they put into character detail. It’s like their very appearance told a thousand word essay about them. From their hair, to their eyes, down to their build and very feet everything was unique.
Boredom Factor: 4
Admittedly sometimes I did fine myself being ‘bored’ due to how much talking they did before the fight . A lot of Katanagatari is talking and adventure about 60%-70% of each episode and then the small [portion at the end is the major climax…the fight scene they’ve been building up to.
Captivation Scale: 9
When the fight scenes did come I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Kyotouryuu a fighting style I’ve never seen or heard of before is unraveled before us, and what an awesome fighting style it is. The ending of each episode was amazing and I don’t think I could ever wait to watch the next (which is why I watched it on one day)
Personal Score: 9
Katanagatari = Awesomegatari nuff said. An awesome anime with awesome genres, a bit of love, action, martial arts….something for everyone
Do I recommend it…Hell YES!!
If you have not watched this yet you are missing out big time.
The action scenes where always at the end however when they came they were awesome yet also short
There are a lot of romance elements to Katanagatari which I just found sweet, the romance element to Katanagatari also helps to add a lot of character development, bonds and maturity between Yasuri and Togami.
Martial Arts: 9
Awesome Martial Arts genre anime especially seeing as I’ve never seen or heard of Kyotouryuu before, watching Kyotouryuu unravel was truly a sight to see.
If travelling all over Japan isn’t enough of an adventure than I don’t know what is. From oceans to deserts to snowcapped mountains they go everywhere!
Combining ninpou with martial art, guns and swords sooo many powers shown in Katanagatari it’s too hard to count.
Super Powers: 9
Super powers in Katanagatari never get old, the way they say them and how they execute them are just awesome and flawless.
Overall (Average) 8.35 read more
Aug 7, 2012
The problem is that he is dead. Instead she finds Yasuri Shichika, the 7th head, who is a bit slow and naive living with his emotionally stunted older yet highly dangerous older sister, Nanami. After convincing him to help her and him proving his skill in obtaining the first sword they head off to find the other 11.
During the quest they not only have to face the current owners of the swords who are less than willing to give them away but also enemies who have their own reasons to collect the swords which leads them all to their own destruction.
Katanagatari took me a little while to get into. The animation style took me a while to get used and at 50 minutes for each episode challenged my retention span as each episode has a lot of dialogue especially in the first half of the series but these are personal gripes. I'm glad I stuck with it as the story has a number of twists and unexpected events, especially in the second half of the series, as the characters of Togame and Shichika develop leading to a surprising conclusion.
At the centre of the series is Togame and Shichika who start of as chalk and cheese. Togame who a egoistic city girl who is not as clever or streetwise as she thinks she is and Shichika who is a country bumpkin and has no idea about the world giving him a charming innocence. As the series progresses we learn more about Togame and Shichika and watch their characters change. Togame becomes more modest and a little dependent on Shichika and Shichika becomes more knowledgeable about the world. As a result a deep bond and romance develops between them.
For the other characters some work and some don't. I'm not sure about the Maniwa Ninjas and I like some of the sword owners and some left me a bit cold. However, I really liked Nanami and the Princess Hitei especially with her catty arguments with Togame. Fortunately the weak characters don't stay in the series long and we see a lot of the good characters
The biggest strength of the show is the witty and clever script especially the dialogue between Togame and Shichika with Shichika questioning whether Togame actually has a strategy and Togame's catchphrase of "CHEERIO!!!". Put this together with the twists you have a very enjoyable show.
So I'm going strongly recommend you watch Katanagatari and aim a encouraging punch in your direction shouting "CHEERIO!!!". read more