Synonyms: Koyomi Vamp
Japanese: 傷物語 第一部〈Ⅰ鉄血篇〉
Jan 8, 2016
1 hr. 4 min.
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
8.111 (scored by 408 users)
indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Synopsis"I think it's about time I talked about Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. I believe it's something I have to do. I met her in the spring break between my second and third years of high school. That meeting had such impact and was also quite devastating."
(Source: Araragi Koyomi Novel Synopsis)
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Disclaimer: This will be a relatively short and spoiler-free review. Take it as a recommendation on whether or not you should go and see the movie in the theatre, listing most of the positive/negative points, and not an in-depth analysis.
"I think it's about time I talked about Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade.“ Yeah, it's about fucking time alright, we have only been waiting for about four years.
I still can't quite believe that I had the honour of watching the first part to Kizumonogatari in theathers today, seeing how this particular movie has become somewhat infamous among the Anime community for always staying somewhere on the horizon without ever quite coming close enough to even get a release date. So you could understand that I remained a little sceptical when a Kizumono release was finally announced last fall. The wait had been so long that all my hype juice had already been spent. And even if it were to be released, there is just no way that it would live up to years of anticipation, right? Unfortunately reality can rarely match what our fantasy is able to create.
So, let's get the most important question out of the way first: Is Kizumonogatari: Tekketsu-hen a disappointment? No. But does it live up to the hype? Well, of course not, it would have to break space/time to do so. Just how good is it then? Well ...
Let's talk about the visuals first. You would expect Shaft to pull out something great for a movie release to their most popular franchise and they certainly did. Kizumonogatari is Monogatari, only better, at least from a visual persepctive. The art style is what you have come to expect from the series and it looks fantastic on the big screen. There is the occasional weirdness in there (I can't really suggest watching this with your parents), but it also provides the usual symbolism and shot composition that Akiyuki Shinbou is known and loved for. Another notheworthy visual technique is the use of CG and 3D environments. I found said thing to be a little off-putting at first, but you get used to it rather fast and it's far better than most of what you usually see in both TV series and movies. It's another aspect that shows just how high the overall production quality truly is.
That too applies to the music and overall sound design, which is spectacular. A little surprising is the exclusion of the usual OP sung by the lead actress, but it wouldn't have fit with the beginning of the movie (I'll get to that), so I personally didn't mind. The rest of the music does its job really well in establishing the atmosphere of any given scene, especially the tracks used for suspense struck a chord with me. Many pieces from the series make their return, but there is enough new stuff in here to mix things up. And the voice acting is of course top tier, not surprising considering the characters involved.
Speaking of the characters: As it is usual for the Monogatari series every arc reveals a bit more information on the characters involved in the scenario. In this case said characters are (most importantly) our main protagonist Koyomi Araragi and Kiss-Shot-Acero- … Shinobu. I've always been curious to find out more about Araragi's character before the events of Bakemonogatari since it has often been mentioned that he used to be very different back in the day, which seems to become more of a relevant plot point as the series progresses (see Owarimonogatari), and this movie gives you just that. Shinobu (or not quite just yet Shinobu) also goes through a great deal of development over the course of the series and is one of the main points of interest that keeps me excited to see the rest of the movies as soon as they come out. What exactly happened that got her to the point she was at during Bake? But that is the thing: This movie is mostly set-up for potentially interesting character arcs that might happen in the the next two movies so making it a three-parter really hurts this one, at least when looking at it as an individual work. Sure, it's interesting enough from a character perspective, especially for big fans of the series, but it's nothing that will blow you out of your seats. Let's face it, this movie isn't supposed to be a deep character study like some parts of Monogatari are, it's mostly here to be an introduction to the story and establish the basic outline of the plot.
So, said plot should be obvious to everyone who has ever seen a season of Monogatari before. It's a prequel and one that is heavily referenced throughout the rest of the series at that. It should be obvious what's going to happen. So let me talk about how said plot is delivered instead.
There is a lot to go through here, so it's not much of a surprise that the movie struggles with pacing its narrative correctly. Another thing that seems worthy of note is that the amount of dialogue is relatively small in comparison to the rest of the series. Long and in-depth conversations that go in circles so many times that you could use them to pierce the heavens are a bit of a trademark for Monogatari and while they are definitely present in the movie I can't help but feel like things are a bit rushed. This might be just personal preference, but I like Monogatari the most when it's at its most dialogueist (I know, not a word). The clever, witty, insightful, well-portrayed and just plain fun dialogue scenes are what I find to be the best aspect of the series overall, so the movie seemed a bit disappointing on that front. Not only are the scenes a bit rushed, but the writing doesn't feel as on point as it was during the most recent release (Owarimonogatari). There is just no conversation that really stuck out to me and that I'll remember for a long time.
Another problem that the movie unfortunately has to carry around due to its standing as a first part is one of structural nature. There isn't really much of a beginning, ending or middle here and as opposed to a TV episode where that is just fine, a movie has to stand on its own at least until the next part is released. And I really feel like they could have handled it a little better. I haven't read the original novel, so I can't talk about how well it has been adapted, but moving a few things around seems like it could have been a good idea. I also refuse to believe that there was no better cut-off point than what they decided to ultimately go with. The movie doesn't end, it just stops and not on a particularly extraordinary stopping point either. Sure, that was to be expected, but it still leaves me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth and makes me question the decision to even go with three movies in the first place. I honestly would have rather seen one three hour movie, but that just seems like useless complaining at this stage.
In addition to that I also have to make a note about the tone, which could have been a bit more consistent. Now, you may look at me funny saying „Has he even seen the rest of the series?“, but the reason I'm saying this is because of the opening scene of the movie. The first scene seemed to establish a very serious tone right off the bat and the previously mentioned exclusion of the usual upbeat OP only furthered that. But right after we transition into what is probably the most silly scene of the movie, which didn't really seem to mash all that well with what we had seen immediately before. Kind of a minor complaint, but it seemed like something I should mention.
Now after all those negative points you might think that I think of the movie as bad, but that is certainly not the case. It's good, no question about it. I had a lot fun watching Tekketsu-hen and was surprised to see how fast it went by considering the length and how tiresome the Monogatari series can be on occasion. I loved the opening episode to Owarimonogatari, but I can't deny that it dragged a bit and I found myself checking my watch after about 30 minutes in. This wasn't the case for this movie, which kept me on my toes the entire way through. The changes in tone may have helped with that as it never got boring or stale, which, while I love the lengthy dialogue scenes that the series is known for, is a criticism I have often heard being thrown at the franchise, so you might take this as a positive point if you usually find the series a bit hard to follow for longer periods of time.
And there is no mistake about some of the individual scenes being absolutely spectacular. I already pointed out how good the overall production is, but I find it necessary to mention it again here how good the CG works in combination with the direction and the music, which makes scenes like the great one that opens the movie or the unavoidable confrontation between our main characters far more powerful.
So, what to say about Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu-hen? It is not as spectacular as many wanted it to be, it's only the first part to a trilogy that will hopefully someday be seen as such. The first part not being quite as good seems like a necessary evil. It mostly serves to set up the following movies and works well enough in that regard, even if it could have definitely been better. It is not the best part of the Monogatari series, that much seems obvious, but it's still a very interesting watch that I definitely enjoyed seeing. Worth spending the money on to see it in the cinema? Oh my god, absofuckinglutely. Seeing the great visuals on the big screen alone is enough of a reason to go check it out and it's obviously a must-see for every big fan of the franchise anyway. So, if there happens to be a screening near you, then I urge you to go and check it out for yourself. Just remember to keep your expectations on a realistic level, because part one unfortunately isn't a masterpiece. read more
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