Nekomonogatari: Kuro is the third adapted installment of the Monogatari series, an array of light novels written by Nisio Isin. It serves as a precursor to Bakemonogatari and features Tsubasa Hanekawa during the events of Golden Week, in which she becomes possessed by a neko (translated as "cat") and indiscriminately attacks people on the street to relieve her built-up stress. Viewers of Bakemonogatari may recall references and flashbacks to this incident particularly in the Tsubasa Cat arc, and here we finally see it divulged in detail.
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.
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.
Being a huge monogatari series fan, I decided to write my first review about it and I chose Nekomonogatari: Kuro. Even before it was subbed, I already watched it out of excitement and it did not disappointment.
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.
And now for another review about an anime involving cat girls.
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.
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.
Meow, meow......Rawr! Grrrrrrrooooooooooooowwwwwl, I'm screeching like a cat. Ok, I've just finished watching this 4 episode anime and I must say that studio SHAFT did an amazing one. So, this 4 episode prequel is all about Koyomi Araragi and a Tsubasa Hanekawa arc, only this time it dwells on detail before Hitagi Senjōgahara came into the picture, Rawr!!!!! It is safe to say that this part is the Tsubasa Cat part of the Bakemonogatari franchise. Thought this anime's genre is comedy and supernatural, I would probably drop the comedy part, since only the supernatural part is what best describe this anime, let's face
the comedy part where it involves Koyomi and his fire sisters are just minimal and down right cheesy and so as Shinbou's donut desire part. However, aside from the symbolism that goes around the anime, I guess everyone will agree that the cuties part of this anime was seeing Hanekawa ( in a cat form) in her lingerie, sometimes I'am starting to think that the "Kuro" part of this anime's title refers to the color of Hanekawa's lingerie which is always black. But I must say that she does provides a good fanservice for this anime and she kinda like reflects man's sexual fantasy for a sadistic woman in a form of a cat, just as exhibited from one of Batman's villainess "Catwoman," HISSSSSSSS!" Koyomi on the other hand, did played his part well as the protagonist who would leave no one behind even if it kills him (since he's one part vampire he can do so), though a bit on the perverted side, his loyalty and dedications to the ones he cares compensates for his bad side. So how did I ranked each category of this anime?
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!!!!!!!!!!
Reading almost all Monogatari series that is done to this point, I was really anxious to watch Nekomonogatari - kuro. And I wasn't disappointed by all means. If you watched at least Bakemonogatari and liked it I think you won't be disappointed too.
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.
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.
Just by looking at the cover of Nekomonogatari: Kuro, I thought there were going to be more fanservice than Nise and I also thought the show was going to be worse than Nise. Since Neko is canon, I decided to watch it. After finishing this little arc, I'm not entirely disappointed.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro is an adaptation of the 6th book in the Monogatari series, containing the Tsubasa Family Arc and featuring Hanekawa Tsubasa. Nekomonogatari was made after Nisemonogatari but chronologically, it takes place a month before the events of Bakemonogatari.
I could have skipped this anime and went straight to Monogatari Series: Second
Season but something inside me...more specifically, my conscience told me that I will regret skipping this anime. If you remember from Bakemonogatari, Araragi mentioned something about rescuing Hanekawa during Golden Week from a cat aberration but it only showed us some brief flashbacks and did not go in-depth about what really happened with Hanekawa during the Golden Week. Well, that's where Nekomonogatari: Kuro comes in.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro is only 4 episodes so don't expect much from this arc. To tell you the truth though, Neko's real plot actually begins at episode 2. Episode 1 is just Araragi asking for some love advice from his sister Tsukihi because Araragi was in love with Hanekawa and a conversation between Araragi and Hanekawa on the second half.
Unlike Nisemonogatari's excessive fanservice, Neko's fanservice was reduced and they went back to their good storytelling -- almost but not very similar to Bakemonogatari storytelling. Don't think that the fanservice scenes don't happen anymore because they're still there. They're just not that excessive when compared to Nise. Some of you might say "Then why is your story rating 7 if the show went back to its good storytelling?". That's because nothing major happened. All the arc did is flesh out Hanekawa's character and give you a more in-depth look as to why Hanekawa is acting the way she is and understanding her past better. Neko did a good job with its storytelling but not enough to bump the rating to 8 or higher.
I don't even know why I still have to talk about the Monogatari series' animation. I mean, this the 3rd in the series and you guys should already know how it looks. I don't want to but I have to just so I can make this review a bit longer. The animation and visuals are almost exactly the same as Bake and Nise. The character designs looks a little bit better and the lighting of the show is the only part of the animation that's highly improved.
Nekomonogatari's soundtrack fell flat compared to Bake and Nise. None of the soundtrack and the background themes were catchy nor was it worth listening to. I'm not saying Nise's soundtrack is bad but when comparing it to the previous shows, it just didn't meet my expectations.
The OP theme song is "perfect slumbers" by Hanekawa and the ED theme song is "Kieru daydream" by Marina Kawano. In my opinion, none of them were great. The OP theme song had a nice tune and melody for the first 35-40 sec but the singer didn't hit that spot and the it was too slow. The ED theme song is just crap compared to Bake and Nise.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro focused heavily on Hanekawa so don't expect your other best girl like Senjougahara or whoever your best girl is to appear here and no new characters either. It's just good ol' Araragi and Hanekawa...with a little bit of Shinobu. This section won't be long; seeing as Neko is only 5 episodes long.
If you like Hanekawa or you're a fan of Hanekawa then you're in for a treat as Nekomonogatari: Kuro did a good job presenting Hanekawa's story. The show went a lot more in-depth with what happened to Hanekawa during the Golden Week that Araragi was talking about in Bakemonogatari. It also answered some questions regarding Hanekawa's relationship with Araragi and why they're not dating even though Araragi loves her. I died a little inside when they showed Araragi explaining why he's not in a relationship with Hanekawa.
In short, a big ass character development for my best girl: Hanekawa Tsubasa
Nekomonogatari also explained why and how Shinobu got the helmet and why she is in love with Mr Donuts. If you're a fan of Shinobu; like me, then I think you'd be happy to see the events too.
I definitely enjoyed Nekomonogatari: Kuro more than Nise even though it was only 5 episodes. However, Bakemonogatari is still a lot better. Is there ever going to be Monogatari sequel out there that will blow Bake out of the water? Of course, there is and that will be on my next review.
Overall, Nekomonogatari: Kuro was a good sequel to the Monogatari series but I wouldn't say that it's better than Bakemonogatari because it's not. I would, however, say that the show is a bit better than Nisemonogatari because it actually focused on the story and characters instead of half hour mindless fanservice. You have to watch Nekomonogatari: Kuro sooner or later in order to understand Hanekawa's character better.
+Good story for a 4 episode arc
+Shaft's unique animation
+Neko went more in-depth with Hanekawa's character
+Fanservice is reduced
+Good pacing for a 4 episode show
-Soundtrack fell flat when compared to 2 previous Monogatari shows
-First half of episode 1 felt slow
(If you see mistakes or stuff that doesn't make sense then my apologies as I don't spend and will never spend over a day writing a 4 episode review.)
Nekomonogotari (Kuro) - 6/10
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.
HIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS! Meow, sorry about that my pet cat was just trying to mess with me, so this is another one of studio SHAFT's monogatari series, only this one is a prequel of "Bakemonogatari." Set in what is called the "Golden Week"- why do them Japs call it that way instead calling it a "School Holiday?" Eeeeh, who cares, ok so we don't get to see how the chico Koyomi became a vampire and that's probably reserve for "Kizumonogatari," so here is probably where the so called sub plot "Tsubasa Cat" begins and it tells the story of Hanekawa Tsubasa being posses by a cat spirit,
becomes this catwoman running amok in the streets to cause mayhem of sorts. Now, since there is a talk of stress as to why Hanekawa allowed herself to be posses and act wildly was too exaggerated for a shrink given as to what Hanekawa's lifestyle is. Though, this 4 episode anime has a comedy genre in it, such genre can be describe as minimal, since it was the supernatural genre that's more pronounce. If I was to say which the most enjoyable part of this anime that'll be Hanekawa's lingerie fanservice, since part of this anime's title is "Kuro" I could only surmise that either it has something with the darkness that Hanekawa was going through or it has something to do with the color of her lingerie which btw is always black, I guess this anime's director Shinbou Akiyuki way of adding something naughty in this thing. As for Koyomi, well nothing much has change about him, he still does as to what was expected of him being the main protagonist, however he was a bit of a dichotomy which at one point you'll admire him for being a knight in shining armor, unfortunately when it comes to fighting he's always on the losing side and in another point you'll hate him for being a prev. Then again I kinda like the Hanekawa X Koyomi arc that the Hitagi X Koyomi thing, ehhh, who am I kidding.
"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.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro (Nekomonogatari Black: Tsubasa Family) is a very interesting anime to watch, with its good use of comedy, romance and supernatural elements.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro is a romance, comedy, supernatural anime based on the novel; Monogatari Series: First Season, which was created by Isin Nisio and Vofan. Shaft produced the anime. The anime has four episodes and aired on December 31th, 2012.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro’s story follows Koyomi Araragi, a student who recently survived the attack of a vampire together with his friend Tsubasa Hanekawa. Koyomi finds out about the Oddity phenomenon, which unities all creatures such as: gods, ghosts, myths, and spirits. The cursed
cat, living inside of Tsubasa’s body, becomes a real problem as she starts to attack people, therefore Araragi decides to save his precious friend. The story is very well-written and always finds a way to get the viewer to find out what happens with its twists and turns in the storyline.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro uses a mix of different art styles, from a quick sketch to a beautifully drawn artwork and a very colourful blend of colors to bring it to life for the viewer, to create a very creative animation. All locations are easy to recognize and all character have a unique look to them, making it easy for the viewer to recognize the anime’s characters.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro’s background music has been well-made, as each musical piece fits the anime very well. The opening theme at the start of the first episode is “Perfect Slumber” sung by Yui Hoire and the ending theme at the end of fourth episode is “Kieru Daydream” sung by Marina Kawano. Both of these songs are well-sung. The opening theme’s vocals are soft and have slow beats, while the ending theme has fast pace and a more powerful feeling, which was made thanks to the singer. The voice of each character sounds great and is able bring each of them to life to the viewer.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro focuses on Koyomi Araragi and Tsubasa Hanekawa.
Koyomi Araragi was voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya. He is a third year high school student that was attacked by a vampire during the spring break and was turned into a vampire. He was able to turn back to being a human; however, he still has some of his abilities from the past. In Nekomonogatari: Kuro he struggles to understand if he loves Tsubasa after she helps him out over the spring break.
Tsubasa Hanekawa was voiced by Yui Horie. She is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She is an oddity specialist. She knows what they want and how to avoid them. In Nekomonogatari: Kuro she suffers from stress and falls in danger when the cursed cat appears.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro is an anime that while being only 4 episodes long is very interesting. With its balance of comedy scenes, supernatural elements and with a grain of romantic scenes, the show is very thrilling. Its unique art style is a nice thing; it mixes different types of art together making it impressive. While the most of the music isn’t something to write home about, there are some songs like the OP and the ED, which are great to listen to, as they help to understand the show better. The voice actors did a very good job, as they were able to make their characters look alive. The characters themselves are very interesting, as they attract viewer’s attention, making them want to know more about them. The message that Nekomonogatari: Kuro gives is following: people are unable to understand what they can’t see.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro is a very good start to the Monogatari series, as it introduces some new characters and gives the viewers a quick glance at what the rest of the series will look like. While it is a very short anime, only four episodes long, it does a good job explaining things to the public that is new to the series. So if you are a veteran, or a newcomer, Nekomonogatari: Kuro is a great anime to watch.
When I was a kid, I always wanted a cat. Now I want a cat again. If you know what I mean, wink wink.
Yeah, guess I’ll…just go over there and…stand in the corner.
Nekomonogatari is basically like one of the arcs of Bakemonogatari, not only in length but also in terms of how it plays out. One could assume that it’s very similar to the Tsubasa Cat arc of the first season, but it’s actually a prequel. In Bake we already heard that this wasn’t the first time Araragi has met the Demon Cat and now we get to see their first encounter. The
tough part of being a prequel is the fact, that the viewer already knows how it’s going to end and to make it a coherent story that does not clash with the other installments. Neko manages that very well, like when Araragi finds about about Hanekawas family situation (which he of course knew about in Bake) and making a big deal out of it (rightfully so). The whole family situation thing is the trigger behind the events unfolding and gets discussed a lot. This is done in a very interesting way, as while it is clearly portrayed as horrible, the possible reasons behind it are also explored, with Araragi and Oshino apparently coming to different conclusions. At least that is what it looks like at first, though Oshinos words can also be seen as pure provocation towards Araragi, which I think is the more likely of the two possibilities. I was also very relieved to see that the incestuous subtext between Koyomi and his sisters was toned down a lot, which was something I disliked about Nisemonogatari. On the other hand, the fanservice is more blatant than before, but in a way that feels like mockery, which was pretty funny. It’s almost as if Shaft was thinking: “So Monogatari is just pseudo-philophical fanservice with no substance? Well, how about THAT?” I don’t mind though, it’s not like I hate staring at good-looking, scantily-clad teenage girls. Uhm, where was I again?
Well, Monogatari is still Monogatari in this department. Like they did storywise, they went back more into Bake territory in terms of trippyness with Neko, but it’s essentially the same as the other seasons. I talked about the fanservice already, so let’s keep things short here, shall we? I mean, if you made it this far into the franchise, you know what it looks like.
Again, there’s no big difference to the other entries of the series, obvious exception are opening and ending. They were both not that bad, but they can’t quite keep up with what Bake and Nise had to offer, though in all fairness, they had more time to sink in.
Ah, now there’s something to talk about again. Since this is a prequel to Bake, it misses many of the characters introduced there, like Senjougahara, Sengoku or Kanbaru. On the other hand, good ol Oshino Meme is back in action. But the purpose of exploring this whole story is to give Araragi and Hanekawa more character development. Much needed in case of the latter, as I found her to be the least interesting of the “problem girls” of Bakemonogatari. We knew her background already, but here it is explained in more detail and presented in a much more severe light. We also find out why Araragi does not pursue her, even though it’s obvious that he is interested in her. Interestingly, Shinobu also gets her moments, despite being the (mostly) silent pile of self-pity she was in Bake. She discovers donuts and we also find out why she was wearing a helmet in the first installment. Little things like that are what makes a prequel worth watching. Everybody else is basically the same.
Technically speaking, Nekomonogatari didn’t give me anything I hadn’t seen before. Fleshing out Hanekawa a bit more was a good idea, though I still am not a big fan of hers. I missed the quirky characters like Kanbaru or Hachikuji to lighten up this show a little. As far as I understood, Nekomonogatari was merely a teaser for the Second Season (shouldn’t it be like…the Fourth?), so I shouldn’t be too hard on it. It was entertaining, partially very funny and visually pleasing, just like the other seasons were. The fact that it focuses on one of the girls I’m less interested in only slightly lowers the overall enjoyment. After all, it was simply a quick snack to make it easier to wait for dinner. If Monogatari continues like this (by that I mean more Bake, less Nise), I will greatly enjoy the Second Season (maybe 3rd½th?). And as I said already, if you made it to Nekomonogatari, you most likely enjoy the franchise anyway, so there’s no need for me to tell you that this is indeed at least worth watching.
For anyone who enjoys the monogatari series, including myself, will enjoy Nekomonogatari: Kuro.
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.
This show. I had my fair share doubts after finishing bakemonogatari that this show would not live up to the original since it was very good, and though some of doubts were unfortunately true Nekmonogatari delivers.
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.
This is a review out of 100. 35/100 for Story, 35/100 for Characters, 15/100 for Sound, 15/100 for Animation.
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.
"You can come up with any number of reasons why you love someone. Like they are cool, or kind, or tall, or rich. There are all sorts of reasons you can say, but those are all... excuses you tell yourself to rationally justify your emotions."
Nekomonogatari Black is the third installment in the smash hit Monogatari franchise. It is a prequel to the events of Bakemonogatari, the first installment, and centers around Koyomi Araragi and Tsubasa Hanekawa as the latter becomes afflicted with an oddity over the course of Golden Week.
My journey through the Monogatari series has been a pleasant if uneven one. The first
installment roped me in, the second one sustained my enthusiasm while simultaneously creeping me out, and this one has made me hyped like never before to continue.
Nekomonogatari is vivid, colorful, alive. It is also brooding and dark at times, and it manages to keep a healthy flow through its four episodes. The dialogue the series is famous for continues apace, with special mention going to the first episode, which contains some of the funniest moments the series has shown me to this point.
Studio Shaft continues to amaze and trip out the viewer, as they always do, with rapid fire visuals, tense and captivating camera angles and pans, intense shots, and true-to-life sound effects. The voice actors continue to put their all into passionate portrayals of these characters.
Storywise, the series moves at a quick pace while remaining very contemplative. The stakes seem low at first, but we learn more about Tsubasa's family circumstances. The bookish, perceptive Hanekawa, who got a bit of the limelight during the first and final arcs of Bakemonogatari, becomes a more sympathetic character and is more fleshed out than she was in previous installments.
My only gripes with this one were with the OP and the rather off-putting conclusion to the story in general. While "Perfect Slumber" is a very listenable song, it doesn't quite fit the tone of the series, and compared to the other Tsubasa-centric OPs ("Sugar Sweet Nightmare" and "Chocolate Insomnia") it's a real disappointment. Also, I get that they were trying to tie in the conclusion of the series to its beginnings, with Koyomi reflecting on the meaning of love, but his monologue at the end didn't quite square with his actions throughout the arc.
Nekomonogatari is still absolutely a worthy installment in the series, and definitely sets up the hype for Second Season. If you're watching the series in chronological, rather than release order, the last scene of this segues directly into the start of Bakemonogatari, so it works in that regard as well.