Oct 10, 2016
DubstepKazoo (All reviews)
(Spoilers for the first movie, obviously.)

Shaft continues to adapt the best Monogatari story extremely well. I'm giving it a perfect ten out of ten, but it does have a problem: the way it was presented. Kizu should never have been split into three parts. It just doesn't work, for reasons I'll discuss below. But that's Aniplex's problem, not Kizu's. So I don't count that against this movie.

The animation continues to be amazing. There's no single moment as glorious as the "Araragi on fire" scene from the first movie, but a great many scenes look very neat. Additionally, the voice acting and soundtrack continue to be on-point - which is no surprise. These VAs have proven themselves countless times over the course of this series. I shouldn't even have to tell you this.

The direction is noticeably good, especially in the comedy department. The comedic timing, the visual metaphors, the sound effects, and so on enhance the humor of each scene. Additionally, the fights are very well-choreographed. It's easy to tell where each character is at any given time (unless you're not supposed to), and the developments in each fight are believable.

The story here is geared heavily toward developing Araragi as a character and showing how special he and Kissshot are compared to other vampires. The "intensity as a human" theme in particular receives very heavy focus, with the story developments constantly encouraging the viewer to evaluate Araragi's "intensity as a human," in both a literal and figurative sense. Dramaturgy, Episode, and Guillotinecutter exist mainly as devices to illustrate how strong the iron-blooded, hot-blooded, and cold-blooded vampire really is - this is made clear immediately with the reasoning under which the Dramaturgy fight ends. As Araragi grows more accustomed to using his vampire powers, we learn more and more how strong Kissshot was, which leads us to think about how she got into her current predicament and what values she holds. Of course, the main focus of the character development is on Araragi and Hanekawa, and they get it in spades. I really shouldn't even have to talk about this.

Additionally, Kissshot gains the body of a teenager in this movie, so Shaft is now allowed to sexualize her. We get a nude shot, we get some thigh shots, and we even get some butt shots. Strangely, though, this is actually overshadowed by the Araragi fan service. The guy's a hunk! No wonder Hanekawa got so flustered when he took off his shirt.

Nekketsu gives us the action scenes that were promised in the first movie and provides nice set-up for the third movie, where the careful character development we've seen in our vampires will reach its climax. However, this begs the question: why did this have to be split into three movies? Other people have said this before, but Kizu is a very textbook three-act story. And a movie needs to have more than one act in it to be interesting - with only one act per movie, the tone is more or less the same throughout each one, until the next movie comes out and it changes. The Kizu movies are more suited to the binge-watcher than the theatergoer: it's much better to see all three in one sitting, with maybe short intermissions between each act.

In short, here's what I'm saying: watch this movie, but not yet. Wait until Reiketsu is in theaters near you. Watch Tekketsu, then watch this, and then go to the theater and watch Reiketsu. It's best to have the entire story fresh in your mind as you watch each one. And if Reiketsu doesn't come to theaters near you... well, at least watch this one right after Tekketsu, since it'll probably be hard to wait for the Reiketsu BDs.