Monogatari Series

Monogatari Series

Bakemonogatari Cover Art featuring Hitagi Senjougahara
Bakemonogatari Cover Art

Overview

The Monogatari Series has been one of my favorites ever since I watched the first season.  The series is mainly composed of short arcs based around a specific character and the result of their encounter with an apparition.  While the series has an overarching plot that ties together each of these short arcs, they were not released in chronological order.

For someone who is first getting into the series, my recommendation would be to watch the series in release order rather than chronological.  Watching in this order allows for the reasons behind different characters’ actions and attitudes to be gradually revealed rather than everything being known from the start.

However, each season has a slightly different name and it can be unclear what the order is supposed to be without looking it up beforehand.

Seasons

Here is the order of the seasons (and ONA/OVAs) by release date:

Bakemonogatari (2009) Koimonogatari (2013)
Nisemonogatari (2012) Hanamonogatari (2014)
Nekomonogatari Black (2012) Tsukimonogatari (2014)
Nekomonogatari White (2013) Owarimonogatari (2015)
Kabukimonogatari (2013) Koyomimonogatari (2016)
Otorimonogatari (2013) Kizumonogatari (2016 – 17)
Onimonogatari (2013) Owarimonogatari Season 2 (2017)

Style

One of the main features of the Monogatari Series is the emphasis on dialogue.  The series tends to use a fair amount of wordplay between characters, some of which is undoubtedly lost to me due to my use of English subtitles.

The art and animation style tend to emphasize this heavy use of dialogue as well.  Quick swapping between still frames is a common occurrence, including many cases of text on a solid color background which can sometimes swap too fast to even be read.  Even the parts which are not still frames tend to have minimalist, abstract backgrounds.

It seems as though most of the art choices were specifically made so as not to distract the viewer from the dialogue.

Characters

As with any anime, the characters and their development are very important.  In some ways, however, the characters don’t develop over the course of the show, with the exception of our protagonist, Koyomi Araragi.

Instead, we learn about different aspects of each character as we see them throughout different stages of the timeline and our perceptions of them may change.  While this is the case, I would say that most of the characters are likeable overall.

This seems like as good a time as any to mention the topic of favorite characters.  Most people it seems would argue that Shinobu is the best character, but let me be the first one to tell you that those people are wrong.

While the donut-loving vampire Shinobu is indeed a quality character, it is actually the elementary schooler, Mayoi Hachikuji who is the real best character.  She serves so many different roles throughout the series, comedic relief being one of the most important.

Mayoi Hachikuji from the Monogatari anime series
Mayoi Hachikuji

Openings

Although we’re now near the end of this short review, it’s time to mention one of the first things you see when you watch an anime: the OP.

Each mini arc in the Monogatari Series has its own OP voiced by whichever character that arc is about.  Most of these OPs are good, but the one that really stands out is the one for the Nadeko Snake arc featuring the song “Renai Circulation.”

Conclusion

The Monogatari Series is one of only two series which I currently have rated at 10/10.  The OPs, plot, dialogue, characters, art, animation, everything about it is essentially flawless.

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