Kizumonogatari (Light Novel)

Kizumonogatari (Light Novel)

Kizumonogatari light novel cover art
Kizumonogatari

Light Novel vs. Anime

While the Bakemonogatari anime series basically followed the light novels to a T, the same isn’t true when it comes to Kizumonogatari (傷物語). There are a few differences between the Kizumonogatari anime movies and the light novel they’re based on, and those differences will be the focus of this review.

But before I get into that, let me just point something out to all the people who say that the proper viewing order of the anime is to watch Kizumonogatari directly after Bakemonogatari. If you’re reading the series, I agree that’s the way to go about it, but not if you’re watching.

While it wasn’t originally intended for the Kizumonogatari anime to be delayed, there are some funny lines within the novel that seem to line up with this. Multiple times within the novel, Koyomi states that the events that unfold within it are too graphic to be adapted into an anime. It’s some great fourth-wall breaking and I thought I’d point it out.

Also, while I’m mentioning funny lines, I thought the light novel was funnier than the anime. The comedic moments just seemed to work better in writing for this one — which does somewhat go against what I said in my review of the Bakemonogatari novels.

Back to the differences between the light novel and anime, some of the settings for certain events were altered. I’ll discuss more of these throughout the review, but one, in particular, is the scene in which Tsubasa gives her panties to Koyomi. In the anime, they’re out in a field by a river. But in the novel, this scene takes place within a second-floor room of the cram school.

When you think about it, those settings make the scene very different. An open field during sunset and an abandoned building with the windows boarded up. I can see why the setting was changed for the anime since this was meant to be a hopeful scene.

Koyomi and Kiss-Shot

The first difference in setting between the novel and anime came fairly early on. In the anime, Koyomi encounters Kiss-Shot on a platform in the train station. But in the novel, he encounters her on the street as she’s leaning against a light pole.

This is the setting change that confuses me the most. I understand that the lit train station is a much more appealing setting from a visual standpoint than a dark street. However, I think the street makes a lot more sense from a storytelling perspective.

Kiss-Shot's introduction in the Kizumonogatari anime movie
Kiss-Shot’s introduction in the Kizumonogatari anime

In the novel, all the street lights are out except the one Kiss-Shot is laying under. This single, working light serves as a spotlight on her body, which accentuates the fact that she has no shadow. It also makes the encounter feel much more lonely since everything around Kiss-Shot is enveloped in darkness.

While I can accept the other setting changes the movies made, I think this one would have been more impactful if left as-is in the novel.

Versus Dramaturgy

Of the three fights against the vampire slayers, the first one against Dramaturgy had the most differences between the novel and anime. For starters, Koyomi originally believed that Dramaturgy was holding his swords — not that his arms were transformed into them. This isn’t something that translated over into the anime.

Once the fight actually begins, there are a couple of additional differences that I thought were very interesting. One of these differences is that none of the fight takes place within the school building in the novel. In the anime, Koyomi is thrown through multiple classrooms by Dramaturgy, smashing windows and walls as he goes.

However, the light novel takes a much more pragmatic approach by restricting the fight to the athletic field. Koyomi mentions that the interior of the school has security cameras, which is why they can’t fight in there. And that makes a lot of sense since this series takes place in the modern day (mid to late 2000s).

The final difference between the two versions of this fight is the one I think is most important. In the anime, Dramaturgy doesn’t really say anything to Koyomi until he’s defeated. However, in the light novel, even before the fight begins, Dramaturgy attempts to recruit Koyomi as a vampire hunter.

Not only does he attempt to recruit Koyomi, but he tells him that due to his bloodline (being the servant of Kiss-Shot), he would easily overtake even Dramaturgy as the number one of the group. And again after being defeated, he gives Koyomi another chance to join him.

Versus Episode

There’s not much to say about Koyomi’s fight against Episode. Basically everything that happened in the anime comes straight from the novel. The only difference is that the place where Koyomi defeats Episode is still the school athletic field, not a stadium. And the same goes for Koyomi’s fight against Kiss-Shot at the end.

After the differences in the Dramaturgy fight, I was really looking forward to their being differences in the Episode fight as well. But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Versus Guillotine Cutter

The Guillotine Cutter fight was probably the most interesting in terms of the additional information given by the novel. In the anime, while Guillotine Cutter was clearly the leader of the vampire hunting trio, I believe it was implied that this group was simply working together because they were all hired for the same job.

As it turns out, that’s not the case. The one who placed a bounty on Kiss-Shot was none other than Guillotine Cutter himself. And further, both Episode, Dramaturgy, and Dramaturgy’s 53 or so underlings all work directly for Guillotine Cutter.

Guillotine Cutter in the Kizumonogatari anime movie
Guillotine Cutter in the Kizumonogatari anime

Beyond that, Guillotine Cutter is the leader of an unnamed, new religion and refers to himself as God. His religion denies the existence of aberrations. This is odd because he hunts them — which implies they exist. But anyway, I thought all of this background really made Guillotine Cutter a much more interesting character.

And finally, I think the novel also goes a bit more into why Guillotine Cutter agreed to return Kiss-Shot’s arms after being defeated. This may have been stated in the anime, but it’s because Oshino told him that Kiss-Shot was planning to turn Koyomi back into a human.

Guillotine Cutter knows the only way for that to happen is for Koyomi to kill her, so he agrees because she’s going to be slain either way.

Conclusion

I really like the Kizumonogatari movies. They’re probably my favorite part of the anime series after Owarimonogatari II. But even with that said, I think the novel was actually better. I really liked the additional information it gives on both Dramaturgy and Guillotine Cutter. And I think the initial encounter with Kiss-Shot was done better in the novel as well.

As you probably expect, the Kizumonogatari light novel is a 10/10 from me just like the movie trilogy.

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