Anime Vice News

Somebody Explain MONOGATARI #1 to Me

Episode #1 -- Watch & Learn. I'm confused

Figured I ought to check this out since MONOGATARI ranked rather well on the Anime Vice community’s “Best of 2013” list. I’ll fess up to not having paid much attention to this franchise as its rolled out over the past few years: so little, in fact, that it took me a while to realize that “GATARI” wasn’t just a suffix that a lot of unrelated, un-translated titles happened to use.

Once the weird editing, blink-and-you’ll-miss-them title cards and blueprint-like minimalist rendering kicked in, though, something started to smell familiar…and I checked out of this series, once again.

Look, to be fair… coming into a series through one of its later seasons’ episodes isn’t ideal. (We’ll put aside the whole notion of ‘every episode is somebody’s first episode’ aside for the moment). As little as I comprehended the real pilot, I comprehended this even less. Talking neon tigers? Construction line neighborhoods? Random color choices? Madness! And I don’t even know where to start.

So, instead of the usual write-up, why don’t we just use this opportunity to invite the more fervent MONOGATARI fans in our community to step up and explain this series. Judging by the Top of 2013 list, I know there are more than a few of you. What gets you so excited about this? How would you describe it to the uninitiated, in a nutshell? Go on - - my eyes are open!

Watch, "Tsubasa Tiger Part One” and decide for yourself.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
Kino88on Jan. 10, 2014 at 6:56 a.m.
Well Tom, I have only one episode left to watch of the first Season, and I love it for some of the resons you described, However I think for me the thing that really sold me was the Dialogue, it's kinda brilliant, Oh don't get me wrong, it's lightning fast chatter and is intended to be A bit frenetic, the title cards however are merely a window dressing gag, As dizzying this style of editing can be I found it more amusing than confusing, And that's probably because the plot itself is pretty straight forward at heart, I love the flashy look, I love the characters, I love the weird dialogue, But it's certainly not for every one,
Elfenlied1012on Jan. 10, 2014 at 8:23 a.m.

Alright here you go. You watch Bakemonogatari. Then you stop. You don't watch nisemonogatari, and you don't watch monogatari. And if you must watch them do it in said order.

Bake is actually really really high quality, though very very artsy, show and tells a very decent series of short stories of a guy who is sort of a immortal, whom helps people who are dealing with spirits or curses. The first series explains everything, but the others expect you to know everyone previously shown. Nisa is all fan service. Basically the fanservicy bits in bake were very popular, so they devoted time and effort to basically nothing, but that. Monogatari is even more so devoted to characters who are the fan favorites... who happen to be lolicons....

Basically so what I call "darker than Blacking" which is to watch first season love first season and declare anything else as non-existent

Also the blink cards are suppose to be the main character blinking and the card color is his emotion and the words on it just say what it is. It's suppose to be line of a weird hybrid first person via third person camera, as the world is more about how he thinks of things than how they actually are. They kind of separate from this past bake

Kino88on Jan. 10, 2014 at 9:27 a.m.
Very nicely put above, I was only aware of Bake and Nisa, Didn't know there was a third one, Had a lot of fun with Bake,
sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 10, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.

Jumping in to this one is going to be really difficult. You can do that with Nisemono because the tone is a bit lighter and it's more standalone. It covers a bunch of characters who weren't covered in the past so it's better for a raw entry. Mono cycles back around and is heavily based off of the events of the previous two series and an OVA.

To describe the series... it's a harem where the dude is part vampire, he has a vampire girl living inside of him, and he's living in some bizarro city filled with odd creatures. Everyone around him other than one of his sisters has been somehow affected by these odd creatures at some point in time and suffered from either a magic attack or magic side effects. It's like how in Bleach, everyone in Karakura town is unaware that it's constantly under attack by hollows except for Ichigo's friends who have all been affected by ghost attacks or have some odd magic ability related to all the hollows constantly wandering around the town.

Anyways, main dude basically just spends the series getting himself involved in all the weird stuff from that everyone else finds themselves involved with.

Nisa is all fan service. Basically the fanservicy bits in bake were very popular, so they devoted time and effort to basically nothing, but that. Monogatari is even more so devoted to characters who are the fan favorites... who happen to be lolicons....

Most of this is patently false. There is fan service in Nise but Elf is spinning it like it's nothing but fan service and they've abandoned like everything else that made the series good. There is no reality to that statement.

Monogatari is only about "lolicons" and "fan favorites". Again nonsense. I don't know how this can be leveled specifically at Monogatari. With the exception of one character, every arc in Mono is dedicated to or heavily, heavily features (to the point of almost being) co-dedicated a character who also had an arc dedicated to them in Bake. I don't get how Bake devotes an arc to Mayoi, Shinobu, Senjougahara, Nadeko, and Hanekawa and that's high quality. Mono devotes an arc to Mayoi, Shinobu, Senjougahara, Nadeko, Hanekawa and now it's only about lolis.

metalsnakezeroon Jan. 10, 2014 at 1:19 p.m.

The series is very wordy but it well written and does things out of the norm of most animes in terms of pacing, jokes, and lessons.

The series starts with Bakemonogatari where our main character Koyomi Araragi helps Hitagi Senjogahara with a curse she had for years. On the way he explain to her that he is a part vampire and was saved by the very man that will help her with her curse. This blooms in a relationship where the two becomes a couple and along the way meet others with similar curses that effected their lives.

Nisemonogatari focus on Koyomi Araragi finding a place in life since he will forever be a vampire and his relationship with his sisters.

Kizumonogatari is a prequel detailing the events that lead Koyomi Araragi into becoming a vampire and reverting back to a part human.

Nekomonogatari is a sequel to Kizumonogatari detailing the events of Koyomi's friend Tsubasa Hanekawa when a cat spirit inhabits her and how the events of Kizumonogatari helps him save her life, for the time being as the cat spirit shows up again in Bakemonogatari and Monogatari.

This is all I can say since many of the things that make this series great is the surprise that come up about the characters and how the curses are influence they their choices in life or their problems. It is a series that is not for everyone but it the reason why anime is unique.

Marshal Victoryon Jan. 10, 2014 at 3:36 p.m.

Shorter... this series required knowledge of the previous ones to have the best chance at enjoyment.

Also what @sickVisionz: said is dead on.Tho both sisters have been afected by the odd stuff in town.One was born because of it,the other one almsot died from it.

Tom this is bit more complicated plot /suplots ( not to mention word play) than Hunter x Hunter as far as jumping ahead.An that didnt work well either.Highly recomend start from the start an work to the end.No line cutting on this one.

zaldaron Jan. 10, 2014 at 6:26 p.m.

I haven't watched any of this season yet but what I can tell you that I liked about bakemenatori and now nisemonogatari was the strange art on the titles that reminded me of parts of madoka and once I started letting it flow over me rather than trying to desperately read the words on it (it is meant to be subliminal I expect) the characters, the dialog (remember the smart sophisticated dialog in West Wing...its like that here) and the somewhat interesting supernatural plot along with the incredible art that I think is symbolic though not always sure how makes me keep watching. (The incredibly high art values also help). You will have to watch the earlier series I expect to make sense of anything but the oddness and strangeness is part of the attraction.

zaldaron Jan. 11, 2014 at 1:27 a.m.

@sickVisionz: You do have to admit the fan service quoteint in nisi is pretty high...I mean the parts where he picks up and throws the snail and the "tooth brushing scene/episode" are pretty pretty bad. I mean seriously...I was pretty disturbed..I mean when the cr comment "Saw the tooth brush scene just switched it over to porn since it was easier to explain to my parents and family. Lol." is actually apt...so yeah I wonder what tom would do with this scene given his hatred of even mild fan service heh...would he explode?

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 11, 2014 at 5:12 p.m.

@zaldar: All of the series has had fanservice. There are Naruto episodes that show more skin than what was shown in the toothbrush scene. Also, the inclusion of it does not make Nise "basically nothing, but that" like Elf said. That is a patently false description of Nisemono.

But yeah, this is not a series for Tom. He's quick to slam anything with some skin in it. -monogatari at it's core is a harem series and those have fan service. The cast is basically nothing but middle and high school kids so I imagine he will be made even more uncomfortable.

zaldaron Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

@sickVisionz: hmm after the first one I would say it is more than simply a harem series at its core which is why I liked it. Nise the point seems to be fan service, yes there was not much skin in the toothbrush scene but I mean come on it was a scene practically thirty minutes where the whole point was a brother giving his sister an orgasm by brushing her teeth...even if there isn't any skin that pushes the pale and is significantly more about fan service than plot, character, or art (though the art was magnificent).

I would be interested in which naruto episodes you think show more skin though as Naruto pretty much doesn't have any fan service as far as I can tell, not having watched much at all of course.

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:37 a.m.

@zaldar:There's one where they goto a hot springs and Sakura is jealous of Hinata's boobs. You see some of the male character's butts and and the top of the female characters boobs, both of which are significantly more skin that that Nise episode.

Elfenlied1012on Jan. 14, 2014 at 10:17 p.m.

@sickVisionz:I fervently disagree, the story elements of Nise are kind of awful and by kind of I mean a lot awful and underplayed. I mean your main villain doesn't even do anything the entire story. He just somehow tricked a girl into thinking she had been stung by something even though she didn't know it existed or think anything stung her....did I mention it was dumb? All series has to offer is an especially well done amount of fan-service. And by well done I mean very very sexual and effective.

As for the Naruto thing are you really going to suggest the twister scene or the toothbrush scene with how they were done is not more sexual than a casual bath scene? That just completely ignores context and presentation, or volume, sickvision. I mean that's like equating soft core porn to family photos at the beach. Context matters.

As for monogatari being more focused on fan favorites, consider that shinobu went from no lines of dialogue in bake to the most pivotal character in monogatari. While I didn't continue much onwards with monogatari after dropping it early on, nise and into monogatari clearly started favoring characters who are fan favorites than the original major cast. Saying it focused mostly on lolis might be unfair considering after nisa the loli to high school girl count was near 2-1 (or 3-2 depending on your loli definition) so favoring them might be more a fact that they outnumber the more healthily aged cast.

@zaldar: I agree bake wasn't a harem to me, the girls were not constantly after his junk the entire show, one of them was even his rival over his girlfriend and most seemed more his friends than perspective partners. It felt like a love story combined with the story of one do helping people in this weird sort of way and how they sort of become friends. It was pretty sexual, but felt more like the POV was a normal hot blooded boy having too much imagination than anything else.

LHWKnighton Jan. 17, 2014 at 9:48 a.m.

Also after both Bake and Nise, you need to watch Kuro witch is a short four episode OVA that prepares you for monogatari as the first Arc of Mono and all four episodes of Kuro are tied together with the Tsubasa arc in bake.

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