So, we just got done watching Kizumonogatari in theater. I knew I wanted to do a *Kizumonogatari *review from the get-go because I love the whole Monogatari Series, but we realized that each of us Anime Inspectors had a unique perspective on the whole thing. So, our Kizumonogatari Review will be different in that it offers three unique perspectives, mostly in our differing experience with the Monogatari Series. Since Kizumonogatari is actually chronologically the very first thing to occur in the Monogatari Series, it was awesome to finally see some backstory in action rather than concept. *Kizumonogatari *is also releasing in three separate parts, which, for covering one Monogatari arc seems to make the pacing a little weird compared to other arcs. Luckily, the second part will be airing this summer so I am looking forward to doing that part of the review as well.
I, addmanrcace, have seen everyting in the Monogatari Series and I absolutely love NisiOisin’s work (especially evident in my *Katanagatari **review and write-up). *Anyway, my section of the *Kizumonogatari *Review will be of someone that has experienced the entirety of the show up to this point. Don’t worry, there won’t be spoilers. Ringwormsherm has seen around half of the Monogatari Series. He has been introduced to most of the characters and understands the premise very well. That said, there are a lot of things that the show has put forth in the later half that I believe really added to the movie, so ringwormsherm’s *Kizumonogatari *Review will offer a few different ideas. Lastly, Krogoth22 has never seen any of the Monogatari Series or even experienced NisiOisin’s work. He went into this blind. His part of the *Kizumonogatari *Review will be very interesting to see how accurate an impression it gave of the show.
addmanrcace (has seen the full series)
So, I’ll start off with reiterating the fact that I really enjoy the entirety of the Monogatari Series, so I was very much looking forward to watching Kizu and doing a review. I started getting giddy seeing Araragi on a theater screen right at the beginning. It was fantastic. That said, I think the movie had its flaws, namely in pacing. While watching Shaft flaunt their enormous budget is nice, the movie didn’t have dialogue for about the first ten minutes. Also, on the note of Shaft budget, there was a lot of CG animation in Kizu, which is interesting. The show has a fair amount, an amount that has been growing steadily. For me, it wasn’t much of an issue. Honestly, I really enjoyed the look and feel that it creates. It feels artificial, which is what it is supposed to do. For others, I can see it being somewhat off-putting.Once the story got rolling, it got better and better. When some other characters I recognized started showing up, it was definitely nice. Unfortunately, the actual plot didn’t seem to kick in until about halfway through the movie, but when it did, it really did. The viewer is thrust into Araragi’s situation, which is pretty shocking and well put together. After that, the famous NisiOisin dialogue kicked in and enthralled me. I was finally getting some cementing of what little I knew of Araragi’s history and some more information thrown on top. All in all, Kizu does a pretty good job of telling just enough to hopefully quench our thirst but still leave us wanting more. For me, it did just that. I got what I wanted out of the movie and, despite a few bad points, I absolutely loved it.
ringwormsherm (has seen some of the Monogatari Series)
To be honest, I didn’t know how I felt about going into *Kizumonogatari *initially. I have seen some of the Monogatari catalog (*Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, and Nekomonogatari: Kuro) *and even though I’m not the series’ biggest fanboy in the world, I think the series is charming and a breath of fresh air in most respects. On the other hand, I think the series incorporates a little too much needless fanservice for my taste and there I times where I don’t think any damn progress is happening. However, I was definitely more excited to see this installment than I was hesitant to see it.
Now for starters, I knew *Kizumonogatari *was going to be produced by SHAFT which always excites me. That studio never ceases to amaze me on how spectacular they can make mundane scenes look and it seems that they never run out of funds. What really caught my eye though, well…was two things: first, SHAFT used a surprising amount of CG in this film. I was actually pretty taken a back by that considering how beautiful their hand-drawn stuff is. Although I am biased when it comes to CG (I freakin’ hate it) and the CG implemented in the film wasn’t that terrible, I feel like they had a hard time integrating the hand-drawn figures into the backgrounds which were comprised mostly of CG. The second thing that caught my eye was how barren the first half was of dialogue. I’m used to the Monogatari making its living off of plentiful, witty, and well-timed dialogue and to see a lack of it in the first half of the movie was a tad bit jarring to me. However, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. After certain events occur, the dialogue picks right back up in the middle of the film and all is well.Let’s talk about pacing, shall we? I know Krogoth22 is going to mention how bad he thought the pacing was in his section. I am going to have to politely disagree with him. There’s a difference between having bad pacing in your film and not having a large amount of action or exposition in portions of your film. *Kizu *falls into the latter category. I thought the pacing was pretty solid all things considered. It spent just enough time introducing each character and letting their interactions unfold, which I must say were really great at most points. I mean, it’s part of a series that prides itself on intriguing and funny dialogue and this film delivers well on that front. However, though the pacing isn’t that bad, it does drag a little at the beginning especially considering that there’s not a lot of dialogue of any kind to help to keep viewers engaged. But, the story was generally easy to follow considering the plot and the script and it left me wanting to see the next installment which is all I was really asking for. Was this film revolutionary for the Monogatari series? No. Was it slow and lacking in dialogue and action to keep the audience engaged at points? Yeah. But was it enjoyable? Yes. And does it leave me wanting to see the next film? YES!
Krogoth22 (has seen nothing of the Monogatari Series)
Well, I was thrown into this blind, partially against my will. Addmanrcace owes me for this one. About a month ago addmanrcace told me about the new *Kizu *movie coming out and I was like….”cool, what is that?” I had heard of the Monogatari series in the past but I have also never bothered to look into it. So much to watch, so little time after all. Anyways, addmanrcace told me that we were going to go watch and then do a * Kizumonogatari *review, so I thought to myself “well I guess this would be a good incentive to watch the Monogatari series.” Nope. “The boss” had other plans. He thought it would be an interesting idea to get the view of someone who had never watched the series before. Damn it, I didn’t like the sound of that, especially after a quick Google search told me one should watch the series in airing order. Oh well, “the boss” was right, it could make for an interesting objective look into the movie. So I became the guinea pig for this project and purposefully spent the next month *not *catching up on the series. Therefore, for better or for worse, this got to be my first introduction to the Monogatari series, and to NisiOisin for that matter. Thankfully though I have watched other SHAFT productions before. (I’m not a completely uncultured shit after all.) Anyways, let’s see how this all turned out for me.
Well to begin with, that wasn’t the worst thing I have had the pleasure of watching in my time of watching anime. In fact, I am willing to state that the movie peaked my interest enough to look forward to watching part 2 this summer. With that being said, I was not nearly as impressed as addmanrcace with the movie, which honestly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this. For starters, dear God the pacing. The movie’s pacing is kind of shit. In the 75 minutes of run time, maybe 25 minutes of stuff took place. Now from what I have since been told by my two compatriots, this is normal for the series, and it’s the dialogue that really makes the series great. I agree, the interactions between the characters really were fascinating to watch. Unfortunately, it seemed to take 10 minutes for characters to even start talking in the film, and there were several long stretches of time with minimal talking and extended melodrama that just seemed to stretch out the film for the sake of stretching it out. I remember thinking once or twice in the theater: “move along already, yes you did just come across a talking torso, what did you expect after following so much blood through the subway station?” (Sorry for the minor spoiler there.) After that scene occurred, the film did manage to pick up a bit, and I finally started to see where the story was going. Was bumpy getting there though. The first half of the movie, along with being weirdly paced, was predictable. However, with this being essentially an origin story, I can’t gripe too much about it being predictable. A final note for this introduction, the fan service was unnecessary for my personal taste, but alas that is just me.
The art of the Monogatari Series has always been something interesting. Shaft makes it super avant-garde, which fits extremely well with NisiOisin’s writing style and the Monogatari Series in general. As the series has progressed, CG became more and more apparent. It was always there, but it is used a lot more in the later parts of the series. That’s not exclusive to Monogatari, but anime as a whole has been moving that way. Unfortunately, that means we get a lot of uncanny valley stuff. For me, Kizu had almost no issues in that respect. There were a few instances of CG characters, which was less than stellar but also so short and unimportant that I didn’t care. I can overlook it. Other than that, the film was able to achieve super crisp visuals and some animation that I can only describe as “nostalgic”. The music was as fantastic as it is in all of the Monogatari Series. Perfectly environmental. They were able to use several different genres and lots of really cool/weird sound design to bring forth the perfect “feel” for Kizu. Of all the things that I was expecting to be wowed by, this wasn’t necessarily one of them.
This is an interesting portion to review for me. I thought I was just going to have to say “It’s SHAFT, what more do you want” and leave it at that. However, I can’t quite do that. I mean, It’s still SHAFT so it’s not like the animation itself is bad. The animation itself is actually damn impressive considering the amount of styles that they used when animating the characters. Though, there were a few minor instances where you could tell they skimped just a bit, but that’s to be expected. As I mentioned before, I feel that the integration between CG and hand-drawn animation was not nearly as seamless as it could’ve been and there were a few times where it was a borderline eyesore for me (these instances were few and far between, mind you). If you love CG or this stuff doesn’t really bother you, you’ll probably think everything looks flipping gorgeous. I must admit, the CG is pretty superb. It’s just the meshing of drawn and non-drawn art that really threw me for a loop.On a lesser note, it hit me that this film strayed more from the surreal, avant garde look that the first few series had and went for a more realistic look for the backgrounds. While the backgrounds looked great in the film, I preferred the wackiness of *Bakemonogatari *and *Nisemonogatari *for the most part. I think it gave those shows a flare and uniqueness that most, if not no other shows had. I feel that uniqueness was partially gone from this film. However, I was informed by my more knowledgeable friend, addmanrcace, that this art style was more of what was used in the later series like *Hanamonogatari *and *Monogatari: Second Season *so maybe I’m being a bit subjective. But overall, while the animation quality was on par with all the other magnificent animation SHAFT has done in the past, it was more the integration of CG and drawn art along with the style that I had a few issues with.
I’m just going to gloss over the music in this portion of the review. The soundtrack wasn’t anything outstanding, but it did its job. It was mostly just there to set the tone which I’m completely okay with. It did well at anchoring the tone of the scenes while adding a dash of flare here and there. However, it’s not like it stood out to me as something extraordinary.
In terms of the animation, it seemed clunky to me. Some parts of the animation gorgeous, but the CG of the characters were choppy and took some time getting used to. Like addmanrcace stated, the feel was artificial, and for someone with little idea of what this show wants to be, I was put out by it. That being said, I did really enjoy the first action scene, midway through the film. There I felt the CG shined. Individual character structure, not so much. It just felt unnatural. I also found it interesting to *only *have characters that are important be shown throughout the film. It made the show feel, again, artificial and empty. The vehicles zooming by were the only reminders that other people do actually exist. Apparently, the entire show is like this. I understand the value of doing something like this. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it certainly took some time getting used to, and it made everything feel somewhat depressing, which was perhaps the objective of the creators all along. The music on the other hand, I felt fit the tone of the film perfectly. It was bright and thrilling when it needed to be, and eerie/emotional at the right times as well. The soundtrack in general was excellent. There is an instance in the film where one hears a baby crying for the background sounds. Disconcerting? Yes. But also, I thought it was an excellent metaphor for the actions taking place at the time. I thoroughly appreciated the added touch.
I can’t help but touch on something important that is valuable to ALL of the Monogatari Series: the unreliable narrator. I’ll probably do a write-up about it and how it is used at some point, because I think it is really fascinating. Anyway, I’ll just go forth and say that I personally believe that everything we see in the Monogatari Series is completely up to whoever it is focusing on at any given point. Kizu really cemented this for me. What we take in, is what that character perceives their situation as and that is super freaking cool. Our favorite protagonist, Araragi, is the type to exaggerate, think of himself as a hero, and be well… horny. That’s why when things are from his point of view, girls have huge boobs, he always does what’s right and honorable, and it’s super great. Of course, everything that happens actually does happen, but the way that it is portrayed to us is how the character believes it is. One of the best examples in *Kizu *is when Araragi is surrounded by several people, and he’s super stressed out. Their talking simply sounds like gibberish because he was super fearful of his situation. This adds an awful lot for me and it gives me a lot more to look at where the story is involved. It may not be fun for many, but I really enjoy “deciphering” the Monogatari story. That said, in Kizu we are given just the story that we need: Araragi’s origination into becoming a vampire. All throughout the show, we’ve know his involvement and some vague backstory. Kizu cements this perfectly.Not only does the story solidify pretty easily, but it opens up some interesting doors as well. I’m super excited to see the next two installments to see how they wrap it around to the beginning of what we’ve already seen (*[Nekomonogatari](http://myanimelist.net/anime/15689/Nekomonogatari__Kuro)*). Even though less happened that I had hoped or anticipated, I wasn’t really disappointed. Honestly, I’m only just now realizing that not very much happened, which says something about the storytelling. We got a fulfilling amount of story but it didn’t require a lot content. This equation equals good storytelling, which is one of my favorite things and NisiOisin never fails to deliver.
I could drone on about the unreliable narrator and whatnot in this section, but I won’t because I’m not doing a review on the whole Monogatari series. Since Araragi is the narrator, you get to see everything from his perspective which is always hypersexualized and overembellished. This makes the interactions that do occur *that *much funnier. Now, coming from a viewer is decently familiar with the layout of the Monogatari series, this film was pretty easy to follow. The story was laid out in a way that it was easy to track without being overly descriptive in what was going on. This was good and bad. It let the film speak for itself which was enjoyable, but it made the film come off as slow because of the lack of anything that was going on. However, as I was notified by my partner, Krogoth22, it was a bit more confusing for somebody completely unfamiliar with the series. The film doesn’t really present any backstory or precursor to what is happening. It just kinda thrusts you into Araragi’s situation which is fine for people that know his backstory and know what to expect. But for those that don’t, it makes for a story that is really difficult to grasp onto. However, this is a subjective review. Coming from my perspective alone, the series did just fine in the story-telling department. Although not a lot truly happened and the story dragged a bit, it gave me just enough of what I needed to make me want to see more.
I was informed of the unreliable narrator technique used throughout the series after the movie ended. This made parts of the movie make more sense. “Oh, crazy shit is going down? I guess it makes sense the main character would panic, and therefore the viewer also would not understand what is going on.” While this makes the movie slightly more off-putting to the casual movie goer, it is a cool artistic style that, looking back on it with that perspective, increases the movies enjoyment factor considerably. However, not realizing it during the movie made it hard to watch at the time. Keeping in mind the unreliable narrator, parts of the story hold up better, and I will certainly enjoy further Monogatari parts more so because of such knowledge. Not knowing this during the film though, caused some raised eyebrows. To continue real quick, I felt that the audience was just thrown into the mix in terms of getting to know the characters. With that being said, despite the very short time spent with the main character, and the supporting cast, while I can’t say I’m in love with them after only 75 minutes, I can say that I’m interested to see how they fit into the story.
All in all, I really enjoyed Kizumonogatari. It gave me my Monogatari fix, a tad of the backstory I was craving, and some new questions. If you ask me, that’s exactly what the first of three movies in a prequel series should do. I think they really hit the nail on the head with Kizu. That said, I’m going to stick with my opinion that the Monogatari Series should be viewed in release order (so, this comes after Owarimonogatari). I feel sort of bad for making Krogoth22 hold off on watching the show, because the long for knowledge that it creates is partially what makes Kizu so fulfilling. That said, for what it was Kizu did its job wonderfully, and I have no qualms giving it a 9/10. It had a few issues, but viewing this movie was an absolute blast.
If you couldn’t tell by how things have panned out so far, my verdict is going to fall somewhere between Krogoth22’s and Addmanrcace’s perspectives. I was a tad hesitant about seeing this because of my previous relationship with the Monogatari series. Well, I believe that I got my money’s worth out of it. The film gave me the same, bizarre fun that comes along with the other entries in the series. Though I did have some issues with the animation style and the fact that not a lot actually occurred, I still had a good time watching it. Like I said, was it anything completely ground-breaking? No. But was it an interesting film with some quality scenes of dialogue and awkward comedy? Yeah. To be honest though, I suggest *at least *watching *Bakemonogatari *before watching this film. I think that alone would increase the enjoy-ability of this film for a lot of people. I can safely say that a 7.5/10 is a good score to give this film and to see it if you’re a fan of, or are knowledgeable on the story of the Monogatari series.
So my verdict? Ummmm, I’ll plead the 5th for now. In all honesty, I can’t state a final verdict at the moment. In terms of my experience, I felt somewhat indifferent about the 75 minutes of anime I just watched. I finally could see where the show wanted to go, and then it ended and told me to wait till summer 2016 to watch more. With that being said, I also saw the potential the show has, with its great dialogue, and interesting narration perspectives. I am hooked enough to want to go see part 2. However, I so far can’t recommend to purposefully start with this series of movies as your first introduction to the series. Perhaps with parts 2, and 3, the prequel story will come together in such a way to provide a good intro to the series. I’m not super optimistic about that though. Google is probably right with its advice to watch the series in airing order. Nevertheless, I’ll try to be a good guinea pig and avoid the series for now and wait for parts 2 and 3. THEN I might jump in at the start. Only time will tell. There’s a newcomer’s *Kizumonogatari *Review.
And so concludes our *Kizumonogatari *Review. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, we sure did! If you have seen *Kizu *already, comment and let us know how you liked it, or chime in on some of our perspectives! Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date! If you’d like to purchase the *Kizumonogatari *Novel, you can do here while supporting us! Thanks for reading!