Kamryn Schnieder ~ Copy Editor
After a discussion during my Horror and Haunting Class, I decided I really wanted to focus on vampires this week in light of the pending Halloween season. I figured I would go with my favorite vampire anime, The Monogatari Series. Now, most of the shows I have talked about so far have been, in my opinion, shows that are very easy for people new to Anime to join, but the Monogatari Series may not be as easy.
The series, produced by Shaft, follows the high schooler Koyomi Araragi, but I cannot say the show starts at the beginning. The anime was released out of chronological order, similar to the light novels it is based on. The first season ever released was “Bakemonogatari,” which begins at the meeting between Araragi and his girlfriend, Senjougahara Hitagi, but this is not the start of Araragi’s story.
Now this anime does get confusing in terms of timeline, but I feel the events of the show make up for that. And, luckily, it is easy enough to look up the chronological order online and watch in that order if you prefer.
The series explores the life of Araragi now that he has been turned into a vampire by the ancient, royal vampire Kiss-shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade, or simply called “Shinobu Oshino” in the show. The movie trilogy of the show, titled “Kizumonogatari,” tells the story of how Araragi saved and then cursed Shinobu while also tackling skilled vampire hunters and protecting a new friend.
The seasons and specials of the show are the part of the story that explores other supernatural creatures from Japanese and other folklore, including a crab that steals weight, the Monkey’s Paw and a snake curse, to name a few.
This show also stands out in the sense that it is not super friendly to people who want to watch casually. There are puns, wordplay, foreshadowing, and lots of dialogues. I mean a lot of talking between friends, lovers, enemies, all of them. There is action that is well done and fun when it happens, but a lot of the show is explaining the how and why of things, and what exactly they are dealing with.
Along with being a very dialogue heavy show, it also features a lot of anime cliches that could easily turn people away if they are not used to it, large chests and partial nudity being some of these cliches, as well as goofy voices and sexual situations. Things along that nature riddle a lot of the show, but they are mostly comedic or between partners.
Bonus points to the show for having a lesbian who was so in love she repeatedly tried to murder her crush’s boyfriend.
I do not feel the show could be classified as a mystery, nor could it be classified as horror, but it does have those elements to it that I find interesting. Odd and eye-catching imagery also helps balance the long, conversation heavy scenes by offering rapidly changing and interesting visuals to pair with the topic of discussion. Studio Shaft is very skilled at a controlled chaos style of animation, which this show uses liberally.
The Monogatari series does not have a professional dub, which means it is only available in the original Japanese with subtitles. The series is available through Funimation, Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Amazon, while the movies are only available on Netflix and Amazon. I think this show is great to watch if you want something different but still interesting, and I think you can get lost in the show, as time flies by. There are several seasons of this show, some with only a handful of episodes and others with 12 or more.