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Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 7, 2014 by  



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Crazy antics, perverted humor, fan service, violence and action…”Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” is a Blu-ray set worth owning if you are a “Monogatari” fan!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-4 (107 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: April 22, 2014

Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Takahiro Sakura as Meme Oshino

This story is about an incident that happened before Bakemonogatari.

On his way to the bookstore, Koyomi Araragi encounters Tsubasa Hanekawa whose face is covered with a bandage. The incident allows Koyomi to learn what has been happening in the Hanekawa household, but Tsubasa begs him not to tell anyone about it, saying she’ll do anything to keep him quiet.

Without revealing her family’s circumstances, Koyomi tells of the day’s incident – he and Tsubasa buried a “cat” that had been hit by a car – to Meme Oshino. Meme tells Koyomi that he must immediately go to confirm Hanekawa’s safety. He heads to her house, only to find…

So begins the nightmarish nine days of Golden Week.

What does it mean to be in love?  How do you know you are in love?

For Koyomi Araragi, there is one person he has always been captivated by…Tsubasa Hanekawa.  The class representative, who is very smart, courteous and also a body that Koyomi just loves too look at.

But is he truly in love?  And what happens when the girl he has fallen for, becomes possessed by an apparition?

Find out in “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family”, available now on Blu-ray!

Before “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” there was “Nisemonogatari” and “Bakamonogatari”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha. By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi. A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school. One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight. Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi. Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude. She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it. She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her). Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative. She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa. She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses on Koyomi’s two sisters Karen and Tsuki with chapters titled “Karen Bee” and “Tsukihi Phoenix”.

The series begins with Koyomi being held captive. When he wakes up, he finds out that Hitagi has captured and imprisoned him. And we are taken to a flashback days before this happened.

While Koyomi was making his rounds of meeting his female friends, one day he comes into contact with an ominous man named Kaiki Deishu. When he tells Hitagi about the man he met, she imprisons him in the sake of protecting him from Kaiki. And that she is determined in getting revenge on the man.

But things hit close to home when Koyomi finds out that Kaiki also unleashed a lethal, supernatural bee on his sister Karen.

In the second storyline for “Tsukihi Phoenix”, after the events of “Karen Bee”, Koyomi starts to recognize his sister Karen in a different way. Especially with his sister flirting with her brother and looking more feminine, Koyomi tries to distract himself from paying attention to his sister, who is wanting her brother to introduce her to his friend Suruga Kanbaru. Knowing that Suruga is not a good influence and worries about his sister being close to her, he issues her a contest of allowing him to brush her teeth for five minutes without stopping him.

Meanwhile, as Koyomi and Karen are heading towards Suruga’s home, they are encountered by Yozuru Kagenui, who is looking for directions. When Koyomi spends time with Mayou, they are both encountered by a girl named Yotsugi Ononoki, also looking for the same address.

What Koyomi doesn’t know is that these two onmyougi’s have targeted someone who is precious to him.

And Nekomonogatari Black…

Which leads us to the four episode series “Nekomonogatari (Kuro)” (in Japanese, “Kuro” means black).  The story goes into full detail of Tsubasa’s connection to the bakeneko which was featured in episode 11 of “Bakemonogatari” (which featured Koyomi reminiscing of what happened to Tsubasa during Golden Week).

The series starts out with Koyomi and his sister Tsukihi discussing the concept of love and trying to figure out if Koyomi is in love with Tsubasa Hanekawa, the class representative.

During Golden Week, Tsubasa finds a dead white cat in the middle of the road.  Wanting to pay her respects to the deceased cat, instead, she is possessed by a bakeneko who happens to gain control of her due to the stress she has been suffering because of her adoptive family.

With the possession of Tsubasa, the apparition is of a woman wearing nothing but underwear with white cat characteristics.

And now bakeneko is on a rampage by trying to attack as many people in order to consume Tsubasa completely.

Koyomi must find a way to save Tsubasa but can he?

VIDEO:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” is presented in 1080p High Definition and this TV series is gorgeous. SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design. From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series. Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good. I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven. I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” comes with a “Bakemonogatari” Digest Video, “Monogatari Series” 2nd Season Trailer and the textless opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and pinup postcard set.

For those looking for a smaller sampling of Nisio Isin’s popular “Monogatari” series, “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family” has all the entertainment, fan service, violence, and all-out craziness that was featured in “Bakemonogatari” and “Nisemonogatari” but all in four episodes.

There is no doubt that the “Monogatari” series has its fan following.  It’s a series that has a creative way of showcasing stories, sometimes images and situations that happen so quickly or so random, that you find yourself rewinding to see what you have missed.

But with this latest “Monogatari” series, “Nekomonogatari Black” is based on the sixth novel by Nisio Isin.

The four episodes pretty much explains what had happened to Tsubasa Hanekawa during Golden Week, which was only told by vague and short flashbacks featured in “Bakemonogatari”.  From the origin of the white cat apparition and how a black version was created and how.

But we start to see the correlation and instability of Tsubasa Hanekawa and how she will evolve as a character in the upcoming “Monogatari Series Second Season”.

While fans of the previous two seasons will no doubt find “Nekomonogatari Black” quite enjoyable, for those not familiar with the series and plan to start watching these four episodes first will notice that it’s not exactly a harem anime series but it does provide action, violence and also plenty of fan service.

Some may feel a bit weird (or inappropriate) about Koyomi’s closeness with his sister Tsukihi, especially in this series but as always with the “Monogatari” storylines, there are some strange and unusual things in store for viewers with each series.

So, I have no doubt that there are people who will see these actions as wrong and those who don’t like seeing this, will probably not want to watch this animated series.  While those who look past it will find this series to be Japanese animation and a different perspective than its western counterpart when it comes to brother and sister closeness.

The whole sister complex maybe too crazy for viewers but this series was never created to be politically correct. In fact, this is a perverted anime series plays upon taboo situations with humor. And it’s been a major point of “Bakemonogatari” and “Nisemonogatari”, the writers intend to be audacious but not to the point of taking away from the entire series.

But as mentioned in my reviews for the past two series,  the allure of “Monogatari” is its changing animation and not following banal anime tradition by being like any other series. There is no doubt that the object was to be more perverted and crazy but to also pull off the series with cool style. From its use of colors, use of location, use of differing animated character designs. I enjoyed the series for being different and being crazy!

As for the limited edition Blu-ray set for “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition”, picture quality is fantastic and vibrant, while its uncompressed LPCM 2.0 soundtrack is crisp and clear with English subtitles that are easy to read. You get a slipcase with artwork by Akio Watanabe, character designer of the series and a 24-page booklet. Plus you get an awesome postcard set!

Crazy antics, perverted humor, fan service, violence and action…”Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family Limited Edition” is a Blu-ray set worth owning if you are a “Monogatari” fan!  The four-episode series helps set up the upcoming second season and it also explains in full detail of what happened to Tsubasa Hanekawa during Golden Week (featured in a flashback in “Bakemonogatari”).  And as always, you get the awesome Aniplex swag with the Blu-ray limited edition release.

Recommended!

 

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