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Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu (A J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you thought “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” and “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” were fantastic, you definitely owe it to yourself to watch “Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu”, the final film in the trilogy! It’s absolutely a must-own Blu-ray release for fans of the “Monogatari” series! Recommended!

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


TITLE: Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu

FILM YEAR: 2017

DURATION: 68 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: November 21, 2017


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo

Directed by Tatsuya Oishi

Storyboard by Tatsuya Oishi

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Character Design by Akio Watanabe, Hideyuki Morioka

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Takahiro Sakurai as Meme Oshino


PART 3: REIKETSU STORY

With help from Meme Oshino, the apparition specialist, Koyomi defeats the three powerful vampire hunters: Dramaturgy, Episode and Guillotinecutter. Koyomi takes back all the limbs of Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion-Heart-Underblade in order to become a human again. But, when he returns to Kiss-Shot, she reveals to him the cold truth of what it means to be a vampire—a creature of the night. Unable to take back what he has done, Koyomi feels nothing but regret and can only deny his dreadful fate. While Koyomi is struggling to face reality, his “friend” Tsubasa Hanekawa comes to him with a certain plan…


We have watched Koyomi Araragi take on a variety of opponents thanks to his vampiric traits.  But why is he not fully a vampire?  And why is he no longer fully human?

The final film of the “Kizumonogatari” trilogy, “Reiketsu” explores how Koyomi Araragi’s current situation came to be and why he is forever connected to Shinobu Oshino (a.k.a. Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade).

What is the Monogatari films and series all about?

In 2005, 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.

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.

And while the series focused on the character of Koyomi, other series and episode arcs would focus on other characters in the “Monogatari” series.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which focuses on the character Suruga Kanbaru.

And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels received an anime adaptation which aired on Japanese television.

Which now leads us to the three-part film series known as “Kizumonogatari”.  The films would serve as a prequel to “Bakemonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari Kuro” and features an adaptation of the Koyomi Vamp arc.

The first film known as “Tekketsu” would feature Naoetsu Private High School loner Koyomi Araragi and how he would meet the character Tsubasa Hanekawa for the very first time.  But also how Koyomi encountered the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and how he was turned into a vampire and how he badly wants to be a human again.

With the second film “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu”, after learning in the first film of the sacrifice that Koyomi had taken to save the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and that was by offering his blood, he becomes a vampire subordinate.

Now he has been given the task to retrieve Kiss-shot’s missing limbs that vampire hunters have taken.  But knowing the danger he’s in, as much as he loves to have Tsubasa Hanakawa near him.  He knows he can’t put her in danger, so he tries to do all he can to upset her, to drive her away.  But she is unwilling.  She wants to be by Koyomi’s side.

And now he must take on the most powerful vampire hunters such as the gigantic vampire known as Dramaturgy and the vampire-human half-breed known as Episode who has Kiss-shot’s legs and the most deadly hunter, the fully human priest known as Guillotine Cutter who has her arms.

But this is an extreme battle in which Koyomi will find himself in the most violent, bloodiest and no doubt highly risky situation he has ever been in, in his entire life.

Will he be successful?

And here we are with the third film as Koyomi has found all of Kiss-Shot’s body parts and with the help of Meme Oshino, he can go back to becoming human.  So, he thinks.

What happens when Koyomi puts Kiss-Shot back together?  And the truth of why Koyomi and the vampire Shinobu Oshino/Kiss-Shot are forever together is revealed.


VIDEO:

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the overall animation for the film is much different compared to the TV series. The film uses a lot of pinkish colors with an emphasis on brown, red and white. Also, a heavy use of 3D CGI backgrounds and real-life photos versus the abstract, 2D backgrounds as shown in the TV series.

But as one can expect from a film, bigger budget, vibrant colors and a different style, it’s no doubt refreshing visual look especially for some of the primary characters that we have seen in the “Monogatari” TV series.

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” is presented in uncompressed Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and being a film, while the TV series is front-channel driven, the film makes great use of music and also sound effects ala ambiance through the surround channels. Also, the musical soundtrack is also crystal clear!

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” comes the following special features:

  • PV – Japanese Promotional Video
  • CM – Japanese Commercials

EXTRAS:

“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” comes with a 68-minute, 27-track original soundtrack, a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 44-page deluxe booklet and a four pinup postcard set.


If you thought the first two “Kizumonogatari” films were excellent, the final film in the trilogy finally answers questions that fans of the series have been wanting to know and why is Koyomi and the vampire Shinobu Oshino forever bonded together.

I have to say that it was interesting because the first two films, Koyomi was quite dedicated in helping find the limbs of Kiss-Shot and trying to make her whole again.  But what he didn’t realize that by doing so, he was creating a monster that fed on humans.  After all, she’s a vampire.

It was a realization that Koyomi never really figured out, thinking that since they both were hungry, he thought he meant going to grab regular food to eat.  Not knowing the monster that he had unleashed.

For the most part, this third film was quite bloody, action-packed and even went to the pervy/creepy mode as the lecherous Koyomi, is quite desperate in wanting to touch Tsubasa Hanekawa’s breasts.  While I think the scene was a bit overboard, I’m sure the perverts and those who dig that type of fan service that we often see in the “Monogatari” OVA’s with Koyomi’s behavior at times, may be no surprise.  But no doubt, it was taken up a notch for this third film.

The television series and the last film, they always have had an artsy, artistic visual side that I absolutely loved but a pretty unique style of story presentation that watching it once is not enough, you’ll probably discover new things if you watch each episode a few times.

But as the TV series featured a lot of comedy and the visual art made the series vibrant and unique, the films have been more on the darker, edgier side of a monogatari storyline.

This prequel allows us to understand the sacrifices that Koyomi has made to save Kiss-Shot but also the deadly sacrifices he will undertake in the second film to get her legs and arms back to make her whole and as an adult once again to the third film, which is a discovery of what he truly had done.

The artwork is magnificent and I was blown away of how well-balanced the story and art was but how captivating the storyline was that really drew me in and couldn’t stop watching.  The third film was magnificent and also important in answering a lot of questions which “Monogatari” fans probably had.

 

As mentioned, “Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu”, like the first film, is violent and bloody and has sexual situations, so you don’t want to show this animated film to young children.

As for the lossless soundtrack, also a major difference is you get a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in Japanese 5.1 and 2.0. No English dub was included for this Blu-ray release.

And while special features are the usual CM and PV’s, you also get the second original soundtrack on CD and also a 44-page booklet and a four postcard set.  Along with a package illustrated by character designer, Akio Watanabe.

Because this is the beginning of Koyomi’s storyline and a prequel to the monogatari TV series, once can easily jump into this film and start with the “Kizumonogatari”  films.  watch and see how Koyomi met key people like Kiss-Shot and Tsubasa Hanakawa and then watch the anime series from it “Bakamonogatari” up to “Owarimonogatari”. The visual style is a bit different from the film, as one can expect from a bigger budget film vs. a TV series. But because the series is always creative, vibrant and unique, the film exhibits creativity, different uses of color and a different presentation that fans will probably enjoy, especially for its refreshing visual presentation and its use of pinks, red and whites.

Overall, if you thought “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” and “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” were fantastic, you definitely owe it to yourself to watch “Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu”, the final film in the trilogy! It’s absolutely a must-own Blu-ray release for fans of the “Monogatari” series!

Recommended!

Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc)

May 15, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you thought “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” was great, “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is fantastic! Action-packed, great character development and wonderful animation and artistic backgrounds. It’s absolutely a must-own Blu-ray release for fans of the “Monogatari” series! Recommended!

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


TITLE: Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu

FILM YEAR: 2016

DURATION: 68 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: May 9, 2017


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo

Directed by Tatsuya Oishi

Storyboard by Tatsuya Oishi

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Character Design by Akio Watanabe, Hideyuki Morioka

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Takahiro Sakurai as Meme Oshino


PART 2: NEKKETSU STORY

Koyomi Araragi was turned into a vampire by the legendary vampire, Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade, and he needs to revive the weakened vampire back to her complete form to return to being human again. The only way for Koyomi to achieve his goal is to fight the three vampire hunters – Dramaturgy, Episode and Guillotinecutter.


In 2005, 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.

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.

And while the series focused on the character of Koyomi, other series and episode arcs would focus on other characters in the “Monogatari” series.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which focuses on the character Suruga Kanbaru.

And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels received an anime adaptation which aired on Japanese television.

Which now leads us to the three-part film series known as “Kizumonogatari”.  The films would serve as a prequel to “Bakemonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari Kuro” and features an adaptation of the Koyomi Vamp arc.

The first film known as “Tekketsu” would feature Naoetsu Private High School loner Koyomi Araragi and how he would meet the character Tsubasa Hanekawa for the very first time.  But also how Koyomi encountered the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and how he was turned into a vampire and how he badly wants to be a human again.

With the second film “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu”, after learning in the first film of the sacrifice that Koyomi had taken to save the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and that was by offering his blood, he becomes a vampire subordinate.

Now he has been given the task to retrieve Kiss-shot’s missing limbs that vampire hunters have taken.  But knowing the danger he’s in, as much as he loves to have Tsubasa Hanakawa near him.  He knows he can’t put her in danger, so he tries to do all he can to upset her, to drive her away.  But she is unwilling.  She wants to be by Koyomi’s side.

And now he must take on the most powerful vampire hunters such as the gigantic vampire known as Dramaturgy and the vampire-human half-breed known as Episode who has Kiss-shot’s legs and the most deadly hunter, the fully human priest known as Guillotine Cutter who has her arms.

But this is an extreme battle in which Koyomi will find himself in the most violent, bloodiest and no doubt highly risky situation he has ever been in, in his entire life.

Will he be successful?


VIDEO:

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the overall animation for the film is much different compared to the TV series. The film uses a lot of pinkish colors with an emphasis on brown, red and white. Also, a heavy use of 3D CGI backgrounds and real-life photos versus the abstract, 2D backgrounds as shown in the TV series.

But as one can expect from a film, bigger budget, vibrant colors and a different style, it’s no doubt refreshing visual look especially for some of the primary characters that we have seen in the “Monogatari” TV series.

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is presented in uncompressed Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and being a film, while the TV series is front-channel driven, the film makes great use of music and also sound effects ala ambiance through the surround channels. Also, the musical soundtrack is also crystal clear!

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” comes the following special features:

  • PV – Japanese Promotional Video
  • CM – Japanese Commercials

EXTRAS:

“Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” comes with a 46-minute, 28-track original soundtrack, a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 40-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


As a faithful watcher and reviewer of the “Monogatari” anime series, after watching the first film “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu”, I felt the film was refreshing, captivating and quite enjoyable to watch.  Now having watched “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu”, I can easily say that this is the best Monogatari storyline I have watched yet!

The television series and the last film, they always have had an artsy, artistic visual side that I absolutely loved but a pretty unique style of story presentation that watching it once is not enough, you’ll probably discover new things if you watch each episode a few times.

But as the TV series featured a lot of comedy and the visual art made the series vibrant and unique, the films have been more on the darker, edgier side of a monogatari storyline.

This prequel allows us to understand the sacrifices that Koyomi has made to save Kiss-Shot but also the deadly sacrifices he will undertake in the second film to get her legs and arms back to make her whole and as an adult once again.

But with the first film, Koyomi sacrificed his humanity to save Kiss-Shot, but in part two, he has to make a major decision if he’s willing to lose his humanity in order to save someone he cares about.

A more action-driven storyline, what I enjoyed about “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is that not only is the action well-done, but the visual presentation, the artwork to show motion, there was a lot of attention paid to making things look fluid and sometimes life-like.  The artwork is magnificent and I was blown away of how well-balanced the story and art was but how captivating the storyline was that really drew me in and couldn’t stop watching.  This second film was that good!

The second film also builds upon the friendship between Koyomi and Tsubasa and it’s great to see how close these two were earlier on but how different she was compared to what transpires with her character in “Nekomonogatari” and also as seen in the books.  Nevertheless, great character dynamics and how these two characters were developed in this film.

And with this being a film, there is a visual style that was refreshing to see and how it differs from the TV series. From character design, animation, the use of colors and 3D CG, the film looks great on HD!

It is important to note that “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu”, like the first film, is violent and bloody, so you don’t want to show this animated film to young children.

As for the lossless soundtrack, also a major difference is you get a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in Japanese 5.1 and 2.0. No English dub was included for this Blu-ray release.

And while special features are the usual CM and PV’s, you also get the second original soundtrack on CD and also a 40-page booklet and a six postcard set.  Along with a package illustrated by character designer, Akio Watanabe.

Because this is the beginning of Koyomi’s storyline and a prequel to the monogatari TV series, once can easily jump into this film and start with the “Kizumonogatari”  films.  watch and see how Koyomi met key people like Kiss-Shot and Tsubasa Hanakawa and then watch the anime series from it “Bakamonogatari” up to “Owarimonogatari”. The visual style is a bit different from the film, as one can expect from a bigger budget film vs. a TV series. But because the series is always creative, vibrant and unique, the film exhibits creativity, different uses of color and a different presentation that fans will probably enjoy, especially for its refreshing visual presentation and its use of pinks, red and whites.

Overall, if you thought “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” was great, “Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu” is fantastic!

Action-packed, great character development and wonderful animation and artistic backgrounds.  It’s absolutely a must-own Blu-ray release for fans of the “Monogatari” series!

Recommended!

Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc)

January 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is a must-own for fans of the “Monogatari” series!  Recommended!

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


TITLE: Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu

FILM YEAR: 2016

DURATION: 63 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: December 27, 2016


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shimbo

Directed by Tatsuya Oishi

Storyboard by Tatsuya Oishi

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Character Design by Akio Watanabe, Hideyuki Morioka

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

Takahiro Sakurai as Meme Oshino


PART 1: TEKKETSU STORY

One day, Koyomi Araragi encounters the horrifying vampire, Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade A.K.A. the “King of Apparitions.” He saves the fatally wounded Kiss-shot by offering his blood at the expense of his own life as a human. Now Koyomi has to face the vampire hunters to retrieve Kiss-shot’s limbs which were taken by these hunters…

THE ORIGIN STORY OF MONOGATARI SERIES!

This highly anticipated film has brought together an all-star creative team including Director Tatsuya Oishi (Series Director of BAKEMONOGATARI), Character Designer Akio Watanabe (Monogatari Series), Chief Director Akiyuki Shimbou (Madoka Magica, Monogatari Series, NISEKOI) and Studio SHAFT (Madoka Magica, Monogatari Series, NISEKOI).


In 2005, 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.

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.

In 2014, a five episode arc was released titled “Hanamonogatari” which is about the character Suruga Kanbaru.

And in October through November 2015, the Owarimonogatari novels anime adaptation aired on Japanese television.

In 2016, a three-part film series was planned and the series would be known as “Kizumonogatari”.  And the films would serve as a prequel to “Bakemonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari Kuro” and features an adaptation of the Koyomi Vamp arc.

The first film known as “Tekketsu” would feature Naoetsu Private High School loner Koyomi Araragi and how he would meet Tsubasa Hanekawa for the very first time.

But how he encountered the vampire Kiss-shot-Acerola-orin Heart-under-blade and how he was turned into a vampire and how he badly wants to be a human again.

And now “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” has been released in the U.S. on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex!


VIDEO:

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the overall animation for the film is much different compared to the TV series.  The film uses a lot of pinkish colors with an emphasis on brown, red and white.  Also, a heavy use of 3D CGI backgrounds and real-life photos versus the abstract, 2D backgrounds as shown in the TV series.

But as one can expect from a film, bigger budget, vibrant colors and a different style, it’s no doubt refreshing visual look especially for some of the primary characters that we have seen in the “Monogatari” TV series.

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is presented in uncompressed Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 with English subtitles. Dialogue is crisp and clear and being a film, while the TV series is front-channel driven, the film makes great use of music and also sound effects ala ambiance through the surround channels.  Satoru Kosaki’s musical soundtrack is also crystal clear!

It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs with this Blu-ray set.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” comes the following special features:

  • PV – Japanese Promotional Video
  • CM – Japanese Commercials

EXTRAS:

“Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” comes with a 47-minute, 29-track original soundtrack featuring music from Satoru Kousaki, slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 40-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


As a faithful watcher and reviewer of the “Monogatari” anime series, watching “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” was refreshing, captivating and quite enjoyable to watch.

We get to see how Koyomi Araragi first met Tsubasa Hanekawa and his first encounter with the vampire Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade and also how he met oddity specialist Meme Oshino.

While the first film is straightforward, as it was a big part of “Bakamonogatari”, the film puts us into perspective of how Koyomi Araragi was when he met Tsubasa (the film’s delivery of fan service and comedy) and how it quickly transitions to something more violent, bloody with the introduction of Kiss-Shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade and how Koyomi and her came into contact and why Koyomi turned into a vampire.  And how far Koyomi would go to turn human.

The first film is putting that whole arc into a visual perspective but of course, providing us the initial story for the sequel.

And with this being a film, there is a visual style that was refreshing to see and how it differs from the TV series.  From character design, animation, the use of colors and 3D CG, the film looks great on HD!

It is important to note that “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is violent and bloody, so you don’t want to show this animated film to young children.

As for the lossless soundtrack, also a major difference is you get a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in Japanese 5.1 and 2.0.  No English dub was included for this Blu-ray release.

And while special features are the usual CM and PV’s, you also get the original soundtrack on CD and also a 40-page booklet and a six postcard set.

Because this is the beginning of Koyomi’s storyline, once can easily jump into this film and watch and see how Koyomi met key people in the anime series and then watch the anime series from it “Bakamonogatari” up to “Owarimonogatari”.  The visual style is a bit different from the film, as one can expect from a bigger budget film vs. a TV series.  But because the series is always creative, vibrant and unique, the film exhibits creativity, different uses of color and a different presentation that fans will probably enjoy, especially for its refreshing visual presentation and its use of pinks, red and whites.

Overall, “Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu” is a must-own for fans of the “Monogatari” series!  Recommended!

Maria-Holic: Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Stylishly fun, unusual and quirky, “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” is definitely one of those unique anime series that you don’t often see released on Blu-ray, let alone, being released in the United States.  For those wanting something different, fun and absolutely quirky, “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2014 Sentai Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Maria-Holic: Complete Collection

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2009

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:33:1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATING: TV 14 D

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Originally created by Minari Endo

Series Director: Yukihiro Miyamoto

Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo

Series Composition by Masahiro Yokotani

Character Designs by Hideyuki Morioka

Art Director: Toshiharu Iijima

Music by Tatsuya Nishiwaki

Anime Production by SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Asami Sanada/Jessica Calvello as Kanako Miyamae

Marina Inoue/Caitlynn French as Matsurika Shinouji

Yu Kobayashi/Monica Rial as Mariya Shidō

Akemi Kanda/Carli Mosier as Nanami Kiri

Aya Hirano/Monica Rial as Shizu Shidō

Hatsumi Takada/Allison Sumrall as Honoka Tsutsui

Megumi Toyoguchi/Molly Searcy as Fumi Kumagai

Miyu Matsuki/Nancy Novotny as Ayari Shiki/Yonakuni-san

Miyuki Sawashiro/Brittney Karbowski as Dorm Leader-sensei (Dorm Supervisor “God”)

Ryoko Shintani/Margaret McDonald as Sachi Momoi

Saori Goto/Shannon Emerick as Yuzuru Inamori

Youji Ueda/George Maney as Narration

Yuko Kaida/Beth Lazarou as Ryuuken Ishima

It’s not easy to find the perfect girl, even when you’re the same sex! Kanako thought attending an all-girls school would be the perfect way to meet the girl of her dreams, but after her hot new roommate turns out to be a guy in drag and catching the eye of the most popular girl in school only brings down the wrath of all the other similarly obsessed girls, she’s not so sure!

Complicate things with a cat-eared dorm leader, her roommate’s rude-mannered maid and identical twin sister (who attends an all-boys school, of course,) and way too many attractive girls of questionable persuasions and the question becomes whether Kanako can die from frustrated nosebleeds! (Life would be SO much easier if guys didn’t literally give her the hives!) Will Kanako ever find a non-polar opposite of a compatible non-opposing polarity?

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In Jan. 2009, the 12-episode anime television series “Maria-Holic” began airing in AT-X in Japan.

Adapted from the manga series by Minari Endo (“Dazzle”, “Hatenko Yugi”) for the Japanese seinen manga magazine, “Monthly Comic Alive” back in 2006,  the anime series was produced by SHAFT (“Hidamari Sketch”, “Mahou Sensei Negima!”, “He is My Master”) and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (“Hidamari Sketch”, “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha”, “Bakemonogatari”) and series composition by Masahiro Yokotani (“PoPoLoCrois”, “Himawari!”, “Sgt. Frog”). Character designs are by Hideyuki Morioka (“Arcade Gamer Fubuki”, “Sakura Wars”, “Ultimate Girls”), art direction by Toshiharu Iijima (“Uta~Kata”, “Gad Guard”, “Hidamari Sketch”) and music by Tatsuya Nishiwaki (“UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie”).

“Mario-Holic” is about main character Kanako Miyamae.  Kanako has transferred to Ame-no Kisaki Girls Academy Dormitory Junior and Senior High School, the school where her mother met her father and hopes one day to find her true love at the school.  The thing is, Ame-no Kisaki Girls Academy is an all girl’s school and Kanako is a lesbian who hasn’t come out of the closet and she also has a problem.  She’s a horny teenage girl who can’t stop thinking about thinking of hot girls nude, in their underwear and each time she does think about them, she unfortunately gets a massive nose bleed.

But how long can she hide her wild thoughts?  She surely can’t pretend that she likes guys because just a touch from a guy gives her hives.

Her first day of school started well as she meets the beautiful Mariya Shidou and her rude maid Matsurika Shinouji. Mariya’s grandmother is the former chairperson of the school and her family owns part of the grounds of the school.  But Mariya’s beauty captivates Kanako’s attention.  But it’s just the first day of school and already she sees a lot of beautiful girl’s that she’s interested in.  As Mariya tells Kanako that she will show her around the school, for some reason, when she touches her…Kanako gets the hives?

As Kanako follows up with Mariya’s promise of showing her around the school, Mariya goes to her archery class and when she walks into the dressing room, Kanako finds out that Mariya is not a she but a he.

So, upset and devastated that Mariya is a guy dressing up as a girl, she vows to make her secret known.  Until Mariya shows Kanako his bad side and reminds her that her family is powerful and that her grandmother was the former chairperson.  And also, knows that Kanako is in fact a lesbian.  Immediately, Mariya goes into blackmail mode and has Kanako around his little finger.  If she says anything, she’ll have more to lose than gain.

As for why Mariya is dressed up as a girl, we later learn that he and his twin sister Shizu are fulfilling their grandmother’s wish of switching genres (she being a guy at an all-boys school and thus developing a hatred towards guys).

But with Mariya using Kanako and toiling with her emotions and the fact that Mariya is her roommate, how much will Kanako be able to stand?  Especially with beautiful women are all around her, can Kanako survive this school year?

“Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” features all 12 episodes on two Blu-ray Discs.

Here is an episode listing featuring spoiler-less summaries of each episode:

  • EPISODE 1 – Choose a Wife By Your Ear, Rather Than By Your Eye – Kanako Miyamae transfers to Ame no Kisaki and meets Maria for the first time.
  • EPISODE 2 – Ill Weeds Grow Apace –  Kanako attends her first day of school and encounters more problems from Mariya.
  • EPISODE 3 – Ask, and it shall be given to you. – Maria lets Kanako borrow her rosary but Kanako accidentally loses it.
  • EPISODE 4 – Save the Children – Ryuuken promises to protect Kanako from jealous students.
  • EPISODE 5 – Love is Real Love is Love – In this episode, there are two stories.  In the first story, Kanako wants to become friends with Kiri. In the second, the dorm mistress inspects Kanako’s bag and finds tentacles coming out of it.
  • EPISODE 6 – We are the World. – It’s physical examination day but the thought of seeing the other women in their underwear and no clothes gives Kanako a continuous nose bleed.  Also, it is learned why Maria dresses like a girl.
  • EPISODE 7 – The Suspicious Black Underwear – Continuing the storyline of the missing underwear and a story about Yuzuru noticing that Kiri and Sachi are becoming good friends and Kiri getting a little jealous.
  • EPISODE 8 – Change the World – It’s time for the Virgin Mary Festival and Kanako is selected to become part of the planning committee.
  • EPISODE 9 – A two story episode.  We learn the reason why the student council president Ayari and Maria do not get along.  Kanako learns about the mysteries of Ame no Kisaki.
  • EPISODE 10 – I Want You, I Want You So Bad – A two story episode in which Kanako needs help passing her exams and a story about Kiri receiving a love letter.
  • EPISODE 11 – An Offering to God – Father Kanae shows up and has a crush on Maria and Matsurika.
  • EPISODE 12 – A Dreamy Pool Opening – Kanako has had enough of Maria and now wants to expose her as a fraud during a swim competition.

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VIDEO:

“Maria-Holic:The Complete Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition.

What I enjoy about “Maria Holic” is its visual presentation.  Instead of going with the traditional anime art backgrounds or character design, for the series, there are so many variations of presentation for the series.  You get the standard presentation of the character design but the trees and surroundings are painted differently, you get visuals that look like oil paintings, visuals that look like ’70s to ’80s style of manga artwork, 8-bit video game style of artwork, 3-D artwork, hilarious super-deformed artwork and more.  Needless to say, this is a different style of anime series that instead of focusing on the typical frames around a certain scene, each scene has a different style of background at times.  So, “Maria-Holic” is pretty creative in presentation.  Each scene is not consistent, so you get something different in short bursts in each episode.

 

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for lossless audio, “Maria-Holic” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with English subtitles.  The series is front channel driven but dialogue and music is clear.  For those who want a more immersive soundtrack can easily switch their receiver for stereo on all channels.

The Blu-ray release unlike the previous DVD release now contains an English dub featuring Jessica Calvello, Caitlynn French and Monica Rial.  For those who previously owned the DVD release, the English dub definitely makes the series definitely a lot of fun and the voice acting is well-done in both Japanese and English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” features the following special features:

  • Club AT-X Interview – (19:19) A featurette featuring the interview with “Maria Holic” Japanese voice actresses Asami Sanada (Kanako Miyamae), Yu Kobayashi (Mariya Shidou) and Marina Inoue (Matsurika).  An entertaining interview as the ladies talk about the series (they haven’t yet seen the final cut of the first episode yet) but overall, a lively and fun interview.
  • Special X’Mas Night – Amenokisaki Holy Night Festival – (22:02) A special screening of “Maria Holic” on Christmas Day 2008 at Ivy Hall Aogaku Kaikan Glory Chapel, the voice actresses talking to their fans, a contest giveaway and the voice actress performing a short live concert performance.
  • Japanese Commercial Collection – (2:39) The Japanese television commercials
  • Japanese Promotional Video – (2:08) The promotional video in Japan for “Maria Holic”.
  • Clean Closing Animation Episodes 1-12 – (18:34) The ending animation themes for each episode of “Maria Holic”.

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I really enjoyed “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection”!  Although not a deep or serious anime series, it’s one of those anime series that is so quirky and strange but yet presented in the most creative way as possible.

After watching “Maria Holic”, although not shown on a major television network in Japan, I hope the series receives some continuation because the characters are fun to watch and you wonder how this series will end.

As for the series, “Maria Holic” is neither demanding nor serious.  It’s not for the serious-minded and truthfully, you can skip around from episode-to-episode because only a few are somewhat connected but its presentation is probably mostly driven by its quirkiness of its characters and its visual presentation.

As for the Blu-ray, for those who owned the previous DVD release, may want to upgrade for the better picture quality but most importantly, the new English dub.  The voice acting is well-done on both lossless soundtracks but for those who have waited for the English dub, will no doubt enjoy this latest release as voice acting by Jessica Cavello, Monica Rial and Caitlynn French.

And as for special features, you get the Club At-X Interview, Special X’Mas Night – Amenokisaki Holy Night Festival and Japanese Commercial Collection as well!

Overall, “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” is an anime series for anime fans who wants something different but at the same time fun, humorous, visually creative when it comes to artistic presentation.

If you are looking for a series that isn’t too demanding or too serious, then definitely give “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” a try!

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