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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!

Imperfect Girl vol. 1 – Story by NISIOISIN and Art by Mitsuru Hattori (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

I’m not sure where this story is going.  If a young girl with a knife will literally have this adult as her hostage that she can toy with and torture, it’s unusual and quite dark.  And while this is only the first issue, I am interested in seeing where this manga goes for issue #2. So, if you are in the mood for something dark and twisted, definitely give “Imperfect Girl” a try!

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© 2016 NISIOISIN/Misuru Hattori. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Imperfect Girl vol. 1

STORY BY: NISIOISIN

ART BY Mitsuru Hattori

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha, Ltd.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical Inc.

RATED: 16+

RELEASE DATE: October 24, 2017


“Looking back on it now, I realize that incident is what turned me into the novelist I am today.” An author is someone who creates tales, but an aspiring author is someone who lies, and nothing more.

This incident happened 10 years ago, when I was in college, and merely an aspiring author. If those events never took place I wouldn’t have become much of anything at all, which is why I think I need to thank her, thank that girl…


Nisioisin is a well-known manga writer and novelist.  Best known for his “Monogatari” novels, he already has created many series such as “Zaregoto”, “Ningen”, “Sekai”, “Densetsu”, “Boukyaku Tantei” to name a few.

In 2016, Nisioisin collaborated with Mitsuru Hattori (best known for “Concerto”) for “Imperfect Girl” which was featured in “Weekly Young Magazine”.

The series revolves around an author hoping for a big break, but for each manuscript he has sent, he has not received one reply.

One day, while riding on his bike to get home, he sees two girls walking and one is hit by a truck and is killed.  The other he sees saving her video game and rushing to her friend and then rode on.

The following day, while riding on his bike, the author gets into an accident as a recorder is stuck inside his back wheel and was able to survive thanks to his judo classes.

While the author gets home to check things on his computer, he feels a stabbing pain on his calf.  When he goes to check, he sees the girl (that survived the crash) under his desk and sees her stabbing his calf with a blade.

She explains to him that her name is “U” and because she saw her, she is taking him.  With the blade to his back and repeated punctures, she forces him to her home and has him go into the closet and locks him in there.  As he ponders to get help, he realizes he would be a laughing stock if he told people that a young-girl has kidnapped him.

As the author tries to think of what “U” is trying to accomplish, he overthinks things, about her intention, about his life and by the time he wakes up, he realizes that he hasn’t eaten.

He is thinking it’s probably a game and her parents would come back home and he would be released…but why isn’t her parents home yet?  Why is he being locked in a closet?  What will happen if she leaves him locked up?


As a reader and viewer of NISIOISIN’s “Mongatari” series, there is always something fascinating about his style of work and the characters.

So, I was looking forward to reading his three volume series “Imperfect Girl” and checking out the first issue.  And I found the storyline to be surprisingly wicked.

A story about an author who has limited thinking and hasn’t had a successful novel, sees a girl get killed and her friend checking on her.

But instead of stopping, the author just keeps riding his bike and more or less is an observer that tries to use what he observes to incorporate to a future novel.

But the following day, he gets home and the girl he saw earlier is stabbing his calf with a blade.  And now she has him by knifepoint and forces him to her home and she locks him up in his closet.

I found the whole story interesting and what if it was all in his head, what if he’s too stupid to do anything…break the closet down or whatever.  Why does he just stay in the closet and not fight it?  What is wrong with this guy? But as you read on, you start to realize, this little girl that has more or less kidnapped him, is wicked and unafraid and quite deadly.

There is one action that you see at the end that is something that you can’t conceive but it happens and then you wonder, this young meek guy is probably going to die.  He has no instincts, he is constantly questioning her intentions and his life that this can’t be happening.  It has to be a dream!  Or is it?

As for the story and artwork, the collaboration between NISIOISIN and Mitsuru Hattori is solid.  Some of those experimental art that you often see in NISIOISIN’s work, you tend to see experimentation with artwork and in the pages, while dark in a horror-like way, you also get a few experimental art that really looks cool.

Overall, I’m not sure where this story is going.  If a young girl with a knife will literally have this adult as her hostage that she can toy with and torture, it’s unusual and quite dark.  And while this is only the first issue, I am interested in seeing where this manga goes for issue #2. So, if you are in the mood for something dark and twisted, definitely give “Imperfect Girl” a try!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

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!

Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 31, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

hanamonogatari

If you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a fan of the series and want to know more about Suruga Kanbaru.   Featuring cool character designs, gorgeous art backgrounds and a fascinating story, this latest “Monogatari” volume is recommended!

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


TITLE: Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2014

DURATION: Episodes 1-5 (125 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: April 21, 2015


Chief Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Directed by Tomoyuki Itamura

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Kei Haeneoka

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima, Ken Naito

Anime Production: SHAFT


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kana Asumi as Rōka Numachi

Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Kaori Mizuhashi as Ougi Oshino

Michiko Neya as Tooe Kanbaru

Shinichiro Miki as Deishū Kaiki

Yōko Hikasa as Higasa

 


One morning, Suruga Kanbaru meets Ougi Oshino, who calls himself a nephew of Meme Oshino. He tells Suruga about a rumor of “the Lord Devil” that grants any wish. Suruga is worried that the identity of the Lord Devil is none other than herself because she made a wish on “the Monkey’s Paw.” The item was left behind by her mother, and turned Suruga into a Rainy Devil and made her try to kill Koyomi Araragi. In order to find out the identity of the Lord Devil, Suruga decides to meet the Lord Devil, but who she sees at the meeting spot is the most unexpected person – Rouka Numachi, Suruga’s old archrival…


Continuing the stories of the “Monogatari” series about various characters, the 2014 season kicked off with what was known as “Monogatari Series: Second Season +a”.

Episodes 1-5 kicks off a story about Suruga Kanbaru, the star of the school’s basketball team, a lesbian and also into fujoshi, lolicon and masochism.  When she was in elementary school, she made a wish to a Monkey’s Paw and the paw eventually grew out of her left arm.  Thus having to wear a bandage around it.

In the arc “Suruga Devil”, there is a rumor in school about a devil solving people’s problems.  She wonders if she is the person that people are talking about, but she begins doing an investigation and finds out that rumored Devil is someone she knows.  But what is Suruga’s connection to this other person?

Find out in the first arc of the second season of the “Monogatari” series in “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” from Aniplex!

Before “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari”, “Nekomonogatari”, “Monogatari Series Second Season” and “Hanamonogatari”

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 more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs. And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.

The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.

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

The episodes are set after the graduation of Koyomi Araragi and Hitagi Senjougahara and Suruga is beginning her third year in high school.

As she continues to deal with her left monkey arm (which happened when she made a wish on a mysterious monkey’s paw back in elementary school), she hears of a story of a devil that communicates with students who tries to solve their problems.

Suruga wants to know who the person is (or if it can be her), but finds out that the devil is in fact a basketball rival from junior high, Rouka Numachi.

But when Suruga confronts Rouka, she wants to know why she took on the role of becoming the “devil” and what is the connect between Suruga and Rouka?


VIDEO:

“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” 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.

Unlike the older regular/series which included comedy bits of well-drawn characters to goofy, cartoonish characters, what does remain consistent is SHAFT’s gorgeous art backgrounds 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.

“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” 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.

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a “omnibus III” video (which is actually episode 16 – summary from the TV series and is a narration of the “Tsubasa Cat and Nisemonogatari”), promotional video and commercial collections and the textless opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, a 24-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


hanamonogatari-2

With the latest episodes of the “Monogatari” series, we get a new story that revolves around Suruga Kanbaru.

In the past, we have seen Suruga, more of a character that Koyomi visits and her room is full of red books and she is often seen naked.

But we get to know more about her, her left arm in which she has an ape-like arm because of a wish she made to a monkey’s paw but for the most part, we get to see Suruga in a different way and get to see a more emotional side of her come to play.

The story starts off with Suruga trying to find out who the “Lord Devil” is at her school.  A person that has been helping people with their problems.  But to her surprise, the person turns out to be Roka Numachi, a basketball rival from her junior high year.  When she goes to confront Roka and find out why she helps people, she finds out that Roka is a collector of misfortunes and could care less about helping people.  To her surprise, after meeting up with Roka, the biggest surprise is that after her meeting with Roka, she wakes up the following morning to find her left arm returning to normal.

But after she is brought back to normal, rumors start to go around school that “Lord Devil” is no longer giving any counsel to other people.  And now, Suruga wants to find the whereabouts of Roka and figure out how her arm turned back to normal and more.

It’s important to let fans of the series know that Koyomi is not the main character in this arc and you will only see him in the final episode of the arc.  The series focuses on Suruga, Roka and you also get to see the return of Deishu Kaiki.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.

As for special features, you get a the usual textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections. As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is worth following if you are a fan of the series and want to know more about Suruga Kanbaru.

Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

otorimono-a

Another enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” focuses on character Nadeko Sengoku, who is haunted by a white snake apparition.  An enjoyable arc worth recommending to Monogatari fans!

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


TITLE: Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 12-16 (100 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: October 28, 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


Nadeko encounters a giant snake who claims to be a deity named Kuchinawa. Kuchinawa promises Nadeko that he would grant her wish if she aids him in the search of his object of worship. Little does Nadeko know that obtaining the object of worship will cost her more than what she expected. Koyomi tries to convince Nadeko to let go of the object of worship, but it’s too late, and Nadeko swallows the object and becomes a snake apparition! To make things worse, now Nadeko wants to kill Koyomi and Shinobu Oshino!

Third arc to the Monogatari series’ second season.


Continuing the episodes from the second season of the “Monogatari” series, the storyline focuses on Nadeko Sengoku, Tsukihi Koyomi’s friend since elementary school and a good friend to his sisters.  But one day, she was put in a curse by a classmate in which an invisible snake tried to strangle her.

As the first series, “Bakemonogatari” episodes 9-10 went into the storyline of how Nadeko was cursed by two snakes, this arc features Nadeko as she tries to deal with a giant snake apparition.  Is she imagining things or is this snake for real?

Find out in episode 12-15 of the “Monogatari” series in “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Blu-ray Set Limited Edition” from Aniplex!

Before “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari”

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 more on a character, instead of a two-episode storyline, we get four-episode arcs.  And with “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa”, episodes 12-15 focus on Nadeko starting to see a giant snake apparition and the arc beginning with her confronting Shinobu and Koyomi and Nadeko stabbing Koyomi in the heart.

The story then explains what has been happening to Nadeko leading up to the confrontation and what the giant snake apparition may be.


VIDEO:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” 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.

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” 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.

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a “omnibus III” video (which is actually episode 16 – summary from the TV series and is a narration of the “Tsubasa Cat and Nisemonogatari”), promotional video and commercial collections and the textless opening and ending themes.

EXTRAS:

“Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.


otorimono-b

With the latest arc of the “Monogatari” series, the focus shifts towards Nadeko Sengoku, Koyomi’s shy, childhood friend that has liked him.

Unfortuantely, she was cursed by a guy that liked her and a guy she had rejected and became possessed by snake apparitions.  But despite thinking that the snakes were gone, she begins seeing a giant white snake apparition, which survived the events in the “Nadeko Snake” episodes (as seen on the first season of “Bakemonogatari”).

And now the white snake wants her to atone for what she did.

Without revealing too much of what happens during Nadeko’s dealing with the white snake, I will say that this arc was quite interesting to see how Nadeko goes through major changes, as we have seen her more of a shy and even jealous girl.  But this time around, we get to see a bad mouthed version of her, which was quite interesting to see and voice actress Hanazawa Kana did a magnificent job of playing the character for this arc.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack. As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus III” video (which is episode 16 in Japan, a recap of “Tsubasa Cat” and “Nisemonogatari”), on air version textless opening and ending themes. Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Otorimonogatari: Nadeko Medusa Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is a storyline that features the psychological challenges that Nadeko Sengoku must face as she is plagued by a white snake apparition.  Is it real or is it all in her head?

Recommended.

Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

kabukimonogatari-a

A well-written, enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

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

TITLE: Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Blu-ray Set Limited Edition

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 7-10 (100 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: August 26, 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

At the end of summer vacation, upon the morning of the opening ceremony for the second semester, Tsubasa Hanekawa encounters an enormous tiger on the way to school.

“White. So white… So purely, blandly white…”

Proclaiming Tsubasa as such, the white tiger strides past her and vanishes. Later, Tsubasa’s house is destroyed in a fire. But this is just the beginning of a series of unfortunate incidents for her and the people around her. Koyomi Araragi decides to save her with help from the former “Kiss-Shot,” a legendary vampire.

This limited edition includes a deluxe booklet and a pinup postcard set, with packaging illustrated by character designer Akio Watanabe!

Continuing the episodes from the second season of the “Monogatari” series, the storyline focuses on Mayoi Hachikuji, a fifth-grade elementary school girl ghost that Koyomi keeps seeing.

As Mayoi continues to reach her mother’s home (even though she was killed in a car accident), she is only seen by people who are not wanting to reach their destination.

As a wandering spirit, Koyomi and Shinobu accidentally travel 11 years into the past, the day before Mayoi’s death.

As Koyomi is elated that now he can save Mayoi from her traffic accident and preventing her from turning into a wandering spirit, what happens when Koyomi saves her and how will that affect the timeline in the present?

Find out in episode 7-10 of the “Monogatari” series in “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Blu-ray Set Limited Ediiton” from Aniplex!

Before “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari”

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.

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.

While “Nekomonogatari Black -Tsubasa Family” is a 4-part OVA prequel to “Bakemonogatari”, the five episode series “Nekomonagatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is the first story arc of the Second Season titled “Monogatari Series Second Season” (note: there are 26 episodes in the second season).

This time, the series is told by Tsubasa Hanekawa and we learn more about her family background, her feelings towards Koyomi and how she became friends with Hiotagi Senjougahara and also why there were mysterious fires happening in areas that she is familiar with and related to people she knows.

And with “Kabukimonogatari”…

The “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” series continues with episodes 7-10 as the focus is on the fifth grade ghost, Mayoi Hachikuji.

This latest arc features Koyomi and Shinobu accidentally going into the past right before Mayoi is killed in a traffic accident.  Wanting to spare Mayoi from turning into a wandering spirit, what happens when Koyomi decides to save her in the past, how will that affect the present?

VIDEO:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” 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.

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” 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.

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a 24:18 “omnibus 2” video (which is actually episode 11 – summary from the TV series and is a narration of the “Mayoi Jiangshi” arc), and the textless on air version opening and ending theme.

EXTRAS:

“Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set”comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and a six pinup postcard set.

kabukimonogatari-b

With the latest arc of the “Monogatari” series, the focus shifts towards Mayoi Hachikuji, the ghost girl that Koyomi often sees walking around.

For those who enjoy this cheery character and the somewhat perverted interactions between Koyomi and Mayoi, viewers can now find out through this arc of why she became a ghost and why she seems to be lost.

But in a twist, seeing what happens when Koyomi and Shinobu go back to the past and instead of Mayoi dying, how saving her has changed the timeline.  And without spoiling the story, let’s just say… all hell breaks loose!

I have to say that this arc was well-planned.  It’s more or less a time-travel story of how changing events can have repercussions, in this case, the repercussions were quite severe.  Unfortunately, just mentioning or summarizing parts of any episode in this arc would be a major spoiler, So, I’ll just leave it as that and say that fans of the “Monogatari” series, will surely enjoy what happens!

As for the Blu-ray release,”Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great. Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film. As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo. While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack. As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus” video (which is episode 11 in Japan, a recap of the arc), on air version textless opening and ending themes.  Plus the PV and CM (commercial) collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for. The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is a storyline that features the happy ghost girl Mayoi, but the repercussions that Koyomi and Shinobu must face after traveling back in time and saving Mayoi from the traffic accident that killed her.

A well-written, enjoyable arc in the “Monogatari” anime series, “Kabukimonogatari: Mayoi Jiangshi Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

tsubasatiger-a

If you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger-” is essential in learning more about the character of Tsubasa Hanekawa and also the kickoff episodes for the second season of the “Monogatari” anime series. A dramatic and enjoyable five-episode arc, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limtied Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

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

TITLE: Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-5 (127 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: June 24, 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

At the end of summer vacation, upon the morning of the opening ceremony for the second semester, Tsubasa Hanekawa encounters an enormous tiger on the way to school.

“White. So white… So purely, blandly white…”

Proclaiming Tsubasa as such, the white tiger strides past her and vanishes. Later, Tsubasa’s house is destroyed in a fire. But this is just the beginning of a series of unfortunate incidents for her and the people around her. Koyomi Araragi decides to save her with help from the former “Kiss-Shot,” a legendary vampire.

This limited edition includes a deluxe booklet and a pinup postcard set, with packaging illustrated by character designer Akio Watanabe!

After the events of “Nekomonogatari Black – Tsubasa Family”, we learned more about Tsubasa Hanekawa and that the threat of the bakeneko was not completely over.

Now a white tiger has been reborn and this time, unfortunate incidents have followed Tsubasa.   But why does misfortune follow Tsubasa and can she be helped?

Find out in Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger”, available now on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex, Inc.

Before “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” there was “Nisemonogatari”, “Bakamonogatari” and “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Family”

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 then there was “Nekomonogatari Black”…

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.

And now there was “Nekomonogatari White”…

While “Nekomonogatari Black -Tsubasa Family” is a 4-part OVA prequel to “Bakemonogatari”, the five episode series “Nekomonagatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is the first story arc of the Second Season titled “Monogatari Series Second Season” (note: there are 26 episodes in the second season).

This time, the series is told by Tsubasa Hanekawa and we learn more about her family background, her feelings towards Koyomi and how she became friends with Hiotagi Senjougahara and also why there were mysterious fires happening in areas that she is familiar with and related to people she knows.

VIDEO:

“Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” 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 White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” 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 White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a 25-minute “omnibus 1” video, and the textless on air version textless ending theme.

EXTRAS:

“Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a slip case package illustrated by Akio Watanabe, 24-page deluxe booklet and a seven pinup postcard set.

tsubasatiger-b

For those who have followed the “Monogatari” anime series, the release of Aniplex’s “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” marks the beginning of the second season and its first five episodes but the “Tsubasa Tiger” storyline also marks a storyline that relies less on the perverted Koyomi Araragi and focuses more on the life of his classmate Tsubasa Hanekawa.

Tsubasa being the popular student and class representative was shown in previous serious as a teenage girl who seemed quite fine but behind the scenes, her emotions were quite a bit in a turmoil thanks to her relationship with her parents and of course, her true feelings of Koyomi.

These emotions manifested into something entirely and in the process, the bakaneko that once possessed her is now white and one that has seemed to despise her.

These episodes explores Tsubasa discovering the truth about these two entities but also slowly discovering her emotions, her relationship with her parents and friendships with Koyomi and others, but also to find out who has been causing random fires and affecting those who are her friends.

For “Monogatari” fans, these five episodes are essential in knowing more about Tsubasa but at the same time, for those wanting more Koyomi or more of his twin sisters or even Mayou,  Suruga, Nadeko, you’re not going to get it.  These episodes are primarily Tsubasa-driven and she does come in contact with a few people but that contact is only a few minutes long.

On the other hand, for those who want more of the fan service, you are going to get it with the interesting scenes with Hitagi Senjogahara and Tsubasa Hanekawa, so just make sure you don’t have any children around the room while watching these episodes.

As for the Blu-ray release,”Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger” is presented in 1080p High Definition and picture quality is great.  Colors are vibrant and I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film.  As for lossless audio, only a Japanese soundtrack is included and it is presented in Linear PCM Stereo.  While the Japanese voice acting for the series has always been fantastic, for those who prefer to watch the series in English, there is no English dub soundtrack.  As for special features, you get a 25-minute “Omnibus” video, on air version textless ending and PV & CM collections.

As for extras, you get the Aniplex swag which the company is known for.  The Limited Edition set includes a 24-page deluxe booklet, seven pinup postcard set and slipcase package illustrated by Akio Watanabe (character designer).

Overall, if you have enjoyed the “Monogatari” anime series thus far, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger-” is essential in learning more about the character of Tsubasa Hanekawa and also the kickoff episodes for the second season of the “Monogatari” anime series.  A dramatic and enjoyable five-episode arc, “Nekomonogatari White – Tsubasa Tiger – Limtied Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is recommended!

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

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

kuronekomonagatari-a

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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