I’m just a regular guy with a lot of pent up sexual tension…
Hello readers, today we have the most recent -Monogatari special up for review, Nekomonogatari. The special chronicles in deeper detail the Tsubasa Cat incident of Bakemonogatari. How did the special do? Let’s find out!
The special is a prequel to Bakemonogatari, covering Araragi’s first encounter with Hanekawa, who contracted the Curse Cat, an aberration set on “releasing her master’s stress” by having her attack people. Honestly, from the get-go this special is a lot more solid than the final arc of Bakemonogatari, which rushed through the “Tsubasa Cat” arc and ended rather sloppily, so it’s good to finally give the incident discussed in the arc the proper coverage it needed.
Once again we have many numerous themes fly about as is signature to the series of light novels. Themes of “saving someone”, being “too perfect”, and cathartic release. Also noted is the usual sitting around and talking until something drastic happens. They are very strong concepts and you really do get to feel for Hanekawa when the drama ramps up, especially after a lighthearted opening scene of Araragi being his borderline lecherous self in his interactions with his sisters. However, in the midst of many strong themes, each deep in their own right, sometimes they seem muddled by each other and send mixed messages, this can make the discussions, the high point of the series, hard to follow and keep track of at times. If you’ve also been paying attention, you could also kind of see what Araragi is going to do ahead of time, but nonetheless the story is engaging.
Animation is solid all around. SHAFT loves their over-the -shoulder back-breaking shots and the “kuro scene” flashes. In the sea of light novel adaptations, the artistic flair and uniqueness in the masses has to count for something. And the voice cast is strong thanks to good casting. You gotta love how Hiroshi Kamiya can flex his range when he shifts from usually the tsukkomi around other characters to the boke whenever Araragi is near Hanekawa. In the sum of the parts, Nekomonogatari Black is a more solid telling of a missed opportunity in the first season adaptation, and if you want to get a better idea of what happened there, it’s worth the watch. Join me next time when I spend my entire budget on donuts.
- Consistently solid animation and voice work
- Much more fulfilling plot
- Thematic devices don’t always mesh together cleanly
- A bit predictable at times