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REVIEW: Nekomonogatari Black Sub.Blu-Ray


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Stark700



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 11:32 am Reply with quote
Ah I remember watching this awhile ago. Felt awesome. Good review overall and I agree that the animation was flawless. Can't wait to see Hanamonogatari this Summer.
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SouthPacific



Joined: 24 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 1:13 pm Reply with quote
Stark700 wrote:
Ah I remember watching this awhile ago. Felt awesome. Good review overall and I agree that the animation was flawless. Can't wait to see Hanamonogatari this Summer.


Did you mean next summer? Or perhaps the one after that?

Laughing I kid, I kid. I have yet to pick this up as Aniplex' releases of the Monogatari series tend to stick around for a while, but after reading this review i'm growing restless so I'll probably just get both Nekomono releases in June Smile
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 1:21 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
But that's also the show's Achilles' heel. The series' focus is intensely emotional, but the emotions are abstractions of emotions, the characters abstractions of characters (themselves abstractions of real people). Black and its Monogatari kin will always feel a bit cold and distant because they are synthetic by nature. Inside isn't the organic pulsing of a heart but the intricate ticking and whirring of an exquisitely assembled machine. Which can be beautiful in its own way. But while we can appreciate, we can enjoy, we can even laugh and understand, we do not feel. And so the worm wriggles on.


On the one hand, I get this. It is NisiOisin's exposition and poetic, but very analytically adept writing style, and it has this subtly beautiful and realistic, yet impersonal feeling to it. It's one of the things I've always been attached to in his works, and Monogatari's anime adaption is probably the closest any anime adaption of his works you could get to his writing style, of all things. But Neko (Black) and a few arcs of Second Season have actually touched my own persona more than once, and I found those to be far more accessible to a lot of fans who hated the first and/or especially the second season. The only moment to do that in the first season was the under-the-stars scene with Senjougahara, but even then, it wasn't to this extent.

Am I the only one? O.o
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Cyclone1993



Joined: 05 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:08 pm Reply with quote
You're not the only one! Hanekawa is actually one of my least favorite of the main heroines in the series, but she is also the one I empathize with the most. Her arcs are quite good, so I know what you mean.

As for the review, I have to agree with everything except for the criticism at the end. Besides that though, it was beautifully written, not unlike the Monogatari series itself.

I haven't bought any of the Monogatari series, and I don't know if I will since they are kind of expensive, but I definitely love the series!
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:38 pm Reply with quote
I too rated Nekomonogatari (Black) as B+; not spectacular but still solid.

The info and insight on Hanekawa was interesting but I feel that this was ultimately a pleasant side-story rather than something of substance. However it retained most of the Bakemonogatari magic and that was good enough for me.
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:45 pm Reply with quote
Cyclone1993 wrote:
You're not the only one! Hanekawa is actually one of my least favorite of the main heroines in the series, but she is also the one I empathize with the most. Her arcs are quite good, so I know what you mean.


Same! I have a liking for nekomimi, but she always felt unsettling to me, and I wasn't sure why. Her arc in Bakemonogatari never convinced me to like her that much, either. But Neko (Black) and Neko (White) solidified her as a much better character than I expected her to be.

dtm42 wrote:
I feel that this was ultimately a pleasant side-story rather than something of substance.


It makes me wonder what exactly is part of the "main plot" of Monogatari for you and what isn't. Or rather, what made you consider this a side-story? To me, Monogatari is a bunch of mostly solitary, but inter-connected stories about characters. And Neko (Black) felt like a part of that, for sure, so I'm not really sure how to classify a "main" or "side" dynamic to the overall "plot" in this case...
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MischievousMelody



Joined: 17 May 2014
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:53 pm Reply with quote
Geez, what the heck is so good about the Monogatari series, anyway? Rolling Eyes
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Cyclone1993



Joined: 05 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 3:21 pm Reply with quote
MischievousMelody wrote:
Geez, what the heck is so good about the Monogatari series, anyway? Rolling Eyes


It's all about the dialogue for the most part. The constant back and forth is highly entertaining. Plus, the characters are nicely developed.
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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 3:26 pm Reply with quote
Cyclone1993 wrote:
MischievousMelody wrote:
Geez, what the heck is so good about the Monogatari series, anyway? Rolling Eyes


It's all about the dialogue for the most part.

I think the whole idea of adapting very dialogue-heavy prose into television series is somewhat fishy.
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qwizart



Joined: 08 May 2014
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 3:31 pm Reply with quote
Sorry if it's a bit off topic but buying Aniplex stuff is quiet a pain in the ass since they are only working with Right Stuf, which is not really convenient for international buyers. Can someone recommend of a good site the ships worldwide Aniplex of America stuff?

Great review by the way Wink
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SouthPacific



Joined: 24 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 3:43 pm Reply with quote
qwizart wrote:
Sorry if it's a bit off topic but buying Aniplex stuff is quiet a pain in the ass since they are only working with Right Stuf, which is not really convenient for international buyers. Can someone recommend of a good site the ships worldwide Aniplex of America stuff?

Great review by the way Wink


United-Publications (up1.co.uk). It'll cost more than Rightstuf, but they're reliable, and will pack your items extremely carefully if requested. Even if you don't request it they still won't go cheap on packing Wink.

And yeah, it really is a pain in the arse that they're only selling their products through RS & then RS have to restrict the shipping of those particular goods to NA & Canada.
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Juno016



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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Fronzel wrote:
Cyclone1993 wrote:
MischievousMelody wrote:
Geez, what the heck is so good about the Monogatari series, anyway? Rolling Eyes


It's all about the dialogue for the most part.

I think the whole idea of adapting very dialogue-heavy prose into television series is somewhat fishy.


It usually would be fishy, but when the dialogue is very engaging (at least, to many viewers like myself) and utilizes a lot of inner substance, it becomes a lot more entertaining and meaningful than just a few characters snapping back at each other for no good reason at all.
But I'll admit that you have to have certain kinds of values and an appreciation for the style to care for it. Otherwise, it doesn't have much else to hook the average viewer in. And that, itself, can count as a major flaw.
Also, the novels have a certain draw to them outside of the dialogue in the exposition that adds to the dialogue and poetry of the writing style. It's something I've learned to recognize and appreciate while reading a ton of NisiOisin's novels in Japanese, and I think SHAFT was probably the only studio that could capture even a fraction of that sort of prose poetry in its visuals. I only have the first two novels of Monogatari for comparison with the anime adaption under my belt, though, so I can't compare Neko (Black) with its novel, at least. That said, I can still FEEL the NisiOisin in the SHAFT, so I still appreciate it for what it is.

In the end, it's for some people and not for others. That doesn't make it "bad" or "awesome" or anything. It just means that it's a unique experience with its own merits. And that's the only reason it frustrates me to see people trash it like I sometimes do.
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Kreion



Joined: 02 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Fronzel wrote:
Cyclone1993 wrote:
MischievousMelody wrote:
Geez, what the heck is so good about the Monogatari series, anyway? Rolling Eyes


It's all about the dialogue for the most part.

I think the whole idea of adapting very dialogue-heavy prose into television series is somewhat fishy.


Why? Many light novels are inherently speech heavy, and they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. In the case of Monogatari the speech is enjoyable, intelligent and a joy to read - the reason it works well when being animated by Shaft is that they have more experience than most animators with simply livening up dialogue using cut-aways and odd in-between scenes.

Bare in mine also that a script IS only dialogue, so works not based on prior novels you would also inherently dislike. Essentially, there's no reason to be wary about something because of the form of the source material, to do so is...pointless discrimination.

On the topic of the 'main' monogatari plot - I suppose that'd be Araragi's character development. Much of the series has been about his development into an adult, the other main plotline would be Shinobu and his connection with her, but the format makes it so side-stories are just as enjoyable as the main arcs.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 5:46 pm Reply with quote
Juno016 wrote:
It makes me wonder what exactly is part of the "main plot" of Monogatari for you and what isn't. Or rather, what made you consider this a side-story? To me, Monogatari is a bunch of mostly solitary, but inter-connected stories about characters. And Neko (Black) felt like a part of that, for sure, so I'm not really sure how to classify a "main" or "side" dynamic to the overall "plot" in this case...


I take your point. I guess Nekomonogatari (Black) felt to me to be like a side-story, even if it wasn't actually one. In other words, it came across as unnecessary.

Don't get me wrong, it was interesting and I liked it, but if it hadn't been made I wouldn't have felt like there was anything missing. The revelations on Hanekawa's background and the added insight into her character were not important enough to really make me see her in a new light. In the first arc of the badly-named second season - Nekomonogatari (White), if I'm not mistaken - I found Hanekawa to be far more easily understood and sympathetic, perhaps because she came across as more vulnerable. Compare this to what we'd previously seen of her in Bakemonogatari and (Black), where we got this perfect character who was perfect even in her imperfections.

It's worth pointing out that I like Hanekawa a lot, but usually she's just not very interesting; the cat is far better and more engaging. (And yes, I do consider them to be separate characters.) Whereas Senjougahara has all those layers and dark emotions wrapped tightly with superhuman self-control. She's a fascinating person who in her own right dominates every scene she's in. With Hanekawa, what we heard about her home life in (Black) didn't really do much for me. In my mind, it didn't really elevate her to lead status in terms of the overall franchise. The OVA really did feel like a secondary character having some time in the limelight rather than a natural continuation of Araragi's story. Heck, even her arc in (Black) is somewhat redundant since we see more of her interactions with her cat (and her crappy home life) in (White).

And that brings me to what is a salient point. You asked what is the main plot of the -monogatari stories. Well, I believe that you're right saying that there's no main external plot per se, it's all just the characters interacting. But given that this is a harem story at heart, it is really about (if you take out all the meandering conversations and witty wordplay) about Araragi 1): growing up and becoming more responsible, and also 2): befriending and helping the girls he meets. With this in mind, I'm not sure what exactly he did in (Black) that actually helped Hanekawa, and their interactions didn't really cut to the heart of the matter of their relationship/bond.

To be sure, and LNs aside, we won't see how they meet during Golden Week until Kizumonogatari comes out (if it ever does, that is), but that story and (White) are the real takeoff and landing sequences of their connection. With (Black) I felt like I was watching a plane going round and round in a holding pattern. He reaffirms some stuff, temporarily deals with her stress, but so what? In Bakemonogatari a similar thing happened but it wasn't too annoying since her arc in that only took up a fifth of the show. (And we got to see the cat for the first time which was cool.) But in (Black) it was the entire shebang, all the usual nisiOisin dialogue aside. I believe than in a story solely focusing on Hanekawa there should have been more progress in the Araragi <-> Hanekawa relationship (and I of course don't mean romantically).

(Black) isn't fresh in my mind so if I've forgotten/overlooked any developments then I'm sure people will point them out. But for the life of me, I don't remember anything that at the time made me go, "Wow, that's interesting. I can see why this was important enough that it had to be animated." Anyway, I hope you can at least kinda see where I'm coming from.

Whew, that was a long post.
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phifedawg



Joined: 24 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 6:47 pm Reply with quote
qwizart wrote:
Sorry if it's a bit off topic but buying Aniplex stuff is quiet a pain in the ass since they are only working with Right Stuf, which is not really convenient for international buyers. Can someone recommend of a good site the ships worldwide Aniplex of America stuff?

not sure if this is supposed to be an open secret or what, but they will ship it to you. unless you're in Japan.
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