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REVIEW: BAKEMONOGATARI: Monster Tale Novel 1




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CatSword



Joined: 01 Jul 2014
Posts: 586
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:42 pm Reply with quote
I did my quarterly book project in English class on this book. Part of the project involved me watching the adaptation (which finally got me into Monogatari), and I agree that it was much easier to enjoy the dialogue and story in the anime then it was in the book.
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BodaciousSpacePirate
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Joined: 17 Apr 2015
Posts: 1552
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:38 pm Reply with quote
Due to space constraints, I tend to only pick up one iteration of any given manga/anime/light novel franchise. I own the A Certain Magical Index light novels, but not the manga or anime. I opted for the Attack on Titan manga instead of the Funimation release. I waited for the Bluray version of Nichijou instead of picking up the manga. There's no hard and fast rule governing which version I end up adding to my collection... it's more of a gut feeling than anything else.

There are some franchises where I double-dip (or even triple-dip, in the case of Strawberry Panic), but the Monogatari series isn't one of them, and when it came time to choose between the light novels and the anime, my decision hinged entirely on Otorimonogatari (the "Nadeko Medusa" arc). It was the only one of the light novels I had read prior to Vertical's license acquisition (via a fan translation on someone's blog), and I enjoyed it so much more than the anime version that I assumed all of the light novels would be better than their animated adaptations.

So far, though, it's been kind of a mixed bag: I liked the light novel versions of Monkey and Snake more than the anime versions, but I preferred the anime versions of Crab and Snail. In the end, I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it all shakes out.
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chito895



Joined: 22 Jan 2015
Posts: 500
Location: Lima, Peru
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:32 pm Reply with quote
As someone who enjoyed Mayoi's arc in anime form a lot, I feel its book counterpart was long and boring. As you said, most conversations don't amount to anything, and without the visual punchlines, reading is a very tedious activity. I haven't even finished the book because of that.

Hitagi Crab and the first part of Mayoi Snail (and maybe its last part, too) were more enjoyable, though. Hitagi is a much more fun character to read, and her awkward, yet sweet attempts to say that she likes Araragi is adorable.
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SaiyamanMS



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 248
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:49 pm Reply with quote
Probably won't pick up the actual book for this, but I'm really hoping they do another audiobook like Kizumonogatari. Erik Scott Kimerer was an amazing Araragi. Too bad Aniplex have no interest in dubbing the anime.
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luffypirate85



Joined: 06 Oct 2006
Posts: 2964
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:55 pm Reply with quote
I'm reading Kizumonogatari right now! That "gust of wind" scene was lovely. Ah yes, how it all began.
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Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1182
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:45 pm Reply with quote
There's a reason why it took over a decade for an English adaptation to be released in novel form despite Chinese adaptations being available for over 7 years now. Anyone who's read the novels in the original language knows what to expect, those who can't should just watch the animated adaptations since they more or less adapt what's in the books wholesale.

Kizumonogatari is easier to translate since a lot of the corny and witty wordplay isn't present in this novel (it's more about the action and the setting more than character interaction). If the reviewers couldn't stomach this novel, safe to say the chances of all Monogatari novels up to Off-season getting translated to English are close to zero.
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KakulonSSJ4



Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 15
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:03 pm Reply with quote
First and foremost, I want to say that I'm a huge Monogatari fan and to that point I partially agree and partially disagree on Nick's assessment of this novel. While I do agree, that there are some awkward sentence structures and some less than exciting points from time to time, it overall is an interesting read for me. Some of the dialogue does indeed seem to be a tad long-winded, but in the end it does come to a revelation of some sort.

I think that the assumption that Nisioisin's prose improves over time, may be correct as well. Kizumonogatari was the 3rd book written in the series and it was a delightful read for me, but again, Nisioisin had time to develop his style for this story. That also isn't to say that I didn't find the Bakemonogatari novels interesting. In fact, after I finished reading the second Bake book, I couldn't wait for the third one to drop so that I could finish the whole story. After I finished watching the first "season" of Owarimonogatari, I just couldn't rest without finding some way to read the last volume of the Owarimonogatari light novel, which I happened to find on a translation site. There was a definite improvement in the writing, but the same elements that have always held true for Nisioisin's style were there.

The anime is what got me started on the Monogatari franchise and I love it dearly. After reading each story in the book, I decided to revisit the same part of the anime and I found that the two complimented each other very well. There may be some things that are too drawn out in the novels and are executed better in the anime, but at the same time, there was more in depth analysis in the novel which added that extra something to my enjoyment of the show. Of course the anime also has fantastic visuals to go alongside the dialogue, but I don't think that should be something to dissuade you from reading the books.

And that is my final disagreement with the article. I don't think you need to do one or the other. I think, if you're indeed interested in the series, you really should check out both to see how they compliment one another. Personally, I felt like I understood the story better as I watched/read them back to back.
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Whis-pur



Joined: 26 Jul 2015
Posts: 86
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:46 pm Reply with quote
After not watching the anime, and reading the novels, and hearing all the fanfare on how this is THE anime to watch, the perfect series to get into....it was underwhelming. I definitely liked Kizumonogatari much better than Bake so far, but that might be because it's a later work, so maybe this series will be a slow start for me.
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r0verand0m



Joined: 09 Mar 2016
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 4:02 am Reply with quote
I read it pretty fast, never felt bored, and did not think any dialogue was unnecessary.
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Laethiel



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 29
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 12:12 am Reply with quote
First, I agree that adaptations can be superior to the original work. A few that come immediately to mind are Rokka no Yuusha, Chuu2koi season 1, and Demi-chan wa Kataritai.

Second, it was watching Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari that got me into the Monogatari Series, and I quite enjoy the anime. As much as I wish the staff could include all my favorite bits from the novels, they've done a good job capturing the feel of the novels while also adding their own touch. For most anime fans, I'd suggest starting with the anime rather than the novels.

That said, having read the novels in Japanese, and read everything post-Nisemonogatari before seeing the respective anime, in all cases I've preferred the novels (including Bake and Nise). The wordplay and conversations are the real charm of the Monogatari Series, and only the novels contain them in full. For instance, Nekomonogatari Kuro starts with a short 4-page chapter, followed by one that's 80 pages long, consisting of about 70 pages of Koyomi talking with Tsukihi, then about 10 pages of him talking with Karen; the main text of the book is fewer than 300 pages. Koyomi eventually starts attempting to make puns that are good enough to end a chapter on, but failing. Tsukihi mentions that if they were to animate their conversation, it would take 3 episodes. The anime version of the scene takes less than 15 minutes, and is a great shortened version, but I wouldn't want to give up a single page of the novel version.

Of course, it's NisiOisiN's writing that makes the novels so fun, so it's unfortunate to hear that the English version of Bakemonogatari may not be the best. It's been a few years since I read Bakemono and Kizumono, but I don't recall noticing a big difference in the quality of the writing.
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MrHatandClogs



Joined: 09 Nov 2010
Posts: 279
Location: Between two ferns!
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 2:13 pm Reply with quote
I completely disagree with Nick's assessment. I think the beauty in NisioIsin's prose is the character interactions and back and forth banter. And I for one think Ko Ransom's translation has been for the most part spot on. I have yet to find another author that can build so much character and relationship development through conversations alone. If you read his other series, Zaregoto/Decapitation, it is also another approach to this style of writing. Where as you see the mystery and deductions laid out through banter and semantics.

As far as the adaptation, I personally think the novels are much stronger. So much of the character interactions are lost, but it also makes the anime a different experience. Which I enjoyed in its own right.

I used to think you should always start with the source material, but I now think it's generally better to start with the anime, movie, etc. Especially when the source is a novel. I appreciate going back to the source and seeing the differences taken, and understanding the authors true intent, as we'll as the opposing perspectives of the adaptation's production team.

And you definitely see Isin's skills get stronger through each story. The endings just keep getting executed better and better. When I first saw that Vertical was splitting the novels for Bake into 3 volumes instead of 2, I was disappointed. But after reading Mayoi, I completely understood. It is such a good story to end on, and I think would be under served to read it and then immediately jump into the next story. Though you could say that about all of the stories.

I am happy that we've finally got the novels brought over, and hope they do well enough to release the whole series. And when I heard that Vertical was the publishing them I was ecstatic. I am continually impressed with the care they take in their manga and novel releases.
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