Going Down The List: Katanagatari

(MAL LINK)

Katanagatari is not part of the Monogatari continuity, even though the title implies that it could be. Both Katanagatari and the Monogatari series are, however, written by Nisio Isin, which might explain why the titles are similarly punny. Katanagatari also resembles Monogatari in that there’s a lot of talking. And while that may sound off-putting, for a pretty good reason, I’d say that Katanagatari is more beginner-friendly than the Monogatari series. For one, Katanagatari has fewer characters and thus fewer occasionally confusing character interactions, but the story is also much more straightforward. So, if you liked the writing style of Bakemonogatari but couldn’t follow the story or thought the dialogue was too confusing, I recommend Katanagatari.

Speaking of the story of Katanagatari, I now realise that it’s actually pretty similar to Samurai Champloo(which I watched pretty recently), that is to say like The Last Samurai but without Tom Cruise. Jokes aside, I was actually quite surprised by how much I liked the setting of both Katanagatari and Samura Champloo even though I’m even less interested in the Edo period than I am in the Sengoku period. Maybe it’s that both of the shows managed to tell convincing, despite the heavy fantasy/alternate universe elements in both, “end of an era”-type stories.

But it wasn’t just the main, overarching story that was good. Like the Monogatari series, Katanagatari also had multiple story arcs. More specifically, usually one arc per episode, sometimes 2-parters. And for the most part these arcs were fantastic and very satisfyingly conclusive. The show also has style in a way that few other shows do. For instance, every character has different-looking pupils, and for the most part the character designs in general are very distinct. But my favourite thing about the show had nothing to do with the visuals. It had to do with the relationship and romance between Shichika and Togame. It varied a lot over time, going from straight-up comedic to surprisingly serious, but it was constant in how enjoyable it was. Katanagatari may not seem like it’s a good romance show, but it totally is.

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