Please keep in mind you will be heavly spoiled, if you haven’t completed Katanagatari and there are also some lighter spoilers for Bakemonogatari.
Well, I thought after I was ranting so much about IS: Infinite Stratos, I should wirte an entry about a recent anime I truly liked. Katanagatari finished airing December 2010 and only aired once in a month. At least one episode was around 50 Minutes long and while I was always disappointed I always had to wait so long for a new episode, it was actually a wise choice to air it like this.
I’d like to call Katanagatari the little brother of Bakemonogatari and truth to be told, in my opinion Katanagatari is far superior to it’s hyped and much loved brother. I’m actually quite shocked it’s so less known and comming from someone who turly loves this anime, I’d even say it’s underrated. I think Bakemonogatari tried too hard to be a truly artistic and awesome anime, so in the end it was too much and it failed it’s mission. I still appreciate it for being a good anime, but I can’t see the masterpiece everyone’s talking about.
Katanagatari is also an artistic anime, but it somehow feels more natural and it doesn’t seem like they tried to push in everything they have. The whole style is very unusual, quite simple, but very pretty to look at. Aside from the usual travelling around and talking, the animation quality really shines during the action sequences. There’s nothing negative to say about this, I’ve hardly ever seen such a pretty and fluently animated anime.
Although I’m deeply impressed by the visuals, the outlook apperance alone doesn’t make me love an anime as much as I came to love Katanagatari, but the story is actually where the anime has it’s weakest point. It’s pretty much a journey where they’re looking for 12 swords and there’s one sword per episode. First episode: first sword, second episode: second sword and so on and so on… It took me a few episodes to get drawn into it, but this anime did a really good job in not repeating itself over and over again. While the pattern was very alike all the time, the swords themselves and they way Shichika had to fight to get them was different all the time. On top of that, I really like the interaction between the characters. Togame and the princess seemed to have a really interesting connection and of course Togame and Shichika on their journy had to go through all kinds of stuff, including jealously.
All right, so much about this, but the anime wouldn’t be as nearly as good as it is, if the end would’ve been different. And actually this is where it truly beats Bakemonogatari: the end was truly awesome, the last episode completely blew my mind. I was so shocked and fascinated at the same time, when I was watching a climax I never would’ve imagine I’d get. For me it was completely unexpected and it was so well made, it impressed me a lot. Well, to be honest, I don’t think there has been an anime that was able to impress me this much in quite a while.
The end is very important, it can destory an anime, it can wrap it up nicely, or it can turn the anime into something outstanding. For Bakemonogatari… let’s say the way it ended was a bit diappointing for me, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t special either. As for Katanagatari… hell yes, the nice and gentle male protagonist suddenly goes berserk and, regardless of the consequences, kills everyone on his way up the tower which he also destoys in the end. … You know, my reaction was like: …What… the…? Holy sh~ this is awesome! 😀
Regardless of all the good points, I don’t think everyone can enjoy this anime and this is probably why it’s lesser known than it’s big brothers. As far as I remember, they already talked a lot in Bakemonogatari, but they talked even more in Katanagatari. I mean: they really talked a lot. A LOT! You have to watch them talking for a really long time every episode and the amount of action in comparison to the amout of talking is actually… quite… small… Nevertheless the action that does come, is really well done and for me all the talking was more than just the time waiting for the action. I liked it, I enjoyed it exactly the way it was, but I can totally understand there are people who don’t want to listen to so much talking and want to see more action. For those epeople, I don’t recommend this anime. For everyone else: go watch it, it’s awesome. ;D