koyomi araragi

[Five] No, Mr Araragi, I want you to die (with me)

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Part of me wishes that I could erase my memory of the Monogatari series completely, and watch Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu with fresh eyes.

I wonder what I would see. How I would interpret the visual feast that the film provides. If I would have fallen in love with the film as I did with the series in 2009 when I watched Hitagi Senjougahara fall into Koyomi Araragi’s arms, his inner monologue a constant accompaniment.

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[Nine] Tsubasa Hanekawa’s Vacation — Koyomimonogatari

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One of the Monogatari series’ greatest strengths is its inadherence to chronology. It often eschews placing events in chronological order to focus on a particular emotional narrative or relationship. The anime adaptation plays with this visually, revealing tidbits in background details that further inform viewers upon rewatching the series as a whole.

Koyomimonogatari is a series of short, seemingly frivolous episodes tertiary to the main storyline. They’re short diversions that span the length of what Monogatari arcs have aired, plopping the viewer into the center of that specific timeframe before jumping ahead to the middle of the next narrative arc. Chronology is usually discarded by the Monogatari series, but it has a deliberate role in Koyomimonogatari.

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The Consequence of Sound — Kizumonogatari

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2:24.

This is the exact amount of time that the opening moments of the first episode of Bakemonogatari goes without lead Koyomi Araragi speaking a word.

“A better decision than dodging, wasn’t it?”

The first words out of Hiroshi Kamiya’s mouth as Araragi form this question, followed by an immediate and unsure retraction that devolves into a constant stream of Araragi’s innermost thoughts.

Upon revisiting the first episode of the series — going by initial airdate, not chronology or any other measurement — I was shocked to find that he went this long without speaking. Araragi’s voice is synonymous with the Monogatari franchise at this point. His monologues long-winded, his conversations unnaturally verbose — Kamiya’s specific Araragi tone is etched in every viewer’s mind who has watched Bakemonogatari or other parts of the series. When I picked up the Kizumonogatari novel, I somehow heard Kamiya’s voice in my head, despite reading it in English, not Japanese.

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Monogatari Collection: Koyomimonogatari

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One of the Monogatari series favorite tricks is playing with chronology. Adapting from the original Nisio Isin light novels which are also technically out of order chronologically, the anime series similarly scrambles the chronological order of its narrative arcs. This refocuses the series on the emotional development of specific characters that would otherwise be lost if the story was told in chronological order.

Airing immediately after Nekomonogatari: Kuro, Nekomonogatari: Shiro is the shining example of the Monogatari series’ success. Placing the two side-by-side thoroughly explores Tsubasa Hanekawa’s character growth from a time before the first Bakemonogatari series — and immediately after Kizumonogatari, the first arc in the chronological timeline — to nearly four months later.

Koyomimonogatari is a series of short stories collected into one light novel that span a large amount of time across what viewers are already familiar with, including the recent Owarimonogatari arcs of Ougi Formula, Sodachi Riddle, Sodachi Lost, and Shinobu Mail along with the theatrical release of Kizumonogatari‘s first film.

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Rene Magritte in Koyomimonogatari Episode 1

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“Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

-Rene Magritte, Belgian painter

The entirety of Koyomimonogatari Episode 1 juxtaposes two things side by side to create another thing entirely – the modus operandi of Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte. Visual imagery throughout the episode reinforces the Magritte influence, the most obvious reference pictured above: one of his more famous paintings, The Son of Man. Present throughout the episode is the stone from The Castle of the Pyrenees, the red drapery from in The Human Condition (among other works), and cut-outs of a blue sky found in the likes of The Happy Donor.

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