How to Get Involved with the Monogatari Series - The Basics

So you've watched the Monogatari series and now you're ready. You're no longer some greenhorn trying to bust into the mold. You're there and ready to dig in deep. You want to know how to really get involved with the Monogatari series.

Firstly, you must understand that spoilers are imminent when trying to do so. The books are obviously far ahead of the anime and there are people in the English speaking community who can read them. When you start looking for stuff, you might get spoiled with a bit of backstory or lore every so often. Do not worry, as at this point, it matters far less. You want everything. You want to absorb it all regardless of the form it comes in. You want to get involved.

The effort to get involved however, comes from yourself. I can only help with it but at the end of the day, you'd have to do whatever you think it is you have to do to surround yourself with this series. Whether it's blu-ray discs of the anime or figurines, you do you. I'll just give you some of the facts to bust you in.

The chronological timeline of the Monogatari series is different from its airing order. I can't recall it by heart myself but, for example, I can tell you that Kizumonogatari is the starting point of the story that drives Koyomi forward but it is by no means the starting point by which events related to the story happen. To grab another example, Meme Oshino's involvement with the occult. That happened way before Koyomi was even born. The stories are all over the place that I don't blame you if you can't recall anything without looking it up.

But the reason why everyone recommends watching it in the order it is aired is to allow yourself to receive the storytelling perspective that Nisio Isin and Shaft had wanted you to. Watching the chronological order is like watching Naruto but only after you knew what transpired when he was born. It detracts from the emotion and removes what could have been a great, iconic revelation. That being said, I don't necessarily agree with some of the orders. For example, relating to the books, Kizumonogatari was published right after Bakemonogatari but I recommend watching it only after going through the second season because I found it more impactful that way. I didn't read it until after finishing a good portion of the anime because the English translation was not out then but I wondered how different it would feel had I read it right after Bakemonogatari.

We should also be thankful that we, the English speaking community, don't get to read the light novels before the anime adaptation airs. I say that because the novels are superior to the anime. I've only gone through Kizumonogatari and Bakemonogatari (as those are the only two published in English at the time of writing) but I can say with certainty that while the anime does have the appeal of Shaft's avant-garde animation style, the books dive further into the dialogue between the characters and monologue of Koyomi Araragi. If you don't like those two things, I have no idea why you even want to get involved with this series.

By the way, have you guys noticed that almost every character has a unique line that they say? From Hanekawa's "I don't know everything. I just know what I know.", to Mayoi's "I'm sorry, I stuttered", it's one of the great things about this series. You should know that a lot of the characters have recurring traits and in their speech as well as Araragi's monologue, recurring phrases, metaphors or sentences. It's part of the unique writing style of Nisio Isin. This is very much more apparent in the novels. I'd love to analyse his writing but that would probably be an article in itself.

Now, the content within this article is the light stuff. These are the basic things you should have already figured out through watching the series, with a little bit of research. Getting into the thick of things involves comparing the anime with the novel, understanding the characters and the plot, and analysing the imagery within the anime, just to name a few. The Monogatari series is big and for good reason. I may eventually cover all these topics for the sake of my own artistic curiosity but for now, carry on with the next chapter!


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