Bakemonogatari and Kizumonogatari Book Commentary!

Bakemonogatari and Kizumonogatari. I've done an article on the books' art but most won't feel like that was enough. After all, the primary engagement of a book is the writing.

Translating these books is understandably difficult and a lot of the beautiful nuances and play of words are lost simply due to a language compatibility issue. Words are not constant. There are words that only exist in certain languages and words are written very differently from language to language. More so in oriental countries as they make use of strokes.

While I can't exactly make any sort of comparison between the English and Japanese versions, I can at least tell you that some bits are missing impact. The reason for this is because, if you remember, most of the brainstorming for each oddity case involves talking about the monsters/demon/deity and how humans perceive them. Most of this includes breaking down what the words describing them mean, tearing about the symbols and strokes to form other meanings that can be reasoned to a different perspective and eventual solution.

This can't happen in English. Even if it could, the translator would be butchering the original work. All that can be done is to translate the breaking down of the phrases into English. So unless you understood the original Japanese, this won't be as significant or jaw-dropping to you. It'll just seem like dribble, which is fine considering the writing methodology of the series.

Somethings, however, transcend language barriers and translate well. I'm not too sure whether or not the exact usage in the English version is reflected the same way in the Japanese version but the context here feels general enough to fit the two.

Nisio Isin understands the full capabilities of the written art and makes use of it in ways that other authors don't. Naturally, authors tend to not break the fourth wall but to fully utilise words, you'd have to at least throw jokes in whilst destroying said wall. Nisio Isin is no stranger to making use of underlines, symbols or even typos to get a punchline across. As long as there is something unique to the art of writing, you can be sure he'd exploit it; in a very fair manner of course.

All four books are written in a similar manner but I'd argue that he plays with words more in Bakemonogatari than Kizumonogatari. Kizu has a darker, more involving tale while the other has to fit within three books. The Japanese version only has two books for Bake but, for reasons unknown to me, they made the English version into three books.

There are some differences between the anime and the books. This is common but I mean, aside from content, some things are done differently. Hachikuji stutters on an obvious typo in the book which the anime can't do (imagine it without subtitles). Kanbaru is more obviously a lesbian in the book than made known in the anime. These things are small but enough to spot them out.

Anyways, that's all the time I have for now. I'll be underway with Nisemonogatari very soon but I might wait for a few more books before I round them all up in another post.


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