The Monogatari series has been popular with English speaking audiences for quite some time. The various anime series by anime studio Shaft have long been held in high regard and are still going strong. But for the longest time, the original light novels have not been available for English speaking readers. For those wondering, a light novel is a short novel that usually includes manga style illustrations. There is a large crossover between light novel and manga readers, with several light novel series going on to start franchises that have included manga and/or anime adaptations. Light novels are now seeing an increased release in English language versions with the Monogatari series being the latest example of that. Vertical released the prequel to the series Kizumonogatari earlier this year around the time the film adaptation of said prequel was released. Now Vertical are releasing the rest of the series in its entirety starting with the series that where it all begun – Bakemonogatari.
There’s a girl at their school who is always ill. She routinely arrives late, leaves early, or doesn’t show up at all, and skips gym as a matter of course. She’s pretty, and the boys take to whispering that she’s a cloistered princess. As the self-described worst loser in her class soon finds out, they just don’t know what a monster she is.
Being that the previous English release of this series was a prequel, newcomers will have no problem jumping on board with this opening entry and those who have read Kizumonogatari will feel right at home and have a good idea of what to expect. For newcomers, those expecting straight up horror will be in for a surprise. While there’s plenty of supernatural happenings which will more than satisfy fantasy and horror fans (it doesn’t get any weirder than a crab god stealing you weight), the main strength of this first chapter are the characters NISIOISIN creates.
Hitagi Senjōgahara is a greatly complex character. Along with having a great back story and sympathetic family background, she comes off as borderline schizophrenic in her demeanor changes going from aloof to psychotic (you will never look at stationary the same way again – especially staplers) to eventually settling on the tsundere character archetype with a razor sharp tongue. Fortunately, protagonist Koyomi Araragi (who readers of Kizumonogatari will remember) is quick witted enough to keep up with her barrage of sly putdowns for the most part and brings a great voice to the narrative of the story. He is also one of the main strengths of the series with NISIOISIN doing a great job of presenting a normal high schooler coming to terms with the bizarre events that have happened in his life and his further discovering of other supernatural phenomena occurring in his world. Also returning from Kizumonogatari is shady problem solver Oshino who provides plenty of comic relief and a blonde former vampire (you’ll have to read to find out more).
Don’t be intimidated if you haven’t read Kizumonogatari as this is the true starting point of the series (although you should totally read Kizumonogatari before or after if you haven’t). Now is the perfect time to check out this brilliant and witty horror/fantasy series.
Bakemonogatari, Part 1 is out 22 December 2016 from Vertical
9781942993889 – P/B £10.99
Find more entries in the Monogatari series here
Post by Leo