Kizumonogatari – Review

So now I’ve finally read some Monogatari in its “original” form. I was actually pretty worried I wouldn’t like this, and that the stuff I didn’t care for in the anime would be overwhelming in prose – but as it turns out, the opposite was true. Kizumonogatari is almost entirely the unfiltered good stuff, with its occasional dumb jokes eased by character voice and not slowed down by anime timing. I do like the visual world the Monogatari anime creates, but Kizu still “feels Monogatari” in almost all the ways that matter. I really enjoyed this read, and am eagerly looking forward to complaining about how the source material is better.

That was a joke, I’m not gonna do that. Don’t worry.

ANYWAY. You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my chapter notes below!


Describing Kiss-shot as “someone who holds meaning only for the observer.” Already getting into the core Monogatari themes

And the style of dialogue is maintained, of course. In fact, it feels far more natural in prose – this is a style of narrator self-absorption I’m used to, it’s just not one most anime try to mimic. But Monogatari does. So in fact, Monogatari feels less unusual in print

A chain of events

The prose is smooth. It has both voice and flow

“You could say it was stupid. In fact, I think I was stupid.” Good internal rhyme and beats

“This story ends with everyone becoming miserable”

Chapter 2

“Making friends would lower my intensity as a human.” A line echoed in Owari’s flashbacks

“I did it less to fill time than to kill time”

He and Hanekawa are scholastic opposites

Like with the show, everything rambles, and the poetry of tone is key. It’s creating a sense of place and atmosphere, not just in the world, but in this character’s head

And here it is, the Hanekawa underwear description. This is definitely Araragi

But it’s an insecure Araragi, at least. Though of course he always does use his hangups as a shield to an extent

Hanekawa’s pretty witty here. And breaks the fourth wall

He can’t really have a conversation with her. Pretty nice awkwardness

They each are surprised the other knows about them. Classic Monogatari

The dialogue is strong and distinct. Each character seems different, and like the show characters. Araragi actually comes across as more sympathetic from inside his head

Chapter 3

“God, I wish I could turn into a plant”

He doesn’t want friends, either. Or at least he tells himself he doesn’t. And he tells himself he’s a failure, but he has a hard time believing that, too

The show relies heavily on visual storytelling to create atmosphere, but also uses the accumulated language for this purpose. In this, it’s all interiority, and it rambles a whole bunch. The show is actually abridged compared to this, and it occasionally feels like it drags because of it, but if you enjoyed the show, you can probably enjoy this

Shinobu shifts from haughty control to crying fear even within her first scene. She doesn’t want to die

Chapter 5

The jokes actually work much more consistently in prose. Much better humor pacing, and there’s a great deadpan patter to the overall prose

Plus Araragi and Shinobu already have a great, funny chemistry

Chapter 6

The book is extremely low on scenery description – most of it takes place either in Araragi’s head or through dialogue, with very little description of anything physical beyond what other characters look like. While the show has a very strong sense of place, the book has the opposite – and this actually makes some sense of why the show’s visuals often feel so loose and ungrounded. They’re not representing anything solid in the source

“If you want to stay human, then you’re human” The old themes

Chapter 7

There’s a good momentum to the story, and good dramatic hooks. It’s actually a far more conventional fantasy story than you usually get in Monogatari

“Dramaturgy is a vampire.” “Doesn’t that make him a traitor?” “Do humans not kill each other?”

Kissshot is treating Araragi as valuable, and it’s actually a new experience for him. Nice natural character bits

“You really need to remember what words mean, Araragi.” Hanekawa trolls him so good

Hanekawa’s wandering around at night, hoping to meet a vampire

“Sorry you had to say all of that to make me go away.” Jeez, this is brutal

“My heart aching was not a problem.

My heart aching was not the issue.”

Chapter 8

The fight with Dramaturgy is a surprisingly conventional and satisfying YA novel fight. And even the scene with Hanekawa afterwards feels pretty conventional. This whole narrative is more straightforward than Monogatari’s usual stuff

So. Araragi as a vampire. Pushing others away, hiding from the sun, draining blood

Chapter 9

“If anything, I felt like I’d become less human”

Banter between Oshino and Araragi, the usual stuff

And Shinobu eats her leg

Shinobu actually saved his life when he wanted to throw it away

“A relationship based on trust, Araragi”

“Don’t think of yourself as the victim here. Playing the victim doesn’t sit well with me.”

“Every aberration has its reasons. Give more thought as to why you encountered a vampire.”

Chapter 10

And Hanekawa returns

Araragi keeps calling Hanekawa a “model student,” and can’t see how abnormal her choices actually make her. He’s not good at this

Rumors bringing things into existence. The story’s general unreality

Very solid scene between Araragi and Hanekawa

Chapter 11

“As usual, Kissshot’s advice wasn’t very helpful – a flashback scene of how I sought it follows.” The fourth wall stuff is very natural

“Even at that point, the strength of the woman called Tsubasa Hanekawa, but also her precariousness, hadn’t registered with me”

The fight with Episode is pretty great. The cross as a weapon, a very different setup from Dramaturgy

Araragi learning to use his vampire powers, sacrificing of himself in multiple ways for Hanekawa

Chapter 12

Guillotine Cutter is a human. As the fights continue, Araragi moves more and more towards humans, but they actually become more powerful. And his own techniques moved from using his vampiric strength, to using his bond with Hanekawa

The human going outside his boundaries is the most alarming

Work, emotions, and duty. The three vampire hunters. Is it also the same for Araragi? The first two certainly fit

“I’m not so desperate to become human again that I’d do it at your expense.” Araragi refuses to rely on others, of course

And Hanekawa can’t value herself

“Your self-sacrifice is way too heavy of a burden for me”

“If you came to know the real me, Araragi, I bet you’d feel disillusioned”

They make a pact, and then Hanekawa gets kidnapped

Chapter 13

The human is the most vile of them, using Hanekawa as a hostage

What makes someone a human, and what makes them a monster

Araragi is perfectly suited to the vampire apparition because he doesn’t value himself – dying over and over comes naturally to him

Chapter 14

It turns out Meme had Shinobu’s heart all along

He’s freaked out by Hanekawa

Chapter 15

Her first thrall’s suicide reflects Araragi’s own feelings

And she herself has been bored and lonely all this time

Aw dang, she ate Guillotine Cutter

Chapter 16

Araragi now believes any future person Kissshot eats is his fault. Again, the vampire is perfect for him, it represents his sense of responsibility

And so now he wants to die

“I’d deleted her phone number in front of her, to wound her”

Tsubasa’s info being in her phone is a godsend. People impose into each other’s lives, and this is actually for the best. This is how we help each other. Like in the end of Owari

Hanekawa is always in her school uniform. Araragi takes this as being about him, but it’s likely just another way she maintains the appearance of normality for herself

“You can’t die on me” He doesn’t realize she needs him too

Hanekawa defines Araragi’s desire for suicide as running away, but then says she’d be willing to die for him. You see her contrasting pride and lack of identity. She refuses to give up, but is willing to die

Hanekawa is pretty frustrated by what a bad excuse to grope her he comes up with

This sequence is actually brilliant. Incredibly unsexy, just really awkward, both of them super embarrassed but also into it. This is Monogatari sexuality at its best

And of course Araragi chickens out, and Hanekawa bullies him for it, as she should

Chapter 17

“I had known… that thy kindness would only last while I was weak” Bullet line

“Just watch, Hanekawa. I’m not going to look pathetic in front of you.” You really can’t help that, Araragi, but the sentiment is… well, it’s you

A battle of destruction, over and over again

“A human’s hunger is far more insatiable than mine”

Kissshot actually intended to have Araragi kill her, and so provoked him

“I have been searching for a place to die”

And this is another reason why Shinobu is so insistent returning to Japan was her own choice

And she actually has been planning this since her first thrall. He had that much impact

“Miss Class President is so kind she’s cruel.” Like the conversation with Kanbaru in Owari – hurting people close to you because it’s the right thing to do, for their sake

Araragi wants to make everyone happy, and so Oshino gives him a plan that at least makes everyone share the misery. He is tied to Kissshot forever, eternally sacrificing for a random other. Because Araragi cannot accept that things end and he can’t stop it, he is condemned to this. A limitation he cannot accept now, but must eventually accept for Shinobu Time and Hitagi End

Chapter 18

The wound is still there, of course

And so Araragi has to grow out his hair to cover it. Oh Isin