DVD REVIEW: KOIMONOGATARI / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: AKIYUKI SHINBO, TOMOYUKI ITAMURA / SCREENPLAY: AKIYUKI SHINBO, FUYASHI TOU / STARRING: HIROSHI KAMIYA, EMIRI KATOU, YUI HORIE, SHINICHIRO MIKI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Koimonogatari is the final in the Mongatori Series Second Season, and takes its story from the twelfth book in Nisio Isin’s light novel series. It’s an avant garde approach to anime culminating in a story arc which is as much an occult tinged detective story as it is a cosmically fated love story.
The six episode story, titled Hitagi End, follows on from previous release Shinobu Time. It sees Hitagi ask con man Kaiki, whom she hates, to deceive the recently made deity of snakes, Nadeko. She is planning on killing Hitagi and Koyomi when they graduate only 74 days later. He reluctantly agrees, and kick-starts a narrative with all the nuance of a good detective novel with the endearing weirdness that typifies the franchise. Kaiki is an engaging main character, both morose and calculating and he certainly makes a change from Koyomi dominating the screen with his creepy antics.
The lush animation combines traditional character models on top of pristine CG backdrops and settings. The visual aesthetic is uniform with previous arcs, maintaining the same trippy subtleties and flashcards brandishing the protagonist’s inner thoughts.
There’s no English dub, but given the weighty themes and distinct visual flair, that won’t be much of an issue for fans. Newcomers might find the style overwhelming, but it’s one of the strongest entries so far and there’s enough context to sink into the narrative.
Although the story is often long winded, it’s a powerful study of the human condition with an ending that’ll take you completely by surprise. Quirky, moving and delightfully unusual, Koimonogatari is for those looking for something more cerebral.
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