DVD REVIEW: MONOGATARI SERIES SECOND SEASON / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: AKIYUKI SHINBO, TOMOYUKI ITAMURA / SCREENPLAY: AKIYUKI SHINBO, FUYASHI TOU / STARRING: HIROSHI KAMIYA, EMIRI KATOU, YUI HORIE, SHINICHIRO MIKI / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 16TH
This bite-sized collection gathers the four-part story arc Shinobu Time, which makes up episodes 17 to 20 of the second season of Monogatari. Based on the light novels of the same name by author and manga scribe Nisio Isin, the series follows Koyomi Araragi, a third year high school student who survived a vampire attack, and his subsequent misadventures with several young girls involved in all manner of apparitions, ghosts and gods.
Like its predecessors, there’s a frenetic array of dizzying flashcards, most of which make up Koyomi’s raddled inner thoughts. Given there’s no English dub, the multiple sets of subtitles will have you reaching for the pause button often. But part of its charm is the swarm of information you might only ever see on a subconscious level.
The second episode is the strongest of the four and sees Shinobu spinning her history and how she came to make her first minion. She narrates over strikingly beautiful art, playing out like a manga in motion. Once the 500 year old vampire Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade, Shinobu now exists as an 8 year old girl since losing her powers and makes for the most absorbing character of the series.
Despite the show’s many complexities and stunning aesthetic, there is a sting in the tale. Koyomi is seemingly sexually attracted to young girls, and given many of the main characters are preteens, it makes for some uncomfortable viewing, even with the odd sliver of satire that underpins it all.
This distinctly cinematic series is often dense and long-winded as its characters are largely sat around chatting, but it’s these interactions which often take compelling flights of philosophical fancy. Peppered with strange humour, an ambient soundtrack and gorgeous animation, Monogatari is one to get on board with, just watch out for that perverted quasi-vampire.
Special Features: TV spots / Trailer / Ending
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