Tsukimonogatari is the first part of Monogatari's final season. Saying "you should watch an earlier series first" may seem like redundant advice but as Monogatari labels its seasons with titles rather than numbers first time viewers may be unaware that they are watching the final part of a story. If you chose to start with Tsukimonogatari you should still to be able to follow what happens and the questions that the series mulls over are such that anyone can appreciate them.
In Tsukimonogatari series
protagonist Koyomi Araragi discovers that he has utilised his
ability to temporarily turn into a vampire so many times that the change has
become permanent. He isn't quite a vampire yet but vampirism has become the new
norm for his body and it is slowly changing to adjust.
The series focuses on his reaction to this news, how he comes to terms with it and what it means for the future.
Tsukimonogatari makes this change its primary focus. The plot and pacing both give Koyomi enough time to discover what is going on to him, to understand why it is happening, and to come to terms with it. First time viewers may not understand the full circumstances that make up the context for what Koyomi is going through but the writing expresses his plight in a way that is universal. The consequences of Koyomi's actions have caught up with him and he spends Tsukimonogatari processing that.
The time that Tsukimonogatari spends on contemplation is not always a strength however. There is a lot of talking and each conversation is played out in full. At its best this means that ideas are given the space they deserve, at its worst it means that dialogue can get very, very repetitive. A good example of this coming from when Koyomi discovers that he is a vampire. He does so by noticing that he fails to cast a reflection on a mirror in his bathroom. Rather than merely say "I have no reflection" or something similar he somehow manages to spout over three lines on how he does not have a reflection. This tendency towards being verbose is occasionally shared by the other characters, almost to the point where it feels like we are being treated to a philosophy lecture.
Thankfully such sections are not indicative of the whole experience. Tsukimonogatari is the sort of series that is great for long time fans of a show. It reflects on what has come before and is something of a breather before what is to come. Despite its placement in Monogatari the themes and plot points are accessible enough for newer viewers and will hopefully encourage them to check out earlier seasons of Monogatari. It is a thoughtful anime and worth watching.
TSUKIMONOGATARI / CERT: 15 / DIRECTORS: AKIYUKI SHINBO, TOMOYUKI ITAMURA / SCREENWRITERS:
KIZAWA YUKITO, NAKAMOTO MUNEMASA/ STARRING: KAMIYA HIROSHI, HAYAMI SAORI, SAITO
CHIWA, SAKAMOTO MAAYA