Anime: Katanagatari

A novel by Isin Nisio, who also wrote Bakemonogatari. It was adapted into a 12 episode anime in 2010. Each episode was about 50 mins and one episode was shown each month. Essentially it’s about Togame and Shichika and their quest to find 12 cursed blades.

I loved it. It was different from all your cliché shounen/fantasy anime and very refreshing. The art was good, the backgrounds were beautiful and the characters were colourful in clothing but with very simple facial features. Not that this took away from the emotions that they expressed. The music remind me a little of samurai champloo because of the genre of background music they chose which did not reflect the edo period they were in, but was somehow fitting for the anime as a whole.

The plot was generic, I would even say that the characters were fairly generic as well, but what really struck me was the direction style. It’s wordy, a lot of time is spent on dialogue, and for an anime based on swords and sword fighting, few fight scenes are shown. I cannot explain why I loved it without including spoilers. So you have been forewarned

Episode 4 left a very deep impression on me. The viewer was trolled, in the few episodes before we were given hints and teasers of an epic battle just waiting to happen and at the end of episode 3 we were shown a preview of an epic battle that was to come. but who knew that in ep 4 we would concentrate on nanami and completely skip said epic battle. Words cannot describe my frustration and yet that episode on nanami was VERY good. To some extent it was expected, she had very good reflexes in the first episode, but for her to have such morbid power? Such overwhelming power? I was actually very scared watching that episode. Petrified.  And it completely made up for the skipped epic battle, because Shichika did mention that his sister was probably better than Sabi Hakuhei.

The characters although not very original were cute in some ways, especially the maniwani group. They were absolutely ADORABLE! Completely useless but very good comic relief. The people that Togame and Shichika meet were fairly interesting, although I suppose they were there to provoke growth in the two main characters and grow the two of them did. They grew on each other, their banter was funny and their relationship grew on me. Shichika matured through out the series, slowly but surely. Togame, was stubborn through out, but she had her moments as well. I’m not sure if they honestly loved each other (in the modern sense of the word), some of the more romantic areas of their relationship were a bit forced, but I think that fate had tied them together. They are/were an amazing couple to follow. The ending was predictable (to a certain extent) but still left me satisfied.

I think more could have been done, the story could have been pushed further. I would have loved to see more about how Togame and Shichika’s relationship developed. I would have liked to know more about the maniwani group and of course I would like to know more about the princess and her butler’s relationship. They could have milked the anime a bit more, but for 12 hours of my time, I think it was worth it.

Katanagatari reminds me of Spice and Wolf. It’s dialogue heavy, but the script is well written and the conversations meaningful. Somethings cannot be shown, but must be told. Feelings, thoughts, decisions have to be put into words to be understood, as much as this is an animation, at the same time it’s easiest to understand a character from what he or she says. But if you’re just into fighting, I suggest you look elsewhere. On a side note, I really enjoyed how the narrator ended off every episode, it was a nice touch to an already good anime.


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