Ok, I’m not sure what movie the majority of reviewers online watched, but Kizmonogatari (Part 1) was AWFUL. Basically it was boobs bouncing, Araragi sweating/screaming/running, and a bunch of 3D backgrounds that didn’t look right with the 2D animated characters. It honestly feels like the creators said “Ok, time to stretch 20 minutes of plot into 60 minutes. Let’s make Araragi gasp and scream and flail for a 20 minute scene.” They wasted so much time under the guise of suspense that when the “thing” actually happened, I was bored, not intrigued or excited. By the time the movie actually got interesting, it was over. Not to mention the inconsistent animation. The movement of the characters towards the beginning is really terrible (Hanekawa looks like she’s hobbling across the street instead of walking), compared with a part towards the end I won’t spoil that looked awesome and clearly had a different animator in charge.
I actually LIKE the Monogatari Series for the most part. It has its faults, but overall is a fun series that’s different enough I keep coming back for the new seasons despite its flaws. So I’m coming from an honest place where I want to give it the benefit of the doubt and can’t. Tekketsu-hen was unbelievably appalling as a movie and I personally think it shows how little they think of their fans. Do they think we’ll like and rave about anything labeled “Monogatari?” Judging by the other reviews I’m reading online, that seems to be the case and it’s really hard to comprehend. Whoever wrote the script left out 90% of the charm the show does have. The show wastes tons of time, but fills it with witty dialogue. Almost none in Tekketsu-hen. There were a couple laugh out loud moments, but that’s it. I WANTED to see this movie, bought my tickets weeks in advance, and have really nothing good to say about it which is a huge disappointment.
Kizumonogatari Tekketsu-hen is a truly sublime experience, an expertly crafted intense mood piece that encapsulates the ideological perspectives and meanderings of the coming-of-age character, such as is Araragi Koyomi; this is all portrayed in a very bloody folklore/supernatural tale complete with limbless vampires, a deus ex machina Hawaiin shirt wearing dude, head-patting, burning corpses, porn magazines, train metaphors, lots of crows masquerading as metaphors, and through sexualized imagery of PANTIES!!!
In this light novel adaptation of NisiOisiN's popular series, Bakemonogatari director Oishi Tatsuya returns (!!!!!!) to present the true beginnings of the Monogatari series in cinematic form (a first in the long running series). It's finally time that we witness Araragi speak about his ill-fated meeting with Kissshot Acerolaorion Heartunderblade during the spring break between his second and third year of high school, as it is his duty to so (well probably, it's been six years). Here, we begin this wounded tale of awakening, friendship, identity, as well as the role of balance between the supernatural and humans. The story follows our isolated and anti-social hero, Araragi, a friendless slacker who thinks having friends will decline his intensity as a human being, as he develops into a slightly less friendless slacker who makes a friend (well maybe two or three more), hence making him not a friendless slacker (too bad for you Araragi-kun, you' just made a friend;). It's also about vampires... for now until the next two movies come out!
The opening scene of the film lets us Monogatari fans know right off the bat that it will be a very different experience from previous series' iterations. Director Oishi breaks away from the more avant-garde and colorful visual styles and limited animation of narrative from the previous series (Nisemonogatari and onwards). He returns to the darker and more obscured perspective of the darker silhouettes of the original Bakemonogatari. It's a little more on the realism side rather than dreamy side. The art is a bit more morbid and dark, to convey a sense of isolation as well as the foreboding role of death/suicide that is so pervasive in Araragi's position throughout the film. That is not to say it's all death and gloomy, as there are still the more light-hearted and playful banters between characters. The role of post-modern identity and of truths and fakes and objectivity are still at play here. It's all still Monogatari, just with a bigger budget and a different style.
And man do they utilize that bigger budget with character animation. Facial animation looks incredibly emotive and stunning. The line work on character faces are impeccable, especially on Araragi and Kiss shot's ---- I mean Heart under blade's gigantic heaping melons -- I mean the line work on her face, definitely not her boobs. The quality of the work is able to convincingly convey every sense of emotion we see in Araragi, especially during a certain subway scene, one of my favorite scenes of the movie and probably of the entire series. A very visceral, bloody, intense, and powerful scene detailing human compassion and hopelessness through stunning animation. Araragi gives his best "Oh sh**! What the f*** is going on! Holy mother of big t!ts-- Holy Sh*t! F*** this I'm outta here! F**K! This lady has no arms and legs! Oh SH*T! I'm not taking this sh** anymore! I'm sick of these motherf***ing vampires on this motherf***ing plane! I am f***ed! F**K!" facial expressions ever.
And this is probably my favorite part of the film, the use of animation to invoke character's thoughts rather than through narration or monologues (though they are still present). The high quality art is able guide us through our hero's thoughts, desperations, as well as shifts in his mannerisms. It's pretty good. A movie budget is able to give the animation studio, Shaft, an alternative way of presenting the story cinematically. We lose some of the witty and hilarious inner thoughts of Araragi, but are presented with a thematic style that is able to portray emotions visually rather than through words. I know some people will hate that style, but the silence combined with heavy sound effects and limited dialogue or internal monologue create such a dark and foreboding presence. It enhances the tone I think the director is going for. I dig it.
Backgrounds are also very appealing and the CG didn't bother me at all, very well utilized not too distracting or noticeable.
The director's use of cross-cutting scenes (something I've not often seen in the series) to build up grand character introductions is also pretty damn cool. Specifically, a scene involving Heartunderblade discussing Araragi's new objective cross cutting with an impending encounter with a certain three characters. It's great work, a film technique we see in a lot of american films, but not too much in anime (at least in this series). Overall, the animation and art are sensational.
But it's not all about animation and the tone/silence that shine, dialogue is also heavy, especially in the second half. Here we are presented with the ramblings and bloated explanations that we've all come to love. Right guys Right! Music is mostly jazz but can be chaotic (in a good way) during the more intense scenes. And voice acting is all top notch. Maaya Sakamoto absolutely nails Kissshot's-I mean Heartunderblade's subway introduction scene. Again, I find that scene to be so raw and powerful that I can't stop thinking about it even days after watching it.
My only gripe with Kizumonogatari Part One is that it kinda just ends; though that's to be expected with a three parter for light novel. Character development is pretty stagnant, too, other than with Araragi. But having read the light novel, parts two and three should fix that. I also think it might be polarizing for newcomers since you're only basically getting one third of a story, an introduction of sorts. But I think it will keep them wanting more though. For fans, it's a must watch. F***ing watch it now! Legally please! (if it's playing in a theater near you)
But still, Kizumonogatari is a phenomenal and intense experience,.. for being one third of a movie. If the next two films can follow its opening footsteps, the trilogy will become a truly worthy thrall/servant to the almighty and great five hundred year old slayer and empress of aberrations Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade, the iron-blooded, hot-blooded, yet cold-blooded vampire.
But seriously, this is my favorite story from the all Monogatari arcs I've seen or read. I think they truly nailed it with this first film, so I have full confidence in the Shaft team to deliver in the next two installments. It's a moving and visceral novel with a knockout ending full of emotional truths, pain, and suffering, and I can't wait as I am so f***ing stoked to experience this incredible tale cinematically and through the visual medium. Thank you Aniplex of America for releasing Kizu stateside you money gouging, wallet killing cun-------; I will forgive you this once for your overpriced blu-rays Aniplex, just this once....
Plus i got a free poster when I watched it in the theater. It's very very nice. So the movie automatically gets a .3 bump, but also automatically loses that .3 bump cause the blu ray will be super expensive (I can't forgive you Aniplex NOOO), but the blu ray will also be all so glorious so it automatically gets a .01 bump. Hence a 9.01 outta 10.