Posted by psgels on 11 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Katanagatari




Clocking in at 12 episodes of 50 minutes each, Katanagatari was definitely an interesting experiment of a series. At first sight it seems like a bit of a boring concept to base a series around a quest to gather a different superpowered sword every episode, in the middle of lots and lots of talking, but it’s got enough charms here.

I personally disliked Bakemonogatari, but Katanagatari finds a good balance between its dialogues. They’re interesting, varried and after a few episodes they become pretty able to carry the whole series. The dialogue does a good job at fleshing out the characters, and discussing what’s going on at the plot. The storyi itself is simple at first sight, but gets pretty detailed as it goes on, with quite a bit of historical significance, meshing in excellently with said dialogue.

Another thing that this series is really good at is its martial arts. The fights in this series are often short and to the point, but they’re often interesting looks at the applications of different fighting and weapon styles that together paint quite a complex exploration of martial arts.

There are some downsides to this, most of them having to do with the fact that this series can become a bit too shounen-ish for its own good. Fights are interesting to watch, but they’re also too unrealistic and too much based on logic and too little on physical flaws. It’s a good thing that this series doesn’t force its characters to play tic tac toe, because that would have kept them busy for an eternity.

That’s just a detail that is of course easy to ignore. What’s a bit less easy to ignore is that while most of the battles are down to earth and thought-provoking, there are these few battles that try to be epic and as a result go way too much in the Dragonball Z direction. Perhaps these battles aren’t incredibly long, but they do become rather uninspired with characters moving conveniently too fast for the naked eye to follow, eliminating any kind of strategy just for the sake of over the top fighting that’s done better in a ton of other series. Especially Emonzaemon is guilty of this, and he’s by far the least interesting characters of the series as well, and a very one-sided villain. That’s a big problem in the second half of the series because he features a lot there.

Togame and Shichika form a great led couple, though and the people they run into in every episode are varied and have great back-stories. When you want to watch this series, you really should take into account that relatively little happens in each episode, it’s a very slow paced series and the dialogues take up a HUGE focus of each episode. If you have the patience to appreciate this, then you’ll be rewarded with quite an enjoyable series.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Great use of dialogue to flesh out the story and characters. Great portrayal of martial arts.
Characters: 8/10 – The main villains could have been better, but the rest of the characters are well fleshed out, with the main characters well developed.
Production-Values: 8/10 – The animation is never spectacular, but does what it needs to do to make this series very stylish.
Setting: 8/10 – 5Interesting back-story in Japan’s history. Martial arts are interesting but unrealistic.

Suggestions:
Amatsuki
Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi
Blade of the Immortal

10 Responses

  1. lolzudied says:

    The series itself was epic, but the ending is the most epic ending I’ve ever seen in my short life. Oh and CHERIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. meow says:

    All I’m left with after the end is a mixed feeling of WTF and meh. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to take away from this story. There’s brilliant fights, colourful characters and scenes, unusual, often twisted and cruel drama, but for me it all seemed to come down to a huge anticlimax. Even the reasoning at the very end seemed twisted. Kiki’s plan was to twist history and he succeeded…so why are they saying now that Kiki intended to reset it to the original history? Shouldn’t that be someone else’s plan? (Maybe the princess’s?) It felt like a last minute tack on. There was zero build up or hints as to what the princess was really intending. So the finale seems to me like a cheap way to surprise the audience. Togame’s explanations as she lay dying seemed honest and buyable but do not justify her death as that scene somehow seems to intend. As calculative as she is, her feelings should have and would have won through and it would have and should have been her at the end by Shichika’s side. In the end, there seemed to be no meaning to this whole conflict at all. Well, perhaps this series was meant to have a very Japanese flavour so such a Hollywood-happy ending would have been inappropriate?

    I was expecting a retune of the world, kind of like the end of Rahxephon. Where a reborn Shichika and Togame would meet again. Maybe this plan failed not all of the deviant blades were broken (Shichika didn’t die). Or something. *shrug*

  3. anonymous says:

    Huge Spoiler alert:
    You weren’t watching the last episode closely enough. They said Kiki intended to twist history to avoid what I presume to be WWII, but the problem is that whenever kiki’s creations put history off track (as its done twice before) it manages to get back on track with some new people playing the old roles. Thus, at the end Hitei concludes that Kiki failed. Also the 12 blades were broken. I do agree a bit more hint of the last two minutes would have been great because while I thought it was a fine idea there seemed to be a big jarring personality change (at least in my opinion).

  4. Kyokai says:

    I definitely enjoyed this series a lot. I like this sort of anime that makes you wait and then goes totally BAMF! in the end. I won’t say it was something out of the blue but very well treated. Shichika’s seiyuu did an amazing job in character development, totally golden in the last episode. Definitely one of the best of out there.

  5. Hogart says:

    This turned out to be a pretty typical series as far as I’m concerned, just with some nice artwork, solid characterization, and moments of decent dialogue (when they weren’t going overboard, which was most of the time). It didn’t help that the pointlessly conversations sometimes felt circular or repetitive. It saved itself by not taking itself too seriously and by not trying to glorify things or pick sides.

    It just wasn’t the right balance for me, though. It felt too artificially padded out (though I love talky and ponderous shows), the comedy misfired for me, the stories were hit and miss (though the hits were solid), and the romance felt tedious and artificial for some reason. But all in all, I still very much preferred it over what it’s apparently parodying.

  6. Solaris says:

    @Meow: “In the end, there seemed to be no meaning to this whole conflict at all.”
    This is the keypoint. Katanagatari is an ode to pointless struggles, and Togame’s own death, beyond sadness, brings out a great symbolic meaning.

    Hogart: Given this author love for pointless chats, Katanagatari’s dialogues aren’t pointless such as, say, Bakemonogatari’s. On the other hand i’d say they’re quite focused on char development. It’s a big char study, and all of their talk gives out a lot of deepness. This raises the show much higher than all of those shonen production out there.

  7. Leo says:

    I feel quite sad that it just ended like that because…i actually hoped Togame come back or something but still…it was really interesting watching Shichika grow up and actually fall in love wif Togame.
    Cherio=/= chesto

  8. Ethan says:

    to rate this honestly, it was a struggle to get through, but sooooooooooooo worth it. its a really really well written story with unpredictable outcomes that leave an impact on the intelligent watcher. however since i could relate to some of the characters very well i had a very very big bias for this anime. but still when you get to that last episode you’ll be wishing their was more. at least i was = w=

  9. John says:

    Just as an aside, I am pretty sure the future to avoid 100 later isn’t WWII. I think it was when Commodore Perry arrived in his black ships in 1853. But the twist ending to this show was a little forced. Shichika losing his soul after Togame’s death would have been a proper way for the show to end, w/o the little epilogue.

  10. mastermyotis says:

    Can someone on this website please do a top 10 best anime to watch, cause I stuck on which anime I should watch this year and in the future.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 04:48 PM)
    You know when Shinji was talking to Rin. You could have said something Lancer.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 04:47 PM)
    @Bam, Ouch. Come on I think comparing him to Kirito is a bit much. You think that Kirito would every be shown getting this much of a beating?
    I do argee that lancer should have jumped in sooner…but he did get a spear though the chest and likely did need some time to rest after attacking Kirei. But a “HEY FECK OFF YOU LITTLE SHIT” would have been appreciated.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.

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