I’m told it has previously been quite hard to jump into the quirky, sometimes adult, Kizumonogtari series. Actually, a quick look on Amazon seems to confirm that with a host of anime and manga with similar names and characters. The good news is that this three-part film is a prequel. Start here.
I’m glad I did. I watched the first two parts of Kizumonogtari in the Scotland Loves Anime festival in Edinburgh and now want to get my hands on the third. Isn’t releasing a prequel in three parts a little odd?
Another quirk was the warning we had before the film – the subliminal-like and sometimes surreal words and scenes that flickered on the screen during the film are actually part of the film. They’re there on purpose. The effect is to give Kizumonogtari a quirky but charismatic feeling.
The action begins with a young man walking out of a strange building. He catches on fire in the sunlight, quickly blooming into flames and falling off the roof-top. Vampires.
Afterwards we reset a little and meet Koyomi Araragi who seems smart but disinterested in the world. I liked him straight away. He meets Tsubasa in a panty-flashing accident – yes, an anime cliché but one done entirely differently this time – and strikes up an awkward friendship with her. Tsubasa has heard rumours about a dangerous blonde vampire in town. Araragi refuses to believe in such nonsense.
Araragi is given a pretty rude awakening when he encounters a dismembered but still living woman who begs for his blood. All of it. She needs to drain Araragi dry in order to live and she insists he should be honoured to make the sacrifice.
This is the audience’s introduction to the 500 year-old vampire Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade. She’s an unusual vampire who has the ability to drain the lifeforce out of other monsters, not just humans.
Later on, Tsubasa admits Araragi’s death was her fault. If she hadn’t mentioned vampires to him then he would never have met Heart-under-blade.
I rather liked Kizumonogtari. I found it’s surreal moments worked and helped make the anime feel unique. I liked the characters; especially the Negotiator. Fan service and panty-flashing? Yes, I suppose, but this isn’t an anime created just to amuse 16-year-old boys, there’s more depth here. I’ll say it again; it even managed to take some of the cliché from such scenes and whisk up something unique.
The clue that Kizumonogtari Parts 1 and 2 have struck home with me is that I know what to track down the rest of the series as well as wait for Part 3 of this prequel. I’ll give both parts a recommended watch rating.
No sign of a DVD or Blu-Ray release for Europe yet but with Aniplex backing the project in the USA the discs may yet appear. If they do; grab them.