Flash Review – Kizumonogatari

Koyomi Araragi is nothing more than a normal teenage boy, or was nothing more than a normal teenage boy. One night, while on his way back from the bookstore, he has an encounter with a vampire on the street, all four of her limbs torn off, halfway to death. To live, she needs blood to feast on, and though Araragi is initially hesitant, he throws his neck to her and so becomes her subordinate, and the very fabric of his identity is changed forever.

The Repetitious Format:

The entire plot circles around Araragi’s mission to reclaim his new vampire overlord’s lost limbs, but it goes about it via a copy & pasted action plan. He’ll face one of the vampire hunters, take a fifteen, fight another, take a fifteen, fight the last one, and then because three fights apparently isn’t enough, it ends things off with a fourth fight. On paper, it’s paced well, but it’s such a bore to read, because it spoils early on that this is the format it’s committing to, and then it does nothing to break expectations, which would’ve livened the plot up some.

The Greatest Scene Ever Penned:

Dull as much of this novel is, it features at its beginning quite possibly the greatest scene I’ve ever read in prose, and I say that with no crumb of irony. While passing a female classmate, the wind lifts up her skirt, and he has a full frontal view of her panties. That in and of itself is worth nothing more than an eyeroll, but it’s how the panties are described that’s worth ninety-seven 97k diamonds, and that’s loquaciously. Araragi dedicates two full-length pages to describing her undergarments and how wonderful and blessed they are, and it’s hilarious how impossibly creative he gets. Makes me upset I lack the talent to splurge that much on the mundane.

The Repeated Lines:

This being a Nisioisin title, it’s competently written, with numerous thought-provoking notions, but it likes repeating select lines pretty much every chance it gets, the favorite being to classify the class president as a “class president among class presidents,” as though that description couldn’t have sunk in its first pass and needed to be pounded into my skull another forty times. Even my favorite line from the aforementioned scene loses its value when Araragi goes, “Hey, remember that time I said this really cool thing? I’m bringing it up, because it’s really cool, y’know?”

The Verdict:

Despite having one of my favorite scenes in any narrative, this book at large is a slog. If, instead of winning back the vampire’s limbs by duking it out with three bozos, conditions shook up by having Araragi snatch a limb by distracting a hunter with a game of Monopoly, I might’ve been more engaged, but because it stands so firmly with its formula, I felt more like I was reading down a verbose checklist.

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