Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: Koimonogatari (恋物語)

Spoilers galore. Head back if you do not want to be spoiled.

This is more of a review, so I am lazy to slap in a summary. I am pretty sure you can get something if you google.

Anyway, Nisio Isin starts off by trolling us with the narrator. Of course, with this book supposedly focused on Hitagi, you would at least expect it to be her doing the narrating, or Koyomi. But of course, being the master troll as he is, Kaiki is the narrator instead. For those who don't know, Kaiki's the con-artist who got Senjougahara's family in the wreaked state, and also will be one of the important characters in Nisemonogatari's Karen Bee.

However, that turns out pretty well. In fact, it's really interesting to see the real reason for him conning Hitagi, as well as the reason for him accepting her request to con Nadeko so that she and Koyomi will not be killed.

Contrary to the other books, this volume talks really little about Koyomi, and instead focuses more on Hitagi (and Nadeko). As the title suggest, the book explores deeper into the love relationships between the characters. It's kind of impressive to see the things Hitagi is willing to do to save Koyomi (and that includes prostituting herself to raise money to hire Kaiki). In the book, Kaiki has always compared the couple to that found in the tale <The Gift of the Magi>, because of the depths they are willing to go for the other party in secret.

The other bulk of the story focuses on Kaiki dealing with Nadeko so that he can trick her into thinking that Hitagi, Koyomi and Kissshot are somehow dead. From that, we sort of get to know more about Nadeko (from his perspective), and that's probably the last of what we will know of her. Kaiki failed in tricking her, though he did manage to remove the talisman in her body to revert her back from a "god" to a human. Surprising how Nadeko's wish is to become a mangaka.

It's kind of intriguing to see how Kaiki offered to help Hitagi, despite the little amount of money he received from her, as well as the animosity that should be between them. However, turns out that he actually likes her, though he is extremely dishonest about it (being a con-artist, he sometimes tricks even himself). The whole fiasco about him ruining her family was actually his attempt to help her, since he realized that her family was already beyond hope, and that he thought it would be good to provide Hitagi an outlet to escape to, in the form of the crab. Turns out that Hitagi's first crush is Kaiki too, and it also seems like she sort of knew Kaiki's intentions behind him ruining her family, as she did say in the book that he has never once lied to her. Well, sort of a cheesy attempt to make him not look as bad as he should. Can't say that didn't work out well though.

Kaiki also asks Koyomi to keep away from Nadeko, because he will only cause her more harm. Just like how Kaiki made Hitagi weaker, but Koyomi brought her back to her feet and made her stronger - the reverse holds true for Nadeko. Nothing good will come out of Koyomi's constant pampering of Nadeko. That sort of explains why Nadeko is not mentioned at all in Hanamonogatari. She's not dead, so fans of hers can probably rejoice, but we probably won't get to see her ever again, just like Hachikuji.

Of course, being a story about love, it does touches very little on Koyomi and Shinobu. Apparently, the talisman which Nadeko swallowed was given to him as part of a plan to turn Shinobu into god, so that she can restore balance to the chaotic town. Turns out that Koyomi will never agree to that, and I pretty much doubt Shinobu will want to end her special ties with him either.

Hanekawa also made her appearance, and I must say she has became quite impressive, to the point where Kaiki compares her to Gaen (Kaiki and Meme's senior), the know-it-all. There's also the interesting fact about how Hanekawa's hair is half black and half white, which she dyes black so as to cover up the white areas. Perhaps she still has some powers of her cat oddity is left in her? I am not quite sure, but I am relishing on the prospect of her fighting in her recovered form, or perhaps even pitting herself against Gaen.

The mystery of Ougi gets deeper as well. We do know now that Meme has no family, so why did he/she claims himself/herself as Meme's nephew/niece? That's something for us to see.

Well, Koi is supposed to be the last book in the monogatari series, but the author has added in three more titles. Hope he can resolve everything by then. As for this title itself, I am originally quite apprehensive on how a title narrated by Kaiki will work out, but it exceeded my low expectations I had for the book. It's not quite I had expected, but it works out pretty damn good, and explores the 恋 theme pretty well. If nothing else, it's sort of refreshing to see a book that focuses heavily on Hitagi, whom we do not get to see much after Nisemonogatari (Karen Bee).

And as usual, my updated ratings of the volumes in the series.

Nekomonogatari (White)
Nisemonogatari (Tsukihi)
Nisemonogatari (Karen)
Nekomonogatari (Black)

That's all to the brief review. Here's to more Shinobu-centric titles.


  1. Gosh so many monogatari o.o... Did anyone translated them into Eng? or Perhaps chinese?

  2. Only a few chapters of Bake, Nise and Neko(White) and all of Kizu have been translated into english sadly =(, but everything seems to have been translated into chinese from what Nek0 has told me.

  3. Nice review. =)
    As for the last three novels in the series, I wonder who are the three characters that will be featured in the title, beside the Monogatari one(eg. 'Suruga' Devil, 'Shinobu' Time, 'Hitagi' End)?

  4. what??? hitagi is prostituting herself!!,,noo!!
    are these stories become NTR??,,
    please explaine to me neko,,or else i'm sure i can't sleep tonight,,,sob,sob!

    1. She only throws out the fact that she is even willing to sell her body, i think. she doesn't actually do it.

  5. I am soo mad right now! Stupid author for killing off Nadeko :<

  6. Well, I'm just starting to read Hanamonogatari (花物語), so I didn't pay attention to the other titles (so many to read!), but I find Koimonogatari somewhat interesting.

    Hitagi is one of my favorite characters in this series, and is always surprising to see how much she loves Koyomi.
    I'm not to sure but, did she prostitute herself?

    A pretty good review. I know people whom want to read this in English, I tried to translate some parts, but is really difficult (especially to do a translation without a lots of TN., and the lack of words with the same meaning - I don't speak Chinese, but I'm sure that this isn't a problem in that language).

  7. This is more of a review, so I am lazy to slap in a summary. I am pretty sure you can get something if you google.

    >darn it! all the search results either lead to some shoujo manga or redirect here!!!

  8. "and that includes prostituting herself to raise money to hire Kaiki"
    Sorry but can you explain further ? she ended up to do it or was just near the act ? You can burn a town with a simple line like that.

  9. Just wanted to add, I was also quite disappointed with her willing to go into prostitution, but from what I've heard it was just to make Kaiki feel guilty so that he would lower the price for the job of taking care of Nadeko.

    I also want to add that Nise will be 11 episodes, and SHAFT director Akiyuki Shinbou has said he wants to animate all the books so if Nise proves successful in its sales we might get all the books animated sooner rather than later and can get a better understanding of the context in this novel, so we either wait for a fan translation or the anime to find out for sure what she meant.

  10. thanks for the summary.
    I think that Senjougahara suggested it but she didn't do it

  11. is there are love between shinobu and koyomi?

  12. Well, I was hoping for something better, we all know it would have been better if it was Hitagi PoV and it ended with a fluffy Hitagi End like the book was called (lol), but with Hachikuji and now Sengoku gone, I can only assume Nisio is gonna pull off his natural style and kill most of them off, or in this case just make them drift apart, and yeah I think that includes Ararararagi-san and Hitagi breaking it off. We'll see though.

  13. Can you please explain the prostituting part better... because if that's true than i lost a lot of respect for the author for going that route.

  14. I really dislike the part that Kaiki is Hitagi's first love. She prostitute herself is also a disappointment.

  15. About the prostitution thing. All I've said is that she was willing to do it, but she did not actually do it. It's just something to show how far she is willing to go for Araragi.

    She may be guilt tripping Kaiki, but I don't think there's any doubt of her doing it if Kaiki insists on getting a huge sum of money from her.

  16. I've confirmed that she didn't do it (prostituting) and Kaiki was disgusted at her even proposing it so he splashed the coffee he was drinking on her; it seems it was just used to show how much she loves Araragi and how far she was willing to go.

    As for the Kaiki first love, its mentioned in Nisemonogatari, and from what i've read in this novel also, it was more admiration or a crush than love, since she was in a weak state so anyone who helped her became her knight in shining armor, which may be why she took interest in Araragi after he helped her (like her meeting him in the park) and then with time actually fell in love with him.(granted it didn't take that long lol).

    [SPOILER] For anyone who is worried about a sad ending don't be, because Araragi and Senjougahara get their happily ever after ending, and its even "spoiled" in the novel Hanamonogatari which chronologically takes place after this even though its released before, so after all the drama they do get a good ending :), which for me was the only thing that really mattered when concerning love in this entire series.

    1. so sejougahara didn't die and she is happily together with Koyomi pls tell me

    2. thanks GOD hitagi doesn't actually prostituting herself
      that line is sure can make a world crumble

  17. Yes to the above comment she DIDN'T die, she DIDN'T prostitute herself or any of it; she is happily together with Araragi as of this last novel; hopefully the author doesn't go emo and keeps it that way.

    As for the writer of the review; thanks for the information, but you should be more clear about some things as it causes confusion; like the fact that it is never stated she likes Kaiki at all, nor that Kaiki likes her; that is your interpretation, not what actually occurred; admiration is a safer bet on what to call it, thus why she trusted his knowledge to save the one she actually loves and that's Koyomi.Also you edited it already (sort of, because even your comment was unclear, Kaiki in the end did it almost for free, he even spilled coffee on her out of disgust when she proposed such a thing); but is it possible to edit the article itself since not everyone reads comments, because she DID NOT prostitute herself and it causes unneeded confusion for you to make it seem like she did (accidental or not).

  18. Thank you zgmfx09a for a quite long review.
    As the others, I'll really be mad if Nisio let my second-love Hitagi into prostitution thing, that can lead to removing all of his novels from my fav, this novel can't go with that route! Even when you can say that the story depends on the author, but if it happened, it can't be accepted!
    And, for such idiot people like me, a Good Ending is always expected, as I dropped "~GE~Good ending" at chap 120 cuz of the wrong way Sasaki Eiko lead the manga to! (poor Yuki!)

    Anyway, thank you!

  19. anonymous accurate as say above:
    clear that will not get into prostitution, she is tsundere nomas Araragi said that he knew far come by. stand that never saw or read Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari where it says that if it had to do with the would hate for that ..

  20. can anyone tell me if shinobu is still alive at the end of the series, if it is unknown my apologies

  21. Well we can try to predict with deduction. Shinobu is supposed to be linked with Koyomi, and if Shinobu does not go, either by death or removal of the link, then Koyomi will live forever with Shinobu. I'm guessing if the story go down this route, then Shinobu will eventually become Koyomi's lover. However, since it is heavily hinted and spoiled that Hitagi and Koyomi is still together at the end, I would guess that either the author found a way for Shinobu to go.. hopefully not through death.. Cause she's like the best character second to Hitagi

  22. Why Nadeko.... why, you will dissapear :(

  23. <.< >.> por fin encontre algo que me dijera que hitagi no se prostituye o muere que felicidad arigatooo xDDDD