Weskalia's Katanagatari Tv Review

Katanagatari Katanagatari Screenshot As Togame alway says: "Cheerio!" Katanagatari Screenshot Even if she's a fine rose, there are always thorns surrounded. Katanagatari Screenshot She may be a capable strategist, but she's still a klutz. Katanagatari Screenshot Only in here you'd find a ninja wearing a phoenix outfit.

Katanagatari tv Review

Story & Characters

There may be no greater barometer of acquired taste for a debut project than Katanagatari, an anime series written by Nisio Isin, whose merits equal to the idiosyncratic Bakemonogatari. With Katanagatari, Nisio Isin does to fantasy anime series what he did to occult detective anime with Bakemonogatari earlier: use a combination of impressive technical merits, excellent storytelling, and a compelling lead duo to set a new standard for the genre. Never has a fantasy anime series looked better, and rarely has one been more involving.

Togame was once the daughter of a feudal lord, who was assassinated by the shogunate after a failed rebellion, so to obtain revenge she decides to work for the government as a self-titled strategist. When tasked to collect twelve legendary swords crafted by a master swordsmith, she seeks the help of the son of her father's killer, Yasuri Shichika. Shichika is the seventh head of the Kyotoryuu school, a swordless martial arts style designed to defeat any blade-wielding opponent, and lives on an isolated island with his sister Nanami. And so, the duo travel across the exotic lands and cities of Edo era Japan, as they battle the sword owners as well as other great warriors who also seek to keep the swords for themselves.

For fans who have been content with Nisio Isin's creative mind, the good news is that at first glance, the most striking aspect of the series is the double length of each episode, clocking in at fifty minutes each. That's enough room to fit a full novel's worth into each installment, while erasing any need for irritating cliffhangers. The bad news is that it follows a episodic and formulaic rigidity: with twelve episode adapted from twelve novel volumes, each is about one sword. No matter how you complicate it, each episode devoted to Shichika and Togame knowing their next target, coming up with strategy for victory, and Shichika always wins the sword no matter how difficult the battle was. It's easy to see the changes as more cosmetic than substantive, and in truth they are. But that's hardly the point.

After nearly six months of repeating the formula, the rest is more fluid; they're meant to be repeated: the same melody each time, but darker and richer with each iteration. True, as Katanagatari begins its second half, it leaves behind the flirtation with lesser content which dominated the first half and gets into its core connection: behind Shichika and Togame's quest now move the machination of Princess Hitei, and the quest of the desperate Maniwa Ningun. The lethal rivalry between the factions adds an extra layer of conflict to the usual sword-hunting adventures as well as a mystery or two to bridge episodes. Persona issues also come, detailing some shocking truths about Shichika's sister and Togame's reflection of her own history. In fact, "execution" is the word of the day for the series as a whole; only a rare few fantasy anime series made to date brings all of its story elements and production aspects together better than Katanagatari does, especially in its second half.

As the quest goes, though, each episode relatively focuses on the intensification of the pair's relationship. Shichika and Togame are not your typical couple, it's not very rare to see a young daughter seeking revenge then falls in love with the son of the man who killed your father. The story it tells about a young girl needing the aid of her lethal enemy, asking him to fall for her in fear of betrayal. Having witnessed the murder of her father, Togame's cheerful side is a facade for her devious scheme, which contrasts to Shichika's backwoods upbringing and lack of social skills. Still, it's unexpected when Shichika defines himself a weapon and Togame as his wielder, and their complicated relationship to boost. Perhaps the only distraction from this course is the lack of romance, along the road there's a few warm scenes (particularly in episode 9), but it hardly ventures deeper into this part. However, their relationship is so well-executed and plays so directly into Togame's underlying motivations for what she is doing that no one should have issue with it.

Rating: 8


How much you appreciate the character designs depends a lot on your tolerance for its distinctly simplicity, but Shichika and Togame in particular distinguish themselves as appealing designs and lead characters, for a change, do not all have generic looks. Some aspects might be criticized for the thin design for Shichika, the blank dot-eyes on his face, the Maniwa Ningun are boiled down to their birdy looks. They all begin simplified, but slowly add layers as the series progresses. They aren't by any stretch realistic, but when the last couple of episodes apply some pressure, they reveal some pretty unexpected depths.

If any further proof of the series' sterling artistic merits is needed, the very first scene delivers panoramic shots of an isolated island and mountain range that is so breathtaking that it should be used as a textbook example of how to draw mountains in animation. Throughout these episodes studio WHITE FOX piles on one fabulous-looking scene after another; even in the mundane details the series shines, and the shots of palatial opulence rival the best anime has to offer. Every detail, from costuming to elaborate building design to even depictions of barren wastelands, impresses, and even minor visual flaws in quality are few and far between. Rich use of color and lighting effects, whether from a sunny late afternoon, a stormy night, or even underwater, distinguish the series amongst any competition. Short cuts are infrequent, or at least less obvious, and the few true fight scenes are things of beauty. Characters move, dodge, and punch and kick with great smoothness and alacrity, creating convincingly dynamic fights filled with motion and sense of danger. These are fights not fueled by ridiculous displays of skill or super-human powers, but ones ground in reality - the creepily cute video game version of Nanami's bloodiest rampage being a prime example. The production team threw in a few neat 3D tricks for good measure, but these episodes look plenty good enough without the extra gimmicks. Though character designs sometimes stray a little too much into caricatures, they nonetheless show the same quality and attention to detail.

Rating: 9


What is most unique about Katanagatari's storytelling style, though, is its endless "drown everyone in dialogue" writing. Sometimes it can be infuriating, but other times the pace is just too much fun to let go, like when Shichika and Togame get into an argument about personal catchphrases. Katanagatari does its usual solid job in assembling a worthy cast. Hosoya Yoshimasa's voice and delivery style may not be a perfect match for Shichika, he has a deep, slightly gravely voice that suits his character quite well and this is unarguably his best performance. Tamura Yukari, by comparison, is well-fitting in crafting a perky voice for Togame. The supporting cast varies a bit more, with Nakahara Mai as Yasuri Nanami being a highlight and Koyama Rikiya's Enonzaemon sounding a bit flat and uninteresting, but generally it hits the mark.

Although the theme songs may be the soundtrack's shining gems, they are hardly the music's only strong point. Original OP "Meiya Kadenrou" by Kuribayashi Minami is a stylish pop song while the second "Katana to Saya" by Ali Project plays the darker theme and both have visuals in their own rights. With twelve episodes with the length equal to that of an OVA series, each episode has its own unique ED depends on how the stories play out. The music in between peaks with the intense, pounding rhythms used during dramatic battles serve the production well throughout, further complement the sound production.

Rating: 10


Some have complained about the pacing of Katanagatari being a bit on the slow and deliberate side, but that does not show as much in this span of episodes as it does in some later ones. Besides, those looking for a more dedicated action fantasy probably gave up many episodes earlier anyway. This is not a fantasy action series, but a true and full-blooded fantasy series at its finest. It even does a superb job of taking the original novel and expanding it by enriching the characterizations and more thoroughly exploring the setting. It looks great, sounds good, and does its job well in world-building and character development departments. The end result makes this one of the decade's highlight anime series.
Story: 7
Characters: 9
Art: 8
Animation: 10
Voice: 10
Music: 10
Overall: 9

+Clever storytelling devices and unique characters make each story satisfying.
+Double-length episodes.
+Gorgeous artistry, excellent fight scenes
+Artwork looks stiff and flat at times.
+Can be a little hard to follow and drowns in to much dialogue, headache included.

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.8333 (very good)

Reviewed by Weskalia, Apr 18, 2012


  1. Angi Retired Moderator Apr 18, 2012

    This series got my attention because of its artwork, I still haven't watched it, but reading you review makes want to see it more ^^

  2. Dancerinthedark May 05, 2012

    The art works of this anime is rare ....yet so cool...I really like these kind of art works....I find it interesting..
    when I read the story I thought that it is just like ''Bakemonogatari'' and ''spice and wolf''
    I think I'm gonna watch it......because you gave me the spirit to watch it after I read your review :)

  3. dragbushel Mar 28, 2013

    this series art works is great and i still haven't watchedbut i'm gonna watch it because reading your review got me all excited about it

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