August 20, 2017: This post is currently up-to-date.
Please let me know if you find mistakes or inaccuracies.
I took it upon myself to settle the simple question posed in the title of this post: “In what order should I watch Monogatari anime?” Just to be sure, by Monogatari anime I mean the several series of various lengths adapted from Nisio Isin’s (a palindrome and a pen name) light novels by studio SHAFT under the direction of Akiyuki Shinbō. For those unable to bear the suspense, my short answer is “In the order in which either the anime or the novels came out or chronologically.” For a longer and more detailed rebuttal read on.
First of all let me say that I haven’t seen any of the series in its entirety yet. To be exact I’ve only watched 9 (out of 15) episodes of Bakemonogatari to date and with My Backlog Adventure forcing me to finish anime I’ve started years ago, it hit me that this was a good opportunity to finish at least that. That thought in turn made me think of that headline question. So what were my options again?
1. the order in which the anime came out
This option is the easiest to follow. Searching a number of wikis, forums and Yahoo Answers isn’t necessary. Just load up any anime database or look at the first column of my chart further down this page.
2. the order in which the light novels came out
The second alternative is a bit trickier, mostly because all the light novels have not been adapted yet. The first two novels, Bakemonogatari volumes 1 and 2, were adapted into Bakemonogatari anime years ago, but the third novel, Kizumonogatari, had been postponed quite a number of times – on AniDB it boasts the development hell tag, which denotes “anime, the production or release of which has been pushed back, stalled or cancelled one or more times from when it was first announced.” In the end Parts I and II aired in 2016; Part III in January 2017.
The fourth to eighth novels were encompassed in Nisemonogatari, Nekomonogatari (Kuro) and first ten episodes of Monogatari Series Second Season. Anime based on the ninth novel, Hanamonogatari, aired in the summer of 2014. The second half of Monogatari Series Second Season took care of three more novels, landing us in front of the thirteenth one, Tsukimonogatari.
Tsukimonogatari aired in on New Year’s Eve of 2014. The fourteenth novel, Koyomimonogatari, aired in 2016. First season of Owarimonogatari (which spans 3 novels) aired in 2015, while the second season (aka 2 specials, even though it’s called Second Season) just aired this month. That puts us in front of volume 18 out of 21. I hope SHAFT finishes the job!
If you’re considering reading the novels, I have good news for you — Vertical has published the first five volumes and volumes 6 to 8 are scheduled to be released later this year or next year. The novels that haven’t been officially translated and published are available on Baka-Tsuki.
This order was the most difficult to put together and I am still not absolutely confident that it is correct. You see, not even the novels abide by the timeline. Again, I have Baka-Tsuki’s volunteers to thank for a nice timeline of the chapters. From this timeline I derived the third column in my simple chart. If you want to follow this, take care when watching Monogatari Series Second Season, because its episodes are out of order…
You know what? Never mind that, I give up! The events of August 20th to 24th were spread out through several of the original novels and with the spotlight on every character, you would pretty much have to play several videos at once to follow the chronology exactly. For example, during episode 1 of Monogatari Series Second Season you would have to stop to play scenes from episodes 7-10 and the rest of Tsubasa Tiger (eps 1-5) is happening alongside Shinobu Time (eps 17-20)…
|order of anime||order of novels||chronological|
|Bakemonogatari (15 eps, 2009-10)
Nisemonogatari (11 eps, 2012)
Nekomonogatari (Kuro) (4 eps, 2012)
Monogatari Series Second Season (26 eps, 2013)
Hanamonogatari: Suruga Devil (2014)
Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll (2014)
Owarimonogatari (12 eps, 2015)
Koyomimonogatari (12 eps, 2016)
Kizumonogatari (3 movies, 2016-2017)
Owarimonogatari (2017) (7 eps, 2017)
|Bakemonogatari (2 novels: 2006)
Kizumonogatari (novel: 2008)
Nisemonogatari (2 novels: 2008-9)
Nekomonogatari (Kuro) (novel: 2010)
Monogatari Series Second Season (episodes 1-10; 2 novels: 2010)
Hanamonogatari (novel: 2011)
Monogatari Series Second Season (episodes 11-26; 3 novels: 2011)
Tsukimonogatari (novel: 2012)
Koyomimonogatari (novel: 2013)
Owarimonogatari (3 novels: 2013-4)
Owarimonogatari Second Season (novel: 2014)
|Kizumonogatari (Mar 25 – Apr 8)
Nekomonogatari (Kuro) (Apr 29 – May 7)
Bakemonogatari (May 8 – June 14)
Nisemonogatari (July 29 – Aug 14)
Monogatari Series Second Season (Aug 20 – Feb 1) : eps 7-8, ep 1, eps 9-10, ep 2, ep 17, ep 3, ep 18, ep 4, ep 19, ep 5, eps 12-15, eps 20-26 (eps 6, 11 and 16 are recaps of previous anime)
Hanamonogatari (Aug 9 – Aug 21)
Writing of this post put me in mind of a different and perhaps even more well-known anime; I remembered being faced with the exact same problem when viewing Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu years ago. Just like Monogatari, Haruhi aired out of order.
Back then I chose to watch Haruhi in the order it aired. I decided it would be more in line with what the makers of the anime wanted me to see, but I also admit I considered watching it chronologically. I still remember looking up the correct chronology of the episodes… I am probably going to do the same with Monogatari anime. And then I’ll read the novels in the order they came out. There’s definitely more stories where this anime came from.
Which order would you prefer? Or have you perhaps seen the entire series up to date?