In what order should I watch Monogatari anime?

This post is very much out-dated, so I will rewrite it in near future. Meanwhile enjoy.

Welcome to the new year of 2014! Amidst visiting relatives far and near, consuming platters of festive chow and drinking fermented beverages I suddenly paused and with a glass of Czech Budweiser to my left and a Christmas tree to my right I hammered out the first drunken draft of this blogpost on my (hopefully-)mother-in-law-to-be’s computer.

op1206_bakemonogatari

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 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 Christmas bringing me a bit more free time to watch anime, 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 five years ago, but the third novel, Kizumonogatari, has 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.” Right now it seems that it will be the last to be released, even though there are abundant spoilers scattered throughout the other anime.

bakemonogatarivol1Meanwhile 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, is supposedly in production for 2014 with no more specifics given as far as I know. Skipping past Hanamonogatari, the second half of Monogatari Series Second Season took care of three more novels, landing us in front of the thirteenth one, Tsukimonogatari. Tsukimonogatari is the first in Monogatari’s final set of volumes, counting 6 books with the fourth of those coming out this month. I would expect Shaft to complete the project, but I haven’t heard anything about that yet. Let me know if you do!

If you’re considering reading the novels, I will have to disappoint you (unless you read Japanese well enough) – none have been officially translated and released in English. On the other hand for those willing to take a slightly less legal road, there is always Baka-Tsuki and their volunteers, who are working hard to bring you some good reading. Again, please let me know if you learn of English releases!

3. chronologically

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 and Kizumonogatari (announced for 2014)

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)

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?

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