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Bakemonogatari

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 5 months ago
VideoNovelsMangaFeatures

Bakemonogatari

化物語

 

*by NisiOisin

*published by Kodansha Box

Kodansha novels was originally a mystery novel line, but with writers like NisiOisin and Maijo Otaro realizing that the mysteries were actually getting in the way of what they really wanted to write, the line ended up publishing some increasingly random stuff. Magical Girl Books.

Which I guess is the logic behind launching a new line, apparently under the thumb of the Faust editor, which, much like Faust, will be whatever the hell he wants it to be. Fiction, nonfiction, manga that only the author can parse...just like Faust. Only in silver slipcover boxes. I'm not entirely sold on the boxes yet; I like dustjackets, and the silver color is not really very good looking.

NisiOisin is preparing a twelve volume samurai epic for release all next year, but first out the door launching the line is this two volume series of five short stories which seem to have been written largely to purge himself of all his most arcane otaku jokes.

Very funny otaku jokes, but the fact that I got most of them still makes me want to cry.

The basic structure of the series, on paper, sounds like classic light novel fare -- 'nice' male lead meets 'tsundere' (ornery?) female lead, gets mixed up in fantasy adventure + romantic hijinks + a little fanservice + lots of tsukkomi/boke snappy comedy.

But he has thoughtfully turned every one of these elements up to 11, and thrown in a dash of his own unique style, which means this succeeds where his dismal xxxholic novel failed.

Without the taint of CLAMP's original work to undermine him, the main characters are actually allowed to be interesting -- sure, this guy's nice, but he's also an ex-vampire, and his niceness seems to come from some sort of fucked up psychological make up that is never quite explained, but suggested at just as we think we've come to understand him. The tsundere bungs a staple into the inside of his mouth in her first scene, and manages to make every one of her barbs funny...and he allows the romance between them to have actual progress.

The monsters each story deals with serve the story rather than becoming it; each one reflects the fallout of the earlier events, and serves as a metaphor for the characters own transformations. In a move typical of NisiOisin, he starts the story somewhere in the middle, so that the narrator at least has already had two adventures before we even get to meet him, and these are referenced but not explained frequently throughout. Gives it a sense of depth the five pages of boy love jokes might otherwise undermine.

Andrew Cunningham

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