Anime Review: Nekomonogatari White (2013) DVD/Blu-Ray Combo

Posted by Retrokaiser On Friday, September 26, 2014 0 comments

"Nekomonogatari White" is the first volume of the second season of the "Gatari" series. This show is an animated supernatural show typically about the life of a half-vampire named Araragi. This volume however centers around the character, Hanekawa and her life could be a bit better right now as on one fine day while on her way to school she runs into none other than the wanderer, Hachikuji (you may remember her from the "Mayoi Snail" arc during "Bakemonogatari").  Hanekawa and Hachikuji have a simple conversation and after that we have Hanekawa on her way and then she walks into something very strange.... A giant talking white Tiger (my word).  Hanekawa doesn't think much of it and continues her day only to find out later on that her house has burnt down to a crisp. Without a house we see Hanekawa crash at the old school building where we have seen Araragi battle demons many times before. During the middle of the night we see that she is visited by a very saddened Hitagi (Araragi's sweet girlfriend) whom was worried that Hanekawa had gone missing. Long story short, Hitagi invites Hanekawa to crash at her place while her father is gone as to which she accepts. While resting at Hitagi's place we see that some of Hanekawa's old demons are starting to haunt her again (quite literally) but this time she isn't as harmful but the giant talking white Tiger is and now it is up to her to stop it. (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

The storytelling in this kick off to a new season was alright but it wasn't the strongest that we have ever seen in this show and it did feel a little weak. The story moved quite slowly and there wasn't much going on what so ever. This show is also very conversation heavy, I know what you are thinking: "That's the reason why this show moves slowly?". The answer to that question is a big fat no as the conversations in this show were very entertaining and you will get into the show because of them. The reason why the show felt slow was due to the show taking awhile to move along the plot and this volume also has a bunch of scenes that felt a bit pointless to where I'd consider it filler. I wouldn't say that it ruins the show but I would say that it did lead to this being the weakest story arc out of the entire show so far.

There is some action in this show towards the end (like every other story arc in this show) and it was pretty decent with nicely done moves that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat and there were no spots where the battle scenes felt dull or forced. There's a bit of fan-service to be found in this show and it's of the fleshy kind.  During the fan-service scenes you do get quite a bit of nudity and some playing around and also oddly enough all of the fan-service scenes all take place in bathrooms (don't drop the soap).  I wouldn't say that the fan-service will put you off the show but you do not want people walking into your room while you just happen to be on that scene as it could easily make that person take the show out of context.  

"Oh, it's time for my sausage" - Tiger Claw Radio
I liked the characters in this show quite a bit and I'm very impressed with how much they have grown character wise. Sadly the characters are also one reason why this story arc is a bit weaker as *spoiler alert* Araragi isn't on screen during most of this arc and he is a character that adds a lot to the show. Don't get me wrong as the other characters do add a lot to the show as well but it just doesn't work as good without the main character making a healthy amount of appearances. 

Art-work in this show is pretty decent with very crisp coloring, great use of shadows and shades, plus some nice detailing. The characters in this show have serious designs that look really good and the designs are very memorable. The backgrounds have some mixed designs to where it can be serious but there are some very abstract looking backgrounds that trip you out a little, not in a bad way to where you'll end up confused but in a way where you'll get a pleasant high from them. Animation in this show is very smooth and consistent to where I didn't see any problem with it.

The Japanese dub in this show is pretty good with voices that not only match up with the characters but the dub is also quite memorable and it will stay in your mind for a good long time. Acting in this show was alright but it was mainly the actors talking in a casual manor so they weren't in situations where they needed to yell or scream or all that jazz. I am not saying that the acting was bad but there could've been a bit more variety in terms of sound and feelings in this volume. There is no English dub for this show as of yet so the only way you can watch this is with English subtitles but to be honest I do not want to picture this show having an English dub as I do not think it would work with this show... Although I could be wrong about that. Sadly I could only remember half of the soundtrack of this show as half of the soundtrack was forgettable but the music that was memorable was very good with a nice pop-rock and atmospheric sound that worked well with the show.

There's a decent amount of special features found in this set with the first being text-less versions of the opening and closing credit sequences. The opening credits was pretty good with nice pop music and some very fun and interesting visuals of Hanekawa surrounded by cats and chocolate. The closing credits weren't anything all that interesting as the visuals were just of the same image repeating. I did enjoy the music that played during the closing credits but in the end they weren't worth re-watching but I would like to see someone convert them into a screen saver. You also get all of the television ads that aired in Japan in a feature called "TV Spots". The television ads are exactly what you'd expect and I found them to be alright but this is a feature you'll only watch once.

"Stay awhile, stay FOREVER!"
Another neat special feature that is included in this set is a special bonus episode title "Omnibus One". This episode is the first of a series of abridged episodes (I mean abridged as in the literal sense and not in the way where it means doing a crapply done parody dub over it) taking all of the story-arcs and combining them to make a series of twenty-minute episodes. In this episode we will see the events that took place in "Nekomonogarari Black" AKA the "Tsubasa Family" arc (check out my review of "Nekomonogatari Black" "right here" to find out what it is about). For an abridged/clip-show special I found it to be quite decent as it was entertaining. While this special does sum up that series well I wouldn't call it the definitive way to watch it as they cut out a lot of the scenes that make the characters charming which pulls you into the show. I do recommend giving it at least one viewing but after that you should just re-watch "Nekomonogatari Black" as it is a much better experience. I am looking forward to watching the second episode of "Omnibus" which should appear in the next volume.

If you are wondering if there's any difference between the Blu-Ray and DVD, you'll get what you expect as the only difference is that the Blu-Ray has better quality and fancy menus. Both discs also come in their own case and both cases have their own unique art-work and it looks very nice to where they'd make for some nice posters.  This is also a show where you can't simply jump into at any time as you really need to start at the show from the first volume (Bakemonogatari, Volume One) as you'll have to be familiar with the characters to get what is going on.

Overall as while this is the weakest story arc in the series so far I wouldn't say that is a bad story arc in general. I do recommend checking this series out and it does hint that something much greater is coming in the next volume (not saying what it is as I do not know what is coming but I do have a few guesses) and it left me feeling very excited to see what is in store next volume. I'm not saying that you should get this for any foreshadowing as it was an entertaining story arc. Good watch but not my favorite story arc.

Title: Nekomonogatari White
Animation Studio: Shaft
Genre: Animation/Anime, Supernatural, Action, Drama, Black Comedy
Running Time: 120 Minutes (5 Episodes)
Distributor: Hanabee Entertainment
Rating: MA15+ (Strong animated violence)
Price: $49.99
Recommended: Yes


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