Kizumonogatari Part II: Nekketsu (anime review)
The long awaited part two of three in the Kizumonogatari Movie Trilogy is here! Aniplex held the premiere of Part Two: Nekketsu at its inaugural AkibaFest event in Downtown Los Angeles.
If you’d like to catch up to speed, you can read the review for Part 1: Tekketsu here.
The second part of Kizumonogatari, Nekketsu, deals with Araragi, now a vampire, facing off with Kiss-shot’s enemies in a one-on-one showdown. With his master’s power still weak, Araragi must defeat each one of hem in order to recover the missing limbs. Returning them to her restores her power and physique after which she promises to return Araragi back to being a human.
Despite being one of the principal characters, Kiss-shot takes more of a backseat role mainly to fill in the gaps of knowledge regarding Araragi’s powers. But she does get some of the movie’s funny moments. Even Oshino only manages to get in a couple sentences before being left in the background, there’s little we learn even now about his character. Instead, Nekketsu decides to focus intently on two teenage kids that metaphorically can’t stop getting their hands on each other.
What is a person’s humanity? That’s the central theme that Araragi constantly battles within himself. It’s a cliche that’s been beaten to death, but makes for a motivator for our awkward newborn vampire. Araragi’s always been the single factor of the monogatari series that ties everything together and the development of his character has often characterized as selfless and devoted. As an origin story, Araragi’s embodiment as the typical anime protagonist is unabashly self-indulgent. Blushing innocence in the presence girl? Check. Despite trying everything, he can’t keep Hanekawa away from the danger he’s about to face. As clueless as she is, Hanekawa isn’t so easily convinced to leave him alone. That serves to only strengthen Araragi’s relationship with Hanekawa and takes a rather intimate direction. The film’s constantly assault you with uncomfortable suggestive imagery. Throughout the entire film, there’s a weirdly perverted undertone that permeates in their conversation. While there’s no doubt the filmmakers are milking the audience’s gaze for all its worth, often center the shots on Hanekawa’s figure along with the occasional shot of Araragi’s well toned vampire abs. What else is a guy going through puberty supposed to be like?
Once the action ramps up, Nekketsu becomes a visual marvel. It’s difficult to express continuously just how difficult the style of kinetic cinematography that Nekketsu pulls off. It’s really all in the little details that sell it. Rain bounces off wildly during the fight between Dramaturgy and Araragi help to sell the intensity of the fight. In one scene, Araragi is thrown across the several layers of glass in one continuous motion. His ragged body flying helplessly in the air with shards of glass convey a real sense of danger and destruction. That doesn’t stop there, facial expressions give off a real sense of pain. The lines of Araragi’s face will contour With a production as ambitious as Kizumonogatari, Tatsuya Oishi and his team at Shaft continue to deliver some unthinkable technical feats in marrying CG and traditional animation.
The movie hurries along quickly and before long, the credits roll on yet another cliffhanger just before the climax. At least it ends in a reasonable part of the story to keep audiences anticipated. With its moments of up and down, Nekketsu’s structure is much more evenly paced much like a traditional film. Time will tell if splitting the plot into three films will be worth the pay off. In a ecosystem where anime is constantly looking to cut corners on production, A team at SHAFT spent over six years to bring the series to the big screen. Only because a behemoth IP like Monogatari can pull this kind of gamble and investment.
Kizumonogatari will conclude with the final part premiering next year in January.