This is the one word i would use to describe Katanagatari. It simply far-exceeded my expectations of what seemed to be a typical shounen-esque sword hunt into a journey of the growth of our protagonist as a human being. I would have to admit that the first 2 episodes, i didnt really like Shichika's character - it just totally random how he said "because i've fallen for you [Togame]" and be willing to follow her randomly across Japan to collect swords, when all his life he's just lived on the island as a sword. That really irked me; how unbelievable his charater was. But then as this show progressed, it got exponentially better - and indeed, the TROLLOL of ep 4 will never be forgotten.
The characters really did push the story along, although the endlessly funky SHAFT-esque art style is one to remember. I found it really awesome how there was a scene in ep 7 where Togame and Shichika get off a boat and talk to Emonzaemon, and the art is that of a Visual Novel, where a sprite of the character is shown and a text box comes up. Then later in the same ep, there's Nanami "shooting" her energy at soldier-grunts like in those arcade spaceship-shooters. Hilarious.
And what started off as a simple story line, it itself developed into a much more complex tale that explains why our characters are how they are. With a scheme that transcends through time, and the ramifications lingering on our cast, the unveiling of the plot in the mid-to-late eps not only drove the story along, but further added to the humanisation of our beloved characters.
Some things to criticize though: Emonzaemon's character was so mysterious and interesting it was a total shame that almost nothing of his history was revealed. Also, the Maniwa ninjas (maniwani) were totally destroyed by (mostly) Shichika way too easily, it makes it hard to believe that they were originally a force to be reckoned with. And as i said, i found the first and second eps a bit slow, but i guess every story needs some time to pick up, so that's just a minor qualm.
Seeing as Katangatari and Bakemonogatari are both originally by the same author, if i had to compare them, I personally liked this more than Bakemonogatari. I felt the whole story tied together much neater and there was waaaaaaaayyyy more character development. Nevertheless, both are very very good shows, and im very excited to see his next work - which, in terms of anime, would probably be Kizumonogatari (prequel to Bakemonogatari), airing some time next year ^.^
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