Nekomonogatari, as its name suggest, is a story... about a cat. Very much like the rest of the monogatari series, we find ourselves in a place where the supernatural, simple comedy, beautiful grafics, original story and [delicious] well versed prose, collide in a breathtaking production.
As we are used to in NisiOisin's work, the narrative of the plot is mainly brought to us in conversations and dialogs between the characters; (Don't go away yet!), and the astounding mind of Akiyuki SHINBO brings it to life in an unusual experience. There's action and gore, ecchi and fun, sure, but the true value of this anime is in the mood and the characters; letting yourself be astonished by the visuals; reading between the lines for a message that isn't there; falling in love with the characters and following a story you will never hear anywhere, told as no story has ever been told.
The story centers in Araragi Koyomi, an average highschool student that disregards friendship and love as weaknesses, and goes through life without much interest or aspirations... Oh, and he once met a vampire and became half-vampire himself. (With that simplicity Nekomonogatari presents us the supernatural, and therein lies its beauty.)
After said encounter, Araragi's life changes notably, in particular because he becomes close to a certain classmate that (he believes) saved his life. She's Hanekawa Tsubasa, model student, paragon of virtue, and the shiny new (and only at this point) friend of Araragi.
Nekomonogatari guides us through the discovery of Hanekawa's secrets and feelings; and details the first encounter of Araragi with the 'oddities' of this world (supernatural beings that exist among humans), through a deep exploration of the human nature and feelings. And... yeah, gore and ecchi.
(From here on, I'm assuming you saw Bakemonogatari, because it's crucial to understand the story in this anime)
As you may have heard, Nekomonogatarí is a prequel to Bakemonogatari, detailing the events of the Golden Week (mentioned during Bakemonogatari's last arc) after Kisumonogatari (Koyomi's Vamp). And one may think that after all the flashbacks we got (almost a full episode), we might find us with a mildly developed version of what we already saw... Wrong! Nekomonogatari brings missing links to a story we know how it started and how it ended. The relation between the Araragi siblings is explored a little further, and so is the relation between Koyomi and Oshino. But most importantly, Hanekawa's mind and past.
Nekomonogatari takes very seriously the voice acting, ambient sounds and music. Through out the story we find that the flawless voice acting of each of the characters brings them to life and pulls us into the plot without distraction. The music creates fitting scenes and complement the visuals with exceptional precision.
There's a new opening and closing themes here, that are quite nice, nothing too flashy.
And, on a side note, during the introduction, the closing of the last arc of Bakemonogatari (Supercell's 君の知らない物語) is used with great success to spark our memories and bring us back to Nisioisin universe. I really liked that.
I've been trying to moderate the use of passionate and subjective adjectives to this point, but in this section you'll excuse me...
DEAR ALL MIGHTY LORD! THIS IS (with teh rest of the 'monogatari series) THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING EVER COME UP FROM HUMAN HANDS!!
The art and animation of this anime is, without doubt, one of the best things that has happened to me, and I'll be forever thankful of being born in this era.
Honestly, if tomorrow an alien mothership or a celestial squad of angels came down from the heavens, informed the world that the purpose of the human kind has been met with this series and that's that, this is the pinnacle mankind and that there would be no more use for us in the universe... I would nod, smile and wholeheartedly agree.
Character development is one of the strongest points of Nisioisin storytelling, where we find ourselves getting engaged in the plot through the discovery of the motivations, past and secrets of the characters.
That said, Nekomonogatari steps out a bit from the usual 'monogatari line and introduce no new characters to the universe. Yep, we have Hanekawa Tsubasa, the Araragi siblings and Oshino. OH, and the cat.
I think that without watching Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari the viewer might be overwhelmed by the plot.Nekomonogatari isn't trynig to introduce the characters all over again, which is fine.
The characters develop consistent to themselves and in a way that they became what they are in the following seies.
Bonus Points: There are cameos of certain someone <3
It's no understatement that I'm a big fan of Nisioisin, Shinbo, Bake and Nisemonogatari. Which would suck because I would really have high expectations on anything related. AND they postponed Kisumonogari movie beacuse of Nekomonogatari, which was a letdown back in July.
But I do not lie when I tell you that Nekomonogatari exceded my expectations. It's a truly marvelous work, a worthy prequel and a must watch.