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And here's the new. There's a certain odd feeling attached to starting the New Year with an episode of Nekomonogatari as the first new anime. A good odd feeling.
Airing as 4 straight episodes between 10 pm and midnight (Japan Standard Time) on the 31st of December, means some of our Japanese otaku friends rung in the New Year by watching another instalment of the Monogatari series. Fascinating isn't it Well the first episode of Nekomonogatari would have been enough to convince me to do the same if I had no other plans.
Funny enough, the first episode was a lot easier to watch than any other episode of the series. For me, it's usually harder to sit through an episode of a monogatari series without paying full attention or rewinding to certain bits that were filled with text and dialogue but this first episode was quite simple - almost too simple to follow.
It definitely took its time. Starting from the first conversation between Koyomi and Tsukihi, there wasn't much that left me puzzled. I loved how the conversation about Koyomi's possible feelings for Tsubasa turned into yet another silly moment where Koyomi comes off as a pervert, to be then followed by another round of light incest. Putting the incest aside, the first conversation between Koyomi and Tsukihi were a great way to ease me back into the crazy style that made these series famous.
The transition that followed from the conversation to introducing Tsubasa officially for the first time was done with fluidity. It moved onto the second half of the episode and then we saw things take a turn for the serious. Considering that Nekomonogatari: Kuro is all about Tsubasa, her introduction was just the right. It wasn't the most obvious, maybe even a little understated, but enough was raised about her to make you look forward to the next three episodes.
We learn about her home life and the troubles she faces, making her existence similar to the girls introduced in Bakemonogatari. Thinking back to the first of the monogatari anime, Tsubasa had been introduced as Koyomi's confidante of sorts. We didn't learn about her or saw her addition to the harem because she wasn't one of the ones who was saved; we kind of acknowledged that she was already part of the harem. Nekomonogatari is technically a prequel to the first anime, so its similarity is understandable.
As you might expect there was more comedy from Koyomi's stupidity, however I will defend this because it ended up serving another purpose. It brought a touching and sweet moment at the end which also set up the route for the next three episodes. Koyomi is left worried about Tsubasa, which can only mean he'll attempt to save her.
Definite familiarity and resemblance to Bakemonogatari's plot. Regardless, Nekomonogatari's first episode was very easy to watch and as one might expect, very enjoyable.
Final Note: Subs for Nekomonogatari are coming out one episode at a time. There's also a new season announced for this year.