‘Monogatari’ is unlike your typical anime series. It is more on the hipster side of anime with its quirky twists, smart dialogues, and unusual tone; something like ‘The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind’. This uniqueness is either an instant turn off or it just grabs the attention in the first few minutes itself. I’m assuming you belong to the latter because you’re out here waiting for a new season.
Most harem anime series have shallow “full-of-themselves” leads but not this one and that’s why I sometimes wonder if this even qualifies to be labeled as a harem. It just feels like it’s something much more than that. Shaft Studio is known for adapting unusual methods for the narratives of animes shows and ‘Monogatari’ is the finest example of that. It heavily relies on its dialogues to portray the entire plot of the anime. This can even cause a lot of discomfort to viewers who are seeing something like this for the first time. It takes time to understand the true purpose of the anime and especially for the ones who are used to watching anime that solely rely on action/adventure for portraying their own purpose. Most people won’t even be patient enough to get past the first three episodes.
But those who manage to stick around for a while will realize that anime shows with so much richness in style and substance are really hard to come by. Even the events of the show are not placed in chronological order but that too works in the favor of the show. What you see in the first few moments are the developed versions of the main characters, which actually allows you to gain more insight into the lives of these characters in a more sensible way. A huge credit for this also goes to the animation style and the voice actors, who did a great job with the character mannerisms.
‘Monogatari’ is, in the end, something of an acquired taste that only a few will have the patience to appreciate. If you end up going through all 15 episodes of the first season, then it is very less likely that you’ll still hold it in a negative light. Apart from all the creativity in the supernatural storyline, ‘Monogatari’ is just a looming story that revolves around two people who have already discovered their soul mates. Now instead of portraying a “happily ever after” story where the two drive off into the sunset, the anime actually brings forth their uncertainties towards their future together. Many a times, the downsides along with the upsides of being in a relationship are portrayed, which adds a much deeper, complicated element to the romance part of the show.
‘Monogatari’ is definitely a must watch for all fantasy/romance lovers and anyone who patiently makes it through the first season will not be anything less than impressed by the anime. But for someone who is slightly new to the world of anime, figuring out the right watching order can get a little tricky. So for anyone who is thinking of starting it now, you can refer to our watch order list below and follow the show in a chronological order that will help you understand it better. Here’s the list of top ‘Monogatari’ episodes you must watch:
15. Kizumonogatari (2016-2017)
Kizumonogatari is a film series that includes three anime movies – the first film, ‘Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu’; the second film being ‘Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu’; and the third one, ‘Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu’. The first part was released on January 8, 2016, which was followed by the second one on August 19, 2016 and then came the third one on January 6, 2017. Though these films were released after many seasons and side plots of the show, it would be more convenient for a beginner to start off with these. Make sure that you watch these with respect to their release date order.
14. Nekomonogatari: Kuro (2012)
‘Nekomonogatari: Kuro’, also known as ‘Nekomonogatari: Black’, is the third adapted installment of the Monogatari series. It only consists of 4 episodes and serves as a precursor to ‘Bakemonogatari’. It revolves around Tsubaka Hanekawa who gets possessed by a Neko and goes around attacking random people on the street to relieve all the stress that is building up inside her.
13. Bakemonogatari (2009-2010)
‘Bakemonogatari’, also known as ‘Ghostory’, is one of the most critically acclaimed seasons of the entire ‘Monogatari’ franchise. It is the kind of anime that does not make much sense in the beginning. It does not even rely too much on plot twists and turns. But once you’re done watching the whole version of the series, that’s when you realize how amazing this part was. And now that you are watching it in chronological order, it will be easier for you to make sense out of most events in this one.
12. Nisemonogatari (2012)
‘Nisemonogatari’ is the sequel of the hit ‘Bakemonogatari’ and features almost the same cast as its predecessor along with a few new characters. The main focus of this one goes on the Karen and Tsukihi, who are both known as the Araragi sisters. The prequel of this one did really well and broke a lot of sales records. ‘Nisemonogatari’ managed to do equally well but overall, it is very different from ‘Bakemonogatari’.
11. Monogatari Series – Mayoi Jiangshi (2013)
‘Monogatari Series – Mayoi Jiangshi’ is an arc of the main ‘Monogatari’ series. Though the true purpose of this arc is still a matter of debate amongst the fans of the series, when it comes to the watching order, this arc of the series fits in exactly at the fifth position, right before the ‘Shinobu Time Arc’ of the ‘Monogatari Series’. This arc acts more like an outline arc for the one that comes next.
10. Monogatari Series – Shinobu Time (2013)
‘Monogatari Series – Shinobu Time’ is an arc that is known to be one of the best arcs of the entire series. After the end of ‘Monogatari Series – Mayoi Jiangshi’, this one completely catches you off guard and hits you right in the feels. It has more of a slice-of-life appeal to it where it focuses more on the romantic relationship of the two main characters of the story. The ending is amazingly heartwarming, and you’ll definitely find yourself shedding some tears soon after you’re done with it.
9. Owarimonogatari Season One – Shinobu Mail (2015)
‘Owarimonogatari’ consists of three arcs, out of which ‘Shinobu Mail’ is the final arc. Out of the three, Shinobu has everything that is best in the ‘Monogatari Series’. It has some really catchy dialogues, great musical background scores and also a very engaging plot. The other two arcs aren’t all that bad either but this one just has more familiar characters which just makes it so much better.
8. Monogatari Series – Tsubasa Tiger (2013)
The entire second season of ‘Monogatari Series‘ is insanely good. Almost all the arcs that are covered in the season are unforgettable. Even by this high standard of the entire season, out of all the arcs, ‘Tsubasa Tiger’ proves to be one of the best. It manages to perfectly capture all the strengths of ‘Monogatari’ series and brings in all the factors that make it great. This includes its subtle character growth, self-awareness about everything it’s trying to portray and most of all, self-acceptance.
7. Owarimonogatari Season One – Ougi Formula, Sodachi Riddle, Sodachi Lost (2015)
It’s crazy how the ‘Ougi Formula’ arc and the ‘Sodachi’ arcs are from the same season as that of the ‘Shinobu Mail’ Arc. But if you consider the correct chronological order with respect to the events of the anime, then these arcs actually come after the ‘Tsubasa Tiger’ Arc of the series. While these two arcs are pretty good, they are not as interesting as the ‘Shinobu Mail’ Arc of the same season. The Sodachi arcs are very engaging, but somehow it feels like they lack something compared to ‘Shinobu Mail’. This is probably because of the introduction of new characters in Sodachi while Shinobu still plays around with old well-established characters.
6. Monogatari Series – Nadeko Medusa and Hitagi End (2013)
For someone who follows the release date order of the anime, the ‘Nadeko Medusa’ and ‘Hitagi End’ end arcs can get very confusing. But if you follow the order that we have described here in this article, then it will be a lot easier for you to comprehend the ending of these two arcs. Even for the ones who do not follow the chronological order, things do make sense later on. But it’s just much better this way as it helps you keep your overall flow with the anime a little more consistent.
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5. Tsukimonogatari (2014)
‘Tsukimonogatari’ has only 4 episodes and all of these were together released on December 31, 2014. This was indeed the most brilliant way of capping off the whole year from the anime’s side. These four episodes perfectly capture the essence of what the whole series should really be. With its perfect timing and also its significant conclusion, ‘Tsukimonogatari’ becomes quite a memorable part of the entire ‘Monogatari’ series.
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4. Owarimonogatari Season Two (2017)
The second season of ‘Owarimonogatari’ is another short season of the franchise that only consists of 7 episodes. It is more or less of a final conclusion to the Bakemonogatari series that was started off in the year 2009. Anyone who has managed to stick around with the show all the way till this season will understand its true value after this one marks a finale to an anime that has been airing since 8 years.
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3. Zoku Owarimonogatari (2018)
‘Zoku Owarimonogatari’ is the most recent version of the anime that was released on November 10, 2018. This one is nothing but an extra storyline that comes after the ending of the entire anime. It is a part of the series that was not exactly needed but it still shines as bright as the best parts of the entire anime.
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2. Hanamonogatari (2014)
‘Hanamonogatari’ is more of an independent story that does not have too many links with the main ‘Monogatari Series’. But regardless of its relationship with the main show, this one also manages to shine in its own unique way with its cleverly constructed dialogues and sensational appeal to all of the ‘Monogatari’ fans.
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1. Koyomimonogatari (2016)
‘Koyomimonogatori’ is a 12 episode ONA that was released on January 10, 2016. It follows an independent storyline where Koyomi is presented with a unique mystery by one of his female friends from the main series. He then helps them investigate these mysteries one by one. This ONA is good but it comes nowhere close to the entire original series and that’s the reason why we have placed it in the end. Once you’re done watching the entire series, only then you should come down to watching this one and even if you don’t, it won’t really make much of a difference.
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