If you follow recent anime at all, you’ll be familiar with Bakemonogatari and Katanagatari. From the first episode of Bakemonogatari, I decided Nisio Isin was welcome to join the ranks of People I Think Are Awesome. After that, it wasn’t hard to track down some of his other works, one being the light novels Zaregoto, the other being the manga Medaka Box.
Medaka Box is currently being scanlated by CXC. Browsing their site, I was able to discover some vomics (voice + comic = vomic… get it?!?!), which are pretty neat.
EDIT: I suppose I should offer some sort of “explanation” or something, if I’m promoting this divine author and his works of bliss.
Bakemonogatari and Katanagatari (portmanteaus of “bakemono” (ghost)/”katana” (sword) and “monogatari” (story)) are all light novels, along with Zaregoto. From watching the anime, reading the one novel that’s been translated, and following Medaka Box, the manga, I’ve become deeply enamored of Nisio’s writing style. His characters all seem pretty simple on the surface, but he seems to focus more on inventing situations that cater specifically to bringing out other facets of the character rather than instigating change/growth over time.
Bakemonogatari is about a teenager, Araragi Koyomi, who, before the events of the anime, was turned into a vampire, and then cured. However, this seems to kick off a series of unusual events; the 15-episode anime depicts 5 small arcs where Koyomi meets and helps 5 girls who all have been affected by some sort of supernatural curse or effect.
Katanagatari follows the travels of an expert fighter and a vengeful woman as they find 12 legendary swords. There have only been 2 episodes, so I can’t be more detailed than that, but I really enjoy the discussions and conversations between the characters. It seems very Nisio Isin to, again, establish a personality/character, and then throw them into various roles and show how it plays out.
Zaregoto is a mystery novel; that in and of itself should warrant a shorter description. It’s a typical closed-room case with a bunch of suspects. The draw to this book is that every person on the island is known as a genius in a certain field: art, cooking, electronics. I’ve read other blogs that say the second read is much more interesting, since you can see how the pieces of the mystery are woven together, so I’ll have to do that one day.
Last, Medaka Box. Because it’s a manga, there is a lot more action and less exposition, but it still has Nisio’s flair to it. The main characters are the God-like Kurokami Medaka and her childhood friend Hitoyoshi Zenkichi. Medaka is a very extroverted and spirited girl, who is known for her inexhaustible stamina and perseverance. She is elected head of student council, and promises to solve any and all problems brought to her, dragging Zenkichi into her exploits. As is typical of Nisio’s works, all the characters are extravagantly unique to a point.
I highly recommend all of these to people with gobs of free time to enjoy quirky works. I should also mention that the production on the anime and the manga seem very well done, very distinct styles. Bakemonogatari’s later episodes suffer from some of Shaft studio’s recent troubles, with animation falling behind schedule and such, but it’s still done well enough to complete the story, and just makes you anticipate the DVD/Blu-Ray release even more.
These are the first 3 vomics, out of 4 to be released. I’ll post the last one once I find it.
Bakemonogatari’s TV run is over, but there is still 1 webisode to be released.
Katanagatari is currently airing I believe once a month. 2 episodes are out.
Zaregoto has 1 light novel released in the US, with another on the way this summer.