Weird Stuff Sticks with Me (Kizumonogatari)

This is Day 1 of the 12 Days of Aniblogging holiday rumpus. Today I am going to talk about a weird light novel called Kizumonogatari: Wound Tale. (Note: I have not seen any of the Monogatari anime; I went into this book blind at the start of this year.)

art by KTOMI

art by KTOMI

Kizumonogatari‘s base description perhaps doesn’t sound so weird. A teen becomes a vampire, then runs into trouble with vampire hunters. What makes the story stand out in this case is not the premise, but the prose itself. Nisio Isin is one of the more experimental authors in the world of light novels — and though I don’t like everything about his style, I can’t help but be impressed by his determination to write stories exactly as he wants them to be. They’re unconventional, and in turn unpredictable. I could never tell where Kizumonogatari was going. One page the protagonist is having a time for pensive self-reflection, and then the next page we’re caught up in a scene of unsettling violence. And then after that… the most inane conversation possible. It would all just be too jarring in any other story, but Nisio Isin makes it work somehow.

Kizumonogatari was funny, and it was exciting. But I think it’s important to note that it was sad too. Stories about broken people and people who don’t really fit in anywhere… Those resonate with me.

It’s not so much that I want a depressing story. What I want is a story where the characters — these good people — manage to pull through in some fashion, despite all their flaws and mistakes. The decisions these characters make, and the reasoning they give themselves to justify their actions… That’s what makes the story. Kizumonogatari is a lot of weird stuff on the surface, but beneath the madness is a sardonic heart brimming with a strange sort of hope.

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