A class president among class presidents, a bespectacled model student who soars to the top of honors lists without fail, Tsubasa Hanekawa also happens to be a decent human being. True, she does have a habit of making single-minded assumptions, but they come from a good place and turn out to be fortuitous as often as not.
Loser extraordinaire Koyomi Araragi owes her his post of class vice president and a more significant debt of gratitude for her unstinting support during the darkest spring break of his life. All of it has blinded him to the possibility that his saintly classmate’s family situation might be no less adverse than that of his other lady friends.
Thus, at last, we face Hanekawa’s unlikely aberration in “Tsubasa Cat”—the concluding part of the legendary novel that captured the sensibilities of a new generation in the aught years and spawned an animated series that has won international popularity and acclaim—before the story continues with a Fake Tale…
Bakemono, literally “altered thing,” which translates as “monster.” Monogatari, literally “thing narrated,” which translates as “tale.” Combined into a neologism by he of the reversible nom de plume, they yield BAKEMONOGATARI, the monster tale that kicked off a series whose anime adaptations have enjoyed international popularity and critical acclaim.
A self-described loser, Koyomi Araragi is struggling at a prep school that he should never have gotten into. He has all but quit caring, but as a senior, he faces the chilling scenario of not being able to graduate. It’s time to cram, but the supernatural aberrations that keep on popping up in his provincial town won’t let him be.
Previously, our hero turned into a vampire and back, gained an acid-tongued girlfriend, and couldn’t find his way home thanks to a lost child. In this second of three parts, which introduces Suruga Kanbaru and Nadeko Sengoku, he becomes embroiled in a case that riffs on a classic English story from 1902.
Originally planned to be the series’ conclusion, “final” chapter “Tsukihi Phoenix” invites us back to the seemingly eventless country burg where supernatural afflictions abound and characters change their trademark hairstyles at the drop of a hat. Rest assured, dear reader, that the story continued in Japanese and will do so in translation.
In the first half of Fake Tale, lost soul Araragi helped resolve his bigger little sister Karen’s feverish run-in with a fraud. In this second half, he must attend to his littler little sister Tsukihi’s issues, but not before staging the Toothbrush Episode that the acclaimed anime adaptation’s viewers find quite memorable—whether they like to or not.
As fraught with ominousness as a dark empty street, as unexpectedly full of feeling as an acid-tongued girlfriend, as sidesplittingly funny as a horny retired jock, and (maybe even) as educational as college in the best MONOGATARI tradition, this volume also introduces us to “ghostbusters” Yozuru Kagenui and Yotsugi Ononoki.
There’s a girl at their school who is always ill. She routinely arrives late, leaves early, or doesn’t show up at all, and skips gym as a matter of course. She’s pretty, and the boys take to whispering that she’s a cloistered princess. As the self-described worst loser in her class soon finds out, they just don’t know what a monster she is.
So begins a tale of mysterious maladies that are supernatural in origin yet deeply revealing of the human psyche, a set of case files as given to unexpected feeling as it is to irreverent humor. So begins the legendary novel that kicked off the MONOGATARI series, whose anime adaptations have enjoyed international popularity and critical acclaim.
This first of three parts introduces Senjogahara and Hachikuji, and fans of the blockbuster prequel KIZUMONOGATARI will be delighted to meet their favorite crazies again: the weirdly reliable narrator Araragi, class president among class presidents Hanekawa, shady problem-solver Oshino, and a certain pale, blonde former vampire.
Unlike ne’er-do-well former vampire Araragi, his two younger sisters Karen and Tsukihi, who attend a private junior high, are little balls of energy and charisma that their peers look up to. That the “ka” in Karen and “hi” in Tsukihi are both written with the character for “fire” isn’t the only reason they’ve come to be known as the Fire Sisters.
Karen is the brawn and Tsukihi the brains of a vigilantism that the pair sees not merely as defending justice but as justice itself. They can’t encounter a harmful fad without trying to hunt down a specific source that had a motive for spreading it. In their big brother’s humble opinion, there is something fake and precarious about it all.
In this first of two parts, the immediate sequel to the legendary BAKEMONOGATARI plunges us into the middle of summer vacation in the mostly peaceful rural town where the series is set. As our hero and narrator can say from experience, however, teenagers with too much free time on their hands can get stung pretty badly.