HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Slithis
Antonio Gaudi
Oscar, The
Color Out of Space
Last Holiday
Zombieland: Double Tap
Mind Benders, The
Mighty Wind, A
   
 
Newest Articles
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
   
 
  Nekomonogatori Black Bad Kitty
Year: 2012
Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
Stars: Hiroshi Kamiya, Yui Horie, Eri Kitamura, Maya Sakamoto, Takahiro Sakurai, Yuka Iguchi
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Animated, Weirdo, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Last summer Japanese high school student Koyomi Araragi (voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya) survived a vampire attack with the aid of his bosomy, bespectacled classmate Tsubasa Hanekawa (Yui Horie), on whom he has a not-so-secret crush. Now cured, Araragi endeavours to help those with similar supernatural problems assisted by his cute'n' perky kid sisters Karen (Eri Kitamura) and Tsuhiki (Yuka Iguchi). When Araragi and Hanekawa happen upon a dead cat on the street they bury the unfortunate feline without reflecting on the incident. That night Araragi has a violent encounter with a sexy but deadly, lingerie-clad cat girl or Neko. To his horror he realizes it is Hanekawa. Aided by Oshino (Takahiro Sakurai), an affably mysterious occult-know-it-all living in an abandoned building, and Araragi's vampire mentor Shinobu (Maya Sakamoto), a super-powerful yet benign, near-mute bloodsucker who appears as a beautiful little blonde girl, our hero theorizes the vengeful cat spirit is somehow inhabiting Hanekawa's body. Araragi tries to find out how and why this happened but the truth proves even more shocking.

Nekomonogatari Black is a four-part mini-series bridging the gap between Bakemonogatari (2009) and Nisemonogatari (2012). Collectively these make up a vast multimedia franchise that fired the imaginations of anime fans across Japan. A synopsis alone makes this sound like an average fantasy adventure romp. However series creator NisiOisin and director Akiyuki Shinbo, the man behind the genre-redefining magical girl masterpiece Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011), refashion a familiar-seeming plot into a mind-boggling work of meta-fiction that both parodies and dissects anime as a medium.

Unfolding at an insane breakneck pace, the Monogatari saga changes art styles almost from frame to frame, parodies other famous anime, blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, uses jump-cuts to challenge our concept of time and space, subtitles that reveal characters' thoughts a la Annie Hall (1977), alludes to classical art and consistently draws attention to its own fabricated nature in a manner reminiscent of Jean-Luc Godard films like Pierrot le Fou (1965). Characters regularly break the fourth wall to question exactly what kind of scene they are in while the creators also take fan-service (the anime term for T&A) to insane extremes slyly commenting on the very nature of such things. Ever since Studio Gainax's landmark Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) and existential works such as Serial Experiments Lain (1999), anime has grown increasingly postmodern and esoteric. However, in taking the next logical step into meta-fiction NisiOisin and Akiyuki Shinbo retain a sense of playfulness and fun that explains why, for all its restless experimentation the series has proven so popular.

Obviously something this dense and genre-referential is no entry point for newcomers either to this series or anime in general. The Monogatari saga is anime at its most challenging and confounding, able to inspire and infuriate in equal measure though at its best melding visceral terror with anarchic good humour. As a stand-alone story Nekomonogatari has many choice moments but comes across a trifle cold. Talky and introspective, the serial keeps much of the action off screen with characters arriving at the aftermath. While certain character quirks play better with long-time fans of the saga, Araragi and his friends are an endearing bunch, always attempting to rise above their flaws to do the right thing. Even so the film functions largely as a work of existential horror echoing that sense of urban alienation prevalent in the live action J-horror films of Kiyoshi Kurosawa. The notion that no matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise, one can never truly know another human being.

Arguably the existence of a spirit world goes against the very root of existentialism. Nonetheless, Nekomonogatari conveys a cynical and deeply unsettling idea that goodness draws evil and in some way, good people deserve to suffer for their virtue. At one point Oshino alarmingly empathizes with the parents of an abused child, arguing Hanekawa's innate goodness exposes the flaws and failings of most ordinary people so perhaps justifies such abuse. Obviously this is a far from palatable concept and happily Araragi does not let things lie there. Yet if a horror story is meant to disturb then surely there is no message more conceptually disturbing than the notion that on some level society welcomes it when good people suffer and die. Yikes.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 790 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: