It’s a story within a story
Even if it says action right up on the show description I don’t see Katanagatari as much of an action show. Should the action matter that much when that’s not entirely the point of the story? Comments go by on ongoing shows plus other mixed impressions contribute a different takes on the shows. More than once I’ve come across comments emphasizing how “boring” Katanagatari is because the dialogue isn’t great at all, because they talk non-stop in a long episode and above all asking where is the action and why do I still keep seeing talking heads drawn in a weird way? We may have different takes on this but I see that Katanagatari shouldn’t entirely be taken as much of an action show.
One of the many reasons is because I don’t think the author really wanted it to be that way. Why? Because they don’t actually spend that much time in the fights themselves. If anything, the amount of time they actually spend fighting is minimal compared to anything else in the show. Waiting for a small action scene every once in a month as the main dish isn’t the best decision.
I doubt the author’s forte is action. I was surprised when I learned that this was his next project since action =/= Nishio for me. I’m not saying he lacks the ability to create great action stories it’s just that I don’t think he really wants his stories to go that way. If that were the case then wouldn’t it make more sense if he put greater effort on emphasizing that aspect?
It isn’t always about the action. Instead of fully showing the main character and bad guys combat skills, Katanagatari spends it explaining the backgrounds of the now corrupted owner of the swords or what the duo should be doing. They even go as far as mentioning that main character should work on his attitude and catch phrases. I think that pretty much stated that this is about the story and their “quest” and developing them. Shichika could use a lot of character development to subdue his “dull” (as the show mentions) personality. There’s much work to be done about them.
The character designs don’t exactly spell out action show for me. I mean, do they? There is a ninja dressed in a bird suit then there’s a insect group in the 4th episode who are part of the elite ninja group that wants to get a hold of all sacred swords. Actually most of the bad guys are either dressed or just look odd and I don’t mean it in a “menacing” manner at all. Is that bad? Not that much but can you expect much of them in terms of serious action?
Super powers. The enemies they face are described as “eccentric” by the characters themselves and as it suggests the fights are not normal. I don’t think that Katanagatari is implying that because of this it will be a totally epic scene with drawn out sword fighting action scenes instead because of all the superhuman abilities that the characters have they can be equally, easily countered or defeated by a more powerful adversary. This event even happens in one of the movies when one of the bad guys is finished off in a matter of seconds after he introduces himself. Same thing happens in a previous episode. In this story because of the great super abilities they all have (except Togemu) the fights will be rather short. Actually, if they would cut down on the dialogues they’ll be even shorter.
The 4th episode. I think it kinda proved that they don’t pay that much about the action section. I still want to see that fight though.
The author. The story is made by the same creator of Bakemonogatari. Going from Bakemonogatari to Kanatagatari was not a hard step at all. I knew that a colossal amount of dialogue was going to be present no matter what series the author is working on so I expected it. I think that by now that is his personal seal, even if his work doesn’t feature it I’d be expecting him to add some of it atsome point. Katanagatari is no exception.
I don’t think that Katanagatari is bad at all. I’m not entirely praising the dialogue either but I wouldn’t call it “boring”, in fact most of it was relevant to the characters or to the story. I didn’t see them making out of content jokes every five minutes either. To me the point of dialogues are to either explain, amuse, or inform the viewer or reader. Katanagatari has focused in all of them at some point so isn’t it just personal dislike for it because the show purposely spends time paying more attention to it? My take is that it’s not that they talk too much but that the action part in there to create a feeling of adventure designed as a mean to strengthen the relationship between Togemu and Shichika in their quest to collect the swords. The action serves as a nice bonus to the story to give it some thrilling feeling to it and not to be the center on which the story revolves around. I’m not thinking of Katanagatari as being a Basilisk or Samurai Champloo type of show because if I were to classify Kataganatari as only an action show then it would lose poorly. The fights are cool but not the greatest. Although it says action, this is more of a tale of adventurers with many wacky villains. I’m not in the least surprised that dialogue is the main attraction and it stand outs than the action part of the story. That being said,