I doubt Katanagatari is meant to be taken as much of an action show

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,



8 thoughts on “I doubt Katanagatari is meant to be taken as much of an action show

  1. The conversations between Togame and Shichika are interesting but not up to par with comedy level of Bakemonogatari then again Katanagatari isn’t much of a comedy either. I, for one, like that Shaft didn’t animate Katanagatari. Nothing against Shaft but I doubt I could’ve taken +40m of abstract art where there aren’t gags and the content of what I’m watching isn’t in question.

    • White fox studio hasn’t worked on that many projects which is surprising seeing how well Katanagatari has turned out for me. The other one I see on their list is Tears of Tiara, which I hadn’t had the pleasure of watching yet. Actually, after having watched Katanagatari I think I’m eager to watch it their other shows now. Looking forward to whatever White fox has to offer.

  2. Katanagatari is all about the character interactions to me. So far, I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I don’t care much about the fights. I thought the supertroll in episode 4 was great, not a shred ob the fight with Sabi, just our two heroes stuffing themselves while talking about what a tough time they had!

    • I was wondering if I skipped an episode or something. Huh, where’d that scene go? Talking about how epic the fight was without showing it was not something I expected, after all the 3rd movie preview had me all pumped up for that fight. I liked the 4th movie though since Shichiko’s sister had some great character development and showed us something really “unexpected”.

  3. I just finished watching the first 4 episodes today, so I guess this is still fresh in my mind. I love this show.

    1. The dialogue obviously isn’t Bakemonogatari-level, but this isn’t a comedy either. It gives us a great look into the characters’ backgrounds and intentions.

    2. The art is lovely. I won’t lie—my primary reason for finally starting on it (though I’ve been meaning to) is that it just looks pleasant.

    3. The fights are awesome. I don’t mind that they last only for a couple minutes. In fact, I prefer it that way. Because let’s be honest – when you’re dealing with lethal weapons and superhuman abilities, you can’t really expect anything but a decisive battle. I thought that the fight in episode two was absolute win.

    4. Episode 4 left me feeling like I was being trolled. Didn’t the preview from the last episode show the fight? Instead we were rewarded with them _talking_ about how incredible the fight was, and all the moves we couldn’t see. Taking exposition to the extreme wasn’t cool.

    That said, hell yeah I’ll continue watching, regardless of the level of “action”. I think every element of the show (especially the interactions between Togame and Shichika), while not best in class, are strong enough to make it a very enjoyable whole.

    • I had my doubts about the art when I first watched Katanagatari, now I’m totally into it. I can’t see it being animated in another way than it is now. Very artistic and original. It reminds me a bit of the game Ookami.

      I think those short minutes in which the fights happen are enough for me. The 2nd movie was a great example of it as you mentioned. Great techniques = someone is going down very soon.

      I really wanted to watch the fight they promised us in the 4th movie but there’s not much that can be done about that. Maybe they’ll show us some flashbacks of how epic it was? The preview for the next eps look cool, but now I feel I can’t trust the previews. Yeah, their stunts can have negative effects.

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