Kizumonogatari: Reiketsu

Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment

Kizumonogatari Reiketsu Araragi Koyomi Kiss-Shot

Title: Kizumonogatari: Reiketsu
Anime Studio: Shaft
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Genre: Vampire / Mystery / Supernatural
Released: September 9th, 2019
Classification: 18
Language: Japanese
Length: 82 minutes
Extras:  Trailer, Long PV, Package CM 1 & 2

With help from Meme Oshino, the apparition specialist, Koyomi defeats the three powerful vampire hunters: Dramaturgy, Episode and Guillotinecutter. Koyomi takes back all the limbs of Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion-Heart-Underblade in order to become a human again. But, when he returns to Kiss-Shot, she reveals to him the cold truth of what it means to be a vampire—a creature of the night. Unable to take back what he has done, Koyomi feels nothing but regret and can only deny his dreadful fate. While Koyomi is struggling to face reality, his “friend” Tsubasa Hanekawa comes to him with a certain plan… THE ORIGIN STORY OF THE MONOGATARI SERIES – THE FINALE OF THE TRILOGY

The first two parts of the Kizumonogatari trilogy were a lot of fun, but it’s this final part that is perhaps the strongest overall. From a story standpoint, it mostly deals with Araragi’s internal struggle. And not just about his own current standing, but the fact that his action have led to him unleashing a fully powered Kiss-Shot on the world. His immense sense of guilt and desire to find a way to atone is actually a wonderful – if dark – journey to follow throughout the release.

It’s not just Araragi that gets some good progression either. We learn a lot more about Kiss-Shot here, and it really does add a lot to her character. From the tragic moments of her past to her current beliefs and wishes, it’s actually a fascinating tale to follow through.

Now, I’ve never watched anything else in the Monogatari franchise, so I wasn’t aware how this would end for Araragi and Kiss-Shot. If you’re in the same boat as me, it’s worth knowing that this isn’t building to a happily ever after. If anything, it was far darker and downtrodden than I expected. That’s not a bad thing though. When all was said and done, the ending made perfect sense, and did a lot to advance the key characters, so I really can’t complain.

Kizumonogatari Reiketsu Araragi Koyomi

Visually, the release is stunning too, especially when it comes to visceral scenes. Bar a few bad CG-diminished moments, the bloodshed is gruesome in exactly the way it needs to be. Watching Kiss-Shot rip the flesh from someone’s face with her teeth, for example, is oddly compelling to watch. Though, that’s not to say that the non-action scenes are poor. There are plenty of other moments that stand out, such as Araragi trippy hallucination late on in the film. Oh, and let’s not forget the beautiful shot of Kiss-Shot’s hair flowing in the wind as she and Araragi look out over the city.

Perhaps better than the visuals though was the soundtrack. Satoru Kosaki’s piano-led orchestral score is truly fantastic. Every piece feels fitting, and each packs a really emotional punch throughout. The result is a consistent lifting of scene quality throughout.

Kizumonogatari Reiketsu is not perfect, however. The random bouts of fan service are not only present but are taken to a new level here. From full nudity to Araragi trying to justify his attempt at humiliating Tsubasa into letting him fondle her, it all seems at odds with the general feel of the film. It’s a real shame because it not only brings you out of the story but also affects Araragi overall. During said humiliation scene, he actually ceases to feel like an awkward teen and crosses over into something else altogether. It’s like watching a different character. On top of that, some of the more surreal moments – like a headless Araragi running around a running track – may be a bridge too far for some.

Kizumonogatari Reiketsu Kiss-Shot

Overall though, the faults present do not entirely derail Kizumonogatari Reiketsu. If anything, it’s a beautifully visceral, downtrodden tale of a redemption that simply isn’t possible. Throw in a deluxe booklet and some art cards, and this is a nice set. I give this one 4.5 out of 5.

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