Thanks to his misfortune in Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu, Koyomi Araragi is a vampire. If he wishes to return to being human, our hero must first take down three vampire hunters, who each own a limb belonging to Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. Now, we reunite with Araragi as he takes on these hunters in Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu!
This entry begins with Araragi facing off against the first vampire hunter: Dramaturgy. Despite being a vampire himself, Dramaturgy tells Araragi that it’s not uncommon for vampires to hunt their own and that he’s fully prepared to kill Araragi. Our hero, having had no experience fighting at all, manages to win in a stroke of luck and guts. Thanks to being turned into a vampire by Kiss-Shot, Araragi has incredible regenerative abilities. Those powers save him more than once when Dramaturgy slices straight through his limbs.
Just facing down Dramaturgy doesn’t mean the fight is over though, with two hunters yet to go. Not only that, Araragi must also keep Hanekawa safe, who insists on staying close to Araragi as his friend. Tasked with protecting someone and fighting to regain his humanity, Araragi is up against an impossible challenge – but perhaps he can overcome it all.
Having now rewatched these first two parts of Kizumonogatari (but still having not seen #3), I’m reminded of how much better Part 2 is compared to Part 1. It’s not that Part 1 does anything particularly wrong, Part 2 is just packed with more action as Araragi faces off against all three of the vampire hunters. This is coupled with moments of calm as he spends time with Hanekawa, which is well balanced and engaging. Part 1 drops so much information on you that being able to just sit back, shut your brain off, and enjoy the action was a welcome change.
If this type of battle-heavy action isn’t to your tastes (and in fairness, Monogatari is not often action-driven), there’s still plenty of fun banter between Araragi and Hanekawa to enjoy. As mentioned earlier, Araragi tries to push her away initially in an effort to keep her safe, but Hanekawa refuses to be left behind and firmly pushes her way into Araragi’s dangerous situation. It’s very obvious to the viewer that she has a crush on our protagonist, but she’s also the class president and wants to help Araragi – someone with no one else to rely on. It’s a solid relationship and the two characters have great chemistry together, so it’s easy to see why Hanekawa is a ‘best girl’ to many (myself included). This is of course helped greatly by the voice actors for the pair: Hiroshi Kamiya (Araragi) and Yui Horie (Hanekawa), who play off one another incredibly well.
The animation for Kizumonogatari Part 2 continues to be handled by SHAFT and looks wonderful. I especially like the distinct use of colour this time around, with a darker palette compared to Part 1. The scenes start to get brighter as Araragi gets closer to Hanekawa or is simply in a better mental state too, which is fascinating to watch. The battle scenes are well animated as well, with smooth, fluid animation that is easy to follow. However, there’s quite a lot of blood and guts flying around, so it certainly isn’t for the fainthearted!
This release comes to the UK thanks to MVM Entertainment and is available on Blu-ray as a collector’s edition. The set includes an art book and art cards, with on-disc extras being limited to a selection of trailers. Once again, there’s no dub present as Monogatari has never been dubbed. At the time of writing the third and final part of Kizumonogatari is due to come out in early September, meaning you won’t have long to wait to watch the (hopefully) thrilling conclusion.
Overall, this part of Kizumonogatari is better paced than the first with more to keep you engaged. Both newcomers to the story and those who have read the light novel will find plenty to like here with SHAFT’s wonderful and quirky animation. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how things conclude in the final entry in this trilogy!