Friday, July 17, 2009

Katanagatari, shit till the bitter end

I always had a suspicion that when Nisioisin stopped being brilliant and did something bad that it would at least be spectacularly bad.
Part of the reason I got so far into Katanagatari in the first place was because it was so boringly bad. I was simply indifferent to it, so I focused on the odd bit that did work, and didn't quite work out that I genuinely hated it.
By then I owned the whole damn thing, and gradually obstinance set in. I struggled valiantly forward through the tenth volume, to no one's benefit, including my own.
I literally do not remember a god damn thing about volume ten.
I barely remember most of volume eleven, and I read the fucking thing earlier this week.
Took advantage of particularly hideous traffic on the bus route home to plow through the last two volumes and kill the fucker from my to read pile.
I think Katanagatari failed for three primary reasons - the schedule, which was a stunt thing involving churning out a book a month for an entire year (and seems to have encouraged him to pad the fuck out of the books with 30 page recaps and write books even when he clearly didn't have a good idea); the structure, where each book has them up against a new sword, and basically locked him into a structure of long on the road conversation followed by introduction of the new sword wielder and sword and then a brief action scene to recover it; and the two lead characters, who have to be the two most boring people he's ever created, and who have absolutely no chemistry whatsoever.
The volume that entirely takes place somewhere else with the main guy's sister fighting ninja is easily the best volume in the series for a reason.
If there was a reward for my pathological need to force my way through books I do not like, it was that the last volume brought an end to the failure of mediocrity; at long last, the colossal failure I had been searching for appeared.
There follow spoilers. I assume some people intend to watch the anime; I do myself, in the hopes that they can distill something watchable without the burden of his prose tics (which are deeply irritating on material this flimsy.)
The volume kicks off with the tragic death of the heroine. It felt like killing her off was the only way to bring some sort of emotional foundation to events, and effectively admitted that the character and her relationship with his bog standard lead had utterly failed to amount to anything. Reducing her to a stock cliche was the only way he could replace her with something that could actually induce momentum.
Bringing in some hastily conceived bullshit about changing history was merely embarrassing; having the hero fight through all the swords and destroy them in some sort of Capcom boss battle riff was actually pretty entertaining, and sending him off in a self-indulgent epilogue, traveling with the god damn villain (admittedly, the most interesting character in the book) was just the final admission of absolute failure.
Bakemonogatari episode three was really good.


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  2. Someone is mad Togame died... Can't take a real ending, eh?

    And don't argue with me - it makes you look childish. That's not to say that your horrid vocabulary hasn't helped look childish, it has.

    I bet you think Bleach is amazing too - HAH! Lout.