A sort of review on Kizumonogatari's audiobookWritten on September 4th, 2017 by waterflame
TLDR: Yeah, it actually turned out okay and if you don’t want to read the novel this is a good alternative as it’s read to you.
So recently I listened to the Kizumonogatari audiobook done by Vertical. I have to say I’m surprised it came out better than I ever expected it to be. Maybe that in itself was what made the experience so positive? By not expecting much I was able to come away with more… well either way I’ll let you be the judge, let’s get on with the review of sorts. Though before we get started for anyone who hasn’t read Kizu(or at least watched the movies) this does include spoilers for Kizu. If you plan to read or listen then I’d suggest refering to the TDLR, read through the book, and come back and see how we compare on the voices and such.
Kizumonogatari taking place as the third book in the series, it covers Araragi’s nightmarish spring break taking place right after his 1st year in highschool ends and right before the faithful 2nd year starts. If I were to sum up the story of Kizumonogatari in one sentence it’d be something like this - Koyomi Araragi is just your average high schooler who just so happened to have an encounter that would change his life forever. Now maybe I’m over simplifying that but it’s certainly true I think. But enough about the story itself, let’s focus more so on the topic at hand… the audiobook.
So I’m sure you're wondering about the elephant in the room… Monogatari with an English dub. Well in this case they’ve been able to sidestep a major issue. That being having to match the speed of dialogue and lip flaps of the animation. Of course picking the Kizumonogatari movies wouldn’t actually be as bad as the normal series due to it’s much slower pacing and lack of dialogue(in movie form) but I digress. Compared to just reading the novel, the audiobook brings forth new life to the story through music, sound effects, and voice actors portraying different roles. That’s right, this isn’t someone reading a book but more so of an audio drama. Overall I felt the voice work was quite good, though at times it can fall flat. To go more indepth on this I’d like to break it down by character.
Arararagi(sorry I stuttered). So first up on our list is of course the man himself, voiced by Erik Kimerer who you may know as the English voice of Ryuuji(Toradora). For the most part they did a good job portraying Araragi… but of course there were also times where they just fall flat. For example the best scene throughout the entire book I feel is at the start when he first meets Kiss Shot. Both do an excellent job acting out the scene in a way that could possibly be close to standing up with the Japanese version(Especially on his scream). But then you get parts were he just falls flat… like in the Shed scene(which by the way has actual meaning in the book then in the movie). Maybe if Hanekawa’s VA was also flat it’d be even the tiniest bit less awkward(actually that'd make it worse... Actually if both were to be completely monotone... that might actually make it funny) but that doesn't happen.
Shinobu Kiss Shot. Back when I first heard her voice last year I wasn’t sure how to feel about it, but I have to say it’s really grown on me. Christina Vee who you may know as the English voice of Homura(Madoka Magica) voices Kiss Shot throughout the book. Unlike Araragi, Kiss Shot throughout Kizumonogatari has 4 main voices(through the different stages). So even though I’ve said I wasn’t so sure about her younger voices at first what I was sure of as soon as I heard it was her full form(Sword form in above picture). On top of this the early scene when she first meets Araragi and the later scene where Kiss Shot begs Araragi to kill her in their fight I’d say is her best work throughout the book, especially with making the crying(which at least to me is normally super awkward in dubs) sound somewhat natural.
Hanekawa. So I didn’t know this till the end when the credits came around but all the voices are actually just done by 3 people. I mean it makes sense with Kizumonogatari having the smallest cast of 6(7 if you include characters with lines or 8 if you want to include mentioned characters)... Anyway getting back on topic, Hanekawa is also voiced by Christina Vee which isn’t a problem for the most part, right? I mean they did a good job on Kiss Shot so what’s to worry about? Wrong. This isn’t to say it was a total train wreck but just that it could've been better. The voice given certainly works but at certain points I felt that lack of tone change made it not work as well as it could've been(See the second panty scene, if I recall right it’s after the first fight). This isn’t to say there is a total lack of tone and that it’s all in one tone… for example there is at least some tone change in the shed scene. Besides this little nit pick I didn’t really have any problems with her voice casting.
Oshino. Well I’d like to say as much as I’ve said about the others but there really isn’t much to say. Keith Silverstein(you may know them as the English voice of Johnny Boya from Redline) does a good job portraying Oshino’s care free vibe he gives off throughout the series. Overall a good Oshino with tone applied accordingly. I’d like to hear more.
The three hunters after Kiss Shot - Dramaturgy, Episode, and Dramaturgy. Voice work is fine for them, nothing to really complain about as it does what it’s meant to do. But there is a slight problem with how Episode sounds like Duke Nukem. That’s right, you didn’t read that wrong… with all three also being voiced by Keith Silverstein. He does a good job using just different enough voices to fit their characters and not have them sound to similar. Hell if I didn’t know more about episode(like his voice, age, or appearance) i’d say the voice fits his character’s actions throughout the book. Another small bit though not directly about their voice is everyone’s pronunciation of "Daramturgy". Throughout the novel it is said a handful of times and I’m not sure if it’s just me but it sounds like they’re saying “Drama Turkey”. Hell, if you want to add a little fun to a listen… everytime they say his name out loud go “Gobble”, I know I did and it made work even more enjoyable on top of listening to Kizumonogatari during it.
Tsukihi. Now I know what you’re thinking(be it a movie only or a novel reader), “Tsukihi was in Kizumonogatari?!”. Why yes she was dear reader~! I don't blame you for getting(I did too till I listend to the novel) it’s really just a line or two via text message(check chapter 5). Hell if you want to stretch it out and include mentioned characters Karen was also mentioned in the same scene(Araragi calls her on the phone but she has no lines). So can you guess who voiced her? That’s right, Christina Vee! It starts off sounding what I might think Karen would sound like in English but later melts into what Tsukihi might sound like Since it was only a line or two I can’t really say much about it but no major problems. I’d actually like to see what they’d do for Karen’s voice as well as the rest of the cast… but alas that will most likely not be happening since I don’t believe the audio book did well enough in sales.
Subbed Japanese audio book when?(Yeah I’ll be that person ;D)
In closing, it was a pretty good ride. Be it as a first read(/movie only) or if you've read the novel before listening gives it a new spin. To finish up, I'd just like to thank the staff for going beyond my expectations for this book reading of sorts. Of course I can't forget to also thank everyone at Vertical that worked on the translation for Kizumonogatari.
- Tony oliver - Director
- Erik Kimerer - Araragi
- Cristina Vee - Kiss Shot, Hanekawa, and Tsukihi
- Keith Silverstein - Oshino, Dramaturgy, Episode, and Guillotinecutter
- Erica Escamise(I’m sorry I can’t find an actual spelling so I had to do it by ear) - Dialogue recording and Editing
- Bang Zoom Entertainment - Recording studio
Things I couldn’t fit into my review of sorts(spoilers tagged, hover to show):
I haven’t finished Owari so I might get an answer there or form a later novel but... is Oshino an aberration of sorts? Let me explain my semi spoiler reasoning. I mean I guess it doesn’t make much sense with what we know of his college life… but he could be like Tsukihi. Anyway it would certainly match up with his “Niece”. I mean they both do their own type of balancing… it’s like they’re Yin and Yang.
Owari onward So listening to Kiss Shot’s explanation of the aberration killer sword being able to kill an aberration without harming the former(say a human). I can now confirm Shinobu being gone in parts of Owari and in Hana(and anything between this) due to the events of Koyomimonogatari. Damn I really feel bad for the people who did offical only watches… must be quite confused with Owari Part 2…
Now for a quick joke - Monogatari, it’s all Hanekawa’s fault. I mean she real booted Araragi in to meeting Kiss Shot. Hell if things went differently they may of ended up together or just gone their separate ways. What if Hanekawa was the vampire? :p
One thing to note is unlike in the book where the ending focuses more on Hanekawa, The movie version focuses more on Shinobu.
In Chapter 18 Oshino mentions that to a vampire sucking blood to create a minion could be considered an act on tier with sex… Thoughts Senjo?
“Because the elevator of course didn’t work”... Your move movie :p
This I guess doesn’t really fit here… but I wonder if they’ll be adapting the rest(though I know they said they would as long as they continued to make money or was it that as long as he made novels... I'm sure both). Some of the short stories I’d certainly like to see what shaft does with them, not to mention Wazamonogatari and Zoku-Owarimonogatari(can't forget off season :3).
You can buy this lovely volume(and others part of the series) on Amazon or at your local bookstore. All amazon links below have both the Audio and Paperback book(cept for JP). Don’t see your region below? Switch out ‘.com’ for yours and it should show up, Amazon links are pretty swappable.