I was ten years old when I first saw it. Or, rather, didn’t see it. It never really made itself visible. That is not to say it was invisible by any means; no, it always seemed like it was perfectly able to be seen but placed just out of my range of sight. Out of eye-shot, if you will.
Palindromically-stylised author NISIOISIN’s Bakemonogatari (Monster Tale) is the collective title of five story arcs published over three volumes (two in the original Japanese print) that is the origin of the now-expansive Monogatari series. Like the title suggests, they are stories of monsters, ghosts, and other supernatural beings that its protagonist happens to encounter and subsequently deal with. The aberrations in question draw from various mythologies and folklores, ranging from obscure Japanese tales to more well-known Western publications. This is no horror story, however; Bakemonogatari is best described as equal parts occult mystery, comedy, and in-depth analysis of the human psyche.
When I come up with ideas for writing, sometimes I’m already seated in front of my laptop and I just start right then and there. Sometimes I might be slightly busy, so I open up a Word document and drop a quick summary in there for later. Sometimes I may be lying awake in bed at some stupid hour of the night, and I rue both my proximity to my laptop and my unwillingness to get out of bed and use it. But there are also times I’m not in a place to do any of those things, so I send myself a message on my phone with a quick summary so I don’t forget what it was.
Sparing the preamble, Kizumonogatari (or Wound Tale, to which it has been officially localised) opens with an elaborate, multi-page description of a gust of wind lifting the skirt of a high school girl and revealing her panties. Such are we thrust into the mindset of Koyomi Araragi, the girl’s classmate, and the narrator of the eponymous tale of wounds that we are about to explore.
It’s bright. I try to shield my eyes from the harsh light assaulting them, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t escape it. Everything around me, in every direction and for as far as my eyes can see, is completely white. The landscape is completely featureless. Even the shadow below my feet is barely discernible. I may as well be being illuminated from every direction at once. It’s like some bizarre green-screen setup, before post-production has edited the backgrounds in.