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NEKOMONOGATARI (BLACK): Cat Tale Paperback – December 8, 2017
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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About the Author
Palindromic NISIOISIN made his debut as a novelist when he was twenty. A famously prolific author, he is known to publish more than a book per month at times. With his inexorable rise, he has become the leading light of a younger generation of writers who began their careers in the twenty-first century.
Titles by him published in translation so far include Decapitation: The Blue Savant and the Nonsense User (formerly known as Zaregoto) and a manga adaptation of his novel Imperfect Girl (from our Vertical Comics imprint). The MONOGATARI series, widely considered his masterpiece to date, is becoming available in English for the first time.
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Neko Kuro takes place during Golden Week, a period from the end of April to the beginning of April with one Japanese holiday after another. During this time Koyomi Araragi learns the truth about the abuse his classmate, Tsubasa Hanekawa, suffers at home. Shortly thereafter, Hanekawa is possessed by a Cat apparition, and begins to go on a rampage. It's up to Araragi and Oshino put a stop to the Hanekawa before she does lasting damage to someone.
There are two basic problems with this series. First, as has already been discussed, this series is a prequel. Sure, Kizu was a prequel as well, but the events of that series were shrouded in mystery, and had a bunch of new characters. The Tsubasa cat arc from Bake already gives you the gist of this plot of this novel, and there aren't any new characters, so there isn't really any suspense or much mystery to this. Second, much like Tsukihi Phoenix before it, Nisio let the comedy portions at the beginning run for too long before the action really got started. The anime managed to fit over 100 pages of this into a single episode without losing anything of particular importance.
That being said, it's not like there isn't plenty to love here. The aforementioned comedy included some of my favorite jokes in the entire series, and the confrontations between Araragi and Hanekawa are fantastic.
Now that we've got all the backstory out of the way, it's time to start 2nd season, the best set of stories in the franchise. Join me in January!