The Recommended Order to Watch the Monogatari Series

Monogatari is the name given to a series of light Japanese novels written by the novelist Nisio Isin. The novels were illustrated by Vofan, a Taiwanese illustrator. There are a total of 24 novels, all released since 2006, with 5 more novels planned to be released soon.

The novels have been adapted into anime by SHAFT, and the adaptions have been a huge hit. The series only grew as more episodes were released. The Monogatari anime is made up of a central story as well as a number of smaller, short stories that feature different characters within the same universe. They all follow a theme of odd characters with odd afflictions, within beautifully constructed stories that hold a deep meaning, while being light and fun to watch.

The series can be watched in chronological order, but this isn’t necessarily recommended as the best way to watch the stories for the first time. The release of the second and final season has thrown the chronological order for a bit of a loop as the series was never intended to be watch chronologically. The purpose of a shuffled timeline was done to create some mystery and anticipation, and to help add in some big reveals and revelations along the way.

Although the Monogatari series is a big world with many characters, it all ties in with a common theme and feel that pulls it all together to create a complete and rounded novel series.

Here is a breakdown of the different seasons, which are vital when knowing the order to watch the series in:

First season: Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, Nekomonogatari black and Kizumonogatari.

Second season: Nekomonogatari White, Kabukumonogatari, Hanamonogatari, Otorimonogatari, Onimonogatari and Koimonogatari.

Final season: Tsukimonogatari, Koyomimonogatari, Owarimongatari, Zoku Owarimonogatari.


Plot

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Koyomi Araragi is a third-year student in high-school. Koyomi was a vampire for a short period of time after surviving a vampire attack. This introduction into the supernatural world sends him on a path and journey meeting many different characters throughout his life going forward, all who play a part in the bigger picture of the series. The girls he meets and helps along the way are all involved in the supernatural realm. The other important characters are his close friends, consisting of Tsubasa Hanekawa who is a genius, Shinobu Oshino who is a donut loving vampire, bite-happy spirit Mayoi Hachikuji, the athletic Suruga Kanbaru, the stalker Nadeko Sengoku and the tsundere Hitagi Senjogahara.

He first comes across his classmate Hitagi Senjogahara, who falls into his arms after falling down the stairs. He discovers she is virtually weightless, and wants to help her solve her problem. When Koyomi was first turned into a vampire, a strange middle-aged name Meme Oshino, who lived in an abandoned building, helped cure him. Koyomi takes Hitagi to see Meme, but she is only the first of supernaturally plagued girls that Koyomi will be helping.

Koyomi comes across many different girls with oddities, being his friends, his classmates or even his sisters. They all carry items that hint towards their afflictions. The story follows Koyomi, but also the girls he encounters and tries to help along the way.

The story covers quite a long chronological timeline, which is why there is such confusion on the best way to watch it. Instead of following the chronological order, the release order gives enough backstory and information for the series to be watched and understood properly.

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The Recommended Order

There are three recommended orders in which to watch the Monogatari series, depending on your knowledge of the series and how you would prefer to experience it. There is an order for first-timers, for those loyal to the novels and then an order for those who have read the novels and want to watch the series in chronological order.

 

Release Order

This order is recommended for first time Monogatari viewers. It is how most viewers have followed the story, as it was the most plausible order being that it was how the series was released.

Watching it in this order is how SHAFT intended it to be, and it is possibly the best order for first-time viewers. The biggest difference in this order is that Kizumonogatari, which is the origin story, is only shown later on as the finale. Some feel that this might leave many question unanswered for first-time viewers, but the other seasons and episodes do provide enough information to follow the story line.

Typically this is the order in which most English viewers have enjoyed the series, as it was released as such for viewing.

First season:

1. Bakemonogatari (2009) – Stories of Mayoi Snail, Hitagi Crab, Nadeko Snake, Suruga Money and Tsubasa Cat.

2. Nisemonogatari (2012) – Stories of the Tsukihi Phoenix and the Karen Bee.

3. Nekomonogatari Kuro (2012) – The prequel story of the Tsubasa Family

Second season:

1. Monogatari Series Second Season (2013) - This contains a larger bulk of the single story novels, including Mayoi Jiangshi, Shinobu Time, Tsubasa Tiger and Hitagi End.

2. Hanamonogatari (2014) – Story of the Suruga Devil.

Final season:

1. Tsukimonogatari (2014) – Story of the Yotsugi Doll

2. Owarimonogatari (2015) – The Ougi Formula, The Sodachi Lost, Sodachi Riddle and the Shinobu Mail Stories.

3. Koyomimonogatari (2016) – Tells 12 different stories about Koyomi.

4. Owarimnonogatari (Part 2) (2017) – Story of the Hitagi Rendezvous, Ougi Dark stories and the Arargi Koyomi story, including other stories that might spoil the storyline.

5. Zoku Owarimonogatari (2018) – This instalment was initially released as a movie, but will be screened as a 6 episode screening in 2019. It is the Koyomi reverse story.

Off season:

1. Orokamonogatari (TBA)

2. Wazamonogatari (TBA)

3. Nademonogatari (TBA)

4. Musubimonogatari (TBA)

Monster season:

1. Shinobumonogtari (TBA)

2. Yoimonogatari (TBA)

3. Amarimonogatari (TBA)

4. Ougimonogatari (TBA)

5. Shimonogatari (TBA)

 

Chronological Order

Many people find rewatching the series, or watching it after reading the novels, is best enjoyed in chronological order. The amount of stories and characters in this one universe means there is much to rewatch, and there are always new things to pick up on second time around.

Chronological order is recommended for advanced fans, who won’t be confused by missing information that has not been revealed or made clear yet. First-timers will become a bit lost in this order, as there will be some skipping back and forth between certain novels before finishing one at a time.

1. Wazamonogatari

2. Kizumonogatari

3. Nekomonogatari (Black)

4. Bakemonogatari

5. Nisemonogatari

6. Kabukimonogatari

7. Onimonogatari

8. Owarimonogatari Vol. 2

9. Nekomonogatari (White)

10. Owarimonogatari Vol. 1

11. Wazamonogatari

12. Orokamonogatari

13. Otorimonogatari

14. Koimonogatari

15. Tsukimonogatari

16. Owarminogatari Vol. 3

17. Zoku Owarimonogatari

18. Hanamonogatari

19. Shinobumonogatari

20. Wazamonogatari

21. Orokamonogatari (Suruga Bonehead)

22. Orokamonogatari (Tsukihi Undo)

23. Nademonogatari

24. Musubimonogatari

 

Nisio Isin Order

This order is the original release order of the light novels. It is the order in which author Nisio Isin intended the novels to be read. The chronological order shuffles throughout, but this is completely intentional and works towards creating a more full story and universe of characters.

If you want to enjoy the stories as they were created to be enjoyed then this is the order to follow. It will be slightly void of the mystery and anticipation that Kizumonogatari brings, as well as having a few small changes in the narrative, but it keeps true to the story.

First season:

1. Bakemonogatari (2006) - Stories of Mayoi Snail, Hitagi Crab, Nadeko Snake, Suruga Money and Tsubasa Cat.

2. Kizumonogatari (2008) – The prequel to the Monogatari series.

3. Nisemonogatari (2008-2009) - Stories of the Tsukihi Phoenix and the Karen Bee.

4. Nekomonogatari Black (2010) - The prequel story of the Tsubasa Family

Second Season:

1. Nekomonogatari White (2010) – The story of Tsubasa Hanekawa from her own perspective.

2. Kabukimonogatari (2010) – A tale of time travel with Araragi Koyomi and Oshino Shinobu.

3. Hanamonogatari (2011) - Story of the Suruga Devil.

4. Otorimonogatari (2011) – The story of Nadeko Medusa and her journey to be self-reliant.

5. Onimonogatari (2011) – The Shinobu Shrine story

6. Koimonogatari (2011) – Hitagi Senjougahara makes a deal with the gods to protect Koyomi Araragi.

Final season:

1. Tsukimonogatari (2012) - Story of the Yotsugi Doll

2. Koyomimonogatari (2013) - Tells 12 different stories about Koyomi.

3. Owarimonogatari (2013-2014) - The Ougi Formula, The Sodachi Lost, Sodachi Riddle and the Shinobu Mail Stories.

4. Zoku Owarimonogatari (2014) - This instalment was initially released as a movie, but will be screened as a 6 episode screening in 2019. It is the Koyomi reverse story.

Off season:

1. Orokamonogatari (2015) – Stories of Sodachi Fiasco, Suruga Bonehead and Tsukihi Undo.

2. Wazamonogatari (2016) – The Cruel Fairy Tale: Princess Fair

3. Nademonogatari (2016) – The story of Nadeko Draw

4. Musubimonogatari (2017) – Four stories of Zenka Mermaid, Mitome Wolf, Nozomi Golem and Tsuzura Human.

Monster season:

1. Shinobumonogatari (2017) – Tale of Shinobu Oshino, the Kanji.

2. Yoimonogatari (2018) – Araragi and the Loli trio look into the possible kidnapping of a young girl.

3. Amarimonogatari (TBA) – Upcoming story of Yotsugi Body and Yotsugi Shadow.

4. Ougimonogatari (TBA) – Upcoming story of Ougi Light and Ougi Fright.

5. Shinomonogatari (TBA) – Upcoming stories of Deathtopia Destiny, Deathtopia Death Education and Deathtopia Destination.

 

When to Watch Kizumonogatari

Kizumonogatari is a prequel explaining how the whole story behind the series began. There really is no consensus on when this series of stories should be watch, so there are a few different options to choose from. There is some freedom to pick and choose when you want to watch Kizumonogatari, so it just depends on what makes sense for you.

Watching before Bakemonogatari

While watching it before everything else is a valid time to watch it, and while the author stated that it is a prequel, watching it before the other stories isn’t recommended. The style is quite different to the rest of the series, and this can put some people off continuing and watching on.

Watching between Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari

Nisio Isin recommended that this is the place where Kizumonogatari should be watched. Bakemonogatari gives the viewer a good handle of information regarding the Monogatari universe and Kizumonogatari will help give some more clarity on the story going forward.

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Watching between Koyominogatari and Owarimonogatari (Second Season)

Even though this breaks up the following stories of two important arcs, it is the true airing order to watch in. If you watch the series quickly then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem as you will catch up with the missing information quickly.

Watching between Owarimonogatari and Koyomimonogatari

This is possibly the most cohesive order in which to watch Kizumonogatari. It doesn’t break up the story arc and just makes more sense. It isn’t the way it was released, but will make the story clearer if watched this way.

 

The Monogatari Series

The Monogatari series was initially created as a series of short stories for the Mephisto magazine. Each story in the Monogatari series tends to introduce one new character at a time, focussing the story around them. The light novel series found rank at number six in the Takarajimasha’s 2009 issue. The next year it landed up ranking as second. Hitagi Senjogahara also saw herself ranked seventh as Best Female Character in 2009.

 

Things to Note before Watching the Monogatari Series

  • While the Bakemonogatari series officially consists of 15 episodes, most legal streaming sites only feature 12. The reason for this is because the last 3 episodes were only released in Japan and were not released on television. Outside of Amazon, the only way to legally watch these last three episodes is through the Blu-ray release.

  • The arcs are meant to be experienced in a shuffled order. You might be thrown off course with missing information if you watch it in chronological order. The series is meant to come across as mysterious and as a puzzle, so don’t let this put you off in the beginning.

  • The compilation of Kabukimonogatari, Owarimonogatari and Onimonogatari occur at the same time as the entire Nekomonogatari Shiro arc. They are used as flashbacks at a later stage.

Whichever way you choose to watch the series, it really is one of a kind. The best thing is that you have both the light novels and the anime to enjoy!

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