Kizumonogatari Cover

Kizumonogatari: Wound Tale


Kizumonogatari (Wound Tale):

Background of the Author:

When you start to talk of Japanese Authors born in the late 20th century but whose literary career starts after the turn of the century, and who work mainly in the Light Novel category, which stands as a third of the manga, light novel, anime trifecta, the name you come up with first, is probably Reki Kawahara of SAO (Sword Art Online) fame. From there you might go to Ryogo Narita of Durarara!! fame or Otsuichi which has five entries in WWE. It might take awhile to think of the palindromic Nisioisin. But this only reflects translation priorities and not shear output. Nisioisin makes the multiple novels a year output of PKD at his most prolific look like a slacker. It's safe to say that over the last few years these four have moved from raising stars to established authors. The fact we're only just now getting to know Nisioisin means there is a unmined trove of works to look forward to. (If they ever get translated!)

Background of the Story:

The Bakemongatari (Monster Tale) series is 18 volumes (Published between Nov, 2006 to Sep. 2014) of which Kizumonogatari is the third volume published but the first in chronological order.


We start with the iron-blooded, hot-blooded, yet cold-blooded, legendary 500 year old vampire. Slayer and Empress of aberrations (monsters) she is known as Kissshot Acerolaorion Heartunderblade.

And then we add Koyomi Araragi who is transitioning from 2nd to 3rd year of high school (that would be Junior to Senior), 17 years old. He's gotten into a prestigious school but is falling behind. Araragi is an unambitious slacker, who has some of his teachers convinced he's smart, just because math is his best subject and he does well there.

When these two meet, only misery can be the outcome.

When they meet, Kissshot is dying. She turns to Araragi to give her his blood to save her. Kissshot is stunned when he doesn't (rations should come when called) and then is even more stunned when he does offer up his neck of his own free will. Nisioisin won't be rushed. It's taken about 50 pages to set the scene, to explore Araragi's mindset and relationship structures on that day which changes him and Kissshot forever. Nisioisin has to take his time or Araragi's actions on that day, and on subsequent days as Kissshot's vampire thrall, until it all comes crashing down, won't be comprehensible to us.


If you go into this novel with the mindset of action on every page, blood flying in ghoulish vampire on vampire-hunter action, you'll be disappointed since that's not really the point. There are some battle sequences, composed, stylized as matches, with times, wagers, and no killing (on ether side), but that's almost beside the point. And by the time we get to the end, the meaning of that combat has changed 180 degrees.

This is a novel which explores a young man's brush with an aberration which changes everything for him (and her). How he looks at his world, his knowledge and the gaps, how his decisions are wrong, based on faulty understanding, and how the whole situation is not what he thought. It's all a horrible mistake based on his own inability to put the pieces together or acknowledge them when he has. Not until the very end where nobody can walk away with what they want, does it come together in a soul-ripping compromise.

This is as different from the average contemporary urban vampire fiction produced in America as one can get. Highly recommended.