Based off of a series of light novels by Nisio Isin, the series collectively known as Monogatari has risen to stunning popularity among the anime community. The fanbase, particularly in the West, grew into a much more fervent army when SHAFT received the rights to adapt the light novels into anime series. However, like so many other series that bear similarities in name and run on a vast, or at least complex, timeline, it can be difficult for new fans to get into. So if you are looking to start into the Monogatari series, but want to know how to watch it, look no further.
In the Monogatari light novels and anime, the story is made up of either one central story or a number of short stories about different characters in the same universe. This can make watching in chronological order particularly difficult, but while you totally can watch in chronological order, it is actually not the recommended way to watch the series for the first time. Typically chronological is better for a rewatch of the series or after you read the light novels. The good news is that the recommended watch order is actually the release order, but that has gotten more complicated with the release of the second season of Owarimonogatari since new fans may see a second season and watch it outside of release order accidentally.
Release Order – Recommended Watching Order for First-Time Monogatari Watchers
- Bakemonogatari – Contains the stories Hitagi Crab, Mayoi Snail, Suruga Money, Nadeko Snake, and Tsubasa Cat.
- Nisemonogatari – Contains the Karen Bee and Tsukihi Phoenix stories.
- Nekomongatari: Kuro – Tells the prequel story of the Tsubasa family.
- Monogatari Series: Second Season – Somewhat confusingly named if you have no experience with the light novels, this encompasses a big bulk of the single story light novels including the Tsubasa Tiger, Mayoi Jiangshi, Nadeko Medusa, Shinobu Time, and Hitagi End.
- Hanamonogatari – Tells the Suruga Devil story.
- Tsukimonogatari – Tells the Yotsugi Doll story.
- Owarimonogatari (First Season) – Tells the Ougi Formula, Sodachi Riddle, Sodachi Lost, and Shinobu Mail stories.
- Koyomimonogatari – Encompasses 12 different short stories about Koyomi.
- Owarimonogatari (Season 2) – Tells the Hitagi Rendezvous, Araragi Koyomi’s story, and Ougi Dark stories as well as one other story not mentioned for spoilers sake.
What about Kizumonogatari?
Kizumonogatari is actually a prequel that explains how the story actually began, but when to actually watch this series of movies is a topic of much debate.
- Before Bakemonogatari – The light novel author stated that as a prequel, watching it before everything else is a valid way to experience it, but not the most recommended way. The thing that can throw some people off is that the style of movies differs from the actual series.
- Between Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari – This is the author’s recommended spot to watch Kizumonogatari. After Bakemonogatari, you have a fair amount of information on the world and Kizu will help clear things up more quickly going forward.
- Between Koyomimonogatari and Owarimonogatari (Second Season) – The true airing order way to watch it, but breaks up the story of two important arcs. If you are on a binge watch, then it is less of a big deal.
- Between Owarimonogatari and Koyomimonogatari – This is the compromise to the airing order watch above that doesn’t separate the story arcs and makes for a more cohesive watch.
Chronological Watch Order of Monogatari
The most entrancing thing about the Monogatari series is that it has so many stories to tell in the same universe and that intrinsically gives it a lot of rewatch value. However, watching chronologically will only make the most sense if you already are familiar with the series. For advanced fans, the chronological watch order is as follows.
- Nekomonogatari: Kuro
- Monogatari Series – Mayoi Jiangshi
- Monogatari Series – Shinobu Time
- Owarimonogatari (First Season) – Shinobu Mail
- Monogatari Series – Tsubasa Tiger
- Owarimonogatari (First Season) – Ougi Formula, Sodachi Riddle, Sodachi Lost
- Monogatari Series – Nadeko Medusa and Hitagi End
- Owarimonogatari (Second Season)
We hopes this helps new and veteran fans alike that need a little more Monogatari in their lives. If you have your own comments on either watch order, let us know in the comments section below.