The Introduction: Hey welcome to another Trainime review by yours truly, Sylverfyst! Today I'll be continuing the review of the series that started with Bakemonogatari, continued with Nisemonogatari, and has moved on now to Nekomonogatari (BLACK). This series (Well technically it's an OVA) is only 4 episodes long and as such it avoids some of the pitfalls that were apparent in Nisemonogatari.
The Fabulous: The dark, violent themes that pervade this OVA is a nice return to the ominous tone of the original series. That's not to say that there is no humor in Neko(Black), but it is significantly toned down from Nisemono, and is certainly of a better quality. Nekomonogatari (BLACK) is a prequel story focusing on Hanekawa, and the origin of Black Hanekawa, it's a truly touching story about first love, family and the awkward stages of just becoming aware of your own feelings. When Neko becomes contemplative the story just shines so bright because it's really well written. Speaking of shining bright, the art in this series is unreal. It's super consistent through each of the seasons too and is one of the best reasons to be watching it. The violence is back in it's sporadic crazy intensity. This is such a good thing, it's accented by it's quiet contemplative moments, and then throws the viewer completely off-guard. It's also good to see Oshino back, though he doesn't have a huge role.
The Meh: The fan service is back, it's significantly toned down when compared with the outrageousness that was Nisemono, but it's still there for a scene that really was pretty super disturbing (The one with Tsukihi for those of you that have seen it already). Yes Black Hanekawa is running around in her underwear for a good section of the OVA, but this is not unprecedented in the series, and it seems like they actually try to explain it as the apparition trying to relieve stress by removing inhibitions on Hanekawa's part as well. I can't complain about the rest of it though because it's pretty much relegated to the side this time around.
The Unfabulous: There's only one thing that isn't fabulous in this series, and it doesn't affect it's score because it makes sense, it just makes me sad. THERE'S NO SENJOUGAHARA! I mean it's a prequel to Bake so of course she's not in it, but I'm still upset. Yes it's irrational, but I don't care and it's not affecting this OVA's rating score.
The Conclusion: I give this one a perfect five out of five trains, it redeems this series in a really cool way, it may be a prequel to Nisemono and Bake, but it feels more like a continuation of the quality of Bake then Nisemono ever did. Like I said in an earlier review, Nisemono never quite rose to the highs of Bake, but was good, Neko reaches those heights with tight storytelling that has no room for the fluff in Nisemono.