One of my favourite animes, Katanagatari is an excellent demonstration of how to do a Shonen anime right – just enough plot while still keeping the action scenes brief and exciting. Features Samurais, Katanas, and Ninjas!

Katanagatari is based on a seies of light novels written by Nisio Isin, who also wrote the Bakemonogatari series of light novels. Although you might expect that to mean that Katanagatari has a similar style to Bakemonogatari, in reality the similarities are mostly superficial. Katanagatari is much more light-hearted than Bakemonogatari is, and has alot more action scenes and not much moeness.

If you’ve watched any shonen anime you’ll probably be familiar with alot of the tropes that Katanagatari uses. It doesn’t revolutionise the genre or do anything particularly new, but it does demonstrate exactly how to make a good shonen anime. There’s plenty of action, the plot is fairly interesting and the characters are compelling for the most part – though I found the romance bits to be a bit cheesy towards the end.

The story starts off being fairly typical – the hero and heroine embark on a search for 12 legendary Katanas called Deviant Blades that were forged by an ancient blacksmith and whose power is infinite, can take down a thousand with one, etc.

Later on, the plot develops into something more complex – as would be expected of the author of Bakemonogatari, there’s plenty of plot twists scattered throughout the 12 episodes. This might be taken as corny by some people, but for the most part the plot twists are believable and quite good.

This anime consists of 12 1-hour long episodes, which allows the production studio to really shine up the action scenes, and it shows. Most of the action bits are fluid and believable, while special moves and the like are also animated nicely and don’t come off feeling cheap.

The original broadcast had an episode a month, which was a pain to wait for since most episodes leave you wanting to watch the next one immediately. It doesn’t help that the Deviant Blades start getting extremely weird towards the end, almost ridiculously so.

Overall, Katanagatari is an excellent anime that I would highly recommend to any shonen fan. I guess if you like CHERIOO you can watch it too.