Monogatari Series consists of a complicated timeline, both in terms of release order of the light novels and anime as well as chronologically. There are five main "seasons" in which the books/anime adaptations are organized: First Season, Second Season, Final Season, Off Season, and Monster Season.
First Season consists of the books / anime cours: Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari, along with Nekomonogatari Black. Kizumonogatari, originally the second released book of the light novel series, was announced as an anime movie in 2012 but was put on a hiatus up until 2015 when the film had finally returned to be released as a trilogy of films starting in January 2016.
Second Season consists of five stories total being Nekomonogatari White, Kabukimonogatari, Hanamonogatari, Otorimonogatari, Onimonogatari, and Koimonogatari. While First Season consists of two books with two volumes and another two books with only one volume each, Second Season consists of only one volume, one arc books. As such, the anime adaptation, Monogatari Series Second Season consists of all five books except Hanamonogatari which was later released separately.
Final Season consists of Tsukimonogatari, Koyomimonogatari, Owarimonogatari, and lastly Zokuowarimonogatari. In terms of anime, Final Season currently consists of another single arc book adaptation with Tsukimonogatari, another compilation adaptation with Owarimonogatari containing its first two volumes, and an ONA series adaptation of Koyomimonogatari that was distributed on an app of the same name in Japan. The adaptation of the third and final volume of Owarimonogatari is coming in July 2017. Zokuowarimonogatari has yet to have an anime adaptation officially announced. The Kizumonogatari trilogy of films could also in a way be considered a part of Final Season in the anime series due to their time of release and original titles, though Kizumonogatari as a whole is technically supposed to be grouped with First Season as with the light novel series.
Off Season consists of additional stories that occur throughout the series timeline with Orokamonogatari, Wazamonogatari, Nademonogatari, and Musubimonogatari. No anime adaptations of Off Season have been produced or announced yet.
Monster Season consists of even more additional stories so far with Shinobumonogatari. No anime adaptations have been announced for it either.
A multitude of short stories have also been released, though it seems unlikely they will be adapted into anime.
Kizumonogatari, Bakemonogatari Vol 1, and Bakemonogatari Vol 2 are currently the only light novels officially released in English, with one more volume of Bakemonogatari to release in April 2017. The two volumes of Nisemonogatari are also scheduled for a June and August 2017 release.
What Order Should I Watch/Read?
Both due to complications in orders of release and meta narrative story telling, there are multiple orders to experience the series in. All have their pros and cons, so it's up to you to decide which sounds like the best option for you.
Note that as of the time writing this article:
- The entire Kizumonogatari prequel film trilogy is not yet readily available to watch, legally or otherwise.
- The anime adaptations of Owarimonogatari Vol 3 & Zokuowarimonogatari have yet to be made.
- Kizumonogatari and Bakemonogatari Part 1 and 2 are the only novels officially released in English.
As such, Anime Release Order is currently the best option in terms of watching
Anime Release Order
For a long time, this was the rule of thumb order for anime only watchers (and the entire English speaking community) as it was mostly the only order possible for each group. With Kizumonogatari being temporarily skipped and no official English translations for the series arriving until 2015, this is generally the order most long time English speaking fans have experienced the series in.
While there's a few other reshuffles in the meta narrative, the biggest difference with this order is that it presents Kizumonogatari as a mysterious missing part of the story to be anticipated later in the series. While many don't have a problem with this, some may argue that it leaves too many unanswered questions that are answered too late in the series.
Generally, go this order if you want to experience the series as most English speakers have and or want to see how the production has changed and improved over the years with each installment in the anime adaptation.
- Tsukimonogatari (2014)
- Owarimonogatari (2015)
- Koyomimonogatari (2016)
- Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu (2016)
- Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekkestu (2016)
- Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu (2017)
- Owarimonogatari (Volume 3 of the novel) (2017)
- Zokuowarimonogatari (TBA)
- Orokamonogatari (TBA)
- Wazamonogatari (TBA)
- Nademonogatari (TBA)
- Musubimonogatari (TBA)
- Shinobumonogatari (TBA)
Light Novel Release Order
This is the completely original order in which stories were released by author Nisio Isin. Unlike anime release order, all shuffles in chronological placement are fully intentional for the narrative.
Go this route if you want to experience the story as it was originally intended, at the cost of missing the mystery and anticipation element of Kizumonogatari, among other minor differences in the meta narrative.
- Bakemonogatari (2006)
- Kizumonogatari (2008)
- Nisemonogatari (2008 - 2009)
- Nekomonogatari (Black) (2010)
- Nekomonogatari (White) (2010)
- Kabukimonogatari (2010)
- Hanamonogatari (2011)
- Otorimonogatari (2011)
- Onimonogatari (2011)
- Koimonogatari (2011)
- Tsukimonogatari (2012)
- Koyomimonogatari (2013)
- Owarimonogatari (2013 - 2014)
- Zokuowarimonogatari (2014)
- Shinobumonogatari (2017)
English Light Novel Release Order / "Kizumonogatari First" Order
This is less of an order and more of a minor adjustment to the former two. Author Nisio Isin claims in the authors note of the novel that he thinks Kizumonogatari can come before Bakemonogatari, so if you'd like to experience it first and then proceed with one of the previously mentioned orders, it is another viable option.
The official English release of the novels released this way and has so far followed the anime release order for the proceeding parts.
Main Series Chronological Order
This order eliminates most meta narrative elements in favor of as a single, continuous story. Another mostly viable option, but most recommend it for rewatching / rereading rather than a first time viewing. Note this currently only includes the "main series," being First Season - Final Season (save Koyomimonogatari, see the visual below for placement. Note that these Koyomimonogatari arcs are mostly rough estimates as most seem to take place either during or in between certain arcs).
Off Season and beyond gets complicated and hasn't yet been adapted into anime / fully translated yet anyway.
Even if you don't watch chronologically, chronological placement should be kept in mind during traditional viewings.
- Nekomonogatari (Black)
- Owarimonogatari Vol. 2
- Nekomonogatari (White) (occurs concurrently with Onimonogatari and Owarimonogatari Vol. 2)
- Owarimonogatari Vol. 1
- Owarimonogatari Vol. 3
Important Information To Know Before Watching / Reading
- Keep in mind that this series acts as a puzzle in terms of the order arcs are experienced. Don't be thrown off guard by chronological order. Unless you choose that route, arcs are meant to be experienced in a shuffled fashion.
- Each anime cour is merely an adaptation of a novel, not necessarily its own "season." As such, cours with multiple volumes such as Bakemonogatari or Owarimonogatari contain multiple arcs and a large number of episodes, while single volume cours such as Nekomonogatari Black or Tsukimonogatari have a small amount of episodes and only one arc. The anime cour known as Monogatari Series Second Season is unique in that it is a volume compilation cour that consists of only one arc volumes and is not named after a specific book.
- Even though all the arcs in Second Season except Hanamonogatari are typically grouped into one cour known as Monogatari Series Second Season, the western blu-rays have separate releases for each arc.
- Bakemonogatari consists of 15 episodes, but most legal streaming sites only have 12. This is because the last 3 episodes were originally released online in Japan and not on television. Legally, the only way to view these episodes is through the official blu-ray release.
- A compilation of Kabukimonogatari, Onimonogatari, and Owarimonogatari Vol 2 in that order occurs at the same time as the entire Nekomonogatari Shiro arc. The three arcs are told as flashbacks during later dates.
- Koyomimonogatari consists of short side stories that are mostly unimportant to the main story besides the last 2 episodes which chronologically proceed Owarimonogatari Volume 3.
- Koyomimonogatari is not currently officially available outside of Japan, so there are no legal means to watch it in English.