Nekomonogatari Kuro is set after Kizumonogatari but before Bakemonogatari and revolves around Hanekawa Tsubasa’s problems with a cat spirit. It came out as a mini series consisting of four episodes in December of 2012.
Nekomonogatari Kuro is not a very important anime adaptation, it is neither an untold part of the Monogatari series(Bakemonogatari basically covers all of Nekomonogatari Kuro’s story in recaps in the last three episodes) nor is it necessary for understanding the main story further down the line. Unlike Kizumonogatari, which better helps us understand the complexities in the relationship between Araragi and Shinobu throughout the series, any depth provided by the Nekomongatari Kuro anime can be seen anywhere else in the series. If you have watched Bakemonogatari, then you already know the entire plot, problem and solution of Nekomonogatari Kuro, and how it affected Hanekawa and Araragi.
One important thing that Nekmonogatri Kuro does however, is set up character personalities. In Bakemonogatari and Kizumonogatari(Kizumonogatari was released in 216, so what can you say about that…), aside from the main cast of characters which the events actually affect, the other characters like Araragi’s sisters, Karen and Tsukihi, don’t get much screen time or development. This issue is addressed in Nekomongatari Kuro which acts as a set up/introduction to the personalities of the various characters.
We already know from Bakemonogatari that the events of Nekomongatari Kuro take place during Golden Week, a nine day holiday in Japan. Hanekawa and Araragi have built up a friendship through the events of Kizumonogatari and Hanekawa confides in him about her problems at home. Neither of her parents are her actual parents and they have a habit of neglecting/ abusing her. Even that day on April 29th, she was wearing a patch on her face due to being hit by her father. This leads to a lot of stress building up inside of her.
As they are walking, they notice the corpse of a white cat lying on the side of the road and bury it together. The cat turns out to be a trickster type spirit which invades Hanekawa’s body, transforming Hanekawa into a playful but vicious, white cat-girl who has the powers of absorption of stamina/life force. The first and most severe victims of her ability are her abusive parents, but the cat-girl/demon’s stress-relief rampage goes on as she takes to attacking people on the streets.
It turns out that the cat-girl form is a manifestation of Hanekawa’s stress, built up from years of hiding her feelings and taking abuse from her parents. Eventually, Araragi, with the help of Oshino Meme and Shinobu(who sucks the demon out of Hanekawa), saves Hanekawa and Hanekawa’s memory is wiped.
That’s basically it. I didn’t really care about going spoiler free, since those that have watched Bakemonogatari already know all this and if you’re watching Nekomonogatari before Kizumonogatari and watching Kizumonogatari before Bakemonogatari in this day and age, then shame on you(don’t worry too much about it)
There are very minor and unnoticeable changes in the art style going from Bake to Neko, which is to be expected, they were released two years apart and all the essential Monogatari Series elements are present in Nekomonogatari, however the flashes of writings from the light novels so prevalent in Bakemonogatari are reduced in Nekomonogatari, a trend that continues on into the later series as well.
Overall, Nekomonogatari is a pretty fun watch, with heaps of Monogatari style ecchi and comedy, but for me, it’s really not worth watching, because if you’ve watched Bakemonogatari, you’ve basically watched Nekomonogatari Kuro and all the character development stuff I talked about can be seen later in Nisemonogatari and Monogatari Series Second Season.
Personally, I much prefer the light novel of Nekomonogatari Kuro to the anime, for the light novel actually holds a lot more conversatory tendencies and rather detailed scenarios compared to a 4-episode TV special.
Farewell for now dear readers, we shall meet again later today for Nisemonogatari and my rage fueled article about Domestic Na Kanojo.