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It's (relatively, still) easy for me on a computer to pause in time and read the text in every frame scene, but the show is supposed to be viewed on live TV channel. I bet that's impossible to do this in real-time.

Is there any official position on the approach to reading these frame scenes?

  • I can read them fine if I'm not paying attention to the main subtitles :o – Toshinou Kyouko Jan 1 '14 at 17:07
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    I'm rewatching the first season and it's impossible to read the speeding up frames right before the episode's title frame without pausing. Glad they ditched this in later series. – Hakase Jan 29 '14 at 22:07
  • I usually ignore those text, it's relatively easy to understand the story even without paying attention to those text. If you want to understand it better, maybe you can read the light novel. – Darjeeling Apr 22 '14 at 6:33
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Preface: I am unaware of any "official position" about how to read the split-second text screens that occur in the Monogatari Series. I would be surprised if such a thing existed.

It isn't always possible to read all of the text while the anime is rolling by at 24 frames per second. Sometimes, sure, you can pull it off because there isn't very much text, but some of them - like the ones in the first minute or so of ep01 of Bakemonogatari, or the synopses that accompany the titlecard in each episode of Nisemonogatari (example) - literally cannot be read in the time that they are on screen.

And us English readers have it easy, compared to people who have to read the original Japanese! It turns out that all the kanji are written using kyuujitai ("old character forms"), which were displaced by shinjitai ("new character forms") well over 50 years ago. Most Japanese people will have some reading knowledge of kyuujitai because of it use in literary contexts, but I'm guessing they wouldn't be able to read them as fast as they would be able to read shinjitai, since kyuujitai just aren't used very much anymore.1

Luckily for the people who watch it on TV, they aren't really missing out, in a sense. Certainly, the text screens often give us more information about a character's internal monologue or state of mind, or some background exposition lifted directly from the novels, or whatnot. Nonetheless, there is not (as far as I know) a single case in the series where things don't make sense unless you read the text screens. While the text screens do enhance the viewing experience, Monogatari is still a coherent story without them. And plus, even if you can't read every word of every screen, you can still read some words of some of the screens, and that's often good enough to get a good idea of what's going on in the text screens.

If you ever find yourself watching Monogatari without a pause button, you may as well sit back, relax, and let the text screens wash over you. Read what you can, ignore what you can't, and enjoy the show.


1 Also, all the hiragana is replaced by katakana, but I don't know if this would slow down a Japanese reader all that much.

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    Anecdotally, the streams of fast katakana in the Katamari games gave a number of native Japanese readers some trouble. So I think the katakana would indeed make it a bit harder. – Mark S. Jan 2 '14 at 4:02
  • Truly, the show can be appreciated well enough without taking the time to read the flash-frames. But I'm the kind of person who doesn't feel content without seeing everything I'm being shown, so I always watch it with my finger on the pause button. – Hakase Jan 29 '14 at 22:11

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