Anime Review Monogatari Series

Anime Hajime Review: Bakemonogatari

10

Original Run: July 3, 2009 - June 25, 2010 
Number of Episodes: 15 
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Supernatural 
Based on the Series Created By: Nisio Isin

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Bakemonogatari. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

While walking to class, Koyomi Araragi (voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya) is taken aback he sees his classmate Hitagi Senjogahara (voiced by Chiwa Saito) falling from the top of the stairs. Without thinking, Koyomi catches Hitagi, and in doing so, discovers her secret — she is virtually weightless.

Wanting him to keep his mouth shut, Hitagi threatens Koyomi to stay away. Surprisingly undeterred, Koyomi responds by saying he knows a way for Hitagi to cure her condition and offers his assistance.

Koyomi had recognized that Hitagi had come into contact with a powerful supernatural being known as an oddity. He knows this because, until recently, he was one of these mysterious creatures himself; a vampire to be exact.

After Koyomi helps Hitagi, the two form a strong relationship; first as friends, then eventually as lovers. Afterward, they soon begin to meet several other girls who have also come into contact with some kind of oddity.

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Series Positives

I had a lot of fun with this series.

There was never a dull moment, and there was always something attention-grabbing.

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The Story/Stories

There was a ton to this show.

Bakemonogatari took on many different genres and masterfully blended them together. This series was simultaneously funny as well as creepy. Romantic yet dark. Goofy but still very thoughtful. Everything felt natural, everything was well timed, everything fit. As a result, the show crafted one of the most unique stories I have ever seen.

Overall, Bakemonogatari did have a single linear story. However, it was broken up into five different arcs. While all the concepts, characters, and events did cross paths and interact, there was no mistaking one for the other. Each narrative was its own separate pillars which supported the bigger picture.

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The Arcs

  • Hitagi Crab: Koyomi first meets Hitagi and together they must help pacify the oddity that is causing her weightlessness.
  • Mayoi Snail: Koyomi runs into Mayoi Hachikuji (voiced by Emiri Katou), a grade schooler who is unable to find her mother’s house no matter how hard she tries.
  • Suruga Monkey: Suruga Kanbaru (voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro), Hitagi’s junior and best friend since middle school, seeks a way to cure her arm that has recently become disfigured.
  • Nadeko Snake: Nadeko Sengoku (voiced by Kana Hanazawa), a friend of Koyomi’s sisters, is suffering from the effects of a powerful and dangerous curse.
  • Tsubasa Cat: Tsubasa Hanekawa (voiced by Yui Horie), Koyomi and Hitagi’s classmate, is showing the symptoms of an oddity that was supposedly removed a while ago.

All of these segments were outstanding in their own right (my personal favorite being Suruga Monkey).

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The Visuals

To say Bakemonogatari was stylized would be an understatement.

There really is no way to explain it; you will just need to witness this series it for yourself. That might sound like an easy cop-out answer, but the show was not consistent enough to list all the variations of imagery.

But what I can say is: It was effective.

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The visuals brought out some of the creepiest, darkest, funniest, saddest, and the most memorable moment of the entire series. The whole while never overwhelming the story.

There was a lot, but it was all very understandable and never beyond comprehension. You will never mistake what you are seeing. Bakemonogatari was a great example of how anime can be an outstanding display of visual art.

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Series Negatives

Bakemonogatari was solid. I believe it was that great of a show.

However, there were some definite problems.

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Dialogue Heavy

There were a fair amount of action sequences sprinkled throughout, but there were also moments when characters were just conversing for long periods of time.

I am not going to say a show is bad if it is mostly talking. In fact, I love well written and engaging dialogue, and Bakemonogatari did a fantastic job with providing that. Additionally, I would go so far as to say this series hits the right notes many times.

The problem was, Bakemonogatari asked for too much of the viewer’s attention without providing enough stimuli to warrant it.

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Now I know what you may be asking yourself:

Odyssey, if you are going to watch an anime, doesn’t it deserve your full attention?

That is absolutely true, but Bakemonogatari is an example of a show that will punish you if you are to look away for even a single second.

Let’s say you are watching and someone walks into the room. You quickly look up to see who it is and immediately go back to the show. By then it is already too late.

If you are not paying one-hundred percent attention you will miss something important. The characters talked quickly and spewed a lot of heavy material. This show got very philosophical, very quickly. There was so much to take in, and it was easy to get lost.

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Final Thoughts

Solid.

Bakemonogatari was great fun with an awesome story and beautiful animation. It was funny, creepy, sad, happy, dark, and romantic all at the same time, and it never felt like a jumbled mess.

With the occasional hiccup, I am able to look past the weaker points because this is the first in a much long series. But as a solo piece, it truly stands firm on its own.

My favorite part about watching anime is how I pick the ones I want to watch. I usually choose at random and know very little about a show before diving in. While this system is not guaranteed to find the best there is to offer, every now and then I come across a gem like this one.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Bakemonogatari? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

And if you liked what you read, be sure to follow me on my social media sites so that you never miss a post or update. Also, please share this review across the internet to help add to the discussion.

I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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