Bakemonogatari Review: Otaku Reviews
The story centers on Koyomi Araragi, a third year high school student who has recently survived a vampire attack, and finds himself mixed up with all kinds of apparitions: gods, ghosts, myths, and spirits.
Author: Nisio Isin
Directed by: Akiyuki Shinbo Original Run:July 3, 2009 – September 25, 2009,
Animated by: Studio Shaft
Bakemonogatari is a twelve-episode anime centered around the main character, Koyomo Arara(rararararara)gi and his interactions with the only characters in the show: Hitagi Senjougahara, Araragi Tsukihi (sister), Araragi Karen (other sister), Kanbary Suruga, Tsubasa Hanekawa, Nadeko Sengoku and Mayoi Hachikuji. They are the only characters in the show, and this show breaks my expectations. For such a small cast, I thought there would be drawbacks, however this show came about brilliantly, as expected from a writer of the caliber of Nisio Isin. Bakemonogatari is divided into sub stories titled "Hitagi Crab", "Mayoi Snail", "Suruga Monkey", "Nadeko Snake",and "Tsubasa Cat".
Now, I could make a review of each individual stories, but I think that that might take a bit too long. Thus I am going to focus on the basics and just work from there.
Characters: Nisio Isin created formidable characters. The main protagonists of the series, Koyomi and Hitagi, have the most interesting exchanges that does not fall short of amusing. They are the most complex and developed characters of the show and their personalities are so very distinct yet so appealing when put side by side. Senjougahara is beautiful, tough, cold and incredibly smart. This girl has a large fanbase behind her and many people adore her. However, I had difficulty accepting her character. I found her hard to relate to (a trait of most Nisio characters) and the spectacularly well-done performance of her seiyuu, to me, only makes it worst. I admit the voice is amazing, but flat, breathy, and it always sound like she rarely takes a breath. Her voice intonations rarely wiggle out of that range, and honestly, a little more emotion on the voice would have made her a much better character for me. She forms a great pair with Araragi Koyomi, and I love their relationship on the whole.
Koyomi Araragi: Have you heard of verbal abuse?
Senjougahara Hitagi: Why don't you call the verbal police?
|Dat Stapler, doe...|
|Suruga Monkey, Rainy Devil|
These smart comebacks are so funny, and this show is full of them. I remember spending the whole show just laughing, and the meta humor is the best. Senjougahara knowing that a chacracter like her would be considered a tsundere, which might actually be true,is a trademark of Nisio Isin that I respect. Arara (rarararara)gi Koyomi is the biggest pervert, pedophile, kind, bishounen, and brave idiot I have seen in many animes. Did I mention that he is good-looking? He loves to help people, and that is the most prominent aspect of who he is. However, I noticed that he is not your usual central character. In any fight that he engages, he never fights back. It always end up a curbstomp where Araragi is badly battered and I wished that he would put to use some of that developed muscle. But when I thought about it, I realized that he never loses. Never. He wins through sheer force of will or incredibly awesome words and the climax of each story always ends on a satisfying note.
Memo Oshino is also worth a mention. That Hawaiian -shirt -guy is full of reference on all those interesting apparitions and he is also the one to guide Araragi on how to deal with them. However, one exception is when he battled the Crab God himself. He is also funny, intelligent, and resourceful but he did not do much for me. I mean, Araragi always comes back to him instead of taking it on himself, hence the reason why I called him an idiot. My favorite character in the show however, has to go to Kanbaru Suruga. She is bubbly, fun, a stripper and loves to be called perverted. She is also madly in love with Senjougahara and Suruga Monkey brings out a surface of her cheery personality, the dark and jealous one, that rounded her and made me appreciate her more than ever. She is also really pretty, and oh, can I obsess over her?! Her fangirling over yaoi love is to die for, and her interactions with Araragi are always fun to listen to.
My least favorites that I will mention (I will not mention Araragi's sisters in this post) are Nadeko and Hachikuji. I mean, they are cute in their own way, but I find Nadeko to be ...bland. I won't go into much detail over their blandness, but Mayoi was cute. At first I found her incredibly annoying, but her backstory as the ghost of a dead girl just did it for me and I came to like her. But it all came to halt by Araragi constant, incessant sexual harassmenent on her and her not doing anything about it. Actually, she gets OFFENDED in Nise when Araragi stops.
Plot: The plot of this show is one to behold. It is so smart and interesting, well constructed and well written. All the stories come together astonishingly well. I will not spoil anyone, or at least, I am done spoiling for now, but I seriously recommend this. It is full of Japanese mythology, and the pasts of these characters are well constructed around these mythologies, giving the characters the complex personalities that they possess. Nisio Isin, is seriously a badass story writer and if you had never checked his work, please do so. These stories raise many questions surrounding human nature, and you either get to love the characters as they grow and bond together, or you hate them. At least, I rarely feel lukewarm. It is throughout these trials that I realized such things as the fact that it is not Araragi's role to fight back; if he did the polar opposite, it would break who he was build up to be.
The Animation: Oh my goodness. I remembered the first ten seconds of the first half of this episode and I knew. The animation is the exact same as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and I knew it had to come from the same studio and the same director. It was! While in Puella Magi the animation took away the emotional aspects of the show for me (another review for later), the animation in Bake was brilliant at times and too much in the other. The fights were so beautifully animated, well-choreographed and just a pleasure to watch. However, we'd have characters interacting and many different sceneries would be cut into the conversation and I would just be flat-out distracted and I would miss the whole point. The words that are on speed at the beginning, flashing so fast that no ordinary human could read unless you painstakingly paused each time, the angles (god, those angles!) messing with the lighting... Everything aforementioned are Studio Shaft's style of animation. You either love it or hate it. Me? I don't do both. I chose to ignore it. I mean it goes well with the show, and I admit that it is very stunning, and is very unique in its distinctive style, but sometimes, it feels like an overload of too much.
|Way to make him look more perverted than he is.|
|The infamous head-tilt...|
Final Verdict: 8/10: Despite the animation, and some of the mentioned drawbacks, this anime had it all: interesting characters, amazing fights, and all and all, a great experience. I recommend!