Review: Bakemonogatari


Yes, this is exactly what I have been upto for the past weeks. For those of you dumb people who haven't figured out, I was watching lots and lots of anime. Do you know what this means? No? Okay. I'll tell you, Get ready for lots and lots of reviews too cause I'm finally free again! Well then, Lets start with the review.


 " Curiosity is like a cockroach. It likes to stumble upon secrets that are supposed to stay hidden. "

" To be blunt, I just enjoy talking to you... so I want to talk with you more."

"Did you know every time you sigh, a little bit of happiness escapes?"

Put it this way, After I finished watching Bakemonogatari everything in my to-watch list felt like utter crap. Hence, I continued with this series and all of my next reviews will be on the Monogatari series. ( One of the reasons, I have decided to review it first. )

Put it another way, Now I understand why people swear by the Monogatari series, because Bakemonogatari was an incredible experience in a weird way, one I truly feel blessed to have.


Story

Well, people have complained that the story is too episodic, too disjointed. However, the virtue of Bakemonogatari's storyline is that it is so minimal. In all senses, this anime is a character-based experimental, and an elaborate story-line would actually detract from that experience.

There are plenty of anime out there that thrive on plot twists and progression that keep the viewer on their seats, but Bakemonogatari isn't one. The episodic storyline is a brilliant framing device for character development and nothing more, which works out perfectly for this particular anime.

Nonetheless, I'll explain the minimal story-line. Simply put, this show is about a constant argument between two values: The rational vs the idealistic, with Araragi as Mr. Nice Guy seeking happy end for everyone. Solution of supernatural oddities as the topic of the argument. As Bakemonogatari is essentially a verbal performance with visual support. Story is driven by back and forth debate on various issues.


Characters

All the other elements are just the accompaniments to the Brilliant characters of Bakemonogatari. And, if those other elements had their virtue in garnishing the backgrounds of this anime, the characters' virtue lied in their shocking assertiveness and charisma.

Arararagi Koyomi, Sorry, I stuttered. (It's Araragi xD). Of all anime leads I've seen, he is one of the few truly-believable ones that are likeable. He is objectively decent-looking and decently dressed. He is not an outspoken paragon of bravery and power. He is even a bit of a sociopath. However, the subtle inner stability he shows makes him stronger than Lelouch in my opinion. Though he is a bit of a pervert, just like the rest of us, the viewers can't picture him ever being disloyal to his romantic partner. Koyomi's inner strength and stability are what keeps this series from becoming a typical harem anime, and such qualities of his character are what makes the viewer form such strong bonds with him.

Senjougahara Hitagi, is not your typical heroine. Intelligent, sharp-tongued, calm, and at times remorseless, her character feels more like an antagonist than Koyomi's love interest. Her conversational exchanges with Koyomi often play out like an even more mean-spirited version of The Lockhorns comic strip. And she's not afraid to threaten Koyomi either when he annoys her, though these threats are seldom carried out. I found her sarcastic comments and put-downs funny and amusing, and this helped me maintain my interest in the anime.
There are other girls as well. First up is Mayoi, a temperamental 10 year-old girl trying to find her way home, but is unable to. (I just love her and her typo with Koyomi.) Next up is Suruga, a girl a year younger than Koyomi and Hitagi, and the Hitagi's basketball teammate. The two have since grown apart, much to her dismay. Third is Nadeko, a sad, young girl who's the same age as Koyomi's twin sisters. There is also Tsubasa, the uptight class president and a friend of Koyomi's who sometimes is seen in the other girls' arcs before appearing in her own much later. She has parental problems, but unlike a lot of other girls of her type in anime.
Overall, I liked the writing in the anime BUT loved the actual characters. Also, to give these characters the analysis they deserve is just impossible. They are just so competently able to speak for themselves over the course of the show that the best I can really say is to just watch it and see them for yourself. There are numerous scenes which consist of just the characters standing in one place and talking, and it speaks to the depth of the characters and the strength of the writing that these moment are just as, if not more, gripping as the action.

Animation and Sound
Animation in Bakemonogatari mainly serve as a visual aid to the verbal performance, which proved to be very effective. Visuals for the anime got somewhat of an "art house film" treatment. There were many abstract and surreal scenes, unconventional cuts, and intriguing camera angles that made the viewing experience very pleasant. It's the perfected form of SHAFT's signature style. Character designs were attractive, and main characters had visually shown a wide range of emotion that further portrayed the character's state of mind.
For the Sound, with verbal performances playing such a big role in the show that it was taken to a who it with a nice flow. Other than intense music for action scenes, they don't particularly set the mood or enhance drama as what I usually consider to be strong BGM for anime, but the usually upbeat sounds in the background set thle new level! Every character's voices fitted perfectly, and not only that, distinct tones and nuance of speech established unique impressions for every character. The characters speak so fast in this series with lots of tongue twisters, but the seiyuu cast had done a wonderful job in keeping up. I don't think it's an exaggeration to describe voice acting in this series as EPIC. BGM in Bakemonogatari had a generally consistent ambient feel toe quick pace for dialogue, and made conversations all the more engaging.
Enjoyment
As a fan-subber and an experienced anime review, having seen thousands of hours of fan/professionally translated works, I can tell you that at least 10% of the meaning is lost in translation, no matter how well translated. In conversation/narration driven series filled with wordplay and metaphors, at least 20% of the meaning, therefore enjoyability, will inevitably be lost to non-Japanese speakers. Still, Bakemonogatari is a true masterpiece with experimental production that actually worked. Attention was paid to the tiniest details, and a story well-told. Truly amazing direction by Shinbou Akiyuki left us with so many memorable scenes, and this will definitely be a series to be remembered.

Overall, To be blunt, I just enjoyed watching Bakemonogatari... so I want to watch more! Also, You just have to watch it. That’s all there is to it. The show is a work of art: gorgeously animated, sonic-ally lush and expertly written. Bakemonogatari is a unique experience in a weird way, and if you like anime at all, you owe it to yourself to watch this incredible series. I’m out of words. I can’t praise this anime enough. Just beware of the sexual content that pops up here and there. (Enjoy the Hachikuji's harassment though.)

5 STAR ANIME.

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