Ah. Uhm. I honestly do not know how to go about reviewing Bakemonogatari since it left me confused but all bubbly inside at the same time. Well, not exactly confused. Overwhelmed, perhaps? Ah. Let me gather my thoughts first. …Sa, ikku.
Bakemonogatari revolves around this guy, Araragi Koyomi, as he goes around saving people — well, girls — from ‘oddities’. That is, people who become victims of spirits or gods, one way or another. Ironically, Koyomi is an oddity himself; he’s one-tenth vampire due to an incident during Golden Week. (I’m sorry, I don’t really know what’s so special about Golden Week) That aside, Koyomi later on saves Senjougahara Hitagi, another oddity afflicted by weightlessness. From here on out, the story branches onto different arcs featuring Koyomi helping out the other oddities that he meets along the way.
Expect SHAFT to come up with the most chronologically-whacked story lines but with one of the most fluid animations to make up for it. Sort of a cross between Arakawa Under the Bridge and Puella Magi when it comes to chronology, Bakemonogatari sandwiches three and a half arcs (Kanbaru’s, Hachikuji’s, Sengoku’s then a sort of preview for Hanekawa’s) in between the continuation of Senjougahara’s. After that, the focus reverts back to Senjougahara and then you think it’s over. But no. We return to Hanekawa’s arc and the second half of it is revealed. After all that’s over, we go back to Araragi and Senjougahara being all lovey-dovey which is really sweet.
It’s not really that bad since in the end, the lapse between Senjougahara and Araragi’s development proved to be a kind of device for the re-affirmation of their feelings for each other. Oh well, at least that’s how I see it. I think that was proven during the second part of the Hanekawa arc. Also, I don’t know if that was the intended effect but I missed Senjougahara when her arc was ‘over’. She didn’t appear for the longest time I actually missed her. Well, I guess that just goes to show how it’s nice to not always focus on the lead characters.
Animation-wise, hands down, man. Just like how they did with Puella, there’s a lot of element experimentation going on which gives more impact, not only to sight but for the other senses as well.Just like this one:
Now, if that doesn’t give the intended effect, then I don’t know what will. I also found it fun how some deformed drawings would pop out every now and then, making them look like Doraemon characters. For the episodes where there are fight scenes, the fluidity of their movements are definitely to be commented upon. Wonderfully rendered and powerfully executed. And when they say gore, they mean gore. Real, blood red, bloody gore.
I also like the idea on how the oddities that affected the characters are representative of their inner selves. That is, they’re like some sort of symbolism as to the internal turmoil that goes on within each character. I think that’s a real nifty trick for the writer’s part. There are also some scenes where they break the fourth wall. For example, during the last part where Senjougahara proclaims that her seiyuu is really good and Araragi answers back, ‘What is this? An anime?!’. Hai, Araragi-kun. You are, whether you like it or not, the protagonist of an anime.
OPs are really catchy — they even change for each arc. I especially like Sengoku’s since it was real cute and refreshing. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a supercell – Nagi Yanagi collaboration ED.
Woh. Now that I have this done and over with, I realized Bakemonogatari wasn’t really that bad of a show. It’s unique presentation, I think, is what makes it unusual at first but you’ll eventually get used to it. True, some episodes may be wordy with plenty of close-up eyeball still shots, which is, I think what bothered me, really. But in the end, you’ll be fine. I survived, didn’t I? At the end of the day, its the one-of-a-kind execution, play with elements and crafty dialogues that made it stand out among its contemporaries.
Shinobu Oshino. Although I would’ve loved to assess Senjogahara (god, I love how her surname’s so unbelievably long and uncommon. And how she’s so unbelievably cute), let’s take a look on a shadier, more mysterious, Mister Donut-loving character, Shinobu. For starters, she’s a vampire. But she likes Mister Donut. She seems somehow connected to the previous Golden Week events but it wasn’t really shown in the anime. All we know is that Araragi saves her. I guess by making her drink his blood which led to him becoming a vampire himself.
She doesn’t really have that much screen time, but she gets some action during the last arc where Araragi thought she was lost when in fact, she was apparently hiding in his shadow. I think it’s her own form of showing gratitude towards Araragi. He did save her life after all, at the expense of his own.
And with that, I leave you a Senjougahara Hitagi to ogle at. *sigh* Kawaii~