Genre: Mystery, Supernatural, Romance, Occult-Detective
Director: Akiyuki Shinbō
Producer: Atsuhiro Iwakami, Masayuki Haryu, Mitsutoshi Kubota
Original Airtime: July 3, 2009 – September 25, 2009
Bakemonogatari is the first animated series from the famous Monogatari Series Novels. It follows Koyomi Araragi who is able to stay human after coming across a female vampire all thanks to Meme Oshino. Now, Araragi who is a high school student after that incident suddenly starts meeting girls who apparently have aberration related problems. Now, he along with Oshino helps these girls out in solving their supernatural problems.
Bakemonogatari has an episodic feel to it. Although the stories are connected, most of the incidents rather cases tend to end in two episode. Being a supernatural/mystery anime the story is often hard to grasp. There are lots of conversations in this anime. Without paying attention to these conversations it can be an extremely perplexing issue as to figure out which way the story is going. The story is captivating. It is nothing special apart from the fact that a boy is running around solving mysteries. However, these mysteries are one of the prime attraction of the show and how these stories are told through the different perspectives gives Bakemonogatari its uniqueness. We come across a lot of mystery anime where we can easily predict the pros and cons of the cases but not in Bakemonogatari. This is genuinely an extremely intriguing mystery anime.
Bakemonogatari is episodic and highly focuses on each mystery that is presented. For this reason the anime really doesn’t venture into the details of the character until later installments of the series. The characters are fascinating and refreshing at the same time. Senjougahara is a tsundere with a sharp tongue and a no bullshit attitude. She’s not your typical tsundere who gets annoying after a while. She’s a tsundere and she admits it and takes advantage of it. She knows what she wants and always clearly states what she is thinking. Araragi, the main male character goes out of his way laying his life on the line to help other. Reminds you of someone? Yes, almost every harem anime hero. But Araragi is unique in his own way. He’s a very likable protagonist and one of my favorite. Hanekawa is soft spoken girl and really friendly person. Oshino is one of the more mysterious characters of the show and he remains mysterious until the very end. There are some other good characters too. Despite having some refreshing characters, the area where Bakemonogatari falls short is character development and venturing into the minor details of each character. This is of course solved in the later stories of the Monogatari Series considering it is a 20 novel long series. But if Bakemonogatari is judged as a standalone series, there is little character development. Among all, Senjougahara probably gets most development as she opens up to Araragi and lets her guards down a bit.
Here are some notable characters from the anime:
OH Boy! Where do I start? Umm, if you haven’t seen any anime made by Shaft before, you’re in for a surprise. Bakemonogatari is animation on crack! In a good way! The visuals will take some getting used to. It’s not bad, it’s just SO different from anything else. There is no issues regarding the colors, I loved it. But the art style is weird, not in a bad sense. The characters were beautifully designed and yes, the entire black scene and red scene was a master stroke. Shaft is my most favorite animation studio because they have their signature style of animation. Not only did they do an amazing job animating the show, they went above and beyond that to make the story telling process of Bakemonogatari really stand out. They really made the strongest point of the show even stronger. Honestly there could be no other studio better suited for animating the Monogatari series.
Here are some screenshots from the anime:
While I must agree Bakemonogatari has taken a unique approach for their soundtracks, the songs themselves weren’t something special. There were several Opening and ending themes. There was a separate soundtrack for each girls. My favorite was probably the theme for Nadeko Sengoku, ‘Renai Circulation’ by Nadeko’s voice actress and my favorite voice actress, Kana Hanazawa. I was in awe with the background music. It fits extremely well with the atmosphere of the anime. Satoru Kōsaki did and extremely good job with the background scores of Bakemonogatari.
If you don’t like too much dialogues, you will probably have a hard time with Bakemonogatari. There are a lot of dialogues and word play. There are references to Japanese literature. It occasionally tends to run off the course and requires some patience. But if you can find that extra ounce of patience and get your concentration right this show is an absolute gem and you will definitely enjoy Bakemonogatari.
The entire Monogatari series is extremely different from the other mystery anime out there and other anime in general. The thing about the show is there is no middle line with Bakemonogatari. You are going to either love it or hate it. But in my opinion, this is one of the best pieces of work by Shaft and I would highly urge you to give Bakemonogatari a shot.