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Bakemonogatari

So, first on the list to review is Studio Shaft’s Bakemonogatari, for no better reason than because I recently watched it on Blu-Ray and it’s therefore fresh in my mind. Well, maybe “review” isn’t quite right; you won’t get shows reduced to stupid measures like numbers, stars or a school grade, just my opinion on it.

The background: Araragi Koyomi is a part/ex-vampire. How did that happen, you ask? It’s a long story, which was compressed to a minute-long montage at the start of the first episode, but it’s not really that important at this point and gets expanded on later. Anyway. He encounters a series of girls, each of which has their own problems with supernatural Oddities, which he helps with – not always with brilliant results.

The first one we encounter (not counting the vampire in the montage, or the provider of the very long panty shot before that) is Senjougahara Hitagi, who had had a run-in with a crab god that took her weight and feelings, and after that’s resolved becomes Koyomi’s girlfriend. Whether or not that counts as a brilliant result is hotly debated amongst the fandom; Hitagi has a very interesting personality. I like her as a character, but would run screaming if I actually encountered someone like her in real life. The other girls have a variety of other supernatural problems, varying in severity from minor inconvenience to very nearly lethal, and all about as strange as Hitagi’s crab. And of course they develop a romantic interest in Koyomi.

Senjougahara Hitagi

Hitagi. The first thing she does is stick a knife in Koyomi’s mouth.

Knife goes in

No, seriously. Knife, mouth.

So that’s the basic what it’s about; now for what it’s like. Being a Shaft production, it does all sorts of weird and wonderful things visually, if somewhat minimalistically. Being based on novels written by Nisioisin, it’s also pretty twisted and very dialogue-heavy – which is why it’s good that it’s animated by Shaft; the visuals prevent it from just being talking heads. How twisted is it? Hitagi and Koyomi’s relationship would be dysfunctional and abusive in reality, Koyomi sexually harasses a ghost, most characters’ families are broken (some to old school fairy tail levels and beyond), and all the characters are varying levels of batshit insane. But hey, that’s the sort of thing a warped individual such as myself finds entertaining.

So is it a good show? Very much so. I love interesting characters and dialogue, and this show is all about that. It’s not one that suits everyone’s tastes, but this blog is all about mine, so that’s the verdict. There are also various other instalments in the franchise, which I will give my thoughts on at a later date. Probably Nisemonogatari, when I either get my hands on its Blu-Ray release or I get impatient and review it anyway. Or maybe Nekomonogatari, if my Horie Yui fanboyism takes over.