Bakemonogatari is a relatively unique supernatural anime that likes to rely on symbolism and dialogue. Whether or not you find the symbolism intriguing and the dialogue witty will ultimately determine whether or not you find enjoyment watching this anime.
I'm normally a fringe anime reviewer that likes to review anime that aren't too mainstream. After seeing Bakemonogatari though I can't help but want to write about it knowing it will be a lot of fun to write about. There seems to be a lot of other people that share this sentiment.
That being said I personally did not enjoy Bakemonogatari as much as the general consensus seems to have, but I'll allow that it is mostly due to personal taste.
Bakemonogatari is definitely to be commended for doing something outside of the norm, not just in terms of layered artistic animation but also in terms of making the series more dialogue oriented than anything else.
The story to this anime is about a highschool boy that finds himself being brought into a supernatural world after becoming the victim of a vampire bite. After his experience he ends up helping several girls with their own dilemas in the supernatural world.
While there was a definite intriguing supernatural story to this anime, I really feel the story took backseat to the ever-changing animation and back and forth dialogue. The dialogue itself pretty much drives the different arcs of the story all the way to the climax of those arcs. Towards the climax this definetely helps build the suspense of each arc, but until it reaches that point the story can seem really slow-paced which may turn off some people. However if you enjoy the witty banter this won't be a problem for you. Sometimes the banter was just a way for one of the girls to flirtaceously tease the main character Araragi, which I felt made it much less witty especially since Araragi was so easily bated.
The animation gets a good recommendation from me for doing things differently from the average anime. There are several types of animation/pictures/writing thrown together quickly in each scene which reminded somewhat of subliminal messages with quick progressions. Sometimes the writing flips by so quickly that the only way to read it would be to pause and read each flash of writing. Some people may like that but for me it was frustrating to have to pause the anime multiple times just to read a few lines that were at times significant thoughts from one of the characters.
There are only a couple of action scenes in the anime that were pretty short but were very well done. The animators were not afraid to show blood as Araragi spurts copious amounts of it at times. As for the characters themselves they were drawn well and shown in all kinds of poses depending on what type of dialogue was going on.
There was actually a different opening theme depending on which character arc the anime was focusing on. All of these were well done and in particular I found the stapler song amusing (Hitagi uses a stapler as a weapon). The voice acting is also done well especially by the VA's for Hitagi and Hachikuji. The background music wasn't anything spectacular and seemed like piano music from a Charlie Brown cartoon most of the time, though they did do a good job with the suspense/action scenes.
I'd have to say the characters were interesting due to their unique traits and witty dialogue, not much else stood out about them. Araragi is just your average nice guy lead with the 'I want to help everybody' complex but he also has a stronger underlying pervetedness to him than the average male lead does. An example being his hair antenna stands up straight when he gets turned on (happens a lot). The girl he developes a relationship with is Hitagi Senjogahara a tsundere girl with a jaded past. The amusing thing about her is she makes other tsundere girls seem calm and peaceful by comparison. When she gets riled up she has no problem making frightening threats to Araragi. My favorite character by far was Mayoi Hachikuji, a young girl that is trying to find her way home. She seems innocent enough but can be somewhat of a monster when she does things like take a big bite out of Araragi's hand (he deserves it imo). She has an amusing mischievous personality and I feel she was the funniest when she teased Araragi. One thing I didn't find amusing was on occasion Araragi felt the need to grope her breasts, all I can say is what the hell?
The rest of the characters were by no means boring and added a lot in each of their story arcs. From a cat demon possessed class president to a junior high girl with a snake curse and more each character had an interesting story to tell. The thing that bothered me the most about the cast was Araragi's perveted overreactions to most of the things they said.
This is an anime that most fans should at least give a chance as it has some interesting stories and a unique way of approaching them. I personally felt the dialogue was witty for the most part but lost its wittiness rather quickly when at times it became more about the girls bating Araragi with sexual inuendo. I also didn't find Araragi to be that great of a male lead since the only thing that stood out about him to me was his closet pervettedness. Nevertheless this series has some really good aspects to it and if you like interesting dialogue and a decent underlying supernatural plot then give this anime a shot!
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