Opening with a pantsu shot of a certain girl, the first twenty seconds feel like your typical ecchi anime. I quickly ate those words right up where they came from, as I saw how the calm and idyllic scene changed into that of blood, violence and death. I was taken aback by this magnificent juggle of mood and scenery, which made sure that my eyes only existed to keep watching.
In a seemingly immense spiral building a girl slips and falls, to her surprise only to be caught by a boy who's next thought was her weight. This boy, Araragi Koyomi, a third year student at Naoetsu Private High School is an average guy, both in appearance and scholastic level, if one didn't count for the fact that he is an ex-vampire.
Soon, Senjougahara Hitagi - the falling girl - confronts her hero, threatening to hurt him if he doesn't keep her condition a secret. Being respectful of her wish Koyomi decides to help her, only to reveal himself as abnormal for being an ex-vampire, and as such lowering her guard by exposing his own secret.
Played in chapters of two to three episodes, the plot is driven around Koyomi helping girls with oddities of supernatural origin. From ghosts, demons to curses and death. Each chapter introduces a new female character, that in some way or another attracts Koyomi's attention and his unending kindness to help anyone in need.
The complex story is held aloft by Nisio Isin's metahumor and play on words, as it progresses through a thrilling expectation of action and ecchiness. Not taking my expectations into account, the story flows nicely from chapter to chapter, keeping the characters shown earlier in mind.
It reminds me a bit of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in terms of story, but with a lot more consistency and less randomism. Adding to that the skill to present slice of life segments as in the show Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, make the story both daring, thrilling and funny to follow.
Sharp, detailed and captivating is my first impression. High on effects as well as dynamic scenery makes Bakemonogatari give of a more surrealistic impression than that of a classic anime show. The characters are portrayed characteristically, putting a lot of emphasis on details such as lips, eyes, nails, but separating them from the background to show that they are the story and not their surroundings. In a deep contrast to the characters the environments are simple yet detailed by showing an artistic angle, as well as leaving a feel to the abstract touch of the artwork.
The characters are captured perfectly by the voice actors that add that little bit extra to claim their anime counterparts as their own. On top of that each chapter boasts a unique opening theme together with the general opening between the chapters, and the lovely singing of the ending theme.
Each character is presented with a measured amount of personality, not adding too much of either the good or the bad within. These fine tuned individuals develop as the show goes on and are found in both offensive and supporting roles. Take for example the malicious and offensive nature of Hitagi when she finds the slightest mistake in Koyomi's behaviour. Only to be countered by her equally impressive loyalty and genuine feelings for him as her boyfriend, when she swears to kill anyone who would kill him other than herself. No character in the show reaches the point where the viewers would say that they had enough of them, and as such make sure to keep focus on the story and secondary the development of each individual character.
Nearly perfect I would say, but sadly not. The show's only downside is that the text-notes in between scenes, which often hold key information, pass too quickly to be read and constantly caused me to time my pause button on these many and not to mention fast segments of plot info. The show is appealing to the mainstream fan as it holds a bit of romance, action, suspense, supernatural and comedy.