Bakemonogatari (Summer 2009) – The Ghost Story

One of my friends had recommended this show so-called “Bakemonogatari”. It’s a show about an ex-vampire trying to encounter and save a supernatural event in these five different girls. They all have a supernatural disease where logic doesn’t apply. But, as soon as I start to watch this anime at the first five minutes of the first episode, why did I just know this? Nisio Isin’s “Monogatari” series is a light novel that began running from 2005 until this day. But, the most interesting part of this series is its characters, all of them are waifuable, and such a chronologically confused. One way to conclude this series is like watching all Adam McKay movies. Instead of focusing on a breaks-the-4th-wall meta-film essay between fiction and reality, “Monogatari” series is pulp fiction.

The experience of watching “Bakemonogatari” was different from anime I usually watch. It’s like you’re very difficult to explain but you are amazed at the same time. While the story focuses on Koyomi Araragi as the main lead character, the lead heroine, Hitagi Senjougahara is a modern tsundere you know well. But, she is like a combination of tsundere with the impression of a cold-blooded psychopath. She is a sadistic girl, brings you the level of sadism into the whole new level. Her mouth is so sharp, her characteristic, she often carries sharp and staple weapons. It doesn’t allow one percent of people like this would exist. But, who knows? The main character also enjoys the sharpness of the queen’s nature.

The chemistry between Araragi and Senjougahara is truly unique even though I don’t know if I can say it’s a romantic relationship or not. They are very special and bring you a traditional comedic Japanese style of humor into us. Araragi is like a masochist who also seems to “love” his sister so much. But, he isn’t very smart different from Senjougahara. Every time she said just one word, she stabbed Araragi with thousands of razor blades. Senjougahara always being sarcastic even you never know whether she was joking or not. She sometimes made a statement about Araragi in contempt, but Araragi couldn’t reply it. This part makes this funny if you want to call this a comedy show.

“Bakemonogatari” only focuses on the main chemistry between the main character and the main heroine. They bring their roles to each other through the wordplay and witty dialogue. Not that this show seems to lack of character or anything. The rest of the characters are divided into several arcs and Araragi tries to push them to the arc. Besides Senjougahara who is the crab, there are Tsubasa, Mayoi, Suruga, and Nadeko. Other minor characters are a sub-plot for the main character but are told even more in the next series. Yet, this limitation makes all of them get their respective portions evenly.

On the other hand, I can also say this is an ecchi show besides the premise that this is a harem. The show focuses more on weird relationships between the sarcastic and the rational. Araragi acts as a problem solving for each heroine. At the end of the arc, it was he who took all the consequences and the impact on these supernatural diseases of all the heroines. It quite reminds me of John Coffey from “The Green Mile” where both characters take and feel what other characters feel. Each arc shows something new and interesting. You never know that you are watching an action, gore, or horror show. Like for example the Suruga arc, my favorite in this show, where you don’t expect you will see such a sequence. But, the story at least back alternately from the previous and after heroine characters. And the show has quite a fan service, especially the Nadeko Sengoku arc.

All the voice actors take in into the whole great performance. Every character from the cast voices their character perfectly especially Chiwa Saito and Hiroshi Kamiya. But, great voice actresses filled the whole anime. There are Miyuki Sawashiro, Kana Hanazawa, Yui Horie, and Emiri Katou. They are all rappers, talking very fast with lots of tongue twisters like the Tsubasa one for the example. The score in this show, for some reason, I always thought I watched a different anime. There are drama, thriller, and action. It engages the whole combination into one. All the opening and ending theme songs are very memorable. “staple stable”, “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” as the overrated song at the season, and the best known was of course “Ren’ai Circulation”.

As I said before, this series is like all the Adam McKay movies. His films are a meta-narrative with the use of absurd images from out of nowhere. And so with “Bakemonogatari”, using real-life imagery as its metaphor and one thing behind this is Shaft. We know Shaft because they worked in strangely projects with such signature styles. A lot of people know Shaft because of their trademark using head tilt. There are so many abstract and surreal scenes, the literature impression, and intriguing unconventionally quick and math cut. Character designs are very interesting in each.

“Bakemonogatari” is a unique direction from one of the most absurd modern anime ever. It has supernatural, romance, comedy, action, gore, thriller, harem, ecchi and many more. Although to be able to adapt in this anime was rather difficult, you need a process and time to be able to understand and enjoy it. But, this show has a lot of its potential from the first episode to the last execution in the finale.

4.5 out of 5 stars.