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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bakemonogatari Rating and Review

Series: Bakemonogatari
Animation Studio: Shaft
Original Run: 12 Episodes + 3 ONAs (Original Net Animation)
English Licensor: N/A
Adaptation of: Nisio Isin's light novel series: "Bakemonogatari"

Summary: The title of this series is a play on words as "bakemono" translates out to "ghost/monster", and "monogatari" is translated to "story". So if one were to translate the title into English it would be "ghostory". Judging by the title, I'm sure people can get a vague idea of what the series is about. The story revolves around Koyomi Araragi, a high school boy who just recovered from vampirism (but still has some lingering effects like quick recovery and the ability to see in the dark). The story goes through his interactions of helping the people around him with their own supernatural issues. The story begins with a quick flash back to the vampire attack and then moves to present time where he sees a girl falling in mid-air through the stair well. He manages to catch her but is surprised at the fact that she weighs nothing. The student turns out to be Hitagi Senjogahara, a girl in his class that doesn't talk to anybody. He is later confronted by her in the hallway and is threatened to stay away from her. He agrees due to her shoving a stapler and an exacto knife in his mouth with her threat. However, she doesn't let him go Scott-free as she staples the inside of his mouth and walks away.

Koyomi is in pain for a bit but quickly pulls the staple out and the wound heals. Seeing how Hitagi seemed to be pained and troubled by this "problem" with her weight, he figures he can help her. He comes across her again and offers to take her to the guy that helped him with his issue. She reluctantly agrees and follows him to an abandoned building to meet Meme Oshino. Oshino is a odd fellow fellow who is quite knowledgeable about apparitions and odd phenomena. Hitagi explains that this oddity occurred when she met a crab. Oshino explains how she can fix it, but only with the right compensation. After a spirtual intervention and some soul searching on Hitagi's part, she regains her weight. Oshino explains that the crab was a sort of god and it stole Hitagi's feelings, which thus stole her weight. (In Japanese, the word "omoi" can translate out to "feelings" and "heaviness"--it's another play on words). From here Hitagi reverts back to a "normal" temperament, as opposed to her silent and standoff-ish nature. 

From here, Hitagi and Koyomi spend more time with one another and Koyomi ends up with more phenomena on his lap. A few other girls show up in front of him with other supernatural issues of: a lost and wandering spirit, a Rainy Devil, a cruelly placed snake like curse, and a stress induced transformation into a cat monster. Koyomi takes on all the challenges with the advice given to him by Oshino, as well as the support he receives from Hitagi.
This anime is really a clever one full of word plays and a touch of the supernatural. It has is comedic times, as well as its tense and serious moments. Girls may also enjoy the touch of awkward romance it has and the guys may enjoy the violent confrontation scenes of each arc. But it may be the other way around, who knows, but either way, it is a fun anime that I highly recommend.

A.I.'s Rating:  9.9/10

A.I.'s Review: "Bakemonogatari" is one of the better animes done recently. It was based off of a short novel series and the anime did a great job adapting it. The story is good and characters are each memorable due to their various arcs. However, putting story aside, what I felt really made this series pop for me was the art, character designs, and backgrounds. It has a crisp feel to it but the studio incorporated some real life photos and such to the series. It was different how the animation was laid out and it posed a surreal~abstract feel to it. What also made this series pretty "top-notch" was the voice talent they recruited. Everyone that voiced a main character is a veteran in the Japanese voice acting world, so it really acted as the cherry that went on top. My only complaints to the series is that some things were skimmed over like Koyomi's vampire attack, and there are times the story got confusing due to all the clever word plays and phenomena explanations.

This series isn't one of my absolute faves but I do give it props for being interesting and entertaining. I liked the fact that each arc had it's own unique opening song and animation, and the ending song is one of my favorite songs out there. My personal favorite opening was the "Nadeko Snake" arc, and it is actually the most popular one out there. Many fans have created cross overs with other series to this adorable opening. I included it below but note that there are three more. So if you are interested in this series, and don't understand Japanese, watch it with subtitles. And as fair warning, there is some mild nudity, and fan-service, along with some pretty violent scenes. So enjoy and see you next time~!

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