Author’s note: I try not to spoil too much, but some is only natural. Read at your own risk!
Fuck this show is weird. See you all next week!
In all seriousness though, bakemonogatari, and its sequel nisemonogatari, both based on graphic novels of the same title, are possibly the strangest franchise in anime when taken together. Even separate they are strange, but they connect very well, and I recommend both very highly.
The story follows Araragi, a high school student and half vampire who can as a result take a ridiculous amount of abuse, and does so, without lasting harm, as he battles various supernatural happenings after discovering a mildly psychotic girl in his class had her body weight stolen by a crab, and helps her get it back. This is one of the more straightforward stories in the show.
The show has a truly ludicrous amount of cultural, mythological, literary, and pop cultural references, and also more than a fair amount of, lets say, erotic material. It can be highly off putting to many people, particularly to anime newcomers. The large cast of strange characters can also be a bit much for some. The animation, however, is worth it.
Bakemonogatari is a visual wonder. The animation is dynamic, detailed, and fluid, with a unique style entirely its own. Literally anything can be a visual treat, even the mundane. And when the supernatural stuff shows up, it causes jaws to drop and become anchored to the floor. The music is also very good, mirroring the off kilter feel of the show as a whole.
Over, the main draw of this show is not the animation, the story, the fanservice, or anything like that. It is Hitagi Senjogahara. You may recall I mentioned a mildly psychotic weightless girl earlier, well that’s her. She is also perhaps the best female character in any anime I have come across.She describes herself and tsudere, but no simple cliche does her justice. In her first interaction with Araragi, she threatens him with a stapler and exacto knife to either cheek, makes him swear not to tell anyone about her weightlessness, and then staples his cheek anyway, essentially for the kicks. Also, she fights with school supplies.
Over time, her deep and troubling family history, and her sharp mind, come to the forefront, and her presence all by itself kept me watching, though most of the others are cool too. Araragi can be bland, but call it protagonist syndrom. Over all, Senjogahara is incredible.
And bakemonogatari isn’t bad either. Though it will be far too strange for some, most experienced anime fans, especially fans of dark, supernatural, or surreal highschool adventure shows, will find plenty to love. By an excellent creative team which also worked on the excellent madoka magica show, Bakemonogatari is not one to be missed. After tallying score for various factors on an extremely in depth and in no way fictitious scale I did not just make up, how dare you imply such slander, I award Bakemongatari an 8 out of 10. The series can be enjoyed on Crunchyroll for free if you deal with ads well. See you all next time!