Bakemonogatari is a mystery and supernatural anime with a dash of romance mixed made by Shaft that deals with Koyomi Araragi who encounters a female vampire apparition which turns him into a vampire and gives him superhuman healing powers, with the help of Meme Oshino, he is able to suppress and delay becoming a vampire, although he keeps his superhuman healing powers. After this, he starts encountering other girls who have encountered other apparitions. Araragi being the Mr. Nice Guy he is, he decides to help and save them from their curse. This show’s episode layout is built into usually 3 parts for each character that it is focused on. This show is not all about mystery, supernatural or romance, while they do play a big part of the show, there are also short cutscenes that are either comedic or sexually suggestive to the point where you don’t know if you’re about to watch the beginning scenes of a high budget hentai show or not. But it’s not, it has those moments to take a break from the mystery and romance that involves the entire show. I feel Shaft did an amazing job on this show top to bottom from the most intricate of background details, to the atmosphere the soundtrack creates on some scenes. This is truly an amazing show that you should watch.
SPOILERS AHEAD, PLEASE SKIP “STORY” TO MISS MOST SPOILERS
The show starts off with Araragi in school watching a girl (who you find out is Hitagi) falling and then turns to catch and save her, with this, he realizes that Hitagi has no weight to her, kind of like paper. They end up realizing the true reasons for Hitagi’s encounter with the crab and end up restoring her weight, leading to her new found love of Araragi. After this “arc”, it deals with Mayoi Hachikuji trying to look for her mother’s house, when Araragi is out of his house on mother’s day because he did not want to deal with the problems at home, he meets Mayoi and they establish a relationship, a weird one at that. Towards the end of this arc though, Hitagi helps Araragi find Mayoi’s mother’s house, which leads to Araragi realizing that Mayoi is actually a passive apparition that only he can see, and Hitagi was just playing along to Araragi’s acts to keep him in that reality that Mayoi existed. After Mayoi gets closure and enters her mother’s “house”, she disappears, until the next day when Araragi encounters her again and she tells Araragi that she’s been promoted from earthbound spirit, which is pretty much a ghost, to a wandering spirit, which lets her wander around wherever she desires. The next arc features Kanbaru, which is an underclassman at the high school most of the characters attend at. Kanbaru adored Hitagi for her athletic prowess and beautiful looks, she then wishes upon a monkey arm that she found in a closet that promised to grant any wish. She wished to become closer to Hitagi at all costs. Since Hitagi and Araragi are pretty much dating at this point, this causes Kanbaru to become possessed and attack Araragi one night. From his vampire powers, he survives the brutal hits he received. He goes off to fight her alone and ends up on the brink of death in order to save her, but, Hitagi shows up and saves Araragi and Kanbaru from her possession, but she keeps the monkey arm that was becoming her possession. Next up is Sengoku, who receives the curse that was placed on her from the jealousy of her classmates. She is being strangled from the two snakes taking over her body, leading Araragi to deal with her and the snakes as well. Throughout this arc, there are some obvious hints at that romance I was talking about with Sengoku showing clear signs of affection towards Araragi.
The first opening, Staple Staple, features large staples flying through the sky and city stapling everything in a very aesthetic manner using selective colors. It also features a giant Hitagi crashing through the city and then resolving with the title of the show. The second opening, features Mayoi (who you meet early in the show) in a world full of clones of herself running, crashing, lying, falling, eating and even flying through the cosmos, which represents her personality as very staggering, fast paced and full of of other emotions such as sadness, courage, curiosity and happiness as if you were on the edge of a sugar overdose which helps a lot with her kid-like personality. The third opening, starts off with a basketball hoop and basketballs flying around the scenery, as well as having Hitagi and Araragi in her illusion because Kanbaru adores Hitagi and she appreciates Araragi, while also envying him for being with Hitagi. It also shows Kanbaru trying to catch up to Hitagi and reach her, but in the end gets stabbed and cut in half by Hitagi which accurately represents her character development throughout her parts in the show. The fourth opening, shows Nadeko eating a pocky while also walking around in a very colorful and happy landscape. There are also features of her struggle between her emotions to assure herself if she likes or loves Araragi and also has her writing endless books of homework while also thanking god for allowing her to be with Araragi. So this opening is my favorite because it’s very cheery and lovely! Now for the last opening, for this one, it’s mostly black and white ,like the first opening, but it’s more dramatic and the selective color for this opening is a harsher shadow tone with less vibrant colors in contrast of the first opening. There’s also the recurring theme of the cat following her around and essentially becoming her shadow. This is apparent throughout the show towards the end when you find out that she transforms into a white cat that represents her stress, from issues at home to sexual frustration, this cat-hybrid is a complete opposite to Hanekawa and this opening is a very accurate representation of that because it shows her running away from the cat aka her stress and then eventually overtaken by it and becoming another being in order to relieve the stress.
Bakemonogatari is very unique for it’s different openings for each characters. For example, the first opening, Staple Staple, is a light, dramatic, soft pop track. The amazing part is that in all the character openings, the same seiyu who voice act the characters are the ones who are singing their own opening. The second opening, called Kaerimichi, is a very fast paced light, pop with some disco influence featuring the voice actor or seiyu of the same character. For the third opening, it is more of a soft rock coming-of-age styled track which has the voice actor singing this. I don’t have many thoughts on this once since I feel it is kind of bland compared to the rest of the other tracks, but I guess it was on purpose. The fourth track, Renai Circulation, is my favorite by far, starting with the first verse “se~no!” in a very poppy, catchy, funky and light track with some background bells, trumpets that give it that extra gloss that reminds me of what falling in love while eating cotton candy feels like. The fifth and final opening, called Sugar Sweet Nightmare, is a extremely dramatic and emotional track with a quick crescendo representing her character and emotions throughout. This is definitely my second favorite opening for it’s incredibly dramatic theme. The ED track, called “Shiranai Monogatari”, is made by Supercell is a soft rock track with it’s slow build ups and it’s amazing vocals and theme which is a coming of age with some heavy romance influence.
Thoughts and Opinions
I have thoroughly loved this show ever since I started it. I binged this show from episode one all the way to episode 15 and I loved every single bit of it. This is truly a work of art made by Shaft from every detail in the voice acting, to the OP, ED, the animation and overall story and quality of the show made it feel very enticing and enjoyable to watch. I also feel it’s kind of underrated because it came out around 2009 so probably not too many people were into anime as much as they are now. Especially me, I’ve been watching anime since I was a kid but I really got into it in late 2013. This is a show worthy of watch for everyone. Go watch it. Now. Go. On to the next season now, expect a second season review soon.
Light 9.5/10 Tacos
Review by: Ryen