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Half Vampire, none of the sparkles. Review of Bakemonogatari.

Bakemonogatari

Rating:
Star4
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It’s officially spring time in Baltimore. Time for those warm days and telling snow that it’s time to go. But now that the weather is warm, what is there to do? Well, planning for the future, you could always visit the B&O Railroad Museum to help commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War. After all, the B&O Railroad witnessed a major part of history unfold. Who better to learn about it from than them. And since we’re looking at things to come, let’s look at this week’s anime, Bakemonogatari.

The Happy? Couple
The Happy? CoupleNisio Isin

Bakemonogatari is a two world in one anime as seen at the Crunchyroll website. Based off a light novel by Nisio Isin, we follow Koyomi Araragi after being returned to his life as human, well, mostly human. The anime starts out doing quick flashes from what seems to be Araragi’s loss and regaining of his humanity from his vampire state. And as amazing as the lead in is, its cut short after a few minutes to make way to the actual story as we watch one Hitagi Senjogahara falling down a spiral stairwell. Of course, being the nice guy that he is, Araragi leaps to save her only to find out that she doesn’t weigh anything. And likely as much appreciation as Araragi deserves, he’s threatened by a girl who has more school supplies in her clothes than the Walmart likely has for sale… in the entire school supply section.

The first few minutes of Bakemongatari are both exciting and annoying as you get these constant flashes of backstory, quick texts, and characters you think you should know. There’s a story in there, but your thumb needs to be constantly on the pause button to pick it up, and even then, you can still be lost. Then boom, you’re flash and fast-forwarded into Hitagi falling and then there’s our main character, Araragi. If you can survive the first few minutes of the series and how utterly amazing and annoyingly flickering it comes across, you’ll find the rest slightly more stable and far more enjoyable. As series go, Bakemonogatari is visually stunning, most of the time. A lot of the visual representations are stripped to a minimalistic style. While the artwork is vivid and the colours vibrant, there are times when the background can be monochromatic. The series utilizes advanced elements of 3D and yet is unafraid to resort to paper cutouts live action pictures. As the series progresses, you end up seeing several types of art styles from series hardcore shonen, to bloody visceral brawls, to moments with chibi characters. Another added favorite were the different opening and endings based on the character being explored. It’s a very rare concept seen in anime to have more than two openings/closings in such an average length series.

Looking at the story, you won’t get very far without the characters. Arargi and Senjyogahara play perfectly off one another as they are almost too perfectly opposite. While there’s a romance there, the anime puts it as the subplot. The overly dramatic and chaotic romance plays along with the story as Araragi (and the rest of us) are scared to near wit’s end of the over-the-top diva. And as the story goes on, we get to watch just how much of a lady’s magnet Araragi is, though he’s not trying to be. Like a knight in shining armor, he’s there for everyone in trouble, that usually happen to be girls. Five arcs play out five women that are almost predictably connected to our main character. Most of the women seem to play a different stereotypical role, showing a playful side in these series. These also get him into trouble with his girlfriend as she threatens to kill him, which is cute since he can’t die. There’s a brilliance in each telling as Araragi is faced with this ever changing world appearing before his eyes. There’s this underlying plot of growing up and finding your place in the world that keeps popping up as Araragi’s savior/mentor keeps telling him to prepare for the day he’ll disappear.

On the flip side however, the ending of the series did leave much to be desired as you felt left hanging. Be it for a lead in to the next chapter of the story or just due to the fact that the producers didn’t have an ending, the story dangled and we were left holding the shaft.

Throughout it all, Bakemonogatari was a greatly enjoyable anime. Soon enough, there will be the next installment to the series and it is with hope that it will be as great as its predecessors or better. This is definitely an anime that will captivate audiences as well as confuse the crap out of them. It’s a fun watch and a good laugh. And with that, until next time. Keep laughing, keep reading, keep watching, and being the beautiful otakus you all are.