Summer 2009 First Impressions: Bakemonogatari

SHAFT zaniness + interesting dramatic story (wait, what!?) = crazy delicious. I had no expectations for this show, but was anyone else as impressed with Bakemonogatari as I was?

Hitagi Senjougahara getting dangerous
Hitagi’s secretly a nerd. I saw a compass in there somewhere.

Things I liked:

  • First of all, a shout out to the one of the most elaborate pantsu shots I’ve ever seen. But along those lines, I loved the design in just about everything in the show. The characters (Hitagi looks like Yomi!), the backgrounds, the pantsus, the office supplies. This show looks great. And it’s backed by some pretty slick animation, featuring the typical SHAFT zany touch. Their animation style can be a hit or miss with me, but in this case, it fits perfectly and even accentuates the design and tempo of this show.
  • It has an interesting story!
  • I know we’ll get a rotating cast from one short story to the next, but I dug the characters quite a bit, they were an interesting bunch. Araragi’s pretty cool and fitting for a lead. Oshino’s appropriately eccentric. And Hitagi is mysterious and dangerous. I love how Chiwa Saito voices Hitagi, there’s something about the delivery that really amps up her enigmatic nature.
  • Hilarious meta humor. The discussion about moe and tsundere characters (I’d be interesting in seeing Hitagi’s dere dere side). The snarky Full Metal Alchemist reference. All in all, SHAFT does their typically great job with the dialogue. It snaps, crackles and pops as they say.
  • I loved the ED song. Great melody, cool lyrics. Admittedly, there’s not much to choose from since the summer season just kicked off, but so far it’s my favorite of the bunch.

Things I didn’t like:

  • Umm, they didn’t bother to animate anything in the ED? I know, weak. But I really liked everything I saw from this show.

Random other thoughts:

We all know SHAFT does comedies well. But Bakemonogatari, I think, is the first time where SHAFT has provided their unique talents to animating a really interesting, unique, drama-centric story (I haven’t watched Natsu no Arashi, but the premise didn’t interest me). And I have to say, I was thoroughly, thoroughly impressed by the combination. This bumps the first episode of CANAAN for top of the summer pile. I love how they unfolded the mystery that is Hitagi, almost nonchalantly threw in that Araragi used to be a vampire, and took the story further out from there. I was engrossed throughout, and now I can’t wait to see how all this unfolds. I’m tempted to pick this up and write about it, except it seems like the type of show in which you’d struggle every week to figure out what to say. And I also wonder how much fansub support it’ll get, just because of all the extraneous stuff SHAFT sticks in there. I don’t know how many episodes this specific arc is set for, but I can only hope that the characters and stories for future arcs remain just as interesting. If so, we’ve got a winner on our hands.

6 Replies to “Summer 2009 First Impressions: Bakemonogatari”

    1. Agreed. Even though there wasn’t a whole lot of action, the weird camera angles made it feel like there was. Very impressive stuff.

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