Studio: Shaft    Genre: Supernatural/Comedy
Aired: Summer 2009    Length: 12 Episodes
Weeaboo Average Score: 8.00  (1 rating)

Bakemonogatari - Preview

Elaborate panty shots and a stationery wielding weightless schoolgirl

Posted by: Shere @ 2009-07-13 20:15:47

Akiyuki Shinbo is a man who knows what he wants. He wants to make anime series about schoolgirls, and at the same time he wants it to look nothing like an anime series about schoolgirls. Shaft and Shinbo are synonymous with alternative animation styles; They like to have fun and they don't care who knows it. Shows like Hidamari Sketch and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei are constantly employing animation methods and tricks that no one in their right mind would ever use in a serious production. The scariest thing about all of this is that it almost always works, often times in spite of the source material. Typically we get two Shinbo shows per year but at this very moment we have two airing in the same season. Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei being the first, Bakemonogatari being the second and the topic of this review.

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Bakemonogatari, which is literally a portmanteau of the words Bakemono (monster or ghost) and Monogatari (story), is a story about... well it's about vampires or something. In fact, the first episode spends so much time not telling you what it's about one might normally be surprised, but then one remembers that this is a Shaft show, directed by Shinbo and somehow everything is okay. The reason you know it's a Shinbo show is because the first 21 seconds are dedicated to the most elaborate panty shot I have seen in all of my years of watching anime. I don't honestly know what to say about that.

The gist of the first episode is simple. We're introduced to a high school boy named Koyomi Araragi whom we're to assume is the protagonist. He's had a rather interesting experience lately, specifically he caught a girl who was falling and found out that she weighed almost nothing. "That's odd!" you might say, but we've only just begun. The girl in question, Hitagi Senjougahara, finds out that he has been asking around about her and decides that the best course of action would be to approach Koyomi and shove a stapler and a razor blade in his mouth. So she does, and he in turn agrees to stop digging into her business. Well, he lied, because as soon as she walks off he goes after her and offers to help her with her weightlessness! Somewhere in here we also find out that Koyomi is a (former) vampire! I can't actually continue to explain this because it's turning into a garbled mess.

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What can I say about the production values that I haven't already? They're good, but it's not the objective kind of good that I normally use in these reviews. It's more like when someone asks you how your day was and you just sort of instinctively reply "Good" because to reply honestly would take far too much effort and all the other person was trying to do was make small talk. You honestly won't ever be able to tell if the show is genuinely well animated because it's so stylized and unique, which is good in and of itself. I honestly remember nothing of the OP or ED, but who really cares at this point anyway. Shaft will probably change both like thirty times before the show ends anyway.

First Impression: 8.5/10
Verdict: Aside from not making any sense this might be the best thing this season.