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|JJ's Anime Review # 23: Bakemonogatari [ 化物語 ]|
|Written by JJ|
|Thursday, 27 September 2012 00:00|
What is a ghost? What is a god? What is a vampire, a monster, a human? All are just abstracts, words whose meaning we think we know. Look a little deeper, and you may be surprised by what you find. It could be truth, it could be the answers you look for, or it could, in the end, be nothing more than smoke in the wind. Just another ghost, but if you look only at the surface, how will you ever know?
photo credit: notakublog.wordpress.com
"Warning - This anime review may contain some spoilers - Read at your own risk "
Hello, JJ here, with another brand new anime review for all your reading pleasure. This time we have something of a cult classic up on the chopping block. It was created by a well known studio, with a unique, artistic style, and its fans can’t say enough good things about it but is there any substance there? Let’s take a look, and see what the verdict is for, "Bakemonogatari". (Please note this review is of Bakemonogatari, and is not concerned with its sequel Nisemonogatari.)
photo credit: randomnessthing.com
So, our story is about Araragi, a highschool boy recently cured of vampirism by a local spiritualist living in a condemned building. As a lingering effect of the disease, he is capable of surviving massive amounts of harm. No explanation is given as to whether this is why he attracts more girls than a sailor moon convention despite having slightly less appealing personality traits than a sea sponge. Anyway, Araragi’s unique predicament allows him to offer help to others, notably all attractive girls, who have also been having trouble with the supernatural. Starting with our female lead, Senjugohara, Araragi goes on to help his friends with problems ranging from weightlessness to having a demonic arm attached to their body.
photo credit: imnotanotaku.wordpress.com
The show is highly stylized and unique in its production, as has become the norm for studio shaft. It is minimalistic, pastel toned, slightly distracting at times and stunning at others. The music is not really too notable, but that is more for lack of time it could play without interrupting the ever present dialogue. The characters are almost constantly talking, and the camera seems to be ever moving, striving to make the talking seem more dynamic. It actually is somewhat successful. And those times when things do actually happen, the animation certainly delivers.
As for the dialogue itself, it is one of the main strengths of the show. There may be a lot of it, but if you can take it, you will be rewarded with funny, sarcastic, thought provoking conversation at every turn. It takes a good amount of attention to get the meanings of words and their importance, and really gets you thinking. Despite Araragi being a little flat, Senjugohara, the spiritualist, and the other girls more than make up for it. They are all well fleshed out by the massive spurts of dialogue, and are all multilayered and interesting despite being identifiable as stereotypes designed to appeal to Japanese otaku. So no, to answer my question posed at the beginning of the review, this show is not without substance. This show has plenty of that, and of good quality. If only that was all it had.
photo credit: thenullset.wordpress.com
This series has a major flaw. That flaw is, simply put, fanservice. I have made reference to it many times already, but really, it is much more than it should have been. Every girl it seems gets a panty shot, every single girl seems to have a crush on Araragi, (including his sisters,) and really after a while it sort of feels like underneath all that awesome just like another harem. Its not, but it feels like it at times. The worse offending moments are when the stylization and fan service mix, to shower you with flashing panties, cleavage, and creative camera angles while beating you over the head with more dialogue. It was moments like these when I really wish they could just turn the dial down a tiny bit.
photo credit: brianandrew.wordpress.com
In the end, we are left with a how both fascinating and frustrating. If I seem a bit harsh on this show, it is only because I have heard its flaws talked down too often. Still, I must say it is well written, very pretty, and quite a fun show to watch, if you enjoy word play as much as I do. This show is far, far from perfect, but I can surely recommend it, if only to those who like this sort of thing. If you need constant action, or don’t like fanservice, steer clear. Still, in my personal opinion, "Bakemonogatari" is certainly a keeper. 7/10
J.J. reporting for
Twisted Manga News
|Last Updated on Friday, 28 September 2012 01:24|