Bakemonogatari and the Monogatari series in genreal is very popular among anime fans and it seems to be a long running anime for fans. So what makes this anime so interesting for viewers to watch. We’re going to be getting into that in this blog so keep reading. They’re aren’t going to be alot of spoilers or anything in this blog so please keep reading. Bakemonogatari follows the story of a young college student who has survived a vampire attack. His after encounters are what make a majority of the episodes. You can read below the story in detail before we go over the pros and cons of Bakemonogatari and whether or not you should watch it. I’m also going to be referring to Bakemonogatari as BKMG from now on because I can.
The story of Bakemonogatari is very complicated and in order for you to understand it you need to take a moment to see what the word “Bakemonogatari” actually means. “Bake” in Japanese means “Ghost” in English and “Monogatari” means “Story” in English, so Bakemonogatari means “Ghost Story”. But thats not all of it. It features the main character Araragi who, had previously survived a vampire attack. However his story just consists of him going around parts of Japan helping girls with their apparition / demon problems. It starts when he witnesses a girl with absolutely or hardly any weight. Yes, thats right, she only weighs less than a few kg I think. She falls from the top of the hallway and symbolically falls down to him where he then proceeds to catch her, this is where her secret is revealed. There is alot of symbolism in Bakemonogatarari and it becomes alot more prevalent in the later episodes.
He has to help them both but in the beginning episode Senjygouhara threatens Araragi with a razor and a stapler. She goes off on him for something I couldn’t remember what it was, you’ll find out when you watch it. I think she makes it clear she’ll physically harm him if he does not assist her with her problem. But the story sort of moves along in a very strange but flow type way. It does this through music and this does play a vital role in linking scenes to one-another. You could say that each scene lurchers from one scene to another but I think the music prevent this overall appearance from being given off, which is great. I must stress that Bakemonogatari just like alot of Japanese series like this are graphic and violent, they also openly sexualise children, that’s something you’re going to have to overlook unfortunately, because it’s prevalent in alot of anime like this.
As well as this girl he runs into another girl who has a monkey arm attached to her left arm. Sometimes, without her control the monkey arm does things that she cannot help. It’s Araragi Kun’s time to assist her and he also employs the help of Senjyogouhara to assist him. It’s also revealed that she has a sexual attraction to him but he doesn’t really do anything it about. There is alot of symbolism in BKMG and this is sometimes or most of the time significant, and they’re relevant to the story by the images that are portrayed in them. They have human actors in them and this makes them alot more memorable. We’re going to be getting into the reasons why you should watch and why you shouldn’t watch Bakemonogatari in a moments but please take a moment to have a look at the main character.
Araragi encounters a snail curse which allows him to see the apparition of the little girl. The Snail Curse is said to be very dangerous and can curse any human, even though we’re not sure if Araragi is Human, seen as he was bit by a vampire.
Koyomi Araragi is the main protaganist for the series and he’s besically the main character for the whole series. We see everything from his POV and most of the problems are solved using him. He is relatable for a typical 17 – 19 year old Japanese boy.
I mainly found myself agreeing with alot of what he tries to and does accomplish. He has a logical nature in the way he goes about things and is the most logical and rational of the characters who we come across in Bakemonogatari and the Monogatari series in general.
Next we have Senjygouhara, who is supposed to be Araragi’s girlfriend. She is supposed to be his girlfriend but in my opinion acted like a protaganist the whole way through the series. She was very strange in my opinion and the dialogue that her character uses is very weird. In my opinion she doesn’t talk how adults let alone teenagers talk.
If I came across her in the real world and she started to talk to me in that way I’d have her sectioned but maybe that’s just me. She is stuck up unlikable and a poor choice of character in my opinion for Araragi. I still don’t understand why this guy didn’t just drop her at the start, because I wound’t stick around for long.
The reason I’m putting many of these characters here and not writing separate lines for them is because they all only get about an episode or more on the series so there are not that significant in that respect. I know some like Senjygouhara get more but for my sake I’m not going to be writing about her separately. It’s Araragi that gets the most screen time, and this is because he is the one who is solving the problems and the girls are coming to him when they find out that he helps Senjygouhara. Most of them were pretty memorable and they worked well as sub characters and as main characters when the episode was centred only on them.
I guess you could say that the characters from Bakemonogatari were memorable and this on one hand is completely true. However, I would say that this is by default, the design team in charge of the production of BKMG did a fantastic job and you can see this just in the way each episode is portrayed. It’s SONY levels of production which makes sense since they’re the ones who have the license anyway (SONY MUSIC Japan).
I didn’t like Senjygouhara, I didn’t like Oshino or Hanekawa either, they all felt like antagonists to me but it’s as if the writer wants us to think everyone is against Araragi, because that is sure what it feels like. I liked that Araragi had a appirtion himself in the form of that little girl, Hachikuji, but I didn’t like the fact that there was scene where she was beaten in the face. I know it was an apparition and not real but the fact that they showed that didn’t sit right with me
Main Narrative Continued
Araragi assists Senjygouhara with her weight problem by enlisting the help of man called Meme Oshino. Oshino agrees to assist her if she complies with his strange requests and submit to a ritual that will stop the curse or apparition from taking place in the first place, getting rid of her weight problem right then and there. Now the scene that follows was very interesting to me when I first watched it and this was because there were alot of references through the use of the pictures of Japanese people.
For some reason as well Senjygouhara thinks Araragi is her boyfriend and she persistently pushes this on him and kind of walks all over him in some episodes, physically assaulting him, mocking him and even leaving him for dead once. This is what I don’t like about Senjygouhara’s character and this made her really unbearable for me to watch when I was viewing Bakemonogatari. The rest of the series is basically Araragi going round in this town their in and assisting other girls (and they all are girls) with the same kind of apparition problems. This is what most of the story is about and it becomes an important part of the story as the series progresses.
Symbolism In Bakemonogatari
Bakemonogatari has alot of symbolism in very significant and it plays a large part in producing the effect that some scenes have one the viewer. Music, lighting, and dialogue has a big effect as well, but the symbolism in Bakemonogatari and in the Monogatari series in general I imagine is very prevalent. It’s normally used to convey the impact of a sentence or to justify an act of event. It does that with flashbacks which are then voiced over for a better effect.
Sometimes we also see objects that played a part in the story of one scene making an appearance such as the stapler and the razor that Senjygouhara uses to threaten Araragi and other things that were relevant to the first ritual. The symbolism starts near the ritual scene which happens near the beginning of the series near the episodes featuring Senjygouhara’s apparition problems.
Use Of Cutaway Devices
We can see above that the series uses several types of animation styles to change from scene to scene. As well as using music to link different scenes together they also use these cutaways, which are just as effective. Using 3 colours to link each image together is a great way to connect each shot and it is done perfectly here. This is also a good example of linking scenes in general.
Reasons Bakemonogatari Is Worth Watching
Original Animation Style
The show has a very different and original animation style which makes it very fun to watch. The series has a large variety of artistic styles which it uses regularly throughout the series.
Animation Is On Point
Honestly the visuals are amazing with this series, so I’d give it a go if you’re into all that. Scenes can often switch from being playful and funny too serious within minutes. Also they’re different artistic styles within the series which highlight different stories and sub plots. I would say the way it’s drawn is very intriguing and I like the way it’s drawn for a fact. The timing on certain scenes is very good especially with music as well. They use music very well to link scenes in with each other.
I like how the shots in some scene always stay in the same location, this makes it alot more tense and high profile I’d say. The shots do not regularly change location. I would say that Bakemonogatari is unlike conventional anime, some people and anime watchers may prefer this.
Captivating visuals are a common appearance with BKMG, and they are similar sometimes to that of the Fruits Of Grisaia, in the way they are presented at least. I would say they are different though, in many ways. Lighting and textures are on point in my opinion, sometimes almost entrancing. I would really give BKMG a go as I have started to get into it.
Appropriate Use Of Graphic Imagery
It really depends what type of person you are, it’s quite a graphic and interesting sort of anime. It isn’t just your everyday anime and this is evident in the shots and with the music. The way the series uses shots to focus on characters is great as well and it does this so well throughout the series. What I found was that Bakemonogatari uses scenes that are graphic to convey certain emotions. I’m all for this but some people may not like this, just like Black Lagoon and other anime it seems to use these types of scenes alot and this makes some scenes more intense and engaging than other scenes.
Reasons Bakemonogatari Isn’t Worth Watching
Difficult Story To Follow
If you want to get into the story it’s going to be quite a hard task with this one. The first few episodes of Bakemonogatari are very hard to follow and understand in my opinion. This may effect your ability to view them and get into the series. For example it’s not really explained enough, some voice overs are given at the start of some of the earlier episodes but this doesn’t really offer much of an explanation of what is going on. Obviously if you read the manga you’re not going to have much of a problem with this series as you’ll know whats going on but for first time viewers you may have some trouble like I did.
Lack Of Explanation
I’m sure I’m not the only one who was asking questions throughout Bakemonogatari, but sometimes I had no clue who certain events in the scenes had occurred and how it was even possible for Araragi to even be affiliated with these kind of characters. Especially Oshino. How would those two’s paths cross? I have no idea and it made no sense to me. I took the liberty of rewatching the original scene and I still could not find any explanation for how Araragi knew Oshino, how and when he became affiliated with him and why Senjygouhara even bothered to go with him in the first place. This is a recurring theme in the series and I just had to be sure I was correct before writing this article. Araragi states that it was Oshino who was able to assist him initially and help “turn back” to a human, but he offers no other explanation.
General Unlikable Characters
Alot of people are going to disagree with me on this but I’m just going to have to get into it. I don’t like the characters in Bakemonogatari, it’s my opinion so please just hear me out. The main protagonist, Araragi is pretty boring so to speak and his dialogue only seems to matter when he is discussing something with Senjygouhara or the other sub characters. You’re going to have to come to terms with Senjygouhara’s annoying and stuck up character as well as the other sub characters such as Kanbaru.
I can’t say categorically that the way the dialogue was written for Senjygouhara was unrealistic but I would like say that the way she would produce dialogue was just weird. The only way I can describe it is as a 60 year old man trapped inside a 17 year old girls body, which makes sense I guess seen as who it’s written by.
Questionable Main Character
I really couldn’t find anything I liked about the main character apart from the fact that he was a nice character. I mean this in the sense that he assisted most of the girls who came or come to him asking for his assistance, and this is in some sense admirable. However there are certain scenes involving Araragi that I just found creepy and strange. They were also just unmoral in nature and if you’ve previously seen BKMG then you’ll know what I’m talking about, especially the scenes involving Hacikuji and Sengoku. I know this is a recurring theme with some anime and I faced a problem when reviewing Araragi’s character.
Very Graphic At Times
Some scenes in BKMG are very graphic and this can be anything from violence to sex and much more. If you’re not into all that then maybe Bakemonogatari is not for you as these types of scenes are abundant in BKMG. There are also sexual and violent scenes directly involving children, which for moral reasons I don’t agree with. These types of scenes are in every other episode I’d say and you will come across them sooner or later if you have started watching, just try to watch out or them, thats the only advice I can offer, or you could skip through them.
Bakemonogatari offers a very different and unique experience that isn’t similar to any sort of anime I’ve covered in the past few years. The animation style, dialogue, sound design, shots, soundtracks and overall aesthetic are definitely attractive to a certain respect. The series possesses almost entrancing visuals that cannot be topped by alot of other series out there and I cannot think of a series that is as original in its design as Bakemonogatari and the Monogatari series. The first initial episodes that come in the series will be harder to get into when you’re first starting out, but I knew that there were more seasons and episodes featuring these characters, so in a sense, I knew from the start it was a good anime to get invested in and, in that sense, it is. Although you may face problems with the characters later on, the reward from some scenes is far greater than that of the downsides. I am very happy to be reviewing the second season of the Monogatari series as well and will be giving my thoughts on it in another article.
But all in all, Bakemonogatari is worth watching, the reasons I have mentioned are very important and they all can be mostly forgotten about if you just get into it. In fact, I found it pretty difficult to get into reasons why it wasn’t worth watching. The story is pretty unique, the characters are also interesting, sound and visual designs are on point, what else do I need to say? Just remember the reasons it’s not worth watching, you never know, they might just help you. I also must stress I liked the ending of the series and it was nice to leave on a nice note, if thats what you can call it.
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