Punched in the Face with Art (Bakemonogatari Review)

Topic started by Elfenlied1012 on Oct. 3, 2012. Last post by Elfenlied1012 1 year, 9 months ago.
Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

Well hello once again it’ me, M, here to bring you another review. With the podcast still being made, the video stuff still a bit unfinished, I turn my sights to one of my favorite animation studios Shaft, maker of previous reviewed pieces such as MariaHolic and Madoka Magica. However this time I turn my sights to the Shaftyest piece of shaft animation shaft has ever had a hand in. That being the hit success of Bakemonogatari.

MC his love interest and a moneky
MC his love interest and a moneky

Bakemonogatari was a shaft production back in 2009. Based on a series of books about a young man named Koyomi Araragi who, after surviving a vampire attack, runs into a girl by the name Hitagi Senjogahara who has no weight. The Series eventually becomes a series of Araragi walking into, and then solving, a series of supernatural mysteries. All with an extremely unique style and presentation Shaft is most notable for in its recent works.

Shifting and distinct styles
Shifting and distinct styles

Bakemonogatari is another case of a series where I have a thousand things to say, but not really the vernacular or wherewithal to say it. I suppose I should start with the given. This is a shaft production, more than that this is THE shaft production as far as some people are concerned. It’s no surprise that Bakemonogatari is gorgeous, its visual design striking and sound design at its worst interesting and at its best flawless. Shaft has always been one to put most of their efforts in presentation and style, this is something Shaft projects of late all have and something that probably is the truest with Bakemonogatari.

On the flip side unlike its more modern counterpart madoka magica, bakemonogatari doesn’t know when to calm down a bit. It’s not exactly like it’s trying too hard more like a small child you can’t get to calm down for one moment. Though this became easier in later episodes, the first two constantly are jerking around changing shots and angles so rapidly its physically difficult to sit through multiple episodes without feeling a little motion

sick. I would equate it to the feeling of after being punched in the face, that kind of hazy dizziness. I myself had to take a break every episode early on, just to keep from the headaches, but that doesn’t disregard that what I was seeing was breath taking, just uncontrolled and simply too much. Something that I see they learned in madoka which while sharing a lot of the design and look simply remains calm enough for it to be more enjoyed for the wonderful work it is.

Headache inducing in the beginning, but I must say it gets easier to deal with and enjoy for its stylish masterful design. Shaft likes to make art simple as that and every shot in it is art. The understanding of contrasting colors and appropriate usage of CG; simple things like the main character being outlined in red instead of black bring things to life. However, with this trade shaft has always had one very big weakness. Historically as a studio Shaft has always lacked in the story department. Not so much in story premise,

This monkey girl nearly prompted me to write an entire blog post about why she is so unique to anime
This monkey girl nearly prompted me to write an entire blog post about why she is so unique to anime

just execution, specifically on the characters. While most characters look and act cool, they often either don't make too much sense or never act in a way real human beings act. This can range from Pani Pani Dash which the story is nonsense, to mariaholic where the characters are nothing, but tropes. Bakemonogatari does suffer through a lot of the same illness in unnatural dialogue, conversations that mean nothing, or too often ending in a circler discussion over, again, nothing. While this is true some of the time the characters have a shocking and pretty incredible amount of depth. Perhaps it has more to do with the original source material, but the MC his girlfriend and the monkey girl all specifically have so many layers of personality that are very normal and human it actually got me choked up from time to time. However, most of the others are just spouting shaft insanity, meaningful and insightful, but so are the ramblings of the insane from time to time.

It’s got some great actiony bits as well as a fine taste in music and design. Looks great and has some very interesting characters with good depth, the MC most of all who seems like a honest to goodness good guy. I don’t like harem set ups, but at least with this the MC it makes sense. He’s a charming good guy who while he has his own temptations always and I mean always does what best for everyone else. All while being modest about it. He strikes me as someone who anyone could like and aspire to be as a person making the fact that quite a few girls like him unsurprising. It helps the harem from being annoying that he has a strong commitment to one girl as apposed to being constantly indecisive. Bonus points as well with being a story that didn’t beat around the bush with its romantic subplot, it progresses appropriately. Something anime needs to do more often.I’ve got a bit more to say about Bakemonogatari, but I’ve reached about where my review length limit is. All in all Bakemonogatari is really cool and really worth just a look even if only watched in parts. While my favorite shaft piece is still madoka this is very much peer to peer with it. Something that’s hard to reach. It’s the type of show that puts a genuine smile on my face. All in all here goes Bakemonogatari with 4 staplers out of 5. Later vice I’m off to check out its sequel, but it sounds like it might be a bit of a disappointment.

M here, and I got utensils, bitches love utensils.
M here, and I got utensils, bitches love utensils.
Post by PyroBlue (9 posts) See mini bio Level 6

Great review M! And everyone the next podcast will be up within the next week or 2!

Post by Kuro_San (1,338 posts) See mini bio Level 11

This is the best show I watched this year, and would be the one I liked the most in the last 3 years if Tiger & Bunny hadnt existed

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@Kuro_San:I agree it's quiet good. Somewhere in my top twenty, never seen Tiger & Bunny though.

@PyroBlue: thanks man and yeah we should have it done before next weekend.

Post by Kuro_San (1,338 posts) See mini bio Level 11

@Elfenlied1012: Great Review, I'm looking foward for Kizumonogatari

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@Kuro_San: Same, very much so I'm currently watching Nisemonogatari

Post by Kuro_San (1,338 posts) See mini bio Level 11

@Elfenlied1012: Watched it and loved it. It revs up the ecchi a bit

Post by sickVisionz (4,238 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

@Kuro_San said:

@Elfenlied1012: Watched it and loved it. It revs up the ecchi a bit

Yeah, Nise goes pretty hardcore with the ecchi content on middle school kids but it's really funny in a Shafty way, I love Nisio Ishin's dialog, and the visuals are great. It's like an echhi show that never bought into the idea that ecchi shows have to be poorly produced, generic in every way, and poorly executed.

Post by Kuro_San (1,338 posts) See mini bio Level 11

@sickVisionz: Dialog is Bakemonogatari strongest point, apart from the Shaft Animation Carnival that every Shaft work have

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@sickVisionz: Yeah I like it, but the amount of sexualized underage girls being SHARPLY increased and how much more of a pervert they make the MC this time around is a little...grating. Still enjoying it, but it's losing some of the charm I felt from the Characters. No surprise however that everything looks f@#king awesome while its happening though.

@Kuro_San: It can be funny the thing is its abhorrently unnatural and can range anywhere from other worldy (what their going for which is perfectly fine) to completely character destroying and out of character (I.E. some of early episodes of Nise where they undo like all the good will they built up for Hitagi Senjogahara in a matter of like 5 scenes or how they seem to completely forget monkey girl is a lesbian just to ramp up the haremness of nise) It gives me the distinct impression that the people at shaft have never spoken to a real human beings at any point in their lives.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

I'm starting to like nise more as I go on

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