I was wondering how long Shaft was gonna take with completing the ONAs to this series. Bakemonogatari was doing enough at meandering my opinion thanks to some of its content hanging around though it mostly did contribute to advancing the plot or looking into the problems faced by the characters. So I settled on giving it a decent rating, even though I'm still a bit uneasy with some of the bits I seen in this show and considering the rating I have given it.
While a good amount of Bakemonogatari is a comedy thanks to Araragi's interactions with the female lead characters, it also functions as a supernatural mystery and drama divided into several arcs focused around a female character possessed by a spirit influenced by said character's personal problems and trying to figure out how to overcome the problem with help from Araragi, spiritual expert/ homeless man Oshino and any of the female characters Araragi helped from the previous arcs. In knowing these problems, the series explores the background and psychological states of each of the characters to give a better sense of how each character winded up as they were and how they became possessed by the spirits that overtook them thus giving it a great sense of characterization. This development also goes into the relationships that Araragi develops with each of the characters as some of the female leads are those he becomes more acquainted with or was close to before and after each character arc in the show. One major case being Senjougahara accepting the help Araragi provides the other female leads as she hangs around Araragi and starts a relationship with him. The series does sport some good looking scenery and character designs, as well as having a diverse number of opening songs used for each of the show's character arcs to reflect on said character's personality or inner desires.
The series might not be for all people though for a couple major reasons. First, the series is very dialogue driven as many instances only feature conversations between characters mixed in with written dialogue visible onscreen (often times bombarding multiple dialogue screens in a matter of seconds) and an avant-garde visual presentation mixed in (a la ef
) to give focus and depth on the underlying meanings of the discussions between characters. While there are some fluid movements shown in encounters Araragi has with the spirits in each of the show's arcs, the character conversations are more prevalent meaning those looking for more action in this title will be disappointed. Second, the series can be surprisingly bloody and hitting hard with its fan service at points. The questionable content doesn't appear too frequently throughout the series yet when it does, it can hit hard. From getting blatant crotch shots of a female cast member to literally seeing someone getting swung around by their intestines, the content can be shocking to those unprepared for it and I'd definitely avoid exposing this title to younger teens thanks to the content. While some of this content is around to shock or titillate its audience, a good amount of it was necessary to advance the plot to a character arc (Nadeko Snake) or to delve into the subdued desires of a character having inner doubts (Suguru Monkey, Tsubasa Cat).
Overall, Bakemonogatari was a title that offered a unique presentation with presenting the supernatural and personal problems faced by its cast, as well as the conversations that Araragi has in becoming more acquainted with the female characters that he helps out. The dialogue heavy storytelling and occasional blatant objectionable content will make this a title that won't be for all to enjoy. But if you are looking for something different from the heaping load of dating sim spinoff, fan service heavy, moe and harem comedy titles that have been given greater focus with anime in recent years, then Bakemonogatari should be your cup of tea.