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BAKEMONOGATARI #1 - - Special Review

These "narrative staples" don't really stick in, too long.

Well, if I’m covering one show that Nick R’s waxed rhapsodic about, why not check out another one for myself, too?

Way back when I first started doing Watch & Learn, the column was titled “What the F@#$ Did I Just Watch?!?!” - - presumably because, as the new guy, I was expected to be continually flabbergasted by the anime I was viewing. Honestly, it didn’t work out that way most of the time (part of the reason we changed the column title, actually), but I definitely thought about that old titling while I was closing the window after this episode was done.

I’m not asking “WTF?” because this show got anywhere close to maxing out my weirdness dials or anything. No, I’ve seen weirder, and I’ve enjoyed weirder. What the question boils down to is clarity. I thought the surrealism was doled out in a cluttered and obfuscating way. It would’ve been hard to follow even if the main character wasn’t a paperweight girl with the power to summon a seemingly infinite supply of office supplies out of her sleeves.

What’s more, if you take away all the scatterbrain cuts to material which (I assume?) has been culled from later episodes in the series, there ain’t a lot that actually happens in this episode. Guy catches a girl from a fall, they talk in a classroom, she threatens him with a couple staplers and… then they go talk to somebody else? There aren’t any sharp hooks in there.

Maybe I’d be feeling this more if it was the dub and not the sub. I rather enjoyed it when NATURAL BORN KILLERS did similar things with borderline-subliminal title cards and integrated sub-titles. Here, it all just kind of flashes by before it can even register, prompting a shrug instead of a gasp from me.

It’s really too bad - - the girl's stationary gimmick is actually kind of cool.

Watch this episode, "HItagi Crab, Part 1” here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

metalsnakezeroon Nov. 19, 2012 at 1:26 p.m.

I don't know what your complaining about Tom but this is one of the best animes out there. I thought you would compare this series with another fast talking show, The Tatami Galaxy. It has similar styles and two intriguing characters.

Petiewon Nov. 19, 2012 at 2:01 p.m.
I've tried repeatedly to get into this show and I just can't. The style is really interesting and it looks nice, but that's all. I can't bring myself to care about any of the characters or the long winded dialogue.
For people who really love this series, what's so great about it? I've seen up to the first episode of the snake arc.
shelson Nov. 19, 2012 at 2:04 p.m.

Senjougahara Fascination

sickVisionz moderator on Nov. 19, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.

I haven't seen a single episode of this but if it's anything like Nisemonogatari then I think the draw is the art work, the animation, Nisio Isin's style of dialog, and Araragi's interactions with all of these crazy girls in his life.

Nisemono wasn't plot less, but it always took a while for the actual plot of the arc to kick in. An example would be that the the final arc of Nisei was 4 episodes and it took about 2.5 before they actually did anything that was really related to what that story line would be.

If you're looking a real deal, every episode is pushing forward with the plot type of show, Bake might not be it. It's very much a stop and smell the roses series and the plot is just a reason to be walking or driving through various rose fields.

Donwunon Nov. 19, 2012 at 5:50 p.m.

For the most part this is a really good anime series that would go much further with an english dub.

It's funny Tom cuz i can see some similarities between this series and Tatami Galaxy and i think both of these shows being sub only limit their potential to gain more awareness. In truth the two series are pretty different from one another but both series have good subtext delivered in an interesting visual and lets say trying pace of dialogue...for better or worst

There are few anime titles nowadays that stray from the path and keeps things creative...i'd say at the very least this series does things differently and is pretty enjoyable...while strangely being somewhat trivial too....its an interesting show is what i'm tryna say lol

Turambaron Nov. 19, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.
The frantic cuts are pretty much  staples of SHAFT's animation style.  No pun intended.
Babylonian staff on Nov. 19, 2012 at 9:32 p.m.

Hahah, I love seeing alternate perspectives on shows I dug. I've shown Bakemonogatari to close friends of mine and had them react exactly the way Tom did! It's definitely a needlessly esoteric show, but man, the style had me hooked just a few minutes into the first episode. Great write-up!

Oh yeah, and for posterity: here's my Anime Vice write-up on Bakemonogatari from last year, in case anyone's interested in seeing a totally different take from Tom's.

Marshal Victoryon Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:25 p.m.

@sickVisionz:

Nisemonogatari is the second chapter so to speek of Bakemonogatari . Similar art design ( which really is design ) same characters .Time just marchs on.Its good some times ecchi tho.

Tom seriously go 3 strikes on this one. if by 3rd it has not picked up you atention ,hit you funny bone a few times or just flat out capture your "where the hell is this going" spider sence then its just not for ya.But i think it could well be .But heres the problem...

This is a anime you cant sit with friends an chat while watching the 1st time threw.You cant be listning to the radio,playing checkers or typing on a mechnical typewriter.It requires.. no DEMANDS your attention or its not as good.This anime is not like others.Very heavy on words an design an some times both tell a story.Also if hommer Simpson had seen this anime he would not have had problems in one of the tree houses of horror!

For any one intrested in illustration ,animation, art design ,or even visual story telling ,this anime needs to be seen .Hell it should be a staple in art schools .... staple ...see what i did ?

AgentJon Nov. 21, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.

I remember feeling the same way when I saw the first episode. This show takes a LONG time to get going, and even though I would call myself a fan now, I sometimes wonder if it is really the case. The show wasn't even really redeeming (in my eyes) until, like, the third story arc? That is like five or six episodes into this 12 episode series. That last episode though... man...

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