ANIME & MANGA - Review
10:39 - 17th December 2014, by David West


High school student Koyomi Araragi used to be a vampire, but he’s much better now, thanks. However, he possesses a knack for spotting people who are experiencing supernatural troubles of their own, and, solid sort of chap that he is, Araragi always looks to lend a helping hand. Bakemonogatari is at heart a strange twist on the harem genre. The action boils down to this: Araragi will encounter a girl dealing with some paranormal problem manifested in the form of a curse that he then sets out to help them lift. They then join his circle of admirers, and occasionally help out with the next damsel in distress.

Sadly, this description does nothing to capture very singular style of the series. Directed by Akiyuki Simbo, Bakemonogatari features genuinely striking and original design work, filling the screen with geometric shapes, borderline subliminal onscreen titles that disappear too quickly to be digested, and bold colour schemes. The series needs these visual devices as it is intensely dialogue heavy. There’s no English dub, and the script is packed with Japanese puns and wordplay, some of which defy ready translation. What gradually emerges from all the banter is a love story between Araragi and his tsundere classmate Hitagi, the first girl he helps deal with an unusual curse. The sheer volume of verbiage may prove insurmountable to some, but it’s refreshing to see a series that dismantles the harem genre conventions while displaying a real flair for visual invention.

The rapid chatter requires concentration, but the unconventional aesthetics and oddball characters make Bakemonogatari strangely compelling.
SCORE: 4/5
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