Time To Barrel Roll Into The Most Hyped Show Of The Season (I Finally Check Out Bakemonogatari)

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This Is Your Brain On Drugs….Any Questions?

Honestly I went ahead and gave this show a chance and so far it’s giving me a headache….well at least at first….and yet I still want to see more of it just the same.  I’m perfectly sure there’s something interesting being developed here with regard to Hitagi’s plight and how Oshino is going to try and help her, but I’ll also say that the first episode with that looping music track over the opening conversation in the classroom (annoying and repetitive beyond description) as well as the randomly flashing text and rapidly shifting camera angles for no discernible reason or effect was just dizzying and disorienting beyond belief.  Especially since the parts of the episode that aren’t like that are quite drawn out but also really intense and creepy at the same time with the psycho bitch and well….just the show in general. I know somebody is going to probably tell me that that’s just Shinbo, but I’ll just reply by asking how this necessary and by answering myself with, “probably drugs”.  Other than that bit of “guh-huh” it was a more intriguing and eye-catching start than what I’ve seen most series feature these days, but not by much.

Now what I really did like and found most intriguing about this opener was how the one girl with the glasses (sorry her name eludes me and I’ll probably catch shit for this) sold Hitagi as something completely different then what she is portrayed as upon her first introduction, which helped to greatly enhance the atmosphere of her turning out to have a stationery fetish. Here I am expecting a total stereotype of a Mary Sue and then she just turns out to be a nutcase that doesn’t fit any of the traits she was described as having.  I cant’ even begin to describe how this struck me as an incredibly good thing.  Also Oshino didn’t come across the way I thought he was going to either and ends up being more like a second season Tieria Erde as opposed to the Saji Crossroad I was expecting.  Already we are seeing that the characters seem to have more than one side to them, and that’s pretty good stuff that I would definitely call promising for somebody like me who hasn’t watched much of this highly hyped and praised series yet.

Now to get a little more wishy-washy again though, because let’s face it this is just what I do when it comes to raw first impressions.  I’m really not sure if I like Hitagi’s voice acting yet though, mostly because I’m more used to Chiwa Saito voicing squeaky, peppy, loud and just generally extroverted characters like first season Louise Halevy, Natsumi Hinata, Lavie Head and Rebecca Miyamoto and I think maybe she is too. Also I can’t say Bakemonogatari is likely to be winning any awards on the BGM front either.  I’m probably not going to make many friends for saying this judging by how insanely popular this show is at the moment, but Bakemonogatari probably has some of the most unpleasant BGM I have heard so far this year.  The visual style though……..as much as I may have seemed like I was put off by it before, I am more befuddled, and honestly I like being surprised and then just learning to go along with the ride…..if it doesn’t turn out to be totally insulting that is.  I think I will probably be getting high when I watch episode 2 just to enhance the experience.  It’s the kind of show that seems to warrant it and probably the piece of the puzzle missing in understanding why the points of view and text are so messed up.  I figure Shinbo is probably toking up while he’s directing all of this stuff, might as well indulge him.  It’s just like….whatever it’s a surface right….might as well through some text in there…..attaboy Shinbo!

About Kaioshin Sama

I'm a Mecha Anime fan who can go from being rigidly straightforward to using vague references that make me impossible to understand in about 5 minutes.
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17 Responses to Time To Barrel Roll Into The Most Hyped Show Of The Season (I Finally Check Out Bakemonogatari)

  1. Sorrow-kun says:

    You’ve always been one to hold it against an anime when it gets popular (except when they’re by Sunrise) so it doesn’t surprise me that you’ve missed the point here.

    1/10. More effort required in future.

    • You’ve always been one to take me way to seriously, but if you’d only do that you might actually get the point that this isn’t supposed to be like a super serious first impression or something. I take it you’re really big on the show and don’t like me reviewing it in a lackadaisical manner such as this. Well I’m terribly sorry if you feel insulted or something but I’ve only seen one episode so far so if there was a point to be made I wouldn’t know what it is yet since I’m literally just being introduced to the framework and concepts of the show. Eventually I do plan on attempting a more serious analysis, but for a guy who is literally watching his first SHAFT/Shinbo anime ever and who has yet to fully see what all the buzz is about I wouldn’t have expected expert commentary so much as raw impressions.

      • Sorrow-kun says:

        Oh no, so the minute I call you out for writing a troll post, you want to hide behind your tongue-in-cheek. If you want to make a point but do so in a facetious manner, learn to satire. Take a look at the other satire anime blogs like Baka-Raptor or We’re Finally Notdotq Anymore, who fill their posts with humour but would never take a backward step when defending their point. If you don’t have the confidence to defend yours, don’t write it. This is just ignorance, and now you want to admit its pointless ignorance and wash your hands of it. Sorry, doesn’t work that way, these things stick.

        It’s ironic how big a storm you kicked up when the boot was on the other foot and people dared to criticize your precious Code Geass R2 and Gundam 00, and yet you just can’t resist yourself from trolling the latest craze. Way to go, so much for all that effort trying to convince people that you’re not a douche.

      • You say this is your first SHAFT/Shinbo anime… and yet you mention Chiwa Saito’s role as Rebecca Miyamoto from Pani Poni Dash… which was also animated by SHAFT and directed by Shinbo. Have you seen Pani Poni or was that more of an example.

        In any event, I don’t have much else to add on to what everyone else is saying about the tone of the post which once again affirms your position as the anime community’s Bill O’Reilly.

        • No comment on the Bill O’Reilly thing other than it seems to me like you guys are reacting more to my apparent reputation than to my actual post, but if you or Sorrow would read some of the other comments I’ve made and between the lines of the actual post you’ll see that I actually enjoyed the opening episode quite a bit. I even gave the episode a 7/10 on the animesuki forums if that means anything to you and no this isn’t backpedalling, this is actually how I felt about it.

          Also I didn’t know that Shinbo directed Pani Poni Dash, but I did like what I saw of that show quite a bit too. So I guess this isn’t my first Shaft/Shinbo anime then…..

  2. I tried introducing this show to my wife last night, who is a fan of shows like XXXholic. What I did notice is that she is less excited by all the talking, the dialogue that people like me and Sorrow-kun find exceptional in this show.

    She was visibly bored, and yet, we marathoned straight through Nadeko Snake. This tells me 2 things, the titillation and wordplay in the dialogue is clearly enjoyed more by a male, and perhaps an otaku perspective; and secondly that even the talky bits can be overcome by the genuinely interesting cases of affliction by the monsters.

    In my case, I’m not bothered by the BGM at all. I find it entertaining in its quirky way, but clearly not for listening on its own.

    • I’m a sucker for talking if there was ever any doubt. I wouldn’t be able to watch all of my sci-fi space opera shows if I didn’t like episodes that were just filled to the brim with dialogue, philosophizing, negotiating, politicking and just general every day banter. Of course I’m not big on talk about chocolate cornet, but moreso the the serious kinds of topics.

      Anyway we’ll be getting into some more serious talk about this talking show come midnight tomorrow….or would that be the next day……well anyway you’ll see.

  3. kadian1364 says:

    I recall Aevrus at Karmaburn calling Bakemonogatari “insufferably smug and self-important” (or that he heard others call it that or something), which is the camp I generally attend whenever SHAFT X Shinbo head up a new show, and this one is also too in love with its own cleverness and generally sharing in loath inducing practices. The show gets a lot of lip service because of its otaku-centric appeal, not by being the typical moe-moe harem fest, but the kind that’s much smarter and more self-aware while still using a twisted variations of the harem archetypes.

    Where am I going with this? I guess it’d be that Shinbo will be Shinbo, and voluntarily getting into the game this late, like I did, you have to expect it. But if you understand that and accept that and not let it get to you so much (it sounds like you’ve seen what, the first episode?) Bakemonogatari is highly watchable and occasionally surprisingly good. Like, with real honest to goodness Quality.

    • kadian1364 says:

      Actually, “insufferably smug and self-important” quite aptly describes your editorial voice at times, yet you have plenty of people consistently willing to humor you. Why not try doing the same once in a while?

    • It does seem to have a little bit of that yes, but I didn’t take it as smug so much as it attempting to be stylish. I’ve heard that is just Shinbo, but really it doesn’t bother me too much and isn’t nearly as intrusive as I would have imagined going in. I just don’t pay too much attention to the flashing text that I can’t actually read. Lol….anyway I look forward to seeing where this all leads, but I’ll cross the real serious analysis when I come to it. For now I’ll say that I definitely picked up on what people like about Hitagi right off the bat. The show does have pretty well thought out dialogue from what I’ve seen so far and I especially liked the exchange outside the classroom as I have mentioned to a handful of people that I’ve talked too about the show.

      And indeed I have only seen the first episode and wanted to write my own take on it in my own preferred style, which usually means something a fairly different from what’s already been seen. In reality this actually started as a forum post, but it was getting long and I felt I might as well just turn it into a first impression. Hence the silliness and such.

    • Sorrow-kun says:

      You see, “insufferably smug and self-important” is a valid criticism. Implying that you have to be on drugs to enjoy it is not. It’s a thinly veiled insult directed at people who enjoy the style by making the suggestion that there’s no rational/reasonable way to enjoy it without dumbing yourself down.

      If he had stuck to criticizing Shinbo’s style, I’d have been cool. It’s a naturally divisive approach and there’s lots to say about it either in favour or against it, and the criticism that it’s superfluous has a certain amount of validity to it, (even though that’s not the side of the fence I sit on). But again, he just couldn’t resist working in his “oh man, modern otaku-ism is just so difficult to understand, look at how above it all I am” attitude, which he uses to make the most crass generalizations. This is a troll post and should be treated as such. No insight, no relevance, the barest semblance of any logic. Post it on 4chan next time, you’ll get responses which are more befitting.

      • “Implying that you have to be on drugs to enjoy it is not. It’s a thinly veiled insult directed at people who enjoy the style by making the suggestion that there’s no rational/reasonable way to enjoy it without dumbing yourself down.”

        It’s a joke buddy…well a partial one since I said that I did enjoy the visuals and that they’d probably be even more intense while high. Also should I mention there is a way to get high that just makes you more focused on a specific task as opposed to just zoned out in your own mind. That’s the kind of high I was referring too as oppossed to the dumbing yourself down kind.

        Anyway again your taking it like I was trying to right a serious review for the show and that you need to warn people otherwise, but at the moment I’d rather leave that in the expert hands of people who have actually watched more than one episode and aren’t just giving rough first impressions. :p Nothing I’ve written here is intended to stick beyond the first leg of my journey into this show.

        So you see I actually got a huge kick out of Shinbo’s style and found it fairly unique, but I also found it to be a tad intrusive at times when I wanted to focus more on the dialogue and the camera was shifting angles every few seconds. It’s going to take some getting used to is all, and I figure the best way to do that is to find a way to embrace it as just a part of the fun as fast as possible. Kind of like I’m hoping others will eventually be able to do for my own style of occasionally screwball blogging.

        Alright so are we cool and on the same page now? *crosses fingers* >.<

  4. Vendredi says:

    I definitely recommend following along ghostlightning’s commentary series on the show, as well as checking through the comments posted for each – Bakemonogatari is definitely a show that can have a lot to unpack; and a lot of references can certainly fly over your head on the first viewing. I’ve been trying to crib together some sort of viewer’s guide on my blog (though at the moment I am somewhat behind on the episode count) – it’s not quite yet complete, so they’re mostly random assorted thoughts and snippets at the moment.

  5. gloval says:

    Bakadimomagustuhan.

    (In English: maybeyouwontlikeit.)

  6. Martin says:

    I’m glad you emphasised that this is a ‘first impressions’ post because it takes a little while to properly introduce the characters and their circumstances (which, along with the dialogue, is what makes it such fun). To be honest I had to persevere with it a bit because the Shinbo-isms are so unusual, but I grew to love it as the episodes progressed.

    I’m not saying the things that annoyed you at first won’t still annoy you, but there’s a fair chance you will appreciate the show as a whole if you stick with it for a while longer.

  7. otou-san says:

    Frankly I find the Shinbo stylings to be far more apt here than in Pani Poni, where it’s just too much, too often, and too random. But you hypothetically asked what the reason is, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you actually want to know, and throw some thoughts at you:

    First, the source material relies on wordplay a lot, so the onscreen words (already a Shinbo calling card) are used in this case to convey parts of the book that can’t be easily translated visually. Nisioisin has a way of putting words together (right down to the title) that seems to mesh well with Shinbo’s word-obsessed style. It’s not at all a stretch to say the word-on-screen SHAFTism is an extension of the way Hideaki Anno did it in Gunbuster and NGE.

    As for the quick cuts, tension-inducing BGM, and psychedelic visuals — they provide a little interest while we’re stuck for minutes at a time with only a two-way conversation to watch. A clever conversation works in a low-budget indie comedy, but as anime viewers we require a little visual appeal with what we watch. David Byrne of Talking Heads said “Singing is a way of getting people to listen to your songs for longer than they normally would.” You could turn it around and say that wacky visuals and amped-up fanservice are ways to get people to listen to your clever wordiness longer. I mean, Tomino can tell you “war is hell” all day long but with a badass mobile suit fight going on you’re more likely to actually watch long enough to get the point. Now, whether this particular brand of visuals is your cup of tea — that’s a different story, but those mobile suits aren’t everyone’s either so keep the “different strokes” factor in mind before implying Shinbo is some sort of acid-damaged loony with no purpose. In short, it’s meant to catch your eye: and though you say it doesn’t do that “by much,” you also called it “dizzying and disorienting beyond belief” so rather than expect you to answer “which is it” (which I’ll admit would be a douchey move) I’m just going to point out that maybe it caught your eye a little more than you want to admit…?

    But this conversation is nothing new. Your post titles imply that there is some kind of universal love for Shinbo and Bakemonogatari, but the reality is that he’s incredibly divisive and controversial — with some people taking the “what’s the point of this” view that you have and others eating it up, and very few in between.

    My view? Yeah, sometimes it’s too much (Pani Poni) but when it works — as with this show — it’s a psychedelic head-trip into clever wordplay, lurking paranoia, shifting moods, and over-the-top fanservice.

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