Think of Bakemonogatari as a mix between Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s visuals and xxxHOLiC’s problem-solving of the supernatural; but with a sharp edge.
The story begins when Araragi Koyomi, a third year high schooler, is taking a stroll in his school when suddenly the very beautiful and mysterious Senjohagara Hitagi falls into his arms. And weighs next to nothing. Turns out she met a certain crab before high school (who was actually some God) who cursed her with the weightlessness.
Long story short, Araragi saves her, thanks to Oshino Meme, a homeless guy who specialises in paranormal stuff. Araragi himself was a vampire, but not anymore thanks to this guy. A few side effects remain, as one finds out soon enough.
In the next arc (episodes 3 to 5) he meets a grade school girl who is lost. Turns out she was a ghost herself, but thanks to Araragi, she comes home to mommy, thus reaching her “destination”. And has been promoted to a Wandering Spirit instead of a Haunting Ghost. Good job.
The story, as you might have guessed, moves very slowly. This, however, is probably the only point against Bakemonogatari. Where it excels in is pretty much everything else. The animation is truly eye-candy, the visual cues are meaningful and hilarious at the same time, and the dialogue is snappy.
This is the only new anime I have seen in ages, that has both style and substance. The characters themselves are very complicated with good back story, and their interactions with each other is what makes this show so worth watching. In today’s anime world where moe reigns supreme and Haruhi is giga-trolling everyone, Senjogahara is a breath of fresh air. She’s a total bitch, but with a good heart. A heart that yearns for love, and Araragi is whom she found; lucky him.
A word of caution though, scenes change in the show at a very rapid pace, which would make reading the subtitles not only difficult but irritating at times. Indeed, the recap in every episode cannot be read without pausing. However, this is also what makes the show so brilliant, that so many visual cues are provided to express the mood.This dynamic camera work makes even simple conversation extremely fun to watch.
In any case, future releases will be covered in more details. Till then…