Animation Quality: 9
By far one of the best animations of all time for me. Numerous animation techniques can be found utilized throughout episodes and they all complimented each other. Absolute perfection for me. Sometimes it felt like I was watching a high quality OVA or animated movie, excluding the web episodes of course but the quality and detail of lighting, backgrounds and animation just brought this show onto another level. In fact, I think other anime should have this as a standard to animation instead using cheap gimmicks or illusions to induce effects. Notable scenes for me include the first episode, classrooms were very well drawn and rendered on screen, I could not believe it was an anime TV show; Rainy Devil fight, funky colors for blood but high paced action that was fluid and of course Shinobu's high octane flips and kick, that part was a knockout, even for the web quality. The only thing keeping this from a 10 is the fact that Shaft made too many changes and cuts from the broadcast version to the disc, in fact sometimes it made it worse. However just based on Blu-Ray, it deserves a 10 out of 10.
Voice Actors: 10
Do you really need to ask why? Kamiya was really in character as Araragi-kun and was really able to emphasize emotions quite well, nothing felt awkward or forced from the guy. Kamiya could pronounce "paradigm shift" correctly! You have to give him that. Chiwa Saito really stood out with her overruling and sadistic tone that slandered Araragi-kun every chance she could. Including the heartfelt revalation of what happened to her and her mother she really became her own where you could hear regret and parts of tears about to burst. Not only that, she knows how to speak English very well! Correct pronunciation and all. Examples include "I love you," and "Parent Teacher Association." And there was a slight American spin to it. Yui Horie did very well as the sharp minded Hanekawa and superbly as Black Hanekawa accentuating all the "Nya's" within her sentences which I find difficult. Especially with the tongue twister which proved to be very cute and distracting. I don't know how Hanazawa does it, but she just provided the cutest voice within the entire cast acting like the innocent sister that she is, with minor references to her true self and intentions. My minor bout with the seiyuu's is the listing of Hirano as Oshino Shinobu without muttering a single line or even an exclamation. I hope they fix that in the future.
The very unique play on words, meta-humor and references made this series quite the interesting one. Although it gaps the non-Japanese speaking audience further with the word play it involves, it doesn't do so to a degree where it becomes tedious and over used. The show intelligently uses various humor devices to capture the audiences laughter from simple gags to famous references from other shows or hysterical nonsense. A variety can be shown in epsiode 2 and 13 as there is an abundance of gags ranging from first touch's to a cafe maids stress. Although humor plays a major component within the anime there is also plot driven dialogue that sends this anime truly running quite smoothly plot-wise. Having monologues with discrete explanations and arguments that spark into conflict that all transition extremely well. Combined with the animation, they are able to turn this dialogue filled show into one the most best anime's of all time IMO. The plot this show follows is quite linear where a sudden problem appears and Araragi comes to save the day, but it's the twists and ideas that make the plot so ever different from the other shows out there where they have to kill one enemy after the next. Having the supernatural theme, the show draws together a unique story on oddities.
I have to thank this show for introducing me to the BEST ED for 2009. No, "Don't Say Lazy" was a bit repetitive for me and and the lyrics were kind of awry. supercell's ED "Kimi no Shirai Monogatari" was an absolute masterpiece, it alone just wins 10 out of 10. As supercell's debut album was introduced to me I anxiously waited for their next single which not only did just as the ED but in my case, surpassed beyond it. Back on topic now, the heroine OP's were definitely a plus and something new of a concept to me and worked quite well. But the broadcast version let it slip all over the place and didn't quite capture the idea as well as it should have. But the Blu-Ray on the other hand fixes it completely. The Original Soundtrack compliments the on screen action extremely well, I don't know it works but listening to the OST alone just makes completely repetitive, yet on screen it feels refined and unique.
The production involved in this no doubt stressed the editors as the scenes and cuts were mixed throughout the broadcast version led to some disastrous results. Note episode 10 for the disaster, where the battle between the snake oddity and Araragi was mostly cut out which led to numerous seconds of lost action and confusing moments. Again, they are able to rescue this by adding the missing scenes into the Blu-Ray. Another notable scene for cuts is the Rainy-Devil fight. However with that said, the editing for this was done very well, with the words on screen transitioning one scene to the next. It didn't tire the eyes yet was interesting and sometimes foreshadowed some the plot implicitly. I found it very appealing. The only problem is when large texts are used to introduce the background of each character at each new arc, it sometimes felt like I was being teased with the paragraphs they present as it only allows the audience only to read a little excerpt before introducing another slab of text which sometimes distressed me. However going through it having already read the story adds a little a sense of a faithful adaptation. This was the only weakest part of the entire series as everyone experienced the massive delays that SHAFT decided to take head on. Disregarding that fact, just going through episodes felt smooth and no scenes felt forced or out of place. They lost points for the broadcast version and delays.
This may be my new favorite anime of all time. It brought many elements and themes which I have never seen before in an animation series and it brought many laughter's and gripping moments. The uniqueness of monologues and the way they presented it was done so in format where it didn't feel repetitive nor boring or lengthy which is extremely impressive. I hate long speeches, but I guess they solved this problem somehow.
Emotional Involvement: 10
Instantly drawn in by everything presented in the first episode. Enough said.
Bakemonogatari was really the seasonal anime gateway for me. I never really followed a season more intensely other than this one and it clearly showed me what shows like this potentially held. To me it was a perfect balance between everything in all elements for a story. Looking at the Blu-Ray version of this, it clearly deserves a 10 out of 10 in all aspects I reviewed above. Although this should be a 9 out of 10 after my points given to each aspect, the combined effect of all of these elements just mesh so well it becomes clear why some components were used as it is. Keeping it faithful, and amazing at the same time. Bakemonogatari should go down in anime history as one of the most best and unique shows out there. I don't think the American audiences will be getting this anytime soon, there's too much of a cultural gap that disallows the full appreciation of this. After all the audience was only intended for Japanese audiences, yet the cultural barrier didn't affect me.
OK, time for some personal thoughts about the show. There is a clear distinction between people who have read the novels and who haven't. The prologue is extremely confusing if no one has ever read a synopsis or read the books itself. However, it intrigued me to a point where I knew I had to look it up to find out what's just going on. With that being said, I just hope that Shaft take up Kizumonogatari because first it will refine the entire monogatari storyline even further but it may just do better than Bakemonogatari as it is much more high paced. Plus it'll allow for the full circle where the plot point returns to the beginning about the this series. Back on topic now... The way that Shaft handled this show was beyond failure to me, but I'm not reviewing how they handled producing the anime so it doesn't reflect it in my score. BUT! The quality they put into this definitely showed me that the time they took to delay this show on and on was not because they chose to but because they needed it to or it would've ended up in the dump with the lot. With that said, all is forgiven. As for the final episode, actually all stories presented have 3 aspects to work on. The beginning, the middle and the end. They are the most crucial aspects of story telling, now anime as a media usually have trouble ending a series, and I know why. It's always the questions for continuity or the possibility of one, but I find that very disheartening. If one part of the story ends, you must show that is a clear ending. Some movies and book do a terrible job and it just ruins the entire overall effect, even if I though it was perfect. Now the ending for this show did show a clear resolution but the comment Araragi made about probably coming in contact more oddities in the future just made me feel a little uneasy about the ending. I thought he was going on that date with Senjougahara. If he didn't mutter those words: Perfect Ending. The order of his monologue was completely jumbled, if they reorganized that monologue again, Perfect Ending as well. And that's it. I'm just looking forward to Kizumonogatari. Don't disappoint me Shaft, it's a question of time. Not quality.