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Anything but Ordinary,
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This review is from: Bakemonogatari: Part 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A supernatural high school drama with vampires, demons and apparitions possessing various girls, it sounds like pretty standard stuff for Anime but don't be fooled. The blurb to this show really doesn't do it justice. The plot outline makes it sound like generic anime faire but this show is anything but generic.
One of the most unique choices is that only major characters appear. By my count outside of a short flash back in this volume nine characters appear. That's heavily front loaded, seven appear within the first episode, in the next volume only two additional characters appear. There are no minor characters, no extras. Even when there is sometimes the noise of the crowd they are never shown. This leads to empty locations which should be busy which shows up the striking architecture which makes the whole world it takes place in feel like it was pulled out of designers sketch book. The story is mostly told through long conversations which fairly often go off on tangents with most episodes consisting of not much more than a couple of long scenes. Animation notes are flashed on to blank screens, for example frequently instead of a black screen it shows a screen which says "black screen". These post modernist trappings could have been annoying, disruptive taking you out of the experience or pretentious but they are not. They work and many of these post modernist touches serve the story being told because they are there to represent how the protagonist sees the world.
Despite it's distinctive feel the series doesn't really shine in this first set of episodes. First of all the the structure of each arc is a little repetitious. While with Monogatari it's not so much the story as how you get there, dense blocks of dialogue, asides and all, that is more important it's still a problem that the main story of all three arcs in this set of episodes are pretty similar. Secondly the show is really heavily character driven but because these characters are being introduced bogs proceedings down. Getting into dense chunks of dialogue works better if we are invested in the characters.
However don't be put off from watching this show, these issues disappear in later episodes. Even from this starting point the striking visuals and sharp, witty dialogue shines through.