Somehow I managed to never write anything about a seriously good series that came out a couple years back called Bakemonogatari. It basically revolved around Araragi Koyomi, a high school student that has an overdeveloped sense of justice. Each plot arc involves him coming across a girl that is in the midst of some kind of personal crisis that is manifesting in a supernatural way. The first arc’s victim was a classmate named Senjougahara, who was beautiful and aloof, and had completely lost her weight. By which I don’t mean she was anorexic, but rather that she didn’t weigh anything. With the help of a mysterious occult expert that appears to operate out of an abandoned cram-school, Araragi invariably finds a way to remove or mitigate the girls’ curses and the story moves on to the next incident. Nisemonogatari is the sequel or continuation of Bakemonogatari. Four episodes in we are getting to the meat of the current victim’s plight. Events are conspiring to fill in a bit of the implied back-story from the first season, giving more of an impression that there is truly an over-arcing plot to the story.
The character designs and voice acting are excellent, often provoking conflicting reactions that help keep the presentation of the story off-balance. I found myself sympathizing with characters that on the surface I did not like. The pacing is stylishly disjointed in a manner resembling Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, with oddly-timed cuts and changes in visual style. Again this helps create a form of dramatic tension that might not otherwise be present. Production quality is quite high, with each plot arc having its own intro sequence in the first series, and each episode changing its intro and ending sequences, a rare expense in popular animation. Sometimes I suspect the production companies do this specifically to appeal to a certain flavor of fanboy that sees such changes as an sure sign of quality, but in this case it’s no ruse.
Highly recommended as of four episodes into the second series.