Bakemonogatari – 01
At school one day, Araragi Koyomi sees a girl falling down the staircase and manages to catch her. To his surprise, she’s incredibly lightweight, and he identifies her as Senjougahara Hitagi. Curious about her since he knows that she has a weak body, Koyomi asks classmate Hanekawa Tsubasa about Hitagi and learns that she was a lot more energetic back in junior high school when she was on the track team. When Koyomi leaves the classroom, he’s approached by Hitagi who wants to know what he was talking about with Tsubasa. Before he can react, she sticks a box cutter in his mouth and then threatens him further with a stapler to his right cheek. It turns out that she had slipped on a banana peel earlier, and she knows that he now knows that she’s almost weightless. Hitagi explains that it all started before she entered high school when she encountered a certain crab and had her weight taken away, and she wants him to keep silent about it.
The physical harm she’s threatening leaves Koyomi no choice but to agree, however she still decides to put a staple through his cheek anyway. Though in pain, Koyomi manages to pull the staple out of his cheek, and he ultimately runs after her. She thinks that he wants to fight, but Koyomi just wants to help her by introducing her to a man named Oshino Meme. He gets her attention by showing her that he doesn’t have a wound anymore even though she stapled him in the cheek just minutes earlier, and he explains that Oshino helped him turn him back from vampire to human, though he still retains a small amount of the immortality effects. It turns out that Oshino lives in an old building, and with him is a quiet little girl that he’s named Shinobu. Once Hitagi explains what happened to her, Oshino tells the two about the omoshikani (lit. weight crab) from folklore which may have been a god. Regardless, he’s willing to help Hitagi if she wants to regain her weight.
There wasn’t a true OP this episode, and I believe they’ll be using different OP sequences throughout the entire series. The opening sequence that was here was sort of weird in that it started with a panty shot and then progressed to an action scene with many characters who haven’t been introduced yet. Having watched the episode, I assume those are shots either from the future or from back when Koyomi was still a vampire. In any case, it’s an opening sequence that gets me excited about the series, and it makes me wonder if they’ll be any significant amount of action here. The ending, on the other hand, is a nice and catchy song, and I really like the voice of supercell’s vocalist. It comes with a nice piece of artwork too, but nothing was actually animated for the ED this week (hence the same three shots above).
Well now those were some incredible visuals. I knew they were going to be good based on the promos, but this was stunningly good. I’d forgotten how high quality of a production SHAFT can do when they need to, though of course this episode still had its share of their unique style and brand of humor with shots like this and this, plus the preview. As I said above though, I’d love to see some of this level of quality applied to action scenes, if there are any in this series. The closest we came to that in this episode was when Hitagi pulled out all those weapons from seemingly thin air, and that was only a brief scene.
Speaking of Hitagi, the way she assaults Koyomi should make her seem crazy (I didn’t think she’d actually drive a staple through his cheek), but I ended up finding her rather likable thanks to how she’s able to identify herself as a tsundere and to how Saitou Chiwa voiced her. Horie Yui was also quite pleasant here as Tsubasa, and it helped erase the memories of how much she got on my nerves in Umineko. In any case, the plot ended up being probably the least impressive part of the episode. That’s not to say that it was boring or bad, but I found myself caring more about the characters than what was happening to them. This is only the first episode though, so I expect the story to become more interesting. And even if it doesn’t, I’m probably going to keep watching this because it’s so visually impressive. I wonder if they can keep it up all series.