Bakemonogatari Ep. 5 & 6: A Different Take

Huu huu ain't I clever.

This is my face when people say Bake is brilliant.

God, hasn’t it been a while since I updated? To put it more accurately, hasn’t it been a while since I watched anime from this summer’s season of utter dreck?

Unlike my colleague, Fin, I’m not quite so enamored with Bake. It’s chock full of anime tropes, just merely prettied up some. We got our traditional Nipponese hero who’ll help anybody (isn’t that a given however?) ’cause with his mild intellect and no athletic skills to speak of–nevermind hints of a charming or funny personality–he’s gotta be vaguely superhelpful and wholesome in that anime hero fashion we all know and love. Let’s not forget the score of anime women revolving around him for one reason or another (and the appropriate lack of any other male characters aside from the missing Oshino). It’s not quite a harem but that’s what it wants you to think. There’s your tsundere, your loli, your sporty chick… and whatever the twintails girl will end up being (I bet she’s the final boss). I am, however, terribly uncreative, so I’ll just comment and reflect on a few things my colleague, Fin, has said about these last two episodes.

Which isn’t to say that the dialogue needs distracting from, the wordplay isn’t as sharp as in the first two episodes but it’s still clear that the language is that of an author, not a mangaka or screenwriter.

Might I remind us all that Twilight was written by an author. In all seriousness, I don’t really see what’s so distinguishing about Bake’s script. I don’t hate it, but it’s not blowing me away–I’m not sitting here going “Wow, good thing I didn’t waste my time with ‘insert random mahou shoujo series here’ because Bake is delivering on so many levels.” And by itself, this isn’t an indictment, but for a talky show, Bake isn’t taking us to any new heights. Shaft is doing what they’ve always done.

The show is still making text work for it, even the occasional frame that simply says ‘red’ or ‘black’ or ‘blank’ or quotes from the original novels helps to break up long shots and keep the viewers on their toes.

We’re six episodes in and we’re still seeing the same red/blue/whatever cuts.

I can’t complain, the show has pretty good eyes for an anime…

But they’re eyes!

…in a world of brainless moeblobs and fickle tsunderes Senjougahara is both clever and straightforward.

I’ll give ya straightforward, but I don’t personally understand her attraction to our banal main lead and Senjougahara is just as tsundere as any other. Her bluntness, so to speak, isn’t even anything amazing in terms of tsundere innovations. Being a bitch, after all, is intrinsic to being a tsundere. I technically like the relationship in this anime a whole lot better than other romances out there, but anime is a desert when it comes to fulfilling, well-rounded couplings so what does this praise for Araragi and Senjougahara really mean?

A poster on ADTRW suggested that Bakemonogatari’s cast is “what happens when you take [a] generic supernatural harem and replace all the girls with actual characters”, which I think is a good way of describing the players so far; I can only hope it will hold true for Kanbaru as well.

Huu huu, I don’t know anyone like Senjougahara or Hachikuji. Anime is so full of unrealistic characters by comparison, but Senjougahara is firmly an anime chick.

The happy couple is as wittily and violently dysfunctional as ever.

I don’t really get this. I certainly don’t watch Bake for this, and to be quite honest, the whole thing makes me cringe. Being “refreshing” about it doesn’t really do it for me.

Araragi getting the shit beaten out of him did get my attention though.

Don’t take this all as if I’m being mean to Fin or hate Bake. I quote her entries because I’m horribly unoriginal and too lazy to write up my own critiques. To sum it up, it’s an average show in the middle of an absolutely shitty season. Unfortunately, being relatively great isn’t good enough and I don’t understand the high praise for the show. Hey, it’s watchable, but it’s utterly dull at points and it’s not that clever.