Anime You Should Be Watching: Bakemonogatari


Honestly, I try to keep this column a surprise to Arleigh.  I hate when the owner of this site knows exactly what I’m going to post.  However, with the recent announcement from Aniplex USA that they will be releasing this title on BluRay, I can’t very well ignore this awesome title any longer.

The problem with this title is, it’s very hard to talk about without spoiling things.  Every girl here has a very important story to tell.  The overarching story here is how our protagonist, Koyomi Araragi, interacts with the various girls in the series.  The thing is, every girl has her own problem that he must solve.  Since I hate spoilers as much as the next guy or girl I’ll refrain from going too in depth to what everyone has to overcome.  The best parts would have to be Mayoi Hachikuji and Suruga Kanbaru.  Luckily for all, the BluRay of this series will be available later on this year from Aniplex America.  Really, nothing else could do this series justice than a BluRay release, so I cannot help but be thrilled for this.  What I can say about this is that you need to be prepared to do a lot of reading.  People say that this is a very wordy title, and while I don’t necessarily agree with them in the fact that they think the dialog comes fast and furious, I do agree that the dialog is the most important aspect of the show.  There is a lot of Japanese puns and wordplay involved, and this title is not for the newly initiated to the anime scene.  Those that are used to reading subtitles won’t have too much trouble keeping up, but this is certainly not a title one can passively watch and expect to fully understand.

The thing to keep in mind is that if this show seems strange, by anime standards, it probably has a lot to do with the director.  It’s directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, who also directed the very unconventional Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and his influence is easily seen in both.  There’s not a lot of action in Bakemonogatari but the visual imagery is classic Shinbo.  He makes full use of a lot of surreal backgrounds during long conversations, so instead of letting things get stale with long stretches of just the characters standing around talking, which as I said before they do a lot, he’ll at least have the background flashing by and changing often during those times.  On one hand, it’s certainly a cost saving measure since they didn’t have to animate the characters, but more importantly it makes it seem like something is actually happening, even when it’s really not.  In a visual medium like anime, nothing bores people more than just staring at the same thing for long periods of time, so this helps keep any feelings of boredom from setting in.  For a show without a lot of action, to be able to keep it from feeling dull is where you need a talented director, and Shinbo truly shines in this case.

So what worked with this anime?  Well, it has attractive and interesting characters.  Each story draws you in and makes you want to see what happens next.  While you assume that each girl will have her problem solved, this is a Shinbo show, so there are no guarantees that the problem will be solved, or even if it is that it won’t create further problems.  And that’s part of the fun of this series, expecting the unexpected.

What didn’t work?  Well, if you want lots of action and explosions in your anime, you’ll find little to none of that here.  This is a very character driven show, so if you find you dislike or don’t care about some or even all of the characters, then you won’t find much here of value.

All in all this was a pleasant surprise to me when I watched it.  The light novels it was based on have been very popular, but since I don’t follow the light novel scene very closely, this was unexpectedly good.  If you want an anime that draws you in and keeps you hooked with a compelling story, then look no further than Bakemonogatari.

Song of the Day: Faster (by Within Temptation)


To help usher in the weekend I picked a new “Song of the Day” and this one comes from one metal band I’ve come to really enjoy listening to. The song I picked this time around is “Faster” by the Dutch symphonic/gothic metal band Within Temptation.

First off, this is the second time I’ve picked one of their songs for “Song of the Day.” A previous pick was “A Demon’s Fate” which also came from the same album as today’s pick and also one that was used on one of my favorite AMV in “Devil’s Game.” Just like that previous “Song of the Day” this latest pick of “Faster” was also used in a recent AMV that I had posted a couple months ago called “Fairytale of Lies”Both songs make great use of the fast guitar tempo reminiscent of thrash meta that also makes use of some elements found in symphony orchestras to give the song that epic sound commonly found in power metal, but with a much more hard rock tempo.

“Faster” just takes off and soars from Sharon del Adel’s mezzo-soprano vocals that’s become the staple sound for most symphonic gothic metal bands. Sharon just belts out the lyrics like they’re coming out of the depths of Hell or coming down from the heights of Heaven. She’s not just a pretty face and with both “Faster” and “A Demon’s Fate” she’s proven to be one of the best female metal vocalists out there.

Faster

I can’t see, ’cause it’s burning deep inside
Like gasoline, a fire running wild
No more fear ’cause I’m getting closer now
So unreal, but I like it anyhow

I go faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster

I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies
And I can’t hide from the feeling ’cause it’s right
And I go faster and faster and faster and faster for life
I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies

I can feel that you mesmerize my heart
I feel so free, I’m alive, I’m breaking out
I won’t give in ’cause I’m proud of all my scars
And I can see I’ve been wasting too much time

I go faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster

And I can’t life in a fairy tale of lies
And I can’t hide from the feeling ’cause it’s right
And I go faster and faster and faster and faster for life
I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies

And I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies
And I can’t hide from the feeling ’cause it’s right
And I go faster and faster and faster and faster for life
And I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies

A fairy tale of lies

6 Trailers: The Aaron Loves Angela Edition


Hi there and welcome to June!  Let’s get this month started off on a good note with another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers!

1) 2019: After The Fall of New York (1985)

Let’s start things out on a happy note with … the end of the entire freakin’ world.  Apparently, this film came at out the same time as a film called 2020: Texas Gladiators.  I guess what that all means is that we’ve got about 7 years until everyone starts dressing like they live in Vermont…

2) Looker (1981)

“I waaaaaaaaaant it…”  Next time somebody asks me a question at work, I’m going to reply with, “I’m the perfect female type…” just to see what type of reaction I get.  (Actually, it better a positive reaction or else I’ll start crying…)

3) Funeral Home (1980)

This is actually a pretty effective trailer.  I think it’s atmospheric and creepy and, if nothing else, you won’t forget the title of the film.

4) Three The Hard Way (1974)

Though the trailer doesn’t mention it, the villain in Three The Hard Way is played by Jay Robinson who, two decades before, played Caligula in The Robe.

5) Savage! (1973)

I like this trailer because it rhymes.  “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’s SAAAAAAAVAGE!”

6) Dragons Die Hard (1974)

Since we opened with a short trailer, why not close with an even shorter one?  As I type this, I’m watching an old movie from the 70s called Aaron Loves Angela.  There’s a scene where two characters are walking down 42nd street and they pass a grindhouse theater that has two films listed on the marquee — Three The Hard Way and Dragons Die Hard.  Since I had already included Three The Hard Way in this post, I decided that this is the Grindhouse God’s way of telling me to close with Dragons Die Hard.  Though this trailer is short, be sure to listen to it carefully and, after you’ve watched the whole thing, ask yourself what this film is rated.