After being saved from a vampire attack, high school student Koyomi Araragi finds he has several supernatural side effects. While trying to live a normal life, he ends up catching a classmate after falling down the stairs and finds she is near weightless. Thus begins to his foray into a weird and wonderful world.
Narrative-heavy and unique in art style, Bakemonogatari whiffed out a breath of new life into a show that, in its essence, was just another supernatural harem, proving with the proper writing, you could elevate a tired genre.
For Fans of Abstract Artwork
At a mysterious back alley ramen stand, a lonely college student in his final year accidentally bumps into a man that calls himself the God of Matrimony. There he pours his soul out to the god about all the regrets he has about his college life that he spent bitterly trying to break up couples. However, soon he finds himself back at the very start of college career. Can he change the past or will he repeat past mistakes?
If you liked Bakemongatari for its thoughtful dialogue and quirkily beautiful art style, with Tatami Galaxy, it is much of the same. Both series have an intellectual feel to them, but Bakemonogatari has more of the comedy and characters that tends to keep people attached, but both are very much a thinking person’s series.
In Edo era Japan, Shichika Yasuri practices one of the most unique sword styles among a culture of unique sword styles, a technique that uses his own body as a blade. As the seventh head of the style’s school, he lives in exile with his sister Nanami until the ambitious Togame barges into his life. Togame tries to recruit him on her mission to collect the twelve unique swords known as the Deviant Blades for the shogunate. Interested by the girl more so than her mission, Yasuri accepts, only to later find the challenge in collecting these swords is defeating the legendary swordsmen that wield them.
You may look at Katanagatari’s name and think it is part of the same universe, but really it is a universe of its own but written by the same author. Within you get the same art style and storytelling that you became familiar with in Bakemonogatari, but with a more action-heavy story behind it.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Nozomu Itoshiki is a high school teacher that is so pessimistic that even small misfortunes can send him spiraling into a pit of despair. Surrounded by increasingly insane students, Nozomu’s unique brand of despair has its own way of affecting them, often in a positive manner.
There are two distinctive things about Bakemonogatari: the art style and the dialogue. Those are the same things that are distinct about Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei as well. In both shows, the art very much matches the tone of the show and the dialogue within is deep, insightful, and, at times, depressing.
For Fans of Dialogue-Driven Shows
Despite being a shut-in, Sasami Tsukuyomi is still trying to pass her first year in high school. Luckily for her, she lives with her brother who also happens to be a teacher there. Combined with the fact that she can view the world through his laptop, Sasami doesn’t feel like much of a shut in. However, things start to get a little weird one day…
Do you like a text-heavy series that has a focus on oddball characters while also having some crazy action scenes? Don’t be put off by the NEET description of Sasami-san, like Bakemonogatari, it is very much the above as described. It’s weird, wonderful, but not quite as deep.
Tokyo’s downtown district of Ikebukuro is awash in strange rumors, everything from colorless color gangs to a headless rider roaming town populate the rumors. For Mikado Ryuugamine who just moved there from Tokyo, he is but one witness to the district’s slew of strange events.
Much of Durarara is just talking about things, or reading text from that online chat room. While there are some over the top action scenes like in Bakemonogatari, both of these shows are very much about exposition, but not so much in a way that it is obvious exposition.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
Hachiman Hikigaya firmly believes that a joyful youth is something that people make up just to lie to themselves. After writing an essay criticizing relationships, he is forced to join the Volunteer Service Club that is aimed at helping others solve their problems. With the only other member being the icy Yukino Yukinoshita, they use their wits and cold views on society to help others.
If you judge SNAFU by the title, you won’t see much of the similarities between these two series. However, what they do have in common is the quality of the dialogue and monologue within. Neither of these series are quite what you would expect them to be, but end up being quite insightful. Of course, Bakemonogatari gets much darker.
For Fans of Supernatural as an Ingredient
There will be times where you may happen across an odd phone number written in red. If you call it, you will get in touch with a young man who introduces himself as the Yato God. This Yato God is a minor deity and the self-proclaimed God of Delivery. He dreams of having millions of worshipers, but there isn’t a single shrine dedicated to his name. He spends his time doing odd jobs for spare yen until the day his weapons partner deserts him. Just as things are looking down, he happens across a young school girl that saves him from a car accident by taking the hit for him. She survives, but her soul becomes loose. Together they set out to find a way to tighten her soul back up.
The world of Bakemonogatari and Noragami are both worlds where the supernatural is very much at play, but your average people don’t realize it. Yet, through the story told around the characters, a whole supernatural world unravels before our eyes in a very believable way. However, Noragami is funny with dark moments, but Bakemonogatari eventually leaves the comedy behind it to just be all dark all the time.
The Takakura family has always been dealt equal hands of joy and sorrow by fate. For the twin brothers Kanba and Shouma, they have had more than their share of sorrow with their parents dead and their sister critically ill. When their sister Himari is given temporary leave from the hospital, they take her to the aquarium where she collapses. However, Himari is inexplicably revived when a penguin hat from the souvenir shop is put on her head. Her revival comes at a cost, though. There is a new entity in her body that tasks the boys with finding the mysterious penguin drum.
Do you love shows where things start off normal and them get completely crazy? Both of these series are like that. They are strange, but have a distinct surrealism to the atmosphere and art style while also telling a story that seems simple at a glance, but the multitude of characters causes it to become more complex.
After spilling soda on his keyboard and not being able to get a replacement online because of the Obon festival, Shintarou Kisaragi leaves his home for the first time in two years. However, he gets caught in a hostage situation where he is rescued by a group of teenagers with eye powers. Afterwards, he is forced to join up with them where he discovers that their abilities seem to be like pieces of a puzzle waiting to be put together.
At their core, both series are about normal characters getting dragged into an abnormal supernatural world that exists alongside our own. Both plots are easy to understand, but are told through a variety of different stories which means you get a better understanding of everything the longer you watch.
If you have any more anime recommendations like Bakemonogatari, let us know in the comments section below.