Bakemonogatari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is the story of a Japanese male otaku who has a boring, ordinary life, except for the fact that he was once a vampire but got better. Oh, and his sisters think they're superheroes and he is slightly obsessed with the prettiest girl in school, Hitagi, and is platonic friends with the school's student council president Hanekawa. He also gets wrapped up with the school's ace women's basketball prodigy, Kanbaru, who is a lesbian and secretly in love with Hitagi.
The series is pretty episodic, comprised of a number of different arcs; the main male protagonist wanders about town seeking to cure various female characters of their spiritual maladies, many having made bargains with various supernatural creatures that went bad in some way and ended up cursing them, possessing them, etc, and otherwise making life quite difficult for them. The show is very chatty and the main male protagonist is in many ways a thoroughly unlikable character. He's slightly perverted, has an unhealthy interest in under-aged girls, etc. His sisters utterly despise him, and he is a total spaz when it comes to women his own age. He ends up saving Hitagi from an apparent accident or possible suicide attempt, fixes her curse, and winds up, to his surprise, with Hitagi as his loving, devoted girlfriend who is also Yandere levels of crazy. Indeed, Hitagi is a perfect blend of Tsundere and Yandere. She's equal parts beautiful, i.e. smoking hot but also terrifying and crazy. She often carries office supplies with her to use as makeshift weapons, especially her trademark stapler. She can seem very cold and insulting, even to the main character (her boyfriend) but she can still be persuaded by reason or emotional considerations. Despite her quirky, unpredictable, borderline sadistic behavior, she does seem to genuinely love the protagonist, and her love confession in the final episode in this first installment of the Monogatari franchise is touching and beautiful. In my humble estimation, it is actually Hanekawa who is the "best girl", but Hitagi is a fine catch nonetheless. Hanekawa has her own dark secrets and though she is sweet and beautiful and very well respected at school due to her academic excellence and gentle demeanor, she comes from an abusive home where her father is relentlessly cruel to her. Sadly, Crunchyroll has, unfortunately, left out the episodes focusing on Hanekawa that are only legally viewable on the Aniplex physical release. These are skipped and jump next to the Hitagi love confessional sequences.
So far, I really have enjoyed this sub-only series and Hitagi is the first character I've ever bought a figurine of from a sub-only show. All of my figurines up to this point have come from dub releases I have seen and loved.
But I do still maintain that Hanekawa is best girl:
And Kanbaru is so funny and flirty it wouldn't surprise me if she's actually bisexual....
Though it should be noted that Kanbaru's jealousy burns so hotly she's prepared to kill the main character to win Hitagi's love and attention. Hitagi intervenes and commands Kanbaru to stand down and not kill the man she loves. Hitagi is so intimidating and has such presence that Kanbaru backs down and falls into tears with frustration and a broken heart. Kanbaru is resilient, though, and becomes a good friend to the main character, whom she continues to enjoy gently tormenting and flirting with. She seems perfectly willing to sleep with the main character if only to make Hitagi hate him and dump him and become open to Kanbaru's affection once more. Of all the characters, Kanbaru is the most aggressively sensual and sexually forward. I've already started watching Nisemonogatari, which is ostensibly the next series in the franchise.
It's definitely a good show and a cultural phenomenon worth knowing in the otaku cultural milieu.