Bakemonogatari ("Ghostory") is the first novel in a series of Light Novels by Nisio Isin which center on Koyomi Araragi, a third year high school student who recently recovered from vampirism. One day, he meets a classmate named Hitagi Senjogahara when she falls down the stairsinto his arms. Discovering that Hitagi weighs next to nothing because her weight has been stolen by a crab god, Koyomi offers to help her and introduces her to Meme Oshino (not thatmeme), the middle-aged homeless man who helped him recover from vampirism and who specializes in supernatural problem solving.Studio SHAFT adapted the first series into an anime in 2009 under the direction of Akiyuki Shinbo, the man behind the surrealism of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei.Kizumonogatari ("Scar Story") is the second novel in the series and is the prequel to Bakemonogatari. It reveals the story of how Koyomi encountered the vampire Shinobu, then named "Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade", along with meeting Meme Oshino and Tsubasa Hanekawa. It will be adapted into a theatrical film, but so far there's no word for a release.Nisemonogatari ("Impostory") is the third novel in the series and a direct sequel to Bakemonogatari. The novel's focus shifts to Koyomi's sisters, Karen and Tsukihi, the Fire Sisters of Tsuganoki 2nd Middle School. The cast encounters the "black swindler" who is responsible for several of the incidents involving the supernatural in this series. Its anime serial adaptation began airing in January 2012, still courtesy of Studio SHAFT.Nekomonogatari ("Cat Tale") is the fourth novel in the series and is divided into two halves, Nekomonogatari Black and Nekomonogatari White. This installment focuses on Tsubasa Hanekawa, and Nekomonogatari White is told from her perspective, making this the series' first departure from Koyomi as protagonist. Black focuses on the Golden Week incident taking place between Kizumonogatari and Bakemonogatari.White takes place after Nisemonogatari.Nekomonogatari Black aired as a two-hour special on New Year's Eve 2012.Studio SHAFT currently plans to anime the entire series of novels, split across three "seasons". The order goes as the following:
Bakemonogatarinote Hitagi Crab, Mayoi Snail, Suruga Monkey, Nadeko Snake, Tsubasa Cat (adapted as a single-cour series)
Kizumonogatarinote Koyomi Vamp (to be adapted as a theatrical film)
Nisemonogatarinote Karen Bee, Tsukihi Phoenix (adapted as a single-cour series)
Nekomonogatari (Black)note Tsubasa Family (adapted as a four-episode special)
Season 2 (adapted as a two-cour seriesnote with the exception of Hanamonogatari, which will be adapted as a television special like Nekomonogatari (Black))
Nekomonogatari (White)note Tsubasa Tiger
Kabukimonogatari ("Influence Story") note Mayoi Jiang Shi (Chinese Vampire)
Zokuowarimonogatari ("Final Story Continued") note Koyomi Book
You can check out the official website and first PV for Second Season here.The light novels have a fan-translation here. There are set to be twelve novels in the series, with the last two announced for release in 2013.The anime adaptation for the second season started airing on 7 July 2013. Still no info about KizumonogatariAniplex USA has released the first season in North America in November 2012 and Nisemonogatari in February 2013. They also plan to release Nekomonogatari (Black) and Monogatari Series Second Season.
The Monogatari series provides examples of the following tropes:
Adaptation Dye-Job: In the light novels and Vofan's corresponding illustrations, Hitagi had brown hair. In the anime it's purple. There is the ending of episode six and the beginning of episode seven where everybody's hair is rather subdued and brown, but it's arguably due to lighting. In episode 13 her hair is quite visibly dark brown/black — even darker than in the original illustrations.
Hanekawa's lengthy soliloquy at the end of Nekomonogatari White is about her coming to terms with her own shortcomings and acknowledging that she must spur herself into growing as a person, while at the same time finally realizing that her guardians are abusive and that this isn't her own fault. The anime leaves out this last bit.
In Onimonogatari, Yotsugi evaluates a shirtless Araragi like a hunk of meat because, well, she is literally thinking about him as a hunk of meat. The punchline is left out in the anime, meaning the comedy of the sequence simply focuses on how she seems surprisingly aggressive with her sexuality.
In an adapted-out segment in Otorimonogatari, Araragi rushes in due to Nadeko's scream when Tsukihi cuts her hair, has Karen take Nadeko to another room, and is implied to molest Tsukihi as punishment.
Airplane of Love: Done in the last episode, with it flying right over the characters it symbolizes.
All Myths Are True: There is the exception of the wreathe-fire bee in "Karen Bee". Historical accounts of it were fabricated, and Karen's fever — characteristic of the bee's sting — was both harmless and caused by hypnotism. Note that this explanation is questionable, as Kaiki is a notorious liar, especially so in this scene where he is called out for it. Oshino states in Nekomonogatari that Oddities are defined by people's expectations of them. Thus, by Kaiki telling Araragi that, the damage could already be healed.
Anachronic Order: The order of the installments is a bit confusing, especially since they should be consumed in their publishing order for the proper impact of Character Development and to avoid the occasional Late-Arrival Spoiler. The order of the currently published installments is as follows: Kizumonogatari, Nekomonogatari Black, Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, Kabukimonogatari, Onimonogatari/Nekomonogatari White (these two are simultaneous), Otorimonogatari, Koimonogatari, Hanamonogatari, and Tsukimonogatari. Koyomimonogatari is a set of 12 short stories set a month apart chronologically that are spaced out across the entire series, starting just after Kizumonogatari.
Animation Bump: There are several examples, and usually in warranted places like fights or demonstrations of acrobatic skill. Then there are things like one short cut in Nisemonogatari episode 4 where Shinobu and Koyomi are just talking and stretching in the bath yet are gratuitously well-animated.
Special mention to Bakemonogatari episode 15—the entire episode is, visually, movie-quality. Even the flashbacks only use Animation Bumped material from previous episodes.
Art Shift: Koyomi occasionally flashes into the art styles of different classic manga, such as Doraemon.
Asshole Victim: While never actually portrayed on screen it is implied that the people who cursed Nadeko would become cursed themselves and constricted by the same snakes. Not that there is a whole lot of sympathy for people who placed a rather nasty curse on a girl just for rejecting a guy.
Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Applies to most of the character designs; most invoke some type of Animal Motif while possessed by a monster which is removed once the possession is resolved. For example, Nadeko wears a cobra hood-esque oversize hat while under the effects of a snake curse but gains a completely different outfit after the curse is broken.
Hanekawa at first seems like a very sweet and shy bookworm. However, later on its revealed that she has a much darker side, and is actually more of a Manipulative Bastard. Even Senjogahara actively fears her.
Both Araragi and Karen are terrified whenever Tsukihi gets angry.
The villain of the first season is revealed in Nisemonogatari to be Deishuu Kaiki, one of the five con men briefly mentioned by Hitagi. In addition to his exploits in Nisemonogatari, he's the one responsible for the divorce of Hitagi's parents and spread the word about the snake curse that eventually targeted Nadeko in "Nadeko Snake".
The villain of the second season is harmless little Nadeko, driven mad by jealousy and obsession for Araragi. She ends up bonding with a snake god, becoming a Physical God in the process.
The villain of later stories in the series is Ougi Oshino, the supposed niece (and later, nephew?) of Meme.
Big Ball of Violence: Koyomi and Mayoi engage in this a couple times in episodes 3-5. Again in episode 1 of Nisemonogatari.
Big Brother Instinct: Araragi was apparently something of a bully to his sisters when he was younger, but in episode 8 of Nisemonogatari (part 1 of Tsukihi Phoenix) while mistakenly believing that Karen is being bullied he demands the names and addresses of everyone involved.
Araragi also goes in something of a murderous rampage the moment he sees that his younger little sister gets torn in half in episode 10.
Bittersweet Ending: In contrast to the happy endings of the other arcs, the end of Nadeko Snake in the anime has Koyomi unable to defeat the Snake Constrictor. While he does manage to save Nadeko, Koyomi feels guilty knowing that the snake will attack the person who originally placed the curse.
Koyomi: (voiceover) There stood a high school boy who, forgetting himself, forcefully sexually harassed an elementary school girl with all his might. But I at least want to believe that wasn't me.
In episode 2 of Nisemonogatari, Koyomi himself gets a taste of this.
Blatant Lies: As would any child, Mayoi occasionally tells absolutely impossible lies. For instance, she claims to know three people named "Basugasu Bakuhatsu" (that's just a Japanese tongue twister, by the way).
Senjogahara: I can imitate your voice. So don't worry, leave it to me. After all, my voice actress is excellent.
Araragi: Voice actress!? What is this, an anime!?
Interestingly enough, the above line came straight from the original novel.
This is also the reason why Oshino is often seen with a cigarette, but never with a lighted one. From the novels:
Oshino: Well, if I lit a cigarette now wouldn't the anime adaptation become difficult?
And in Tsubasa Tiger: Tsubasa is conscious of the skipped chapters.
Broken Aesop: Maybe. Araragi's anger when Hanekawa reveals that her stepfather hit her in a fight kind of loses its effect when you realize that Araragi earlier in the series not only beat up, but proceeded to "shamelessly molest" a fifth grader he had just met that day. But it was funny when he did it.
Brother-Sister Incest: Since the tooth-brushing scene in Nisemonogatari episode 8 is effectively G-Rated Sex (well, more like PG) nearly escalating to R-rated sex before Tsukihi intervened and Koyomi and Karen decide to continue it, their relationship is pretty close to this.
Butch Lesbian: Suruga, in that distinctly Japanese way: sure, she talks dirty and smacks Koyomi around (and more), but she still looks very feminine and caters directly to those with a bicycle short fetish.
The Nisemonogatari opening alludes to the events of "Hitagi Crab" (Hitagi's staple attacks, falling through the school staircase, the red text that swims around the shell of the otherwise invisible weight crab) and also makes visual and musical references to its opening song, "staple stable".
Episode 6 of Nisemonogatari ("Karen Bee") has a short montage where Hitagi is shown in all the outfits she wore in Bakemonogatari.
Later on in the same episode, Hitagi strikes the same exaggerated backward lean she did in "Hitagi Crab".
Cat Girl: Dark Hanekawa of course! And soooo cute too. Despite possessing a female body, however, the cat itself is male.
Catchphrase: Koyomi gets a few catch-dialogues with other characters.
Koyomi: You really know everything, don't you? Tsubasa: I don't know everything; just the things I know.
Mayoi: Hello, [corruption of "Araragi"]-san! Koyomi: [correction] Mayoi: Sorry, I stuttered. Koyomi: That was on purpose. Mayoi: I stuttuted! Koyomi: It wasn't on purpose?!
Black Hanekawa (at least in the anime): NYAHAHAHAHAHA~ (awkwardly translated as Meow-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha). At this point it's even a meme now.
Central Theme: In Nisemonogatari, fake versus real: is an incredible imitation innately worth less than the real thing? Can a fake become "real" depending on how it's perceived?
Chekhov's Gun: Discussed in Nisemonogatari episode 6, where Hitagi speculates that the telescope Koyomi bought her as a gift will factor into the story's climax somehow.
Child Hater: Senjougahara severely dislikes children due to an incident where bumping into a child and apologizing to them made her feel powerless. After explaining this, as well as her other views on kids, to Araragi, Hachikuji, who also heard her rant, became even more terrified of her. It isn't clear if Senjougahara was being honest or if she was making an excuse for why she didn't want to wait alone with a girl she can't even see.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Oddities come into being because people believe that they exist. If there is an existing Oddity that only a few people know about, that person's perceptions will greatly shape how the Oddity behaves such as Shinobu acting childish not directly because she's in the body of a child, but because Koyomi is the person that interacts with her most and expects something that looks like a child to act childish.
In Onimonogatari, Shinobu as Kiss-shot had gone to Antarctica once. However, she couldn't stay because she found her existence fading away because there are no people in Antarctica, hence no beliefs and no oddities.
Comedic Sociopathy: Watching a high-schooler glomp, molest and get into fights with a grade-schooler somehow manages to be hilarious.
Discussed by Hachikuji and Araragi in episode one of Nisemonogatari, although the trope is not actually implemented—the episode doesn't have an ending theme, and when the ending actually does appear in episode two, there's no dancing to be found.
Straight example with the opening to the "Tsukihi Phoenix" arc, which features Tsukihi performing Japanese dance.
Deadpan Snarker: A good number of characters. Hitagi, especially, is seemingly incapable of speaking in a manner other than this.
Diabolus ex Machina: At the very end of Koimonogatari, just as Kaiki leaves the city, implied to have learned a valuable lesson himself after helping everybody else solve their own issues of the story, he is beaten to death with a baseball bat by the guy from "Nadeko Snake" who had the curse reflected back on him. The whole sequence lasts less than a minute and is incredibly brutal, shocking, and effective.
The "staple stable" opening features staplers in what appear to be rough approximations of sex positions.
During the car ride in Episode 12, Senjogahara runs her fingers along Koyomi's thigh. Cue cut to the gas meter dinging empty.
It's augmented by her whispering obscene words to him and sensually biting his ear while he's fidgeting and whimpering "St-stop it." It's all wrapped up by seeing his hair that once stood pointed and firm, turn all flaccid. At this point, it's not even subtext.
Not at all sexual and probably highly disturbing, when Koyomi has Shinobu drink his blood so he can regain some amount of a vampire's abilities, the scene is highly reminiscent of a mother nursing an infant. He even pats her back to get her to let go.
The scene where Koyomi touches Suruga's monkey arm. He even lampshades it by yelling at her for making weird noises.
The scene in "Tsukihi Phoenix" where Koyomi brushes Karen's teeth and everything leading up to it is effectively PG rated sex.
Easily Forgiven: Koyomi is remarkably cool with Kanbaru's attempted murder of him. Strictly speaking, she's not even the only person he forgives for attempted murder.
Eldritch Abomination: The oddity-eating "law of nature" in Onimonogatari is some kind of strange force that consumes oddities who don't conform to their nature. In terms of appearance, it's something like a mass of darkness, but Koyomi is hesitant to describe it as such. Koyomi and Mayoi initially just sense it and experience uncontrollable dread, and seem to be able to perceive the exact direction it's coming from. Upon seeing it, Koyomi seems to assume that something worse is hidden in the darkness, and struggles to quantify it with phrases like "the dark space where the oddity should be".
Enhanced on DVD: Nearly every scene is reworked in some way. The most notable examples are the climax of the "Nadeko Snake" arc, where the climactic scene was finally fully animated (in the broadcast version, only a handful of frames interspersed with blank cards were shown due to missed deadlines), and an early episode of "Karen Bee", where Karen's introductory scene was completely redrawn and transplanted to the opposite side of the street to fix a flagrant continuity error.
Everybody Knew Already: Nadeko's crush on Araragi, which pretty much everyone except him figures out right away.
The Bakemonogatari end credits start off as a static drawing of Hitagi by Vofan. Eventually it's replaced by a fully animated sequence featuring all the major characters, but it's still Hitagi-centric. During "Nadeko Snake" and "Tsubasa Cat" the intro to the first half changes and the whole second half focuses on Nadeko and Tsubasa, respectively.
The Nisemonogatari opening starts out as a charcoal silhouette of Hitagi surrounded by brightly-colored floating text. After giving Karen's opening a turn, it returns in episode 3 with Hitagi drawn in full detail, with both her and the floating text in pastel colors.
The Nisemonogatari ending starts off as an extended version of a minor component in the finished ending, which debuts in episode 4. The ending also changes to keep up with the characters' changing hairstyles and new characters being introduced.
Monogatari Series Second Season has so far used two different ending songs, with both of them lasting for two arcs each and giving each arc its own unique animation.
Face Fault: Although played oddly realistically—in one example, Hitagi says something and Koyomi's legs are in the air in his next shot; in another, Koyomi simply slowly falls backward in reaction to a remark by Suruga.
It's not exactly gratuitous, since this pantyshot is the event that triggers everything: Araragi becomes so obsessed with Tsubasa's panties that he goes out late at night to buy a porn magazine to forget about them, only to find the vampire Kissshot dying under a streetlamp...
Episode 9. Played with, as it is also supposed to introduce viewers to Nadeko's Body Horror, and yet still comes off as fanservicey.
And of course, Episode 15. During a rather fast-paced sequence where Shinobu kicks the ever-living crap out of Dark Hanekawa, Shinobu gets a rather blatant upskirt. And of course, she wears nothing under there besides... a band-aid to cover herself. So yeah. Granted, it's difficult to see clearly due to the rapid nature of the scene.
Episode 2 of Nisemonogatari could just as well be titled "Vaguely Creepy Fanservice"; it starts with Koyomi narrating about his sisters, while depicting them in provocative poses, proceeds to him meeting with Sengoku who tries to clumsily seduce him, and ends with his meeting with Kanbaru who keeps posing to him naked for no apparent reason. Taking into account the characters' biological relationship, age, and sexual orientation, it seems to be aimed specifically to make viewer aroused and uncomfortable at the same time.
Two episodes later, the Furo Scene of Koyomi and Shinobu (which lasts more than half of that episode) provides plentiful of eye candy for both genders of the audience.
In the 5th episode of Nisemonogatari, Koyomi spends the first part of the episode in just a towel. Which eventually falls when he stands up. Yay.
Episode 1 of 2013 season, Senjougahara strips down to her underwear… again.
The following episode, we get the Shower Scene with Senjougahara and Hanekawa… together. "WOW!"
Episode 13 of Monogatari Series has Nadeko striking random poses in her bedroom.
Flower Motifs/Visual Pun: In the "Ambivalent World" opening, Suruga jumps around a bunch of giant floating lilies. "Yuri" is actually the word for "lily," which started picking up lesbian connotations (further detailed in the Schoolgirl Lesbians page).
Foregone Conclusion: One of the first things Kizumonogatari tells you is that the story doesn't end happily for anyone. Araragi isn't human anymore, Kiss-shot doesn't get to die and loses her name and Hanekawa's problems begin. Guillotinecutter is dead.
Foreshadowing: In Tsukihi's opening, there's a short part where her legs continue dancing without an upper body. That's exactly what happens to her when she gets attacked in episode 10.
Gorn: See No-Holds-Barred Beatdown below. While it may be portrayed in variant colors in order to "censor" it, the images alone are gratuitously gruesome.
Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Inverted, mostly. A good rule of thumb in this series is the more straightforward someone seems to be, the bigger the lie they're concealing. Nadeko is hesitant and lacks self-confidence, and her "big secret" is that she likes Araragi (secret only to Araragi, really); on the other hand, Suruga is quite forthright with her sexuality but not so much with her violent hatred towards Araragi for "stealing" Senjogahara from her. As it turns out, her provocative teasing of Araragi is probably a ploy to get Araragi to forget about Senjogahara, even if that means potentially having to seduce him.
Hey, You!: Araragi introduces Senjogahara to Oshino in this fashion.
How We Got Here: Nisemonogatari opens with Koyomi waking up after being knocked out and kidnapped by Senjogahara. We don't get to hear why until episode 3.
In "Mayoi Snail", Koyomi objects to Hitagi implying that he's an especially kinky pervert. It should be noted that he's been trying to look up her skirt the whole time.
Brick Joke example: In Bakemonogatari, Koyomi states that he thinks Incest Subtext is something that only people with no siblings would find appealing. However, when his sisters make their real debuts in Nisemonogatari, Incest Subtext is a key feature of his dynamics with both of them.
In "Mayoi Jiangshi," Koyomi gets pissed when Shinobu squees over how cute his 7-year-old self is. A few minutes later, he does the exact same thing upon seeing 7-year-old Tsubasa.
Improvised Weapon: Hitagi Senjogahara keeps several pencil, rulers, scissors staplers and a box cutters in her skirt and uses all them at once.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In "Nadeko Snake"...sort of. More like, "I want my beloved to be happy, but since you don't want him I'll curse you to death for his sake."
Hanekawa attempts to do this when faced with Koyomi's relationship with Senjougahara. Her Superpowered Evil Side objects.
Each book is named "Blank-monogatari". Occasionally they form puns.
Every story is named "[focus character's given name] [whatever monster is involved]," i.e. "Hitagi Crab," "Mayoi Snail," et cetera. The details are off for a few of the monsters in the titles (for example, in the cases of "Mayoi Snail" and "Tsukihi Phoenix", Mayoi and Tsukihi are the eponymous monsters, and "Suruga Monkey" isn't actually about a monkey at all) and there are exceptions for the second word even being a monster, such as "Tsubasa Family" (although it does make one wonder) and "Hitagi End".
Odd Name Out: "Mayoi Snail" is the only story with the "monster"'s name as a native Japanese word as opposed to some kind of loanword (the Japanese title being Mayoi Maimai).
If I Can't Have You: The boy who cursed Nadeko in "Nadeko Snake." Nadeko herself in "Nadeko Medusa" towards Koyomi.
Important Haircut: Hilariously subverted in episode 9 of Nisemonogatari where Karen just unceremoniously snaps off her iconic ponytail and throws it in the trashcan since it's being troublesome at the moment.
Played straight with Hitagi and Hanekawa.
Incest Subtext: A good portion of Nisemonogatari has this. Prepare to feel uncomfortable.
Nisemono 8 could easily be renamed "In which Koyomi and his sister Karen get a little too close to each other" and no one would probably notice.
Koyomi and Tsukihi also have this. When observing how one of her scars disappeared, he decides to do it by stripping off her clothes and holding her down. And then gropes her.
Later on, when he finds out his sister isn't human, he decides to kiss her to see if he would feel anything. He doesn't, but she was certainly quite upset about the fact that her first kiss was with her brother.
In Spite of a Nail: In Mayoi Jiangshi, Oshino's letter reveals that Senjogahara and Araragi still end up dating in the story's alternate timeline. To be fair, the nail in question probably wouldn't have any effect on their getting together, considering how things played out in Bakemonogatari.
Hanekawa: "Am I imagining things, or does it feel like the careful description of my skirt was spanning about four pages?"
Araragi: "It is, it is, it's all just your imagination. Up until now I have been describing a quite emotional, beautiful scenery."
Leitmotif: Various instrumental versions of the girls' Image Songs serve this trope. There are other leitmotifs as well, such as the chipper harmonica of "Ruins" for Oshino and the sinister cello of "Ominous" for Kaiki.
Lampshaded by Koyomi after Oshino suggested calling her Black Hanekawa:
Meme: Let's call her "Black Hanekawa".
Koyomi: But she's white.
Limited Wardrobe: All the automobiles in the animated adaptation are white Datsun Fairlady roadsters (except the Senjougaharas' SUV).
Literal Genie: Subverted in that the Rainy Devil really was being true to the spirit of Kanbaru's wish; Kanbaru just wasn't being honest with herself about what she really wanted.
Lost in Translation: In the official translation for Monogatari Series Second Season, most of the wordplay is simply translated as-is with minimal to no effort to adapt or even explain the puns, leading to what appear to be nonsensical leaps in logic in the dialogue. For example, in Nekomonogatari White, when Senjogahara and Hanekawa discuss Kako (the fire tiger oddity), Senjogahara says her first thought upon hearing the word is that it refers to the past. Hanekawa replies that she's actually talking about a fire tiger and goes on to have a Eureka Moment regarding the tiger's relation to her own envy of others. None of this is given context at all—in case you were wondering, "Kako" translates to "fire tiger" (火虎) but when written differently also means "past" (過去), while "envy" (焼き餅 yakimochi) contains "burn" (焼き yaki).
Lucky Translation: The portmanteau in the title works just as well in English (GhoSTory/MonSTory, pick one). The sequel book Nisemonogatari also applies ("ImpoSTory"), but the series' other three books, Nekomonogatari ("Cat Story"), Kizumonogatari ("Damaged Goods Story"), and Kabukimonogatari ("Slope Story"), don't, but they're not really puns in Japanese either...so maybe that makes it double lucky.
Nekomonogatari can also be translated as "Cat Tale".
Kabukimonogatari has been called "Twistory."
Lyrical Cold Open: In "Ren'ai Circulation," the Bakemonogatari opening featuring Nadeko Sengoku.
Magic Skirt: Nisemono Episode 8. Karen, with a blue tennis skirt, stands on her hands. It's only after several seconds and a bit of coversation that the skirt even starts to fall down, just to stop short of revealing anything, after which Karen tries to hold it up. This is more just one of all ridiculous details that show up than any sort of censoring, as her panties are seen at other occasions.
It is then played straight when Hitagi and Koyomi sleep together in Nisemonogatari.
The Masochism Tango: Araragi and Senjougahara aka Crazy Tsundere Stapler Girl's relationship is about as weird and unlikely, and usually downright sadistic as it gets. And yet somehow it works, for them.
Meaningful Name: As might be expected from someone who loves wordplay as much as Nisio Isin. They're on the character page.
Ren'ai Circulation, Nadeko's Image Song, serves as the opening theme for the "Nadeko Snake" arc. Yeah, the one that comes right after the end of "Suruga Monkey", when Koyomi gets swung around by his intestines. "Nadeko Snake" is also a fairly dark arc in and of itself.
In episode 1 of Nekomonogatari (Black), Hanakawa says she would do anything if Araragi kept her abuse at her father's hand a secret. This rather heartfelt and upsetting moment is immediately followed by Araragi celebrating and trying to come up with something for her to do.
Hanekawa: "Hey, Araragi. Do you remember that serious and heavy topic we were discussing just a minute ago?"
While this happens in a few episodes, episode 4 of Nisemonogatari has mood whiplash in spades. It starts off rather serious, gets silly, and alternates between serious, silly, and sad throughout the episode, with nary a warning of the mood changes.
The Movie: An adaptation of the prequel novel, Kizumonogatari.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Kanbaru takes this approach to the relationship between Senjougahara (who she is in love with) and Araragi. After beating Araragi to death several times over via disembowelment, she got over it and became good friends with the two.
Multiple Reference Pun: Tons, per Nisio Isin's Signature Style; multiple reference puns can even form the basis for the supernatural creatures that appear. One magnificent example is given during "Suruga Monkey": a collective nickname for Suruga and Hitagi back in middle school was the "Valhalla Combo". These are all the references:
Valhalla, obviously. Suruga and Hitagi were the "goddesses" of their respective sports teams (basketball and track).
Baruhara (the Japanese transliteration of "Valhalla") combines the two girls' names (Suruga Kanbaru and Hitagi Senjogahara).
Valhalla was Odin's domain, for warriors who died in battle; "Kanbaru" contains "god" and "Senjogahara" contains "battlefield."
Koyomi is impressed with the nickname until he finds out that Suruga made it up herself.
The first episode opens with a Bullet TimePanty Shot. The odd thing is, this is the closest visual equivalent to the scene in the book, where Koyomi spends over a page describing the effect of Hanekawa's skirt being blown up by the wind in front of him, and then dwells on it for the rest of the chapter.
The entire tooth brushing scene in Episode 8 of Nisemonogatari, which is treated as an extremely sexual process.
Intentionally done to avoid censorship because the images are REALLY brutal.
Having his entrails ripped from his belly and used to swing him around the room until they tear off sets a new standard in brutality.
The uncensored Blu-Ray version of it is even worse.
And another in Nisemonogatari episode 11, Yodzuru beats the living hell out of him.
Noodle Incident: In "Shinobu Time", Izuko Gaen helps Araragi on the condition that he and Suruga do something for her. Next thing we know, Araragi shows up at the end of "Tsubasa Tiger" with his clothes in shreds. Whatever Gaen's request actually was has yet to be divulged.
Non-Indicative Title: "Mayoi Jiangshi". First of all, while Mayoi is the impetus for the plot (Araragi and Shinobu go back in time to save her life), the story is actually more about developing Shinobu's character. There are also no jiangshi present at all, although Koyomi and Shinobu are menaced by what could be called "vampire zombies" (which are conceptually similar to actual jiangshi), and the saved Mayoi's situation is compared to her being a revived corpse.
Not Brainwashed: Hanekawa in Nekomonogatari Black. The Meddlesome Cat might have helped but all of the actions taken were from Hanekawa.
Of Course I'm Not A Virgin: subverted. Koyomi pretends like he's not a virgin when the topic comes up in the second episode, but eventually admits that he is when he's tired of keeping up the facade. In the third episode, Senjogohara does the same- but immediately admits she was lying when Koyomi notes it seems implausible that someone with her psychological issues would engage in orgies.
One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In "Mayoi Snail", Koyomi asks Hitagi if she can read the tag on Mayoi's backpack, to which she replies that she sees no such thing. Koyomi thinks that she just can't read the tag at that distance (he used his vampiric super-vision to read it) when she meant that she didn't see any grade school kid at all.
Only in It for the Money: Kaiki's M.O. to a T. He would in fact have given up his whole charm business for the right amount of money, and claimed he'd discuss a Heel-Face Turn for the right price. Then he charged Karen for infecting her with the bee's poison! Part of his dedication to this trope is that for each example he quotes an exact figure.
Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires are described as the "kings of oddities," and powers seem to include high strength and speed, superpowered sight, and inhabiting shadows. Unfortunately they apparently can't swim, something Koyomi didn't know until he tried to teach Nadeko. In addition, Koyomi is described as "one-tenth vampire", something that is only maintained due to him periodically feeding Shinobu his blood. He can improve his powers by letting her suck more blood than usual.
Pun-Based Title: Kizumonogatari would generally be read as something like 'wound story' but when you near the end you learn it also means something like deflowering story. Creating a subordinate instead of just consuming a person entirely is explicitly a rather sexual act and something that Kiss-shot had only done once, with a man implied to be her former lover.
Bakemonogatari has one between episodes 5 and 6 to recap the first two arcs.
Monogatari Series Second Season has three: episodes six (a recap of Nekomonogatari Black), eleven (Bakemonogatari, minus "Tsubasa Cat"), and sixteen ("Tsubasa Cat" and Nisemonogatari).
Real Life Writes the Plot: Kana Hanazawa mentioned off hand that she would have liked to voice a villianous character. Upon hearing this from her that's ultimately what Nisio Isin made Nadeko.
Rescue Romance: Shortly after regaining her weight, Hitagi declares her love for Araragi. It's somewhat subverted in how she believed that even if he didn't help her, she would've fallen for him anyway if she simply observed him rescuing others.
Though in Nisemonogatari she comments how she might have fallen in love with anyone who rescued her, and feels extremely frustrated by this fact.
Almost all of the Japanese text is written with older orthography, using unsimplified kyuujitai kanji (including complex daiji numerals, nowadays usually used only in finance) and katakana. Much of the incidental text also goes from right to left even when horizontal (nowadays horizontal text is generally read left to write as in Western languages), and the cut cards look significantly aged.
The "Kogarashi Sentiment" OP for Koimonogatari/"Hitagi End" jumps between the show's modern art style and one evocative of the '80s or '90s, including Japanese karaoke subtitles (generally limited to children's shows nowadays) and a noticeably lower resolution.
Running Gag: Mayoi's mispronouncing of Koyomi's name. "Sorry, I stuttuted."
Scenery Porn: YEP! You got it! It is made by Shaft after all.
Schedule Slip: Shaft had numerous issues meeting the production schedule for Bakemonogatari, meaning several shortcuts had to be taken in animation. This came to a head in episode 10, which was forced to air in an obviously half-finished state with color cards labeled "cut due to circumstances" taking the place of unfinished sequences. Animation quality recovered for the final two TV episodes, though episode 12 was broadcast with a narrower aspect ratio ("CinemaScope size") to save on animation costs. The web episodes are a whole other story: episode 13 took a month and a half to go online; episode 14, another three and change, followed by a three-month delay in the release date of the final DVD volume.
Koyomi: Are you saying you're more powerful than Shen Long?!
"Suruga Monkey" makes repeated references to the short story "The Monkey's Paw" — a misleading comparison, as the cast finds out halfway through the arc, as the "evil" wishes were really Suruga's own subconscious desires being granted in a Deal with the Devil.
Episode 7 has a "bondage fetish" image, giving the kanji for Suruga's name. Meme references it to the infamous "bure bure bure bure" OP from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei.
Episode 9 has a shot of Suruga and Koyomi recreating the Gaijin 4koma reaction.
In Episode 11, when Nadeko gives Koyomi the swimsuit Suruga lent her, he does the standard Despair Four-shot.
She also makes a few manga/anime references so obscure that Koyomi goes on an all out rant a few times.
Nisemonogatari 9 has a scene where Hachikuji tell that Koyomi is "No Longer Human" (Ningen Shikkaku) because of his pervert thoughts about a little girl (herself). Koyomi becomes Dazai Osamu for an instant and between the "Danger" signs, a "Ningen Shikkaku" sign appears.
It may not be intentional but calling Tsubasa's dissociative alternate personality Black Hanakawa calls to mind Chris Costner Sizemore and the film loosely based on her life, The Three Faces of Eve. Eve Black is the wild personality that the main personality claims to not have known was around..
Space Whale Aesop: Regarding Hanekawa: Accept your flaws and assert yourself or your personal demons will become literal, murderous cat demons!
Special Edition Title: Each arc plays the afflicted character's image song as an opening. Each OP was only played in one episode per arc on TV due to time constraints, but the Blu-ray releases have every episode featuring the proper OP.
Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Hitagi and Suruga say something to Koyomi about being able to identify a woman just by her hips.
Three of the girls are fascinated by lame jokes from the same radio show, leading Koyomi to suspect they were the people who called in the jokes to begin with.
A character being as moe as possible in a world that seems like it's halfway towards being a Sugar Bowl? Check.
An entirely live action opening featuring a girl cosplaying as a character in the show with small pyramids that look like cat ears floating on her head while silhouttes of cats walk around? Check.
An alternate, very disturbing version of the fifth opening that features disembodied hands grabbing at the (non-live action) nude figure of the same character as she struggles to run away? Um... check.
They came back in Nisemonogatari. A completely silhouetted girl (later updated to be fully drawn but with an alternate, pastel color scheme) doing nothing but changing poses while the background and camera angle shift around her? Check.
A girl running around being both appearing out of and vanishing into flames with images of bees flying around? Check.
A girl with constantly changing hair dancing (at one point inside a guy's mouth and occasionally without having an upper body at all) before transforming into a flock of birds? Check.
Nisemonogatari's ending has Hajime Ueda's art make a comeback, with the ladies of the first series on perpetually spinning and glowing wheels and train cars in one version, and in another, the Fire Sisters dancing and singing with detached limbs and heads.
SHAFT proves itself worthy again in Monogatari Series Second Season. Nekomonogatari White's opening involves a girl being unboxed from a box that's floating around in a magical pink void full of white and dark chocolate. Cats then hoist her on their shoulders and carry her around. She proceeds to eat chocolate, gain cat ears, sit on a crescent moon, and finishes by growing wings and flying off with a horde of similarly flying cats.
In Kabukimonogatari, a young girl walks around a void of square blocks with pretty colors and symbols on them. A massive snail shell starts smashing through them. They later form into a certain ahoge.
In Otorimonogatari, Bakemonogatari's 4th opening makes a comeback, in a very similar and trippy style. This time though, the audio is a reversed remix, the girl acts considerably more depressed, and the lyrics take a much darker turn.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: "There was no girl with bright golden hair, pale white skin, and a flat chest who spoke in a haughty, old-style voice, but appeared to be around eight years old. You imagined it."
Title Drop: The titles of the various novels are portmanteaux that would never come up in a normal conversation, but occasionally there will be a title drop by splitting a portmanteau into its components. For example, in Nisemonogatari: "Tsukihi Phoenix":
"Tada no nisemono no monogatari da."note This is the story of just another fake.
Tsundere: Invoked by many of the other characters to describe Senjogahara. Senjogahara even uses it in relation to herself. The term's used either jokingly or incorrectly at every turn, though, since Senjogahara never makes any attempt to deny or conceal her feelings. The only problem is that she's lived without emotions for so long, she can't exactly express them properly.
Bakemonogatari is actually 15 episodes long, but only 12 were broadcast on television, with the last three being premiered online.
Nisemonogatari is 11 episodes long.
Twerp Sweating: Koyomi's afraid Senjogahara's scary-serious looking father will do this on their first date. Subverted in that the father is actually extremely grateful to Koyomi for both curing his daughter's condition and making her happier than she's been in a long time.
Unmoving Plaid: Oshino's patterned shirts, Hanekawa's pajamas, Senjougahara's panties in episode 2 and dress in episode 12, and Tsukihi's kimono.
Unreadably Fast Text: Episodes open with excerpts from the novels that start off a little too fast and rapidly become totally impossible to read.
Unreliable Expositor: Characters tend to lie about the conditions under which they obtained their particular supernatural afflictions until it becomes absolutely necessary to tell the truth
Unwanted Harem: Oshino teases Araragi about the fact that every time he comes to see him he has a different girl with him.
Weirdness Magnet: Even if you're now an ex-vampire, you can't count on having a normal life again.
In episode 13, Hanekawa theorizes that the reason Koyomi keeps attracting pretty girls is a trace remnant of the vampire's ability to charm humans with a glance. This idea is shot down by black Hanekawa when Koyomi tries to use it as a reason for ignoring Hanekawa's attraction to him. He's nowhere near powerful enough to have vampiric charisma.
Not only that but even if he was, the vampiric charisma works more along the lines of turning the people around them into mind-slaves anyway.
The real reason, as explained by Oshino, is that Koyomi's still a Weirdness Magnet because of his unconscious refusal to let go of Shinobu. Once he separates from her completely, his vampirism will completely disappear, the oddities will abandon his life and he'll finally return to normality. So in the end, it's his decision.
It's trickier than it appears. It's explained in the novels that Shinobu will die if Koyomi stops giving her his blood, and Koyomi will pretty much help anyone in need, so he's stuck. It's not an unconscious desire to hold on to her, it's an unwillingness to sacrifice a life for his own sake.