Here is something that I did not see and understand until the last (aired) episode of Bakemonogatari smacked me in the nose with it: Bakemonogatari is really a love story. A romance, like Toradora.
And like Toradora, I think that it is a good one. It does not have a love triangle, because that's not the kind of story it is telling; it is more telling the story of how two peculiar people come to fit together and to more or less understand each other.
I don't want to say that the supernatural elements of Bakemonogatari are just trappings, because they're a lot more than that, but ultimately they're the means to an end and not an end to themselves. Right from the beginning, the important things that wind up happening are all about the characters, not about the monsters.
Sidebar: on Bakemonogatari's art style
Bakemonogatari has a somewhat peculiar and often minimalistic animation style ('cheap' is the uncharitable label). While I didn't mind it, I can understand why other people dislike it and feel that the studio was being lazy. However, it strikes me that an advantage of the art style is that it leaves you without distractions for the dialog, which is important as Bakemonogatari often has very dense dialog that you really want to pay attention to.
Written on 23 November 2009.