|Hello. Before I begin, I should note that Metanorn is currently participating in the Aniblog Tourney. Kyokai even made a post about it. Check it out.
Bakemonogatari was a show that sold particularly well on DVD and Bluray. Besides being a visually stunning and very good show, it had one major advantage over other anime releases, in that it came with audio commentaries for every episode by the characters, voiced by their respective voice actors and written by author of the original novel, Nisio Isin. From my digging around, it seems that nobody has made English subtitles for these tracks, and I can tell why: they have even more speech than the show itself, and they often go into stuff that’s hard to translate into English (much like in the show itself). However, Bakemonogatari has been licensed in Korea, and its BD release did come with subtitles for those. I couldn’t cover even close to everything, and I make no guarantees of the quality of translation, but here’s my best effort at presenting to you some bits of the commentary that I thought were interesting or funny. I hope you enjoy.
Tsubasa: Then, let’s get started! Thank you for buying Bakemonogatari volume 1 DVD or BD set. I’m one of the commentators, Naoetsu High School 3rd year Hanekawa Tsubasa.
Hitagi: Wait, wait, Hanekawa-san, while you were introducing yourself, the screen showed something really shameful. Those panties, your panties are completely exposed. This is going to be released nationally, is that OK?
Tsubasa: Well, I guess it can’t be helped?
Hitagi: ‘It can’t be helped?’ You have no sense of shame, Hanekawa-san.
Tsubasa: You think so?
Hitagi: In any case, sometimes called a concrete-like girl, the other commentator, also a Naoetsu High School 3rd year, I’m Senjougahara Hitagi.
Flashbacks from Kizumonogatari.
Hitagi: Oh, this is the part with the scenes I’m not supposed to know about, right?
Tsubasa: Yeah. Oh wait, Araragi-kun hasn’t told you about them?
Hitagi: His lips are sealed when it comes to this topic.
Tsubasa: This is a depiction of what happened during spring break. See, my hair was tied in just one ponytail back then.
Hitagi: So I’m definitely not supposed to know anything about this scene, right?
Tsubasa: Well, you just found out…
Hitagi: I’m going to have to speak with Araragi-kun about this tonight.
Hitagi: Araragi-kun’s little sisters are always helping him wake up, so how come he’s late so often?
Tsubasa: Oh, that’s a good point.
Hitagi: My 1st appearance.
Tsubasa: Your 1st appearance.
Hitagi: So, this means that I was also late to class, doesn’t it?
Tsubasa: Wouldn’t you die from this fall even if you only weighed 5Kg?
Hitagi: Yeah, I probably would.
Tsubasa: The person who caught you would also be killed!
‘Maybe I was wrong in not avoiding her?’
Tsubasa: Doesn’t Araragi-kun seem a bit cold here?
Hitagi: ‘Maybe I was wrong?’ Of course you weren’t wrong!
Tsubasa: This is an early phase of his character.
Hitagi: Yeah, Araragi-kun was cool back then.
Tsubasa: I miss that part of him.
Hitagi: Huh? Did he touch my breast during that scene? … Looks like our talk tonight will have to go longer than originally planned.
Hitagi: He looks sinister.
Tsubasa: He looks sinister.
Tsubasa: Oh, the opening theme started. Senjougahara-san, this is you singing, right?
Hitagi: That’s right. Ah, it really is me. The best, a voice even I could fall for.
Tsubasa: Complimenting yourself comes very naturally to you, huh?
Tsubasa: Whoa, those staplers are great!
Hitagi: I probably don’t even have to ask you because you’re Hanekawa-san, but do you know what Infinite Puchi Puchi is?
Tsubasa: Oh, you mean those toys they sell at Toys “R” Us?
Hitagi: Well, it’s odd that Toys “R” Us is the first store that someone our age would think of, but anyway, this is the next episode of that.
Tsubasa: I thought there were already quite a few anime episodes of that.
Hitagi: Then episode 100. Infinite stapler.
Tsubasa: Infinite Stapler?
Hitagi: That’s right. It doesn’t have staples in it, but closing it still makes you feel like you’re stapling something.
Tsubasa: Oh, I see. Sounds interesting! Certainly the feeling of closing a stapler is unique and pleasant. Some elementary school kids carry around staplers just for that reason.
Hitagi: I wonder if the OP staff made such a great version of me because they were so taken by what a great person I am?
Tsubasa: A great person wouldn’t compliment herself like that…
Hitagi: I see that it’s just the 2 of you preparing for the school festival.
Tsubasa: It’s because everyone else is afraid of Araragi … He’s the only one who hasn’t noticed that everyone is afraid of him.
Hitagi: He’s definitely thinking dirty thoughts right now. See, he’s playing with your breasts here. He’s not interested in the conversation at all. His mind is completely elsewhere.
“I don’t know everything, only what I know.”
Hitagi: I notice that you said your catchphrase.
Hitagi: “I don’t know everything, only what I know.”
Tsubasa: Ah, I say it because I notice that Araragi-kun smiles whenever I do.
Hitagi: Even it’s nothing but a simple tautology.
“She’s a top class student with nothing odd about her at all.”
Hitagi: I see, you still used to think of me like that, Hanekawa-san.
Tsubasa: Yes, I was fooled.
Hitagi: Though it was for only for a short period, I managed to fool Hanekawa-san. That’s something I can brag about for the rest of my life.
Hitagi: But actually, you knew the truth about me the whole time, right?
Hitagi: Oh, some old footage. I wonder where this video came from? Actually, based on these angles, it looks like it was filmed by a peeping Tom.
Tsubasa: Yeah, it kind of looks like it.
Hitagi: I wonder if that means there’s video of you during middle school too, Hanekawa-san?
Tsubasa: There isn’t!
Hitagi: Can’t they use this video as evidence in a courtroom? If this gets released nationwide, will I get arrested?
Tsubasa: That looks painful for Araragi-kun!
Hitagi: It’s painful more me too.
Tsubasa: What do you mean?
Hitagi: Well, my thumb is in his mouth along with the stapler, so my clean white hand is getting dirtied with his saliva right now.
Tsubasa: I’m sure that’s painful too, but in comparison…
Hitagi: Oh my, my personal information is getting broadcast.
Hitagi: First my personal information, and now video of me completely nude.
Tsubasa: They didn’t even make the audience wait until the 2nd episode.
Hitagi: Wait a minute, I wasn’t that scary in this scene. Must have been the editors.
Tsubasa: You weren’t that scary?
Hitagi: Not at all. I was throwing in jokes to try to lighten the mood for Araragi-kun.
Tsubasa: Isn’t that even more scary?
Hitagi: Plus, they were American jokes. So the image of me you get here is all thanks to the post-production.
Tsubasa: How come you stapled him? Araragi-kun promised to keep it a secret and to stay away from you.
Hitagi: I just thought, I wonder how shocked he’d be?
Tsubasa: Of course he’d be very shocked!
Hitagi: But since he broke his promise immediately anyway, isn’t this fair play?
Tsubasa: So that’s my final appearance.
Hitagi: Eh? Ah, you’re right, this is the last we see of you for the rest of the episode, Hanekawa-san.
Tsubasa: No, not just that.
Hitagi: What, for the rest of the volume?
Tsubasa: That’s right. Actually, I don’t think I come back until the end of episode 4.
Hitagi: Episode 4?
Tsubasa: For people watching it during broadcast, that was a 3 week wait. And my appearance there was very brief, too.
Tsubasa: Wow, you look so cool, Senjougahara-san!
Tsubasa: The reason you’re in this situation is because you were caught by Araragi-kun after you slipped and fell on the stairs, and you decide to take that kind of pose here?
Hitagi: Now that you mention it, you’re right. What was I thinking there?
Hitagi: To be honest, even though he showed it to me like that, it was hard to tell whether or not there was any injury.
Tsubasa: Well, that makes sense.
Hitagi: Araragi’s teeth are so sexy.
Hitagi: Araragi-kun’s explanation here is quite confusing. I’m surprised you understood it all.
Tsubasa: Actually, I understood almost immediately. Araragi-kun is quite eloquent, as you know.
Hitagi: Rather, any woman who saw that set of teeth of his would have followed him anywhere.
Tsubasa: You’re ruining your character, or at least the image of it, so let’s get off the topic of teeth!
‘But I think you’re more of a tundra than anything.’
Hitagi: Ah, so that’s what he was thinking of me at the time.
Tsubasa: We can thank this Bluray or DVD for allowing us to know what Araragi-kun is thinking.
Hitagi: Yeah, but on the other hand, that’s also why everyone can see your panties or my personal information.
Tsubasa: It’s a double-edged sword.
Hitagi: There’s a large tree growing through the middle of this building.
Tsubasa: That’s so strange. Based on the size of that tree, there’s no way it wasn’t there before the building.
Hitagi: Isn’t it the building and nature forming a symbiotic relationship?
Tsubasa: That’s just destruction of nature.
Tsubasa: Where were you hiding all the school supplies you’re about to take out?
Hitagi: Just in my skirt.
Tsubasa: I’m pretty sure that the pile exceeded the volume of the skirt. And where did Araragi-kun put them all?
Hitagi: That’s a good point. And pants generally have smaller pockets than skirts.
Tsubasa: It’s really a mystery. Maybe he just hid them around that area?
Hitagi: Maybe he cut open his belly and filled it up with them?
Tsubasa: Why was something so grotesque the first thing you thought of?
“I have 5,000 comrades ready to attack your family if they don’t receive contact from me every minute.”
Tsubasa: You’re lying here.
Hitagi: Maybe it’s hard to believe, but I was honestly trying to put up a bluff here.
Tsubasa: But 5,000 was too many to believe. That’s more than the population of our entire school.
Hitagi: I wonder if 500 would’ve been a more realistic number.
Tsubasa: If it’s against Karen-chan and Tsukihi-chan, that number might be realistic.
Hitagi: That might be true.
Hitagi: She’s scaring him by taking Karen-chan and Tsukihi-chan hostage right now. This woman is the worst.
Tsubasa: You’re saying that about yourself.
Hitagi: But look at what’s happening on screen. Being taken to a place like this, I had to have some insurance. See? I’m being forcibly dragged by the wrist.
Tsubasa: Isn’t Araragi-kun just kindly holding your arm in case you trip over something?
Hitagi: Oh look, now that we’re both silhouettes, our height difference becomes obvious. Even counting what the hair adds, I’m taller than him.
Tsubasa: There’s the total height difference, but I’m more concerned with the difference in height of your waists.
Hitagi: Huh? How come he’s so happy when talking about Oshino-san? That’s the widest smile he’s had so far.
Tsubasa: Close up of Shinobu-chan!
Hitagi: What’s with her helmet?
Tsubasa: I know the answer, but I can’t say it here.
Hitagi: This vampire is the one that appeared during the opening scenes, right?
Tsubasa: That’s right!
“What’s the matter, Araragi? Did something good happen?”
Hitagi: There he goes with that line again. I’ve heard him say it so many times now.
Hitagi: Did you know about it, Hanekawa-san? The demon Omoshikani?”
Tsubasa: Oh? Yes, I did.
Hitagi: You know everything, don’t you?
Tsubasa: I just happened to know this thing.
Hitagi: You didn’t say, “I don’t know everything, only what I know.”
Tsubasa: I only say that to Araragi-kun.
Hitagi: Huh, isn’t Araragi-kun taller than me in this scene?
Tsubasa: Isn’t that just perspective? He’s standing a step or two closer to the camera.
Hitagi: Standing a step or two closer to the camera just to appear taller, what a small-minded person he is.
Tsubasa: I don’t think he’s doing that on purpose. And in this case, isn’t he standing between you and Oshino to make you feel safer, Senjougahara-san?
Hitagi: I see, so that’s what it was.
Tsubasa: Araragi-kun’s actions are filled with such subtle kindness.
Hitagi: Even though nobody noticed it but you, Hanekawa-san.
Tsubasa: The problem is that the person who should be the first to notice doesn’t.
Tsubasa: You know, we watch her now and call her cute, but during this time, I’ll bet Shinobu-chan was in a lot of emotional pain.
Tsubasa: She must have been very upset at Araragi-kun.
Tsubasa: To be honest, I’d be worried for your life right now, Senjougahara-san.
Tsubasa: Oh, now Araragi-kun is standing a step back.
Hitagi: Is this also part of his subtle kindness?
Tsubasa: He must have thought that since the talk had begun in earnest, he should make sure not to get in the way.
Hitagi: Looking from the side, our height difference really is noticeable.
Tsubasa: Again, I’m more noticing the difference in waist height.
Hitagi: I’m wondering why Hanekawa-san keeps wanting to talk about my waist.
Tsubasa: Oh really? But Senjougahara-san’s waist is a topic that keeps coming up whenever I’m talking to Araragi-kun.
Hitagi: I wish I hadn’t heard that.
Tsubasa: Oh, while we were talking about waists, episode 1 is coming to a close.
Hitagi: Looks like our conversation got cut at the waist.
Tsubasa: That’s not … funny at all …
Hitagi: I just wanted to try saying it.
Hitagi: Watching this staff roll, I can see that a huge number of people worked on this show.
Tsubasa: You’re right. I’m so thankful to them.
Hitagi: On the other hand, a cast of only 6 is quite small. 4 if you only count those who appear in this episode.
Tsubasa: Yeah, and I don’t even get to appear next episode.
Hitagi: Sounds like you don’t have many friends.
Tsubasa: Well, in this case, I don’t think having few friends would be the reason for having fewer appearances.
Hitagi: Is there any other reason?
Tsubasa: There are plenty!
Karen: About the worker ants… most of them actually don’t work!
Tsukihi: The majority, 80% don’t work!
Hitagi: Oh, that’s right, there’s the preview.
Tsubasa: Yup, it’s handled by Karen-chan and Tsukihi-chan.
Hitagi: (In reference to what Karen and Tsukihi said) Isn’t it the other way around?
Hitagi: I think I’ve heard that 20% of of worker ants are lazy.
Tsubasa: Oh actually, they’re both correct.
Tsubasa: Well, I can’t explain it in the time left in this preview, why don’t we continue talking about it in episode 2?
Hitagi: Sounds good. More importantly, these sisters aren’t previewing the next episode at all.
Tsubasa: Not at all.
Pretty fun stuff, I think. Considering how much he likes meta humor, I’m sure Nisio must have leapt at the opportunity to write this. Or maybe he pushed this on Shaft himself? He did use this opportunity to tell the audience some things that are tough when Koyomi is the 1st person narrator, such as how he doesn’t notice that everyone’s scared of him. Character commentary tracks are a great way to add value to the physical releases, and they also give us another chance to learn more about the characters. I wish more shows did this – I think The Idolm@ster had some as well, but I haven’t heard of any others.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to recreate the voice actresses’ performance here, which were excellent. If you’re a fan of Chiwa Saito or Yui Horie, it might be worth listening to anyway. Or hey, Bakemonogatari the show proper is usually worth a rewatch. I do plan on covering all 15 episodes, though due to the volume of dialogue, don’t expect me to stick to a strict schedule – much like the net episodes of Bakemonogatari. Any feedback would be much appreciated. I’m open to playing with the format to find one that works best.
Some stuff I couldn’t fit in above:
- I didn’t fully translate the conversation, but when they’re talking about the Infinite Stapler during the OP, Hitagi started pitching a product she called the Infinite Stapler Futile Version, which didn’t have staples, but just recreated the feeling of closing a stapler when closed. Tsubasa pointed out that a regular stapler already does that.
- Hitagi’s comments about height was a call back to Nisemonogatari. She teased to Koyomi in Karen Bee (published September 2008) that if they ever got adapted into anime, everyone would be able to tell that he was shorter than her.
- When doing this, Hitagi berates herself and tells her to be nice to Araragi.
- They mention at one point that Hitagi is a fan of Greed and Tsubasa is a fan of Kimblee from Fullmetal Alchemist.