Bakemonogatari centers on Koyomi Araragi, a third year high school student who is almost human again after briefly becoming a vampire. One day, a classmate named Hitagi Senjōgahara, who never talks to anyone, falls down the stairs into Koyomi's arms. He discovers that Hitagi weighs next to nothing, in defiance of physics. Despite being threatened by her to keep away, Koyomi offers his help, and introduces her to Meme Oshino, a strange middle-aged man living in an abandoned building, who cured him of being a vampire.
The series tends to introduce only one new heroine per chapter, each involved with a different "apparition." Most of them have an item which symbolises their spectres, such as Hitagi's stapler - the claw of a crab, Mayoi's back pack - the shell of a snail, Suruga's arm - the arm of a monkey, Nadeko's big hat and baggy jacket - the head and skin of a snake, and Karen's yellow suit with black stripes - the colors of a bee. The events of the previous chapters play an important role in the subsequent ones. The series primarily focuses on conversations between characters; it contains a fair number of parodies of other series, as well as Nisio Isin's trademark word play and metahumor.