a.k.a. Boogiepop wa Warawanai
Five years ago, a serial killer who meticulously chose his victims went on a rampage. Now, a bright beam of light illuminating the sky over Tokyo seems to affect certain teenagers from the neighborhood giving them special powers. This is also accompanied by mysterious disappearances reminiscent of the past events. Could the urban legend of Boogiepop, the embodiment of death, be true? If so, how does one rival death itself?
summary by Kjeldoran
Highs: Unique unfolding; successful suspense; high technical merit
Lows: Incomplete; hazy storyline; pulls in too many directions
With a highly unstable timeline and more characters than a phone book, Boogiepop Phantom is an anime that requires utmost concentration to even get an idea of what is happening. Giving the brain a good workout is something I usually enjoy but when I am left completely mystified over what is happening on my screen, it is less than a pleasurable experience.
I just loved how this series first started out; every episode introduced a new character, answered questions from previous episodes and raised further questions to be answered in the next. One would eventually get his hands on all the pieces of this gigantic puzzle… or so I thought. This system did not work for long; loose ends outmatched tied ends ten to one, and so many characters were introduced, I couldn’t make heads or tails of who, what and when, and was forced to take guesses at every turn. Even when all was said and done, details about important events and main characters remained sketchy and undeveloped.
It is a real shame that Boogiepop Phantom failed to deliver its message because the storyline taken from Ueno Kouhei’s novels was incomparable. Conspiracy theories larger than life and a peculiar analysis of time and evolution were amongst the intelligent yet blurry topics in this chill-inducing series. Even the art and music had the right stuff; clean visuals and catchy opening and ending songs give this anime the bonus points it greatly needs.
Boogiepop is not so much of an enigma because of symbolism but because of its irregularity and the rough depiction of an impressive storyline with many parallel elements. Even with several viewings and a notepad handy, this very interesting series just has too many irons in the fire.
Boogiepop Phantom can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.