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Boogiepop wa Warawanai: Boogiepop Phantom

Five years ago, a string of grisly murders shook the city to its core and now the rumors have begun once more. Boogiepop... Everyone knows about Boogiepop: meet her one dark night and you are taken. People tell each other the stories and laugh: no one believes that she can possibly exist in this day and age. Still, strange things appear to be going on and the darkness is taking on many forms. Something is out there. Are you safe? (Source: RightStuf)
User Count8526
Favorites Count84
Start Date5th Jan 2000
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank1355
Rating Rank3982
Age RatingR
Age Rating GuideMild Nudity
SubtypeTV
Statusfinished

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All Boogiepop wa Warawanai: Boogiepop Phantom released episodes

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*"There's nothing in this world that is ever truly decided. Birds sometimes fall out of the sky, and sometimes it snows in April. Everything is uncertain, nothing is unnatural."* Five years ago, a series of terrifying murders took place across an unnamed city in Japan, forever changing the lives of two young girls. In the present day, rumors begin to arise of a mysterious entity known as Boogiepop. No one knows who or what she really is, or even if she exists at all, only that if you meet her in the night you will be taken away. One night, all the power in the city goes out, and a mysterious column of light rises to the heavens, changing a few people's lives throughout the city in an instant. There's a speech-impaired girl who wanders about, surrounded by shining butterflies that only a few people can see. Nagi Kirima spends her days like any other high school student, but by night she wanders the streets of the city, observing and confronting these phenomena and their consequences. How are all of these events connected, and what does it mean for the city? Is there any meaning to pursuing a mystery that may never be fully unraveled? Confused? Welcome aboard. Looking at the series' animation, I'm not entirely sure how to react. On one hand, the art direction certainly leaves an impression. Its dark and muted visuals feel very much like old, slightly worn film footage, which is actually relevant to a key story concept, I won't say what to avoid spoiling. On a whole, the tones and designs are simple, yet very earthy; it still feels like an [anime](#), but the direction reaches for an atmosphere similar to the world we all know, close enough to reality to make the audience uncomfortable. I think the overall atmosphere succeeds to that end, but on the downside the character designs are perhaps a bit too simple, to the point that the plethora of characters can be hard to tell apart. While the use of tones and shadows is usually pretty good, sometimes it can get a little too dark to see what's going on. Then there's the character animation, which has some serious quality control issues, jerky movements and wonky facial expressions abound. To be fair, sometimes the distortions can be used effectively, but on a whole the animation barely squeaks by on its memorable tone and direction, which is heavily reminiscent of Serial Experiments Lain but not nearly as striking. The use of sound in this series is unilaterally superb, although the show doesn't have much of an actual soundtrack, preferring to rely on much more basic noises to tell its story. There might be some static humming in the background, slowly intensifying as the event at hand approaches its climax, and then cutting off to complete and utter silence for a split-second, only to pull you back in with its next stunt. A single low ring seems to punctuate most of the series' [beats](#), and the characters' voices might trail off into echoes during some key conversations. It's a neat effect, and once again it parallels one of the series' key concepts. However, even though Boogiepop Phantom isn't a very music-intensive show, the music it does have is absolutely fantastic. Combining echoic electronic distortions with a lively rhythm that straddles the line between organic and synthetic, it feels a bit like wandering the streets at night. Combined with a haunting choir it touches on the "angel of death" sound I described in my Texhnolyze review, and it's an easy soundtrack to get lost in. It sounds great on its own, and it adds beautifully to some of the show's most powerful moments. Boogiepop Phantom was dubbed in 2001, the same year Cowboy Bebop set a new curve for the industry, but the trend of higher-quality English dubbing came a bit too late to reach this series and the end result is just barely serviceable. The Japanese voice acting has its share of hiccups and stiff acting, but for the most part it manages to carry the low-key character interactions well and breathes pretty naturally. The dub takes the cut-and-paste approach to its voice acting and adaptive script, striving to sound as close to the original Japanese dub as possible with no regard for what sounds right or natural in English, resulting in awkward lines with wooden delivery. Even favorites like Crispin Freeman and Rachael Lillis perform only passably, and the best performance in the entire dub is a one-off role by Lisa Ortiz. As if to add insult to injury, the subtitles on the official DVD release have spelling errors. Only a couple, mind, but combined with the lackluster dub, the low production quality of the US release is quite vexing. If the plot summary I gave at the beginning seems a tad disjointed and confusing, good. Boogiepop Phantom doesn't follow a typical narrative structure, and it doesn't really have any main characters to speak of (well, it sort of does, but we don't find out who until near the finale). Instead, it's the story of the city in a sense, told through a series of brief glimpses into the interconnected lives of various persons concerned with the Boogiepop incident, presented out of chronological order. It's primarily a mystery series, aiming to confuse and to captivate, and along the way maybe make some observations about those affected by the events that transpire. The audience starts off with very little concrete information, and we have to piece together both the backstories and the current story from conversations, interactions and brief flashbacks. There are many, many characters, and it certainly doesn't help that the designs can be difficult to tell apart (though it's kinder on a second viewing). I wouldn't blame anyone for giving up on this show one or two episodes in, but for those who are able to endure it I'll commend the show for coming together fairly well in the end. Boogiepop Phantom is based on a light novel series, and there are several common pitfalls that such adaptations tend to suffer from, some of which it manages to avoid and others not so much. The smooth flow of its narrative in particular sets this series apart from other light novel-based anime--I can't tell where one novel ends and the next begins; it feels like the same unified story from start to finish. It's far more at-home with its medium than most such adaptations, and the writers were brilliant with how they used the episodic format to their advantage, each episode centering around the perspectives of one or two characters while still tying itself to the main storyline in small but important ways. If I hadn't checked Wikipedia before watching the show, I probably would have assumed that this was an anime-original title. It's not the most tightly-written anime I've seen, there are a few episodes that could probably be removed without too much effort and it can get a little bogged down with dialog and exposition sometimes, as is par for the course with light novel adaptations, but as the series nears its conclusion and ties itself together it becomes easily forgivable. So where's the pitfall? Well, Boogiepop Phantom the anime is twelve episodes long, and when it began airing, Boogiepop the light novel series spanned eight volumes, and awaited several later installations (I think it might still be ongoing). Do the math, there's no way the anime could cover all of that material in such a short run. Thankfully, the core story chosen for this adaptation reaches a satisfying, cathartic conclusion, but it's made clear to the audience that what we're seeing is part of a much bigger story. I challenge anyone who finds him or herself seriously invested in the story not to want to know more about what Echoes' purpose was, how Nagi evolved from a tragic survivor to the supernatural huntress she becomes, and just what the hell Boogiepop is trying to achieve. We get glimpses of the answers, but if you want more fleshed-out explanations you'll have to read the light novels, which will probably never receive a full Stateside release. What we do get is still engaging, but it's woefully incomplete and seems to enjoy taunting us with that fact. Now that I've gotten the style of storytelling out of the way, let's take a look at the story on its own merits. On the downside, I have to include the same caveat I did for Texhnolyze: it's consistently dark and bleak, and altogether unpleasant, and you shouldn't watch it unless you're interested in the ugly side of humanity. Some of the characters we follow are fascinating as psychological studies but completely unsympathetic and irredeemable as individuals, which can be incredibly difficult to sit through. Supernatural elements notwithstanding, this series hits very close to the reality we live in every day, and this can get extremely uncomfortable when it starts pointing fingers at the lies we tell ourselves and the missteps we make in our lives. While this isn't exactly a flaw, it does make the series far more alienating, and the lack of a consistent main character to latch onto (there is Nagi, but she's terribly aloof) does nothing to assuage this. Still, Boogiepop Phantom isn't unrelentingly depressing all the time. It's a mystery first and foremost, and a good mystery needs to keep its audience entertained. The series keeps you guessing until the very last minute, but looking back in the end, the clues were all there. Loose plot threads aside, it's a good story told in a memorable way, and that's always nice to see. Since the episodes are mostly vignettes centered around one or two characters, some of the episodes manage to pull off focused and effective character drama while still working in the necessary plot points for later episodes, and that's downright laudable (then there's the hateful episode 4). The scenario itself occasionally pushes the limits of plausibility and has some cliches thrown in, but the story is so engaging to piece together that this is easily overlooked. While some of the episodes are predominantly just thrilling mysteries, they're at least cleverly executed, and at its best the show really can be downright thought-provoking in its criticism of these characters' human vices and how they cope... or fail to cope. It's an uneven but wholly immersive experience, occasionally cold but never boring. This show may not be pure gold, but it's still worth sifting through all its blacks and grays to find the gold in it. It has a compelling atmosphere, clever writing, and a some genuinely haunting insight into the darker side of humanity. I still maintain that it feels a bit unfinished and should have been longer, but just the fact that I was left wanting more is a good sign. If you like dark mind-frags, this should quench your appetite just fine.

Dark, creepy, and infused with an atmosphere so dense you can cut it with a knife, "Boogiepop Phantom" stands out as a unique viewing experience of the WTF genre that contrasts starkly against almost every other anime out there.My first reaction (along with most other people's probably) was "WTF is this?!" (a sure sign that an anime from this genre is doing it right) But after a couple of episodes, I found I could start forming some connections and get a vague idea of what was going on. Because of the complicated story and non-linear story telling method, "Boogiepop Phantom" is a show that can take a bit of effort and patience to get into. Though there is a central storyline, most of the series actually consists of side stories of people affected by the events of the central plot. None of the episodes truly stand alone though, as they all reference each other in some way or another. These connections are often very subtle and of varying degrees of importance towards understanding the story, but part of the joy of watching "Boogiepop Phantom" comes from the immense sense of achievement when spotting these connections, even the trivial ones. It's no exaggeration to compare it with doing a really hard, mind bending puzzle. I can't claim to understand it completely (but then again, can anyone?), and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure whether part of my confusion comes from not getting it or whether the anime didn't explain things properly. But "Boogiepop Phantom" is so devilishly clever I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, and the confusion serve only to enhance its enigmatic aura - it feels great to be able to eke out a tiny bit more information each time, with the prospect of a seemingly endless amount yet to be uncovered.Virtually every episode of "Boogiepop Phantom" is ingenius and unique in their own way. A lot of production tricks are used, ranging from novelty ones such as displaying the title of an episode at the end rather than at the beginning (the first anime that I saw that does this) to really inventive ways of storytelling. Pretty much all the episodes contain at least one big twist, and "Boogiepop Phantom" is so good at misdirection that the twists come across to me as nothing short of revelations whenever they happen, and I often found myself admiring the sheer brilliance behind the intricate construction of an episode after being surprised once again. There is one thing that lets the production of "Boogiepop Phantom" down, however (and in fact I consider this to be the biggest flaw in the series - if it wasn't for this, it would get a 9), and it's character designs - the characters all look way too similar to each other, especially the 56 or so school girls that feature in this series (or perhaps there are only 6 of them - it's really is hard to tell which ones are actually the same person). This made "Boogiepop Phantom" MUCH more confusing than it needs to be. Its story and story telling method is intended to make you think hard, but I doubt that thinking hard whether character A is the same as character B who you saw 2 epsiodes ago is meant to be part of the design. I'm not usually one for noticing social commentary, but the ones in "Boogiepop Phantom" really resonated with me. The pressure that the school kids are shown to be under may seem absurd to some, but having spent quite a few years of my childhood growing up in China, I can tell you the scenarios portrayed are no exaggeration when it comes to some Asian countries. Even though "Boogiepop Phantom" mixes this up with supernatural elements, the parents' expectations that weigh so heavily on the children's shoulders, and the social pressures that they have to face up to on a daily basis all feel startlingly real to me. The story may be pretty intriguing, but ultimately, it's the viewing experience that makes "Boogiepop Phantom" truly stand out. There are so many great things about it it's hard to know where to start. The style of the art is dark and dreary, and for all but one of the episodes, the corners of the screen is slightly darkened to underline the oppressive atmosphere. Like in "Monster", a lot of effort went into the use of ambient noise and music to create a wide range of (mostly negative) moods from jittery to eerie. In fact, "Boogiepop Phantom" uses sounds so effectively that even the silence, often resulting from the sudden cutoff of some noisy, sustained background music, are charged with an electric potency. It's a series that's best watched in a small, darkened room with the volume and bass turned up. When enveloped by the sound reflecting back from the walls, it creates a suffocating, almost claustrophoebic effect that's part of a thick atmosphere that you can almost feel yourself drowning in. Coupled with the mind bending storyline, this transforms "Boogiepop Phantom" into such an intense experience that I often felt mentally drained after an episode. The final episode is very bright in comparison, with the dark corners of the screen lifted to provide a breathtaking contrast to the episodes that came before. It feels like waking up from a nightmare with the morning sun pouring into your room, or suddenly being able to breath again after being suffocated for so long. It's only then that you realise just how effective the anime is in generating that stifling atmosphere.Surprisingly, "Boogiepop Phantom" is not the first anime of its type - "Serial Experiments Lain" is. But "Boogiepop Phantom" is so good that for a long time I assumed that it's the first one. "Serial Experiments Lain" may have been the first, but it can't match the intensity, the atmosphere and the blinding brilliance found in "Boogiepop Phantom" - you don't even need to get what's going on (I certainly didn't) in order to enjoy "Boogiepop Phantom". And that's why I consider this to be the definitive title of the genre.

HyperWind's review **#2.** This show is just something else, the closest things to it are probably Serial Experiments Lain and Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even those two don't come close the amount of mindfuckery (yes, that's a word) condensed in this show.  **-- The Plot --** The show starts out with a mysterious beam of light shooting out of the center of some unknown Japanese city and a strange chain of murders that influence the lives of two schoolgirls, throwing them into insanity. After that there's a conspiracy plot involving secret organisations, composite humans, ghosts, manticores, electromagnetic fields, aliens, psychological traumas and other **"fun"** things. To be fair, the plot is very complex and ingeniously written and everything I tell about it is a major spoiler so I won't go in depth and move on to the execution. The show is composed of little stories of people effected by the event mentioned earlier, and every story gets it's own episode. The episode usually starts out with the pillar of light appearing and, during the span of the epsode, reaches recent recent times, when the main character of the arc, 9 times out of 10, has went completely insane or died. One more thing I want to mention is that this show is displayed out of order, because of the episode structure, so multiple viewings are advised. **-- The Animation --**  This is probably the worse aspect of the show, the animation really hasn't aged well and looks low quality even compared to the shows made the same year and earlier. Some characters lack detail and have very little color, the show is really dark and it's really hard to see anything that's in the grey spectrum and most things have this fuzzy border that blends them with the background, even worsening the clarity of the picture. But I have to give props to the character designers, because the designs really fit the show and have this kinda creepy look to them, going even deeper into the uncanny valley. **-- The Sound --** The music is pretty decent. It has this strange psychedelic vibe that really fits the show.  But none of it is really memorable and, in part, that's because the sound directing wasn't the greatest. **-- The Characters -- ** The first thing I have to mention is that Boogiepop has a lot of characters. There are 21+ characters in this series and every one of them, to a certain extent, plays a important role in the story. These characters usually reflect some aspect of the deeper philosophy of the show and try to critique the modern society. But, that being said, they aren't the greatest. Most of them don't get spotlight for more than one arc, and if they do, they usually are shifted to a supporting role.  Also, because of that short time they're given, they usually feel rushed, they make plot progressing decisions instead of the logical ones and fail to deliver their message to the viewer. In the end it feels like you're watching this show for the story, not the characters, when it should be the other way around.   **-- Final Thoughs --** Boogiepop Phantom is a midfuck extravaganza in the same vein as Serial Experiments Lain and Evangelion, to people who liked those shows I'd recommend it wholeheartedly and I'd also suggest it to everyone else, even if it has it's flaws. **-- Other Details --** Boogiepop Phantom was directed by Takashi Watanabe. The sound composition was done by Yota Tsuruoka. Made by Studio Madhouse. Licensed by Nozomi Entertainment in the USA. It originally aired from the 5th of January to the 22nd of March, 2000. 

Boogiepop Phantom ブギーポップは笑わない Boogiepop Phantom is one of those old Mahouse titles that tried something different and experimented with what was at its disposal, with the source material actually starting the light novel trend in Japan – kinda interesting considering what modern light novels focus on today. This is a mature anime that has been overshadowed by older and even newer releases, though it’s very much worth it if you love psychological horror. Story & Characters Boogiepop Phantom (BP) is a weird one; basically it’s a story of an urban legend that is known around Japan, stalking the streets and praying on teenagers with all sorts of disturbing creatures. The story is varied, we have urban fantasy, detective aspects and a very dark atmosphere, all told in a non linear way, and everything is shown to be connected by the end of each episode. The story is already sounding very interesting just from those aspects, and it really is that good, a gem. The characters we meet all have some kind of mental and social problems, BP likes to play around with common fears that humans hide subconsciously and brings them out in the form of madness, isolation and fear. The non linear way of storytelling helps you further integrate into the story, everything is connected and while it is confusing at some points, focusing on multiple characters throughout. The endings to the episodes are good and highly sophisticated, the mysteries being resolved for the most part or are left up to speculations. Like previously mentioned there are a rather large number of characters in this anime, each being different in their own way making them interesting, all of them are in some way mentally broken. With these mental issues they seek salvation by supernatural means usually getting themselves involved in far greater conspiracies by otherworldly entities, some even suffering gruesome deaths because of their actions. The way the characters are presented with the story is done in a multi-layered and mature way, and it actually turns out to be a great metaphor about growing up, encountering hardships while growing up, and how do we deal with the worlds many dark attributes. Now, this can be seen as a major plus, but there is a problem with the same thing of having so many characters in Boogiepop Phantom. The story sometimes shifts to fast from character to character, not giving you enough time to care about them. This is further amplified by the fact that this is only a 12 episodes series. Animation & Sound The animation department is also a good and a bad thing about BP. The camera work is great along with the very dark and gritty way the world is drawn. The use of night lights and dark alleys is very cool, adding to the already creepy mood. The characters are also a problem when it comes to animation; you can tell this was done on a low budget, since a lot of them look the same visually, so you can’t really tell them apart, not to mention a lot of them wear the same or similar clothes. The voice acting was for the most part good, you can feel the emotions the characters are expressing. Music wise it was also good in my opinion, it really did add to the atmosphere. Final Thoughts It’s quite obvious why this anime is overlooked by many, the modern watchers will be put off by the lacking animation, while others will be put off by the dark and pessimistic approach BP takes. It is often compared to Serial Experiments Lain because of the mature content, and interesting story, but most people remember SEL and forget about this title. In the end, I think this is a worthy watch for somebody who wants something different and isn’t afraid to experiment, the story can be seen as a coming of age one, showing us universal themes like change, escapism, memory and relationships, just slightly held back by the large number of characters that don’t get enough screen time. Alternative Anime Recommendations: Serial Experiments Lain – Like previously mentioned in this review, SEL is VERY similar to Boogiepop Phantom, each giving us a mature and interesting story, difference is Lain has only one major character, giving her much more room to develop and making her memorable for the viewers. Baccano – This might be a weird recommendation, but it’s also told in a non linear fashion with multiple characters seemingly unrelated, that in the end come to each other for a much greater story, it’s also a lot more cheerful, with the characters being very goofy. NGE – Like BP most of the main cast suffers from some kind of mental trauma, though they added giant battles and dashes of comedy to the dark story, which again unlike Boogiepop makes the characters stand out and be more memorable.

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