English: Boogiepop Phantom
Synonyms: Boogiepop Never Laughs, Boogiepop Doesn't Laugh
Japanese: ブギーポップは笑わない Boogiepop Phantom
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 5, 2000 to Mar 22, 2000
24 min. per episode
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.321 (scored by 10981 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama horror mystery supernatural
SynopsisFive 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?
Related AnimeAdaptation: Boogiepop Series
Characters & Voice Actors
If David Lynch's son grew up in Japan and became a filmmaker like his father, and if his brain had a mouth, it would vomit Boogiepop Phantom onto our screens.
Peppered with some of the best sound editing I've ever heard in an anime, this montage of scarred urbanites and neo-humans colliding into each other violently is the forbearer for anime hits like Baccano. Boogiepop Phantom began the light novel trend in Japan and has spanned multiple mediums to tell this fractured story of an urban legend stalking the streets of urban Japan dispatching creeps who feed on cute school kids.
I could go more into the story, but that’s not what a review is meant to do. If you want story, go read the synopsis or Wiki it. I'll talk about the viewing experience. This anime is heavy with mood, similar to Serial Experiments Lain in many ways, but what makes this anime stand out by itself is the superb sound production which not only elevates the content but is seemingly an essential part of it. The sound is a core part of the story, guiding the viewer through each sordid tale; through each blood-soaked tragedy, with its eclectic music (everything from electro, drum & bass, to fusion) and reverberating soundscapes.
Each episode plops you firmly into the point of view of various troubled characters battling demons both real and imagined, and all the while small threads appear and disappear, threads tying these character biographies into the larger mystery of what occurs in the opening five minutes of the show.
A five minutes incidentally which are excellently written and directed, a perfect primer for what to expect with this show. If you feel like bailing out after those five minutes, then you should, because you won’t appreciate what happens for the next eleven episodes, which is more of the same quality of storytelling. Boogiepop Phantom excels in both 'show dont tell' and voice-overs. I've lamented the usage of voice-overs in anime many times, calling it a lazy screenwriting tool, but it’s used perfectly in Boogiepop Phantom. Character voice-overs actually tell us things we don’t know, and give us insight into their motives.
A review is meant to help make up your mind. If I were Miss Boogiepop Phantom herself, I'd shoot a psychic grapple hook into your mind and pull you into this trendsetting show so you could experience terror and awe, as only a viewer should when watching a classic anime. read more
The weight of modern society's harsh expectations can easily take its toll on anyone. Failures to keep up can turn into loss of self-worth, disappointments into bitterness, loss of freedom leads into alienation of self. Of course, the severity of this all largely varies from individual to individual, but the implications of ever increasing demand for productivity and efficiency on the general sentiments and atmosphere across society are clear, particularly during these times of economic insecurity and downturn. Boogiepop Phantom is a brilliantly executed series about separate yet connected cases of teenagers who struggle with such stress and other difficult emotions in an eerily cold and disturbingly dangerous urban setting haunted by supernatural forces, but sadly falls short of brilliance due to unfortunate contradictions in its composition and partially unconvincing delivery.
Boogiepop Phantom is most notable for its immersive atmosphere, and definitely, the way the series portrays its scenario is nothing short of amazing. The first impression is disturbing and infinitely intensified by the amazingly unsettling sound design and disturbingly effective art direction. The opening scenes are completely open and without context, but depicted impressively enough to instantly make me want to make sense of everything. Everything is hidden at the beginning, and the truth can only be uncovered gradually by going through multiple episodic stories, each centered around a different character. By doing this, the story manages to keep the effective veil of secrecy that glorifies the urban legends that lurk in the corners of every episode. Even though the story is a relatively clichéd and far-fetched combination of concepts such as aliens, secret organizations, monsters and weird heroes, the clever methods used to present the story make everything immersive and unique.
The scattered clues across episodes are enjoyable to piece together to uncover the truth from slightest bit of exposure necessary, and the urban horrors are intense and imaginative in how they blend in the society and exploit its dark areas. The episodic stories have many direct connections to give a coherent sense that everything in the story is connected. It's just very unfortunate that the overarching storyline doesn't really pay off in the end; the characters that are most directly connected to the main mystery are so weak that I can't feel too strongly about them and the ending itself is pretty uneventful, so the payoff regarding the mystery and storyline is just its intrigue. But while the narrative doesn't capitalize to give a cathartic ending, the scenario also functions as a vehicle of psychological case studies for the characters the episodes are centered around, which is clearly its main purpose.
While there's an overarchign story, the focus is clearly on episodic storylines. Each episode has a different character as its focus, each of which either has a supernatural power or some direct involvement with dangerous urban legends in a way that is related to their stress and other issues caused by heavy societal pressure. The superpowers often cleverly reflect the characters' innermost doubts and fears and are essentially extreme and violent forms of rejection, escapism or obsession. But despite the creative and promising idea, this area is where Boogiepop Phantom disappoints the most.
The inorganic methods that the series uses to create an unsettling urban atmosphere of gloom is a double-edged sword as the anime's vague and lifeless execution also erodes on the level of humanity emitted by vast majority of the characters. The characters are very robotic, from the jerky animation, barely distinguishable designs and markedly low-tone voice acting to their lack of personality, and they largely remain on the level of walking psychological cases with little depth or believability as a person beyond their general circumstances, neurotic quirks and most of all their immense negative emotions. While there are a couple of episodes that avoid these pitfalls and it's great that the characters don't scream out their emotions in typical anime fashion, the psychological cases are sometimes too vague or forced to be truly compelling.
Because many of the cases are just very exaggerated representations of farily typical real-life situations, it often comes down to the characters's actions to make it valuable, which they often fail at doing; even if Boogiepop Phantom is a social commentary first and foremost, society is composed of people. Doing a poor job establishing most of the characters is a major shortcoming for any psychological drama, and even in Boogiepop's case it leads to problems due to the fact that society's harshness itself doesn't automatically turn a person into something worse, it does it by latching onto and inflating a person's negative feelings such as inferiority or emptiness. And indeed, in Boogiepop the characters are largely just neurotic wrecks and there are too many cases where they aren't portrayed in a convincing manner.
Another thing that weighs down the value of the cases is how preachy the series tends to be. Boogiepop Phantom likes to have its most stable characters spell out that someone is doing something wrong, which gives the series some off-putting qualities of a bland moral lecture. I would have so much preferred for the series to just show us the implications by letting matters play out, or at least having the characters interfere without offering blatant lectures. Of course, generally in fiction the words of even 'flawless' characters are supposed to be taken critically and considering their own possible flaws that affect the viewpoint of that character, but in the context of highly hyperbolic cases whose main purpose is often just to blatantly point fingers at something, it's hard to give it such benefit of doubt and the effect on delivery and tone is impossible to ignore. It doesn't help that dialogue in Boogiepop Phantom isn't generally too interesting, it's basically very cookie-cutter whether it's casual chat or deeper pondering. The various ideas about memories, past, present and future are mildly interesting, but their enjoyment is slightly lowered by how seriously the series forces them.
All in all, while Boogiepop Phantom has multiple impressive strengths and is a very intriguing experience to sit through with some valuable elements, its suboptimal and even contradictory execution regarding balance of its different elements is the main reason it falls short of ranking among the best. It's still definitely a series worth considering, the few episodes avoid the pitfalls of weak characterization are great and the atmosphere and the joy of uncovering the truth are worth experiencing. Just don't expect a strong sense of fulfillment or accomplishment afterward, as Boogiepop is too vague yet forceful to be completely satisfying. read more
Boogiepop Phantom and Serial Experiments Lain are very slow-paced and have very little dialogue. They both attempt to be philisophical....
90's anime style ownage: dull atmosphere, squared character design, electro music on the background, overcrowded city depression, urban mysteries of the concrete-cable town, new age at its best.
strange deaths, beautifully haunting music, and strange color schemes make these two anime series almost siblings. . .
Both mess with your brain. However, Boogiepop creeps you out with supernatural, where Lain (which does have bits of creepiness) uses the modern phenomenon of internet and the decrease in human contact. Boogiepop is perhaps less philosophical than Lain and less conceptual
Also a very surreal anime with somewhat similar darkish style.
Lain and Boogiepop Phantom are soul mates; they deliver highly convoluted stories with intricate plots that are presented in a non-linear way, which allows for some extremely disorientating moments. The mood of both is very dark and menacing; virtually all scenes are charged with nervous tension. Lain is more coherently philosophical while BP is somewhat disjointed but they share the same spirit of subversive violence, enthralling confusion and constant questioning.
Both employ a philosophic style, approaching dark, almost disturbing themes and nonlinear, vignette-effect storytelling. The character designs are similar, not surprisingly because they are done by the same artist (Shigeyuki Suga). Both series also use sparse color palettes, with Boogiepop Phantom extending it further to noise-filled, sepia tones, to reflect the anxieties and tragedies of the characters as well as give the series an over-all psychological, surreal atmosphere.
It seems that Lain and Boogiepop share the same gothic approach to their respective views of the world. I like how both make you really think about their true meanings and how deep they really are.
Watching one is like watching the other. :-D
Boogiepop is a more violent, mysterious, horror version of Lain.
Both have schoolgirls as protagonists; both have some kind of “god” in them; both are creepy, confusing, and complex; both have awesome dark/electronic/industrial music, and the same character design, atmosphere, and slow pacing.
If you liked one, you’ll love the other.
Darkness, mystery, psychological thriller... highly recommended !!!
Total mind screw. Serial Experiments Lain is more understandable and has a (sympathetic and well developed) main character, while Boogiepop Phantom is more confusing and creepier.
Both are outstanding creative series, have a really alternative development, similar art, treat about dark stuff like suicide and gives a lot to think.
Both shows are very similar to one another, and both deal with the same basic thing, the degradation of the human mind. But while Lain deals with one single person, Boogiepop Phantom deals with a larger group of people who are all connected.
almost the same art style & similar atmosphere
This show shares the same character designer and key animator as Lain. It's also very dark, gloomy, and deals with how young people living in modern Japan are disconnected from one another. Boogiepop delves more into the horror genre and it's a little easier to follow, but in terms of atmosphere and storytelling style they are quite similar.
The two shows are both willing to progress the story without clearly defining it to the viewer in full. It instead lets you take the knowledge you have and attempt to piece the events from it. These both have effective, dark, dreary atmospheres. The artistic styles are similar and have a huge payoff when you get a full story out of it.
I'm sure everything about similarity of those two wonderful non-mainstream anime was said already so I'm just adding a vote.
similar psychologic effect, similar atmosphere
Both have strange deaths and haunting music. There's a creepy atmosphere to them both. With dull blurry-like colored backgrounds and characters.
Both series involve disturbing, psychological elements born through twisted technologies. Dark atmospheres encompass the lives of seemingly average students, each with their own past tragedies and/or mental instabilities. A first glance, the plotlines are confusing—albeit, both TV shows are intended for viewers who enjoy re-watching episodes to digest the subtle details, symbolisms, and intellectual undertones.
complex stories, similar people, and 'real' world with a supernatural twist
These series are about people on the edge and how everyone can be driven to psychological collapse if enough pressure is added. Boogiepop Phantom is extremely confusing for the most part and demands constant attention from the viewer, while PA is as odd and requires some analysis to be fully comprehended. A dark atmosphere pervades both efforts; in Paranoia Agent it is edgy and at times quirky, while in BP it remains somber and moody through and through. Both deal with the effects of self delusion taken to the extreme of alienation and conflict.
They both have a very strange psycological atmosphere, they have similar characters and they both deal with human and society problems. The taste this series give you its very similar.
Both Boogiepop Phantom and Paranoia Agent involve a group of people who don't seem to be connected but are all affected by a strange supernatural phenomenon. Both have dark undertones and are very psychological, requiring your full attention.
Similar setting - modern Japan, in both people are facing some kind of urban legend, origins unknown, that helps them reach katharsis
similar feel of dark atmospheric and psychological undertones
Both series have a dark atmosphere and mystery revolving around different characters with storytelling of different perspectives.
Both series are quite dark and focuses more of the psychological theme involving murder, mystery, and twists. A psycho drama pleasing to eyes of fans into the psychological side of anime.
They're both dark urban fantasy and also share many similarities in the way the narrative is set out, jumping from person to person to tell stories that are connected in some way.
Both series have a feeling of unease about them, with a dark and eerie atmosphere and a supernatural "main character" (?) lurking behind the scenes each episode.
The way the story is told is very similar, with each episode focusing on a different person (or group of people) and the strange events surrounding them.
Opening Theme"Yuudachi" by Shikao Suga
Ending Theme"Mirai-Seiki Maruhi Club" by Kyouko
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