Hushed exchanges among the female student populace of Shinyo Academy center around an enigmatic supernatural entity. This entity is Boogiepop, a Shinigami who is rumored to murder people at the height of their beauty before their allure wanes. Few know of his true nature: a guardian who, between periods of dormancy, manifests as the alter ego of a high school girl named Touka Miyashita to fend off "the enemies of the world." Now, a string of mysterious disappearances—presumed by the school to be merely runaways—has caused Boogiepop to awaken. But somewhere in the academy, a menacing creature hides, waiting for its opportune moment to strike.
Boogiepop wa Warawanai subtly explores the intrinsic associations between human beings and their perception of time, while delving into its characters' complex relationships, emotions, memories, and pasts.
“I don’t know.” This statement, or variations of it, is uttered repeatedly throughout the entire run of this show, generally by characters who are thrown into a random chain of events that eventually leads to nowhere, or to an underwhelming conclusion. It is also a statement that many viewers may be inclined to utter when asked precisely what it was, they just watched. Ambiguity is not necessarily a bad thing in anime. But Boogiepop wa Warawanai is so resolutely vague, so eager to confound, that its ambiguity becomes itself ambiguous. Does it intend to let viewers balance competing interpretations? Or does it simply not know
what it is trying to say? Though Madhouse’s adaptation is decidedly creepy and occasionally ravishing to look at, it’s hard to shake the sense that, beneath its highbrow patina, it is an intellectual mess.
The premiere episodes reminded me of a conclusion to a case in MTV’s Cat Fish. The classic bait-and-switch scheme of what these episodes offered and what was teased in the trailer and OP. The audience is forced to sit through two episodes worth of nothing but conversation after conversation with constant info dumps, most of which come off as teen pseudo-intellectual schlock. We are given barely anything to really connect to the characters who are usually spouting a truckload of vague lines. Being a sponge and soaking up the ideas and thoughts being tossed around when you barely know or care about the people saying them is tedious. And this was very much the case for almost the entirety of the show. The pacing is out-of-control where you have some arcs that burn through the source material faster than Mr. Krabs who saw someone touching his money and some that are slower than Amy Schumer getting a thought out of her head. To make the central mystery more intriguing, it jumps from narrative to narrative with little progress, making the mystery all the more meandering.
Boogiepop wa Warawanai stylistically presents itself in a disjointed and non-linear style for its storytelling, putting the introduction of characters and concepts before plot. This has its pros and cons, in this series case, it’s a negative when it is extremely character-driven while the characters have zero appeal. More often boring, wallowing in its pseudo-intellectual dialogue, its haphazard assortment of ideas, and dull arc-long leading characters who aren’t Boogiepop. The titular character is mostly a framer of events, but a minimal participant in them. We are often left with different lead characters depending on the arc, or even multiple leads who are given the spotlight instead. The issue here is most of these arc-long leading characters are bland and not interesting enough to follow as a primary driving force in the story. Majority of the time, the characters feel so drab and uninspired that they sound like the same person, never developing unique enough traits to stand out between one another—the design of the characters don’t help either.
While the ideas are intriguing on paper, but over the course of its first two arcs, proceeded to completely lose my interest. It raised a bunch of questions, answered them unsatisfactorily and then basically shoved off. It has a habit of drawing you in with one hand while pushing you away with the other simultaneously. Narratively, Boogiepop wa Warawanai is like a body of water covered by whirlpools which are constantly on the move. In practice, they should consistently intersect briefly, all should revolve around the one in the center that is stationary—Boogiepop itself. This would allow the audience to lie back and let the whirlpools take you where they will, where the experience of this disjointed and non-linear style of storytelling becomes far more pleasant, just like in other shows who use a similar way to tell their stories. But what do we consistently get? The violent kind that sucks you under and drowns you. It gives you answers, but at the cost of more questions. It fills in a blank or two, then pulls the camera back to reveal more blanks that you couldn’t see in close-up.
When it comes to the characters, the focus should have been on showing the inner thoughts through animation, but instead, they just say it like pretentious snobs. The “show, don’t tell” approach is barely used so it’s not surprising that you don’t get wooed by its attempts at intellectual babble. They even have them telling the plot which is yet another sign of a poorly written story. Exposition is everything in Boogiepop wa Warawanai that the experience is less entertaining than watching paint dry on a wall. It has interesting elements and concepts but they are executed in such a disorderly manner that they end up feeling like undercooked ideas. It’s bloated with them: Aliens, ‘imaginators’, sterile clones sent to breed with real humans, ‘flowers’ inside of humans, people with the ability to control minds, shady orginizations, etc. Great fiction can blend various ideas and genres but this show feels like someone pulling ideas out of the ass and stuffing it back in without having the thought of laying a proper foundation for the plot.
Furthermore, I couldn’t help but be annoyed about the lack of appearances of the titular character. Boogiepop was presented initially with a presence that makes for a mysterious and compelling lead. So, it comes to no surprise (until the last arc) that there isn’t much time to see enough development. Mainly utilized as little more than a pseudo-Deus ex Machina, to appear into the narrative and solve the deadly threat before sh-t hits the fan. Rarely is it the arc-leads who decipher whatever is menacing them, but Boogiepop saving the day in the last moment. This destroys your suspension of disbelief and creates a lack of drama. I realized after the second arc that the moment we arrive at a point of no return, the infamous death reaper will swoop in and resolve everything before things become irreversible. Piecing the so-called “puzzle” together results in no satisfying payoff since almost each is left open to interpretation which makes me feel that we are doing more than working for the answers, but we are doing the work for the one(s) who wrote the story.
The acclaimed Madhouse is at the helm of Boogiepop wa Warawanai adaptation and I, as a huge fan of the studio, can honestly say that it is not one of their best works. At its best, the visuals are appeasing (in moments of action) but its consistently subpar. Jerky animation and character designs, which are immediately recognizable as Parasyte knockoffs, that don’t seem to fit the series’ mystery-laden mood. All the smug faces and robotic stares are irritating. The characters are unmemorable both in design and personality with barely any distinguishable features. Heavy use of line boil, poor framing and an excessive number of pan and zoom shots of stills to prolong scenes that don’t need to be stretched out. Hiring Kensuke Ushio to compose a droning electronic score and reverberating soundscapes is a positive but there is a lot of background music ending abruptly with no fading during transitions between scenes. The seiyuu did their best with a poor script, but really a forgettable performance. The OP, "shadowgraph" by MYTH＆ROID is better than the show itself.
On paper, some of the ideas and concepts, even its method of choice to tell its story are intriguing but it falls on its face in its own puddle of vomit. Boogiepop wa Warawanai juggles too many elements and too many characters that nothing feels well defined. The result is an anime that has the feel of brainy, high-end science fiction, but ultimately neither the underlying structure nor content. It’s a shame, given that it was originally made in the midst of a modest heyday for the sub-genre. Occasionally raising probing questions about the nature of consciousness and humanity—and offered murky, if non-provisional answers—essentially shrugs, asking viewers to supply their own meaning. What precisely was the creator(s) hoping we might take away from this story beyond a kind of moody befuddlement? “I don’t know.” Worse, by the end of the series, I didn’t care. Boogiepop wa Warawanai is essentially a wet dream for pretentious overthinkers.
Once in a while, there may come a show with complex storytelling and character roster that is much more than what it seems. The light novel medium is such a style of Japanese novel literature where imaginations are endless. As one of the earliest light novel originators, Boogiepop Phantom’s presence could be felt as far as back in the early 2000s. While I have seen that show many years ago, it felt like Boogiepop Phantom was missing something, or perhaps needed a boost to regain its popularity again. It’s 2019 and here we are again, connected by a powerful entity known as the Boogiepop, a
legend among community who came to judge humanity.
Consisting of 22 light novel volumes, it’s obvious the show doesn’t have the time to adapt every single one. The 2000s’ series ended up being an anime original while this show commits to a much more faithful adaptation. Jumping into the new Boogiepop may seem like a walk in the park but make no mistake, this show is not so easy to understand. In fact, I would recommend re-watching scenes and episodes at any chance to get a better experience. And it all begins with the first 3-episode arc: Boogiepop Does Not Laugh.
Before I venture deeper, do be aware that while the anime overall has interconnecting themes, it follows non-linear storytelling structure. In fact, it adapts an arc format where each arc consists a series of episodes together. From this adaptation, we get four arcs with “Vs The Imaginator” being the longest. That being said, I should mention that the first arc will most likely make or break for most viewers. Essentially, we are introduced to a supernatural entity known as Boogiepop, the urban legend with a keen insight on observing human behavior. But as the show progresses, it’s shown that her ambiguous actions may be more puzzling than what it seems. Who is Boogiepop? What exactly does it want? Why is it here in our world? These are some of the questions many will have in their mind for this first arc. Indeed, it shouldn’t take long to realize humanity is in jeopardy with the presence of “Synethic Humans” among society. On the outside, they may look like us but on the inside, they are beings with a twisted ambition. Their existence also proves how weak humans are by manipulating our free will. It’s a fate worse than death when you realize the atrocious acts manipulated individuals can commit. Spooky E is a prominent example during his reign of terror during the “Boogiepop vs Imaginator” arc. Having no second thoughts about harming or even killing humans, he represents pure evil as an agent of the Towa Organization.
That also brings in a big question. Just what exactly is the Towa Organization? While it’s an organization responsible for creating synthetic humans, no one truly knows their real agendas. The catalyst of this mysterious group is a character named “Echoes” who came to Earth to judge humans. The first episode establishes him as a being who is confused about human behavior. The Towa Organization seems to organize ways to test humans through dangerous experiments, many which result in deaths or disaster consequences. Their main goal throughout the show revolves how to control human’s way of evolution. It’s a complex concept that may take untold amount of time to achieve. In addition, the Towa Organization is known to have great influence in the world, capable of escaping the law and defying authority. I think it may take some time for viewers to figure out their purpose in the show because as I mentioned before, there’s multiple subplot building on in each arc that can get very confusing.
The remainder of the course of the series also explores other important themes such as human choices. Some characters in the show (who are ordinary humans) play important roles to make differences in certain outcomes. If you remember before, free will allows people to accomplish great things if they put their mind into it. On the other hand, Boogiepop is someone that has potential to accomplish imaginable feats. It’s why she is perceived as a main adversary against the Towa Organization. In a way, I even see her as a successor of Echoes. However, Boogiepop isn’t necessarily an “overpowered character”. In the final arc, she wonders if defeating the King of Distortion is possible. But in essence, it’s her wise words and wisdom that I find more appealing than other characteristics. Her words may be interpreted differently depending on how you perceive them but by the end of the day, she really lives up to her name of being a legend.
Madhouse is responsible for once again to bring Boogiepop to life and for what’s worth, it’s somewhat well made in terms of accurately committing to its ominous atmosphere. There’s no doubt the quiet and eerie mood lives throughout the entire duration of the show. This especially applies to the static shots in the opening episodes. It also uses a clever amount of raw character emotions to show how humans react under extraordinary circumstances. My main criticism though lies with some of the raw animated scenes as at times, it feels off . This shouldn’t hold the show back altogether but can weigh down the enjoyment on occasions. Luckily, the music, OST, and theme songs for make up for this with its well-timed choreography and directing.
We live in a world now where almost anything is possible. For a show like Boogiepop, its world contains ideas that you can’t even begin to imagine if any of it became real. Being one of the most influential light novels, many writers have followed its origins and made work that became worldwide attractions. Now I will say this anime is really not one aimed for the casual audience. Many episodes may require re-watches as any scene may hold significance or clues to the show’s plot. It’s also recommended to watch this in marathon sessions than a weekly airing. But hey, once you get hooked into the world of Boogiepop, you may want to stick around for more.
You know there comes a time when an anime series needs your attention. Not because of the quality of the show, but the fact that if you want to get the full experience of the show, you need to sit down, watch it and pick up any details can be answered and explored later on. Of course not everyone has time for that, but some people like to pick apart anime to fully understand it. This anime is one of these cases. An anime with an interesting structure of storytelling, character development and how to get everything out of it.
Sit back, relax and get
your surgical kit on because you are about to dissect an anime and its meanings as I present to you the anime review for Boogiepop and Others. Lets begin.
Set in modern day Japan, the story follows the growing rumours of a mysterious, cloaked figure that deals with all kinds of supernatural events. They call it Boogiepop. A person who only a few people have come into contact with due to them being involved in these supernatural events. They are naturally curious as to why these events happen and what exactly is Boogiepop. With all these events happening, Boogiepop must stop them in order for balance to maintain in this world.
The show is very arc focused. Each arc deals with some kind of supernatural phenomenon where a handful of characters get dragged in and eventually run into Boogiepop as it also must deal with these events, although they are dealt with rather disappointingly swift as soon as Boogiepop enters the scene. But you see, this isn't some shounun battle anime. This is a mystery thriller and Boogiepop acts as the protector? Maybe? Because you see, there are mysteries that make us theorise and put pieces together in order to make sense of it. Now that could mean that the story could not make sense in general, unless it was intentional. Maybe the show wanted you to go back and re-watch earlier episodes again. But now, you will have a better understanding after watching later episodes. The four arcs are told differently in this regard. Where it is a prequel arc, or an arc that is shown in the wrong order. They tell the story in a way that requires your attention. For some people, it might get them engaged, others might be turned away; which is why the method of storytelling is rather rare. But the fact that it encourages you to re-watch episodes means that its rather unique way of storytelling is rather refreshing. To get me engaged in a story not by a gripping narrative, but by filling out the blanks.
Now a good mystery always keeps spoon feeding the viewer answers but still leave some mysteries to keep the viewer engaged. I would say the show manages to do this pretty well. There always seemed to be some kind of answer as to what some of these things mean. The main mysteries of this show are what exactly is Boogiepop, why do these supernatural events keep happening and what is this mysterious Towa Organisation that people keep mentioning. The show did eventually give me answers to most of these mysteries by either saying out loud or by piecing together some events to make more sense out of them. But still, I felt like the show still kept me in the dark with some of these mysteries and I feel like I didn't get the answers I was looking for. So it isn't all perfect. But it didn't deter me from enjoying the overall mystery of this show.
There are only a handful of characters that appear in multiple arcs but other than that. The characters are rather secluded in their own story. Some of them are just innocents that got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, others are actively finding out the truth about certain events and people to get a sense of closure. I wouldn't say that there is really a bad character in this series as they all play their part. They all have their role to fill in the story and even then, if you don't like a specific character, chances are they aren't going to return in a different arc.
Of course, the main character the show focuses on is Boogiepop itself. Since we don't know what Boogiepop is exactly, it leaves us to theorise. Is it some kind of genetic experiment that escaped, is it merely just an alter ego, is it simply the supernatural protector of humanity to keep things in the balance or is it some kind of otherworldly creature who sees humanity as precious beings? Okay that last might be a bit ridiculous but you get what I mean. You question what exactly is Boogiepop doing, what is its purpose and where it came from. Only through watching, re-watching and putting pieces together will you get some idea. Although I am disappointed that we don't get some clarity on Boogiepop's human persona, Touka Miyashita. Is she an alter ego for Boogiepop? is it the other way round? or has she merely been used as a vessel for Boogiepop? We never really find out, even with re-watching some episodes. And considering people have seen Boogiepop's face, you would think that they would ask questions for Touka about anything wrong with her and is she okay. But no.
Another recurring character is Nagi Kirima as throughout the arcs, we see her whole character progression and how she came to be. Being a rather "unconventional" girl due to events from her past and her way of doing things. Nagi is kind of like the non-supernatural version of Boogiepop because, like Boogiepop, she likes to uncover supernatural phenomenons as well; leading to multiple confrontations between Boogiepop and Nagi. I like Nagi in this regard because she has her own sense of keeping balance because of what she experienced in her past, it feels like she is the only one that can do it when Boogiepop is not around. She is prepared, she's confident and has a lack of fear for these things. She makes for a nice character to watch how she grows into the Nagi we see present day.
Ahh yes, Madhouse, one the most beloved anime studios of all time. They are known for putting a good budget on an anime to make it look good with fluid animation. While they usually do it in battle centric anime, it doesn't mean they can't do it in other series. And they have done a good job with this show. While there are moments where Madhouse can flex its muscles and produce some really good looking scenes, what sold me was the show's art style. More specifically, the lighting. Now that might sound a bit strange but the lighting in this series is really well done. The way they do sunsets, the lights that illuminate the city. It really does look good. Now the art style in general takes a more different look than the original material, but I would say it still looks good. I wouldn't say it looks better, but looks different in a good way. There were times though when characters looked poorly drawn so it isn't perfect.
The soundtrack is rather ominous with a heavy use of techno and minor instrumentals to add to the ambience. It generally plays in the background, adding to the supernatural elements of this show. But that is a good thing and the right thing to do because the music shouldn't be a distraction. The focus should be on the story to unravel the mystery. So the music mustn't be a distraction. So it doesn't use anything bombastic to distract you, but uses more sombre techno music and instrumentals to add the supernatural elements that is going on here. This is especially true when the music sounds like its playing backwards, giving this very creepy vibe.
MYTH&ROID have become somewhat of a fan favourite amongst anime viewers. While they haven't done much openings, their openings for Re:Zero, Saga of Tanya the Evil and Overlord III are amongst people's favourites. So here they come again with another great opening called "Shadowgraph." This opening is just fantastic with its ominous music, great vocals, great visuals and well used symbolism highlight Touka not knowing what is going on or about Boogiepop until she embraces it with open arms. Like many other openings this season, its a standout and helps solidify MYTH&ROID as a fan favourite amongst anime viewers.
The ending sequence as well is enjoyable, mainly due to its art style being really pretty to look at as well as the fluidity of it all. But the song is also good. "Whiteout" by Riko Azuna is another good techno piece that is backed by strong lyrics and a great pace to it all. If it weren't for a certain ending sequence from Kaguya-Sama, this would probably be my favourite ending sequence this season.
Boogiepop and Others manages to tell an interesting story with plenty of mystery and intrigue to it to keep the viewer watching. Yet it manages to encourage people to re-watch episodes to get a better grasp of the story and the mystery overall. But it is also very niche. Only some people will get the full effect of this show as others will not have time for that and will just take what they get. Which means that this anime could become very divisive in the near future. I for one, think this show is very solid due to its overall mystery, great atmosphere as it invokes a very supernatural atmosphere and with animation and soundtracks that add to a scene. Yet I also know that people will definitely not enjoy this as it is too confusing for them. This leaves me to believe that the episodic, week by week structure
of Boogiepop went against it when trying to tell this kind of story. But since all of them have been aired, this isn't really an issue now.
Boogiepop is a show I would recommend if you are looking for an in-depth Supernatural Mystery show to get your teeth into.
First of all before giving a review.To the people who are planning to watch,are currently watching or dropped it halfway.
Please for the love of anime, be very patient with this series,because its really worth it
Boogiepop is adapted from the novel/manga and not original like the 2000 boogiepop series)
Its a psychological,Horror series which is shrouded in mystery and revolves around a enigmatic supernatural entity known as boogiepop,
which possesses one of our MC's miyashita touka.Boogiepop though rumored to target and murder people in a really mysterious way is actually
is a guardian who awakens and manifests itself when the world is in danger or an enemy appears,enemy
that is in the eyes of Boogiepop.
The reason being this series can slow paced and confusing at times,you will be like "What just happened,who's this,what does that even mean",
but that's the beauty of this series, its like a beautiful puzzle which viewers cannot envision at first but when it comes together,that to when
it does it comes in a amazing fast paced manner,it just hits and blows your mind over literally.
This show focuses on theme and meaning of humanity in various spectrum.From the beautiful,mysterious side of humans to the dark and disgusting side.
It has different arcs which starts with random scenes and characters on which light is shed much later which mostly revealed to be related to a new enemy
and threat which is constantly at play at a psychological degree which begins at a personal level, slowing growing to social and global scale,through various
mediums including unfathomable chain reactions of character interaction and conversations.
Each different arc every time has a majority of new characters with some of the original main cast constantly involved.But the best part is each time when a new character enters with a new arc,almost every single one of them has a interesting personality,character
and a decent backstory,which makes it more intriguing to watch & keeps the viewers attention hooked.
Also the characters are not only backed up by their words about who they are but by actions too, and i am talking about really good and surprising fighting and action choreography,
which for a psychological horror animes was really a feast for my eyes.
There are really good badass characters in this show, one of favorites would be Nagi,one of the main cast.Her character, with her backstory and development really caught my eye and made
her one of the most interesting characters.
One of the best parts which i myself personally find is even though the series revolves around,boogiepop makes the least appearance, while the other characters play out their part
in the episodes and the arc in a proper fashion while boogiepop enters as a savior at the last moments with its beautiful yet mysterious dialogues which will just mesmerize you.
Another reason why boogiepops dialogues are beautiful is the fact the amazing script and even more amazing and breathtaking Voice acting of Yuki Aoi. I could listen to boogiepops like
an ASMR over and over, its that addictive. Hats off to her.
During this show, with every episode i just find myself getting totally lost and immersed in the world this series presents,i just love how its made including the characters.
The narrative structure,its like we are presented with different pieces of story at different points in time that get pieced together gradually. It creates a nice mystery to her as well.
The ideology,the mindset of humanity, how every scene and conversations between characters just plays with the viewers mind in a complex but beautiful manner, the concept/message from the
build up period to the finishing of each arc and episode just pure guilty pleasure for a mature audience.
Another thing i am glad to see the horror aspects is done with specific scenarios and very mild gore element which can at times spook and take the audience by surprise.
Animation wise, Madhouse has done a really good work on this series.The character designs and animation pretty well fit the aesthetics of the show.It mostly reminds me of Parasyte maxim, another great horror show,
so you kinda understand what i am talking about. Its really well done. Only problem i had was sometimes i had trouble sometimes distinguishing characters,as most of the designs were quite closely similar.
Other than that setting of show, the background sceneries with its slightly dark, but tranquil element captures the atmosphere in high levels.
The production and filter usage also were quite top grade.
The sound/OST is another great part of this series.
Starting off with OP and ED,especially the OP "Shadowgraph" arguably the Best Op of this season and my personal favorite,Myth and roid again with a home run with a beautiful and breathtaking track.
Every time i hear it gives my a tranquil feeling and giving me goosebumps at the same time,its that good. ED also quite satisfying to listen to and fits well.
The OST's and background music is just great and well adapts to the story line and scenarios,while giving the feel of mysterious, tension and bit of horror, also during the fight and climax scenes
it picks up the pace, while giving a chill and tranquil vibe during amazing and deep conversations between characters.
Also as i mentioned earlier Voice actors have performed well and given justice character,especially Yukii Aoi with Boogiepop,her calm and soothing voice for boogipop is eargasm for my ears literally.
The studio and staff just delivered a great package to the viewers.
Coming to the end of the review,i would say this is the underrated show of the season,people have been dropping it due to slow pacing and the confusion the plot causes at the start,but are not patient
for it to unfold in an amazing manner which is the unique selling point of this show.
It needs immense focus at times but its worth it and i could say its quite a masterpiece in its own way.
We might not have another boogiepop, its that unique and kind of a gift from the anime industry to the mature audiences.
Watching this show,it really made me realize how much I miss watching a good horror/psychological story, no wonder this series is so beloved and influential towards other LN's.
This show needs more recognition and appreciation. Really highly recommended.