Boogiepop Phantom

Boogiepop PhantomType: TV Series
Episode Count: 12
Genre: Psychological Thriller / Psychological Drama / Sci-Fi / Horror
Vintage: 2000

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 01 Feb 2007

Grade: A+

It could have been Serial Experiments Lain‘s sibling. That’s all you need to know.

Plot Summary
One month after Boogiepop (which rumor has it is a Shinigami, or angel of death) has ended the mystery of the disappearing students at Shinyo Academy, strange things have begun happening again. Boogiepop seems to have returned.

The Review
Where do I even start? I think for Boogiepop, a stream-of-consciousness review will be most appropriate.

This series is the sequel to the novel Boogiepop and Others, which I had read in preparation of watching this animated sequel, and am I glad I did! Even so, despite the knowledge I gained from that novel, Boogiepop Phantom will require a few more viewings to even begin to see everything. This series is even more non-linear than Lain, which is my benchmark title for series that play games with your mind. (Boogiepop Phantom now ties it, at the very least…) It’s hard to pin a chronology on to the events that happen in the series, since each episode follows multiple parallel stories from different characters’ perspectives, as well as jumping around in time with little notice. It may all seem random, but it is very deliberate and makes this particular type of storytelling very effective. The same events will be presented a few times over the course of the series, but what is learned about each event is different each time it’s seen, since it’s from a different side each time. In this way, discerning the details of the plot of the series is left to us, the viewer.

Comparisons to Serial Experiments Lain are almost a necessity for Boogiepop Phantom. Much of the staff that worked on Lain also worked on Boogiepop. Both series feel the same, visually they are very similar, and even a few voice actors are the same. Without hesitation, I can say that if you like one, there’s a good chance that you’ll probably like the other. One thing that stands out with Boogiepop Phantom is the color palette. I’m not sure if it’s the video master used for the DVDs or not, but visually, everything is muted. The series looks washed out, but I am confident that this was intentional. The series is downright creepy at times, and the lack of brightness and contrast only helps to convey this.

As was suggested to me, I would recommend anyone interested in Boogiepop Phantom to read the novel that precedes it first. Then perhaps watch the live-action adaptation of that novel, and then watch this series. It will help immensely in the effort to put all of the pieces in Boogiepop Phantom together. This is a series I look very much forward to rewatching, since I know I’ll be connecting the dots for many viewings to come. If you want a mindblender, you can’t go wrong with Boogiepop.

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