Story: Kouhei Kadono
Illustrations: Kouji Ogata
Translation (Publisher): Andrew Cunningham (Seven Seas)
Genre: Supernatural / Sci-Fi / Horror
Version reviewed: English Translated
Date of Review: 21 Mar 2012
The launching pad for the world of Boogiepop, which spans several different kinds of media.
At Shinyo Academy, there have been many reports of girls running away and never being seen or heard from again. Also, there is a secret amongst the girls at Shinyo that there is a shinigami on campus named Boogiepop. Is Boogiepop the one taking these girls away, or is something else going on?
The world of Boogiepop begins here. This is the novel that spawned a live-action film adaptation, manga adaptation, manga sequel, short stories, fourteen subsequent novels, and an animated sequel. If you are curious about Boogiepop, this is where to start.
Boogiepop and Others is a very simple story on the surface, but it is the way in which it is told that gives it a certain appeal: it is nonlinear. This is the story of a single event told from the points of view of several different characters. Only by reading through each person’s account of the events which take place at Shinyo Academy can we the reader begin to piece together what actually happened. Each of them has a different level of involvement, and during each character’s part of the story, we see the events as they passed through their eyes. Each character’s story is told independently from start to finish, so there is no criss-cross of narratives over the duration of the novel. The stories do intersect, but it is up to us to find these crossing points in order to put the story together.
For those not familiar with light novels, the “light” generally refers to the fact that these kinds of books are fairly easy reading, but that isn’t meant in a negative way. It is almost like reading a screenplay, as dialogue is the driving force behind the narrative. Boogiepop and Others can be easily picked up and read for brief periods at a time, as the chapters are fairly short and there are plenty of stopping points. There is also a color-illustrated introduction to the characters before the novel begins, and there are a few black-and-white illustrations within the body of the novel as well.
Overall, the book is presented well, and North American publisher Seven Seas has a translation policy which aims to preserve the intent of the original Japanese as much as possible. The only awkward moments in the translation appear when the Japanese terms sempai and kouhai are retained in English. As these terms have no practical equivalent in English, they are kept to preserve the cultural significance of acknowledging one’s superior or junior in Japan. On a side note, there are a few typographical and copy editing errors which somehow made it through to the final draft. These are only a few isolated incidences, however.
Boogiepop and Others is an easy read, yet it still challenges due to the puzzle-like nature of the story. Equal parts high-school drama and supernatural horror, it is a good story with a wide range of characters. If you’ve heard about Boogiepop but never knew the best place to start, this light novel is the answer.