BP is one of those weird anime that are about psychological mystery and horror. It also has its share of urban fantasy, detective thriller and non-linear storytelling. Plus, no comedy. These elements are enough to consider this a jewel just from the genres. And in a way it really is. As far as the story goes, BP is exceptional. It plays around with several fears most people hide in their subconscious and brings them out in the form of madness and isolation, insecurity and fear. The non-linear way that each episode is shown also help to further bring insight to the weird story. And it is not Suzumiya Haruhi random order of episodes crap just to make it look sophisticated while throwing in fillers. Each episode is really adding something to the lot. And it is also told through the eyes of different people each time, so it is also not focused on one person alone. The ending is also solid as far as the mystery is concerned. Some things are left open to speculation but in all the main mystery is exposed. And damn, was it deep and mature.
There are several dozens of characters, each having a different role in the story. Most major ones suffer from some form of mental disorder that leads them to seek help even from a supernatural source or unwillingly taking part in a conspiracy to change the shape of the world. Many are even killed along the way in mysterious and horrifying ways. That counts as mature and multi-layered on one side. On the other, since the focus is shifted too fast amongst several people, it gets hard to get to like someone as he or she have around half an hour of spotlight at most and then get killed or disappear or become backdrop material. That is a rather nasty minus, as having 50 characters and only a dozen episodes means non get to stand out too much. And it’s true that you end up liking the atmosphere and the story but not the cast. The fact facial variety is rather small and some look alike does not help much to set them apart and judge them separately.
The animation is hit or miss. On one hand it wins thanks to its use of camera angles and dark alleys. On the other the facial variety is too low for such a big cast and the pacing too slow for its own good. The use of neon moths and night lights was cool. The use of supernatural battles was not; they felt out of place. In all the artwork has great atmosphere but lacks true mastering.
The music is good on the voice acting part. The soundtrack feels weak and forgettable but it still helps to build the mood.
The Enjoyment part is definitely the hardest thing to point out. You have a rather average score and very high scored reviews. Well it all comes down to what the majority wants. To be honest, less and less people like grim and pessimistic works and that is probably why the series was overlooked by most. Check out Bacanno! for example. It also had a non-linear story and lots of characters just like BP. The story was ok there too but not close to as mature as BP, while the characters were to the most part exaggerated comical archetypes. Most remembers and probably will always remember it because of its cheerier mood and funky characters and push aside deep yet gloomy stories and casts like BP. And then it’s all those comparisons to Serial Experiments Lain; they keep saying it is superior to it yet far more people remember the later than BP. The reason is simple. Although similar in their deep and serious moods, SE Lain has “one” protagonist and you definitely remember Lain by the end of the series. You can’t do that in BP because nobody sticks out. And if I am to add my own comparison to the lot, I say Neon Genesis focused on mental disorders too, yet didn’t forget to add giant robots, comedy and ecchi that helped to immortalize the characters and the story in your mind. This is where BP failed big time, to produce distinctive characters that will make the show memorable.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (atmospheric)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (atmospheric)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 8/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (semi-episodic)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 1/2 (so-so)
Conclusion 2/2 (solid)
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather generic but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 2/2 (overblown but solid)
VALUE SECTION: 5/10
Historical Value 1/3 (still remembered by some as an interesting retro title)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of lack of focus on a single character)
Memorability 3/4 (spooky enough to deserve remembering it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10
Good try but, seriously, memorable characters help a lot in any story.