Boogiepop Phantom - Reviews

Alt title: Boogiepop wa Warawanai

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HKBattosai's avatar
Oct 4, 2018

Intro: This review of Boogiepop Phantom is going to be quick. I only watched the first six episodes due to going such a long time between viewings, which this is not an anime you can get away with doing so because its plot and story telling are quite deep and interesting.

Story: Eeringly good. That's the best way I can describe it. I'm not much of a fan of Noir, but its elements are done very well and add to the otherwordly Psychological atmosphere that MADHOUSE is trying to set. Those, combined with certain other factors add to these strange occurances that have been happening throughout the series to a handful of high school students. Through six episodes it feels episodic, but everything that's been happening seems to be directly linked together as well.

Animation: Bad (including the artwork), but much of it is deliberate, which it certainly does a really solid job at setting the tone and mood for the anime. This does merit some praise. However, it's to a fault I'm afraid. It's so bad at times that it hinders what it tries to accomplish. A little more polish from MADHOUSE and this could've been an even more intense psychological trip of Mystery and Horror.

Sound: Horrible, at least when it comes to the English audio track. Again, it might be deliberate, but this time it does not benefit the anime at all. So this anime needs to be watched in Japanese, otherwise face the vocal audio quality drop off. In the Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, the dialogue sound is much more nominal. The music and sound effects are excellent too! It sounds surprisingly well above average on the 5.1 surround system. This definitely heightens the edgy atmosphere.

Characters: Outside of Boogiepop, the rest of the cast is too detached and independent through six episodes. In their own featured episodes they are good characters, but they don't seem very cohesive or very linked to each other, not yet any way. You will only see small amounts of their connection to a unifying story arc up to this point.

Conclusion: This anime is a mixed bag due to the extremeties between the really good elements and the really bad ones, but...

In the future I may pick this up again because it truly is a fascinating story. Even with the problems listed in this review, Boogiepop Phantom is entertaining just due to the few high points mentioned. Ultimately, those will probably give me enough reason to start over and finish this anime completely the next time around. Naturally, I will update this review when and if that happens.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE:  7/10

Episodes watched:  6

1️⃣Weighted Average System Score: (24 + 5 + 7 + 15 + 14 = 65/100 points)

Additional Information:

  • Video Format:  DVD (2012)
  • Audio Format:  Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (with English subtitles)
  • Publisher:  Nozomi Entertainment
  • Equipment Used:  LG 60UH6550 4K TV, Vizio 5.1 Sound Bar System SB3651-E6, Sony Blu-ray Player BDP-S5200
8/10 story
5/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
Whims44's avatar
Feb 20, 2011

My first review for Anime-Planet, please comment and tell me what you think. I appreciate reviews of my reviews greatly. I hope I will encourage fellow anime fans to watch this series and appreciate it as i do. It's truly an unique and terrifying experience that should not be missed. It's a horror and psychological thriller and its nothing you've ever seen before. Now onto the review and thanks for reading.

Story; Some claim Boogiepop Phantom has no story or is a complete wreck. To that I say, Boogiepop Phantom is coming for you. Just kidding. There are numerous stories at play in this series. I can just say that by reading the synopsis doesn't particularly tell you what to expect. It's vague for a reason and if you do as I say later (rewatching it three times), then you should not have any problems. I am going to recommend reading the manga, Boogiepop Doesn't Laugh, for more background on what happens in Boogiepop Phantom.

Animation; Boogiepop Phantom is done with this tint of sepia for every episode except for the last one. There is good reason why Madhouse chose to do it this way. It's an interesting twist and to give that away in this review would be absolute criminal as its absolute brilliance. A dark and disturbing story requires a dark and disturbing atmosphere. It should go without saying that Boogiepop Phantom is a beautiful show in its own right and still a cornerstone in anime history.

Sound; Only one word can describe the soundtrack: creepy. It's an intense combination of rock and techno-type music. There are several scenes in the first few episodes where the background music makes the hairs on neck stick straight up and gives you intense goosebumps. You can even break into a cold sweat because of the music and sounds you hear. The opening song is a jazzy and catchy tune and the ending is a  rock/techno deal which is also catchy. The background music is definitely a positive and strength that Boogiepop Phantom has to offer and it emulates the feelings and purpose of the show.

Characters; If you like complex human drama, this show delivers. The strongest aspect of Boogiepop Phantom is the growth, change and maturity of the characters. The growth, change and maturing of the characters are in fact, the story. Some characters grow and others regress as the series goes on. If you are looking for a story about characters, look no further. Nobody is perfect in the world of Boogiepop Phantom. Nobody. They all have problems and that is the beauty of it - they do not hide it at all.

Overall; I will admit that it can get confusing at times, but rest assured that after rewatching it three times once blindly, once with English commentary and the last time knowing what to expect per the commentary; that you will understand the series and its complicated but genius story. I have done this and discovered one of, if not the best, anime series I have seen since becoming an anime fan in 1996 and it's taken me 15 years to discover this series. I would  recommend not to bother with recommendations or series similar to this one, because to be frank, there is not anything like Boogiepop Phantom.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Jestershock's avatar
Jun 25, 2011

Reading a plot summery about this show gives you more story than watching all 12 episodes. Someone put a lot of work into this series, but in the effort to weave a tapestry of interconnected lives it helps to have characters that stand out or can at least be identified as individuals. Every character was so bland that they blurred over each other, making the entire story even more vague than it was intended to be. The complete lack of ending in the last episode just seemed to underscore how little there was to the over-arching story.

With so much great stuff out there to watch, I can't help but regret having taken the time to see this one through.

3/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
2/10 characters
3.5/10 overall
LimeCultivist's avatar
Jun 19, 2013

Boogiepop Phantom is an anime that focuses almost entirely on the dark side of human nature. Now, this can be a complete turnoff if you get sick of the same depressed high school kids and extremely dark areas episode after episode. Until the last episode, pretty much the only colors you'll see are orange(the sky), red (blood), and black (I know it's a shade, not a color). With this anime being made in 2000, the older animation combined with these colors is not exactly a great level of animation. However, for the mood, the animation works extremely well. Everything seems blurry and washed out, and it works wonders with the depressed characters, settings, and many themes.

The sound is worth noting; the background music is often effective and fitting. Strangely enough, this doesn't apply to the ending, and, to lesser extent, the opening as well. The opening theme Yuudachi is one of my personal all time favorites, and the ending is decent, but doesn't fit the mood that well. The sub is good, but just, well, good. It's my personal choice to go with the sub every time I rewatch the series. The dub is hit or miss: some characters are great, others are as bland as cardboard. Episode 3 was dubbed particularly poorly, and was (not only for this reason) my least favorite in the series.

The absolute best thing about this anime is the story. The story is one gigantic puzzle, with the pieces very much mixed together. There is no main character to follow, there is no chronological order, and many scenes have some hidden meaning that adds to the story or side stories. This is possibly the most ambitious and confusing story I've seen so far in anime, and it is only 12 episodes long. It is filled with dark themes of death, depression, anger, jealousy, regret, etc. Although the whole anime seems rather awkward in terms of character interaction and horror parts, it still works for me because of the extremely detailed story and many themes. And although it may be difficult to understand, it's certainly not because of random mindfucks that one might call (oh boy, one of the most overused words on the internet) pretentious. After watching and re-watching and paying close attention, the story is pieced together. Most of what you see is important, as mentioned earlier, to the main story or the side stories that make up the main story, so it's certainly not meandering around and throwing out said pretentious introspections. There are a few quotes from other media, such as Heart of Darkness and Gravity's Rainbow, but they are not overwhelming and don't take away from the anime's individuality. Actually, this anime somewhat reminds me of Heart of Darkness. I don't really equate it to such a literary masterpiece as Conrad's work, but Heart of Darkness is described as being less of a reading experience and more of walking into a nightmare, and that is kind of the same feeling that I got from this anime. The complete dvd collection of BP, which I'm very happy to own, is made up of 4 discs. I mention this because disc 2 is my absolute favorite, and I just found that strange that that particular disc had all 3 of my favorite episodes on it. First to mention here is episode 4 (My Fair Lady), which I find more sickening than any of the poor attempts at gory scares used in many horror anime (including this one, sometimes). Of course I won't spoil it, but it really makes me shake my head at humanity every time I rewatch it. Humanity including myself, that is, because I could see myself in the main character of the episode,Yoji, if I took things way, way too far with virtual life and became an even more screwed up individual and I really hated seeing that. Episode 5 (Interlude) is possibly the most important episode regarding plot development, as well as the most scattered and difficult episode to grasp. The ending to that episode is also unforgettable, and has left me still remembering the name of that poor policeman. And last on the disc is episode 6 (Mother's Day). This episode is possibly the saddest (although episode 11 could give it a run for its money), and although BP is still far too awkward to make me feel strong emotions, this episode did resonate with me.

Because, as mentioned earlier, there is no main character, the majority of the characters are only part of the current side story, and are not developed very well. Overall, this is probably the worst part of the anime, and many of the characters are quite forgettable. And oddly enough, this seems to actually fit into the anime's message about the dark side of humanity. Most of the people I meet are certainly forgettable, and that is what this anime reminds me of. I did like the characters with reccurring appearances though, such as Toka Miyashita, Nagi Kirima, and, of course, Boogiepop.

All in all, this has become one of my absolute favorite animes. I'm up to 6 watches and counting, with no shock value or cliffhangers to keep me going - just an incredibly interesting story that tries its hardest. I would highly recommend this underrated gem: some may hate it even if they like series of a similar nature, but if you do enjoy it I really think it is worth your time.

10/10 story
9/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
9/10 overall
chaoserver's avatar
Apr 6, 2010

I will only give boogiepop phantom an overall rating, as it is not the kind of anime that would benefit from an in depth analysis of every aspect. It is also the worst anime I have had the displeasure of viewing(Update: No longer the worst!). I won't lie and say it doesn't have it's interesting aspects, but it is an overall unrewarding experience.

Boogiepop phantom begins with a mysterious beam of light, which takes place a month before the series begins to be fleshed out, and 5 years after some serial killings. I'll say now that this whole beam of light, nor the following events are really satisfactorily explained. Each episode is a different characters perspective, which leads to some events we see early on being revisited from a different point of view. While this can and should have been an effective means to tell a story, it doesn't apply when the substance of said story is literally the most nonsensical/meaningless pieces of scattered "emo" and forcefully morbid concepts an avid anime viewer has ever seen.

That's not to say the anime was completely boring at all times, a few abilities characters obtain are curious, though not used in beleiveable ways, and changes their character swiftly in an unbelieveable way.

I should also mention the animation style, which actually does capture the mood perfectly. To be honest, never before has animation affected me in such a way. Watching boogiepop, can only be compared to having a musty paper bag placed over your head for eleven episode, only to have it finally taken off for the final one. Boogiepop is 11 episodes of oppresive suffocation, and I am not exagerating. Again this style could have been good but when you are being suffocated and shown things which serve no purpose it only makes the experience worse at the end.

Outwardly bad however, are the characters. The characters all look identical, at this point I even feel the females looked like the boys and vice versa, though that could just be from the fact I lost all perception while watching this. Enforcing this is the fact many characters are named similarly. I think I was able to put names to faces at some point, but this anime has some of the least memorable characters, to the point I cannot name a single one other than the anime's namesake. Beyond those elements, the characters are forgettable as well. The anime is rather transparant and pretty evidently shows that change is a large theme. With that being the case it is odd that the characters have such weak development.

By the end of the 11 episode nightmare, I don't see who could say it was worth it, as the bag is taken off their head and the 12th episode rolls. You will leave with many more questions than you came in with, not feel revolutionized by any of the themes, and really just feel worse about anime as a whole. Many might argue I did not appreciate the dark oppressive feel and themes. I would laugh in the face of anyone who implied that and direct them to my other reviews. I have watched Texhnolyze which is both more oppressive(although it never put a bag over my head) and actually dark/depressing which Boogiepop wishes it was. Furthermore Texhnolyze actually does something with both it's oppressiveness and dark themes and despite being confusing too, actually makes sense. Berserk also sports dark themes, and uses them to incredibly establish and enforce characters. Monster a 74 episode long dark drama was so nicely woven I still remember characters like *&%@ing Adolph Junkers in that random episode he was in near the beginning. I'm not saying that Boogiepop should be judged based on other animes, simply that when you look at how poorly it holds up to other anime which try less to be forcefully dark, and end up better/darker than it, it's lack of quality really shows. It may not be the antichrist of anime series, but it sure is an ugly stain upon it.

 

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
3.5/10 overall