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561

Boogiepop Phantom and Lain
Topic by: ahogue
Posted: September 16, 2005 - 12:02 PM PDT
Last Reply: October 1, 2005 - 1:34 PM PDT

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author topic: Boogiepop Phantom and Lain
ahogue
post #1  on September 16, 2005 - 12:02 PM PDT  
Alright, there's a meme that's been floating around for a long time that seems completely nonsensical to me: I keep hearing that Boogiepop Phantom is similar to Lain.

Where does this come from? I have seen both of them and never would have thought to compare them at all. Is this just another case of people comparing something unusual to the last unusual thing they remember watching? Or am I, fairly unfamiliar with the genre as I am, missing some similarity because I don't know the context?
jross3
post #2  on September 16, 2005 - 12:40 PM PDT  
> On September 16, 2005 - 12:02 PM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Is this just another case of people comparing something unusual to the last unusual thing they remember watching?

This seems like the case to me. They are both deep and thinky, but really sooo far apart that that doesn't really count for much in comparison.
On the other hand, compared to the majority of anime, they are relatively more similar to eachother than they are to most other animes :-)
Shaky
post #3  on September 16, 2005 - 2:22 PM PDT  
> On September 16, 2005 - 12:02 PM PDT ahogue wrote:
> Is this just another case of people comparing something unusual to the last unusual thing they remember watching? > ---------------------------------

Yes! And no...

I use the comparison occasionally with people not well-versed in anime as a sort of reference point. I also use David Lynch. Americans generally like their stories to be fairly straight forward, but David Lynch frightens and confuses the majority of the viewers who watch his movies. Speilberg, on the other hand, gives them exactly what they want to see in a convenient, easy open package.

So, suppose somebody says to me, "I hate David Lynch because his movies don't make any sense, but I loves me a good Speilberg movie. What anime should I watch?" I know not to even bother recommending Lain or Boogiepop Phantom (at least at first), because it's doubtful that somebody who doesn't like a movie because it doesn't readily make sense is going to like an anime, like Lain, that requires some effort. Lain was the first experience many folks had with an anime with such an unusual storytelling structure, so it naturally became the next logical reference point:

Noob: "I saw Lain and liked it. What else could I see that's like that?"

Me: "Well, nothing is really like that; but if you're looking for something just as unique and challenging, you might try Boogiepop Phantom. It's not really similar to Lain and has a totally different feel, but it is challenging in similar ways. By the way, how do you feel about David Lynch?"

In fact, I used all of these as references in my review of Paranoia Agent. Despite being so different from Lain, Boogiepop or Lost Highway, the fact that Paranoia Agent doesn't follow conventional storytelling methods gets it lumped in with them as well. Without those comparisons, it becomes difficult to describe to someone who hasn't already seen it, because it has no other easy reference points.

As more of these challenging shows make their way into the market, it'll be easier to avoid grouping them together. Until then, it's sort of a case of "some of these things are not like the others."
woozy
post #4  on September 16, 2005 - 3:15 PM PDT  
ahogue, in light of Shaky's broad grouping of intellectually challenging and not straight forward: lain, Boogiepop Phantom, Lost Highway and straight forward story: In Yasha (?), Jurassic Park, I'd be interested in *your* thoughts of Lain (which I haven't seen).

Part of the problem of defining and pinpointing and recommending i.c.a.n.s.f stories is that all straightforward linear strory telling is the same bu icansf stories are all different. The magical realism of Isabella Iyande and of Garcia Marques are very different from each other (but much like each other than they are to mainstream) and the surrealism of David Lynch and of Peter Greenaway are almost entirely different (but again more like each other than either are to Spielberg).
pooja
post #5  on September 16, 2005 - 5:14 PM PDT  
> On September 16, 2005 - 3:15 PM PDT woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> the same bu icansf

Oh, I think I detect a discussion of Boobie pop Phantom coming up, right woozy?
;-p
woozy
post #6  on September 16, 2005 - 6:14 PM PDT  
> On September 16, 2005 - 5:14 PM PDT pooja wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On September 16, 2005 - 3:15 PM PDT woozy wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > the same bu icansf
>
> Oh, I think I detect a discussion of Boobie pop Phantom coming up, right woozy?
> ;-p
> ---------------------------------

As much as I'd enjoy a show of boobies popping out of phantom garments, I had no such intention of diverting the discussion such.

Boogiepop Phantom was an interesting non-linear story. It actually did have a straight-forward story (although you had to decipher it and back-track a lot of threads). It took place in a surreal world and emotional and philosophical flawed manifestations. I liked it because it was thought provoking and, to me, explored issues of personal coping methods and dangerous self-delusions, as well as real dangers.

I am curious what Lain is about.

I'm actually not *that* obsessed with boobs. Its just that I like them so much (what guy doesn't?) that whenever I find someone wanting to talk about them, I figure I ought to take full advantage of it for who knows when I'll get a chance to talk about them again. Anyway, ahogue, is an intelligensia and would never stoop to nor tolerate such a hijacking.

Shaky
post #7  on September 17, 2005 - 8:17 AM PDT  
> On September 16, 2005 - 6:14 PM PDT woozy wrote:
> I am curious what Lain is about.
> ---------------------------------

The problem with telling what Lain is about is that doing so almost always involves spoilers. You don't really know what it's about until the last episode, and not knowing what it's really about is part of the experience because you, as the viewer, are just as lost as Lain herself. I think it's more effective in this case not to know, because it's easier to identify with Lain if you're sharing her struggle than if you already know what's going to happen and are simply observing her reach a conclusion.

But if you really want to know, without going through the series itself, on one level Lain is a linked series of "what if" thought games (serial thought experiments) on how to use computers and the Internet to make a god, and what kind of problems a new god would encounter as she discovers her own power and role among mankind. On another level it is about the struggle between human society and the individual, the overwhelming human desire to be connected to other humans while also maintaining a distinct sense of self and separation. There's a big "what if" explored in the new god's ability to connect everyone together using technology (in this case the Internet). In that respect it's really similar thematically to Evangelion's "Human Instrumentality Project," and the show becomes more like the last several episodes of Evangelion than Boogiepop Phantom.

It requires a good deal of suspension of disbelief, especially with some of the "what if" becoming more fanciful as technology progresses in a different direction from where the writers imagined. Some of the science jargon is based on real theory, while much of it is made up to create a different basis of reality for the show. Even so, the exploration of the questions is fascinating and leaves a thinking viewer with numerous jumping off points for his own "what if" thought experiments.


Were you able to resist looking?
woozy
post #8  on September 17, 2005 - 11:17 AM PDT  
> On September 17, 2005 - 8:17 AM PDT Shaky wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On September 16, 2005 - 6:14 PM PDT woozy wrote:
> > I am curious what Lain is about.
> > ---------------------------------
>
> The problem with telling what Lain is about is that doing so almost always involves spoilers.

Okay, then let me ask what is Lain *like*.

I realize this might be a difficult question as impressions are harder to pinpoint than plot points and ideas. But what themes does lain explore, what mood does it invoke, what is the impression of the sense of intrigue, etc.?

Feh, you don't actually have to answer if the questions and answer are too vague or difficult without spoilers which I *don't* want.

> Were you able to resist looking?
> ---------------------------------


With great difficulty, yes.
pooja
post #9  on September 17, 2005 - 12:08 PM PDT  
Maybe you should just rent the first disc of Lani and see if you like it? My housemate was playing a really cool song which was in English and she told me it was the theme song for that show. I don't know anything about the show except what shakey wrote (I peeked) but I really liked the song.
woozy
post #10  on September 17, 2005 - 12:30 PM PDT  
> On September 17, 2005 - 12:08 PM PDT pooja wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Maybe you should just rent the first disc of Lani and see if you like it? My housemate was playing a really cool song which was in English and she told me it was the theme song for that show. I don't know anything about the show except what shakey wrote (I peeked) but I really liked the song.
> ---------------------------------


Well, it is on my list but pretty low down. Have a *lot* of other genres in between.

I'm enjoying the good anime titles now and then but as has been noticed I'm not a fan(atic) and I can't really take animarithoning without ... shutting down. No, offense to fans who *do* live for anime.
woozy
post #11  on September 17, 2005 - 12:35 PM PDT  
Oh, and my problem with renting a first disk to see if I like it, is that I'm so obsessive compulsive that if I do that, unless the show is truly truly terrible (Andromeda, and Mouse) if I take the trouble to watch the first disc of anything I'm almost certainly compelled to watch all. I avoided watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for ages just because it was a *lot* of time commitment. It took great effort to decide Andromeda and Smallville weren't worth my time.
Chamelion
post #12  on September 17, 2005 - 12:36 PM PDT  
I tried to watch Lain, I got thru the first three or so eps, and I guess Im more of a linear storyline kind of person, cause I was confused.

But that was a while ago, I may try it again now that I've had alot more anime watching experience and have grown to appreciate and love Japanese Live Cinema and it's penchant for NOT explaining everything away.. leaving the audience to do some of the guess work.. which I love alot.

So, Lain will probally go back on my queue, just so I can be sure what I saw.. is what I saw :)

C
ahogue
post #13  on September 17, 2005 - 1:44 PM PDT  
Shaky, you make a good case for comparing the two with qualifications and under certain circumstances. Still, what bothers me is that I see them compared a lot without qualification as if the two shows had specific, important similarities, and I don't think they really do.

I own Boogiepop and rewatch it occassionally. The only thing I've found that's similar between the two is the frequent cutaways to traffic lights and crosswalk signs (and also fairly frequent images of power lines, I suppose). I cannot think of an earlier anime I've seen which uses this motif, and I wonder whether this was Lain's innovation (if that's the right word for it). On the other hand, I seem to remember this showing up in NGE as well.

Of course this motif is used for very different reasons in the two shows, and Boogiepop's use of it is entirely justified in its own right, regardless of where it originated.

Woozy, Lain is a beautiful puzzle with very big metaphysical themes. In my opinion (and I've only watched it once), the series is not entirely successful in exploring these themes without internal contradiction and some unnecessary vagueness. Boogiepop explores large themes, but they are more existential and IMO handled in a more sophisticated and satisfying way. And in part because of these different concerns (metaphysical/existential), Boogiepop packs a far greater emotional whallop whereas Lain remains a beautiful enigma, and rather abstract. People accuse Boogiepop of vagueary but if that charge suits either I think it's more Lain, and then only to a point. All told Lain is still a very good show, though, and well worth seeing.

ahogue
post #14  on September 17, 2005 - 1:52 PM PDT  
> On September 16, 2005 - 6:14 PM PDT woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
Anyway, ahogue, is an intelligensia and would never stoop to nor tolerate such a hijacking.

> ---------------------------------

I like to think that I respect the wishes of a thread's originator and, considering where we are, think that embarking on extended personal conversations unlikely to be of much interest to other people (who after all, probably are here to talk about film, anime, etc.) is a little rude, no matter how innocuous it may seem.

I like boobies as much as the next man, but there are far more places online to discuss boobies than there are places where intelligent conversation about film and (especially!) anime can be found. Of course, some of them charge for their services (I am told), but still.
pooja
post #15  on September 17, 2005 - 2:05 PM PDT  
I think as film imagery, closeup shots of traffic signals (in fog and/or darkness) and electrical lines/terminals/outlets enshrouded in a vaguely foreboding or menacing mood is something David Lynch popularlized, if not invented? I seem to recall shots like that from Twin Peaks and Eraserhead and stuff like that... I watched a whole bunch of Lynch films during a short period of time with a friend once. (Well mainly we were bulimically renting anything with Kyle MacLachlan in it, after seeing him on Sex in the City... we thought he might be in Eraserhead, too, but he wasn't so we got The Hidden instead, but that's another story...)

My guess is that Lynch was influenced by surreal artists like Magritte whose work sometimes imbued everyday objects with some air of mystery or terror. Was that Magritte or someone else? One of those surrealists...

I remember after seeing Twin Peaks, waiting at a red light late at night when your car was the only one at the intersection felt a bit more... morbid...
woozy
post #16  on September 17, 2005 - 2:47 PM PDT  
> Woozy, Lain is a beautiful puzzle with very big metaphysical themes. ... Boogiepop explores large themes, but they are more existential and IMO handled in a more sophisticated and satisfying way.

This is a good comparison. Are you saying Lain is more "personal" in issue? Less angst ridden?

Without spoilers is it possible to describe what Lain is "about"? I realize, through what Shaky wrote, that what it's "about" is impossible to realize without spoilers, and a *really* good puzzle will be utterly impossible to describe. But... apocalypse now is "about" the vietnamese war. Myst is about a master of the art of creating worlds and you explore his worlds (which have detail and beauty) and solve what tragedy occured while exploring these detailed and beautiful worlds. And Boogiepop Phantom is about a world were one night a mysterious light appears and changes many of the people in profound ways that reflect existential issues these individuals face, while there are hints of rumors a BoogiePop and a BoogiePop Phantom and a research facility experimenting on human potential but whether BoogiePop is a savior against the facility, or a soul stealing horror is unclear while the story is told in overlapping episodes each from a different persons point of view and told interesectingly and subjectively through memory rather than temporally.

Is it at all possible to say would Lain is "about" vaguely. (Or should I actually look at the catalog description :-) ?)

> I like to think that I respect the wishes of a thread's originator and, considering where we are, think that embarking on extended personal conversations unlikely to be of much interest to other people (who after all, probably are here to talk about film, anime, etc.) is a little rude, no matter how innocuous it may seem.
>

You're probably right. And I apologize for being a frequent offender and for future offenses as I still will. I don't think its as *serious* as you make it appear and I don't mind tangents if they pop up naturally and might be of interest. Also, I think the offense occur mostly on Off-topic and "chatty" and not-very serious threads or after the main topic of threads had died down.

> I like boobies as much as the next man, but there are far more places online to discuss boobies than there are places where intelligent conversation about film and (especially!) anime can be found. Of course, some of them charge for their services (I am told), but still.
> ---------------------------------

I was mostly joking. I wouldn't have turned this into jokes about boobies quite yet as its very early on and the discussion about "Boogiepop" compared to "Lain" has hardly been started.

I was tempted to respond to pooja's light-hearted and harmless joke about "Boobie Pop Phantom" with "Laid" but without having anything to add to the "serious" conversation, it seemed a bit too early and too likely to go out of control. So I made my response on a new thread.
Chamelion
post #17  on September 17, 2005 - 3:30 PM PDT  

> I own Boogiepop and rewatch it occassionally. The only thing I've found that's similar between the two is the frequent cutaways to traffic lights and crosswalk signs (and also fairly frequent images of power lines, I suppose). I cannot think of an earlier anime I've seen which uses this motif,


I can't remember, but I think His and Her Circumstances does the same cut away, sometimes for too long. Didn';t Evangelion have a few of those as well?

Seriously, I can't remember, but I do recognize the situation, and i've never seen Boogiepop

C
Chamelion
post #18  on September 17, 2005 - 3:32 PM PDT  

>
> I remember after seeing Twin Peaks, waiting at a red light late at night when your car was the only one at the intersection felt a bit more... morbid...
> ---------------------------------

I never watched TP, but sitting in the middle of the night at a red light, all alone, did make me question WHY I was sitting there waiting.

Sure, it's the LAW, but in this case; what does it matter? No one's around.. Im sitting there, car running, for a little light to tell me it's okay to move on.

Sheesh

C
Shaky
post #19  on September 17, 2005 - 6:14 PM PDT  
> On September 17, 2005 - 2:47 PM PDT woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Without spoilers is it possible to describe what Lain is "about"?
> ---------------------------------

Okay, it's about a teenage girl and her Navi, a kind of computer for surfing the Internet. She's a sort of loner, but she does have a few friends. There are strange guys with laser eyes who are watching her. She learns to use the Internet, and the guys watch her some more. Her friends keep telling her they have seen her ripping it up in a dance club, but that appears to be the "other" Lain, not her. She gets visited by aliens and meets the Cheshire cat. The inventor of the Internet (not Al Gore) harasses her.

I'm guessing that sounds like incoherent babble. In fact, it pretty much is. But there are certain things that eventually begin to hold all this together so that it makes sense on some level, and those are the things best not spoiled. There are plenty of WTF moments throughout that don't make any sense at all until close to the end.

I'll use David Lynch as an example again. If you haven't seen Twin Peaks and don't want a spoiler, you might want to stop here. Twin Peaks made very little sense on the surface throughout most of the show. But in the Twin Peaks movie, you find out that Laura Palmer's father had raped her, and that the mental trauma was so severe that she had gone into denial and had made up an entire other reality, with the one armed man, to explain her pain. She wrote all this in her diary, which became the major driving force behind the television show as it became the FBI agent's primary lead on what had happened to her. From the beginning, we're learning about this town from the diary, through a seriously altered state of mind, and we're constantly saying "WTF?" Yet, if you knew the key to the puzzle from the beginning, which is really a big part of what the story is about, the show wouldn't have been nearly as interesting.

That's what happens with Lain. What we tell you about it won't make much sense; but if we tell you what it's really about, you'll know prematurely how to make sense of it, and there won't be much reason left to watch it.
woozy
post #20  on September 18, 2005 - 11:33 AM PDT  
> Okay, it's about a teenage girl and her Navi, a kind of computer for surfing the Internet. She's a sort of loner, but she does have a few friends. There are strange guys with laser eyes who are watching her. She learns to use the Internet, and the guys watch her some more. Her friends keep telling her they have seen her ripping it up in a dance club, but that appears to be the "other" Lain, not her. She gets visited by aliens and meets the Cheshire cat. The inventor of the Internet (not Al Gore) harasses her.
>
> I'm guessing that sounds like incoherent babble.

No, I'm expecting inchorent weird stuff like the Netflix description of Boogiepop:

"Five years ago, a city was forever altered by a series of grisly murders. The Boogiepop Phantom inhabits this world, haunting the lives of Japanese schoolchildren who understand that good and evil forces hide just underneath the darkness, invisible to others. Each episode of this atmospheric and challenging anime series focuses on a completely new character as they summon the unknown forces, bringing about inevitable and irrevocable change. "

It's accurate albeit it WTF. Knowing that it is cereberal and "a puzzle" makes me not want to know much. This description doesn't mention the mysterious light in the sky that changes everything giving some children powers and others madness, which it should have. Now in reading the description I want to know "What the hell *is* the light?" but I don't actually want it explained as that is one of the spoilers.

So that description of "Lain" is a perfectly good one. Thanks
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