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Boogiepop Phantom Vol. 1 back to product details

Creates an atmosphere you can't forget
written by ahogue July 12, 2005 - 4:42 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Boogiepop Phantom is the most interesting anime series I have ever seen. Through dark, beautiful artwork, an excellent soundtrack which counterpoints the action with unusual precision, and a symbolically rich and mythically resonant sense of the supernatural, this series creates an atmosphere at once dreadful, paranoiac and oddly enticing. I was mesmerized by it from almost the first minute of the series.

Atmosphere does not really seem like the right word to describe the effect Boogiepop Phantom can have on you. The comparison to urban legends on one level is very true. The series is extremely successful at evoking that diffuse, paranoid fear of a perverse world upon which urban legends feed.

At the same time it employs some very unusual formal devices to great effect; it is extremely masterful visually.

There are many characters, and series like these do tend to have thin characters which the viewer doesn't wind up caring about. In spite of what another reviewer said about the series, though, I would argue that most people who give it a shot will find the characters oddly engrossing. Even though the series does not consistently follow any one character, there is a symbolic resonance to their predicaments and their personalities. This, mixed with a penetrating understanding of what I can only tritely call "the human condition", makes the sub-plots interesting, sometimes unexpectedly touching.

Everything is ambiguous in this series, especially morally. But unlike many other anime series with philosophical themes, Boogiepop never takes the ambiguity too far, to the point where the sense of mystery breaks down and the show starts to look like a perverse puzzle. It does tell its story in a very disjointed way, but it gives you just enough to entice you, to make you want to know more. To appreciate this series you have to be willing to appreciate ambiguity.

There is arguably one major flaw, however: the final two episodes are disappointing. I can't explain the sudden downturn in the series; it's as if they came under pressure to wrap it up and someone got fired. Nevertheless, the rest of the series is so good that its abrupt, non sequitur ending deserves to be forgiven. And even this is not so much a blemish as a failure to live up to the fantastically high standard the rest of the series sets for itself. In fact, if I'm completely honest with myself, there IS something mysteriously appropriate about the rather bland ending, but I frankly admit that I'm not sure what this is. This is a very symbolically rich series, and by symbolic I don't mean it's a cypher to puzzle over, but rather that it means something to your guts without your mind being quite sure what's going on.

I wanted to add another glowing review because I feel strongly that this series deserves to be seen by the widest possible audience.

written by Cosplayer February 9, 2004 - 12:45 PM PST
0 out of 13 members found this review helpful
Don't get me wrong, this has potential, but it kinda sucks. I know a lot of people like it, and maybe it's over my head, but as far as I could tell, there was just a bunch of people gettin felt up and murdered, and maybe some sex too.

It would've been really good, but I didn't feel bad for the dudes. wow, another one got killed off.

Maybe it's just me. I'm not in a compassionate mood right now...I dunno

A complex psychological mystery reminiscent of Lynch's Twin Peaks on one hand. Then, there is more..
written by markhl June 15, 2003 - 9:47 AM PDT
11 out of 11 members found this review helpful
First, a more correct synopsis than provided by GC. Boogiepop is a mysterious, dark figure/urban legend that is believed to be the "Angel of Death." Some high school kids have been disappearing recently and many questions arise. Does Boogiepop exist and is she responsible for the disappearing kids? Are these kids somehow special? And is this all related to a mysterious light from the sky that appeared in the night one month ago, or to the serial killings from five years ago that suddenly stopped without explanation?

This series is very difficult to compare to other anime because it is wonderfully unique and transcends many of the conventions of the genre. Rather than forcibly comparing to other anime series such as Serial Experiments Lain, it's much more appropriate to compare Boogiepop Phantom, in content and style, to the confusing psychological mystery of David Lynch's Twin Peaks or to some of the paranormal aspects of the X-files. In terms of horror, I can only compare it to some of the psychologically creepy "feel" of the japanese films, Dark Water or Ringu. Add to this an incredibly non-linear presentation of the plot in time and character-perspective and the result is a complex puzzle that may have you rewatching for clues. From the hazy/skewed, vignette-style presentation and eclectic soundtrack to the seemingly similar character appearances, the series is so tightly constructed that nothing appear carelessly placed nor without purpose. But, there is more...

Boogiepop Phantom can be enjoyed at a couple of different levels. At first glance, it is indeed a psychological horror mystery with disturbing character/imagery and with a "feel" to the series that will keep you watching. On another level, the series can be seen as an essay of sorts regarding the central themes of memories.. relationships.. and change. The series may appear episodic, with each episode being excellent in its own right, or appear adeptly connected depending on how well you "connect" with the series. A second viewing may be necessary to see the bigger picture however, or to see how well-carved each puzzle piece is. I cannot string together enough superlatives to accurate describe how highly I regard this anime so I'll just leave this review with a borrowed prophetic saying from Boogiepop Phantom which sets the tone appropriately:

"The past will often attack the present with the pain of your memories..." - Seiichi Kirima

Disturbing and mesmerizing depictions of psychosis
written by hneline1 November 22, 2002 - 11:15 PM PST
9 out of 11 members found this review helpful
It's hard to pin down Boogiepop Phantom in these first three episodes. On the one hand, it looks like a psychological horror serial, with each episode focusing on a different socially maladjusted teen descending into pathological madness. The pathologies are well depicted and chilling - an awkward girl who compulsively washes her hands and her social friend who compulsively cheats on her boyfriends; a boy who gropes girls' chests when he removes from them what he sees as giant bugs around their hearts; a sunny girl who takes on a murdered friend's persona and talks to her ghost. These kids are seriously disturbed. If you like watching sociopathic behavior, you don't have to go any further.

On the other hand, this is also a supernatural horror mystery, with these teens encountering a strange being called the Boogiepop Phantom who seems to be chasing another murderous being in the form of a missing boy. Their encounters are dark and bloody as they use the weak-willed humans as pawns in a deadly game of cat and mouse. So far, we have no idea what they are.

In other words, this is a strange series -- very dark, very chilling, fairly gross, disturbingly fascinating. This series has the most disturbing depictions of psychosis that I have seen in any anime, better than Perfect Blue. It is NOT like Serial Experiments Lain... the mood is totally different (Boogiepop is a horror/mystery, Lain is a cyberpunk/mystery) and the approach to storytelling is different (Boogiepop follows many protagonists with a thin thread linking them, Lain follows one protagonist's perspective throughout the entire series). What they have in common is that both create puzzles (episodes may have to be rewatched to recall scenes that have significance later in the series) and both are unique in their own theme and approach (Lain is the quintessential internalized cyberpunk philosophy tale, Boogiepop is... well... a horror flick that grosses you out psychologically, not necessarily through external violent action, though there is enough of that too).

Yes, I am going to continue watching it, squirming in my seat but eyes glued to the TV in voyeuristic fascination. One word of advice, though -- as a friend says, this is not a series to watch while eating anything. Hold onto your stomach... and your morals.


(Average 6.67)
212 Votes
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