Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Review: Boogiepop Phantom

MORE recent anime I've watched:

Boogiepop Phantom. Okay, I give up. What was that all about?

I've watched Boogiepop to its conclusion, and I'm still confused. It's said to be based on a series of young-adult novels. I suspect that a lot of expository stuff in the novels was left out of the anime. Major stuff. Like what that column of light from the sky actually was. What was the nurse, what was she doing, and whom/what was she working for. Who the Boogiepop was, and why she was. Yes, I know, a lot of stuff in other anime is never really explained (like who or what Anthy and Akio are, for example, or why demons play basketball in Tenshi ni Narumon!, or why the Angel in 'Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win' did nothing for days on end, so that Shinji, Asuka and Rei could play Twister and work out their interpersonal problems.

Angel: [glances at its watch] You guys ready yet?
Shinji: Noooo! We're still deconstructing the workplace group dynamics of the post-war Japanese corporation as reflected in previous giant 'bot shows! And I'm trying to look down Asuka's halter-top thingy!
Angel: Well, speed it up, 'cause we're past the commercial break and halfway to the closing credits, okay?

Where was I? Oh, yes, Boogiepop. Major stuff is unexplained, and other stuff that is explained just doesn't seem to fit right. I dunno. I think I'm in good company, at least. The guy who runs this Boogiepop Shrine says he's watched it nine times and doesn't understand it either. He gave up completely on even doing an episode summary, and settled for doing a timeline, because the typical episode jumps back and forth in time across several years. I still think an episode summary would be good. And a character database. I had serious trouble trying to keep the characters straight. I am beginning to understand the need in anime for colors of hair not found in nature. And character designs that don't resemble each other so strongly, especially when you've got an ensemble cast of dozens of school kids, all about the same age.

What does it all mean? I'm still sorting that out. One of the major themes seems be the same as in Utena: do not be tyrannized by memory, be able to let go of the past.

Where this show really shines is in atmosphere. It's dark, it's sinister, it's creepy, it's beautifully conceived, drawn and filmed. I wonder if it isn't more atmosphere than substance... but I should probably watch it a few more times and take notes.

I know this sounds like a negative review, but it isn't. This show is worth watching for the atmosphere and voice-acting alone, regardless of whether it succeeds in anything deeper.


meaning: hall, temple
食堂 == shokudou == dining room; restaurant
本堂 == hondou == main hall of a temple
Top radical is 'furthermore', which originally had a meaning of 'tall building'; bottom radical is 'ground', originally indicating 'mound'. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Furthermore, hall is on raised ground'.


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