The numbers on the calendar all have different meanings now.
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 01/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the second DVD in the Boogiepop Phantom series, an essay in creative anime that rivals Serial Experiment Lain in its non-traditional approach and noir-like story. If anything, Boogiepop Phantom is the more disquieting of the two, despite having a cleaner resolution. Part of the reason for this is that in Lain it is the central character who spins down, while in Boogiepop there are multiple story arcs, all of which deal with the progressive destruction of character and relationships. By the end of this DVD you may find yourself wondering if anyone will survive in something resembling a normal life.
Boogiepop (for which you can read phantom) is a feminine character who haunts the night and for reasons that are still not completely clear is selective killing people with odd talents. Whether this is for revenge or out of some high motive has yet to completely develop, but the two killings we are part of on this DVD are of characters that for all intents and purposes are genuinely evil.
The first episode tells the story of Yoji Suganama, a withdrawn boy under considerable pressure to excel, going to school and working as a night cook at the same time. Yoji is the classic relationship loser, unable to be direct with women, satisfying his needs via a computerized 'girlfriend.' When Rie Sato, a pretty teenager, gets a job at the restaurant, Yoji's interest is aroused and he seeks courage with an addictive drug referred to as Type-S. The drug my give Yoji courage to hit on Rie, but the price is a steady erosion of his personality.
The next episode is classic Boogiepop Phantom - a conversation between two police officers, which starts out as idle chitchat about a secret organization whose purpose is to prevent change, is repeated several times with different twists and developments until it becomes nightmarish. In between we are introduced to various characters who lives center on the serial killer who had disappeared. We wind up with two paranoid story arcs, and are never sure whether they are the same one or not.
The last episode is the most difficult. Is is the complicated story of Shizue Wakasa, who became one of the killers victims. It is told through the memories of her mother as she reads some old diaries. A single parent who had to work to create the best opportunities for Shizue, she turns her back on the memories of her dead husband, and alienates Shizue in the process. In retrospect she feels an intense burden of guilt. The other story of the episode is told through Shizue's eyes, fleshing out the story of Mayumi Miyashita, the mother of Manaka, who is the strange butterfly girl that seems to be able to pluck memories out of thin air.
I found episode six a bit tedious, but the other two are genuinely chilling on their own, even if they weren't part of the larger, darker tale. Six, however, is mostly background story and lacks the active component that drives the preceding episodes. While we are getting more glimpses of what the over all story is, there still isn't a real sense of continuity. Fortunately, US audiences have the advantage of a commentary track provided by Jeff Thompson, Crispin Freeman, and Rachel Lillie. At the risk of spoiling the mystery, the commentary does a great deal to alleviate the confusion caused by the multitrack way the story unfolds, and manage to keep the viewer feeling like there really is a story underneath all the weirdness. Keep in mind though that, like Lain, this was never intended to be a traditional action anime story, but an increasing complex weaving of themes where very little is wasted. Its takes close attention to pick up the varied threads, and some imagination to begin to fit them together."
Can't figure it out just wait!
Killa Q | Republic, Mo USA | 05/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This second disc to the BPP series brings thing around full circle. The animation is great and the story line thickens. A must buy series for anifanatics!"
What Lurks in the Skins of Men
TastyBabySyndrome | "Daddy Dagon's Daycare" - Proud Sponsor of the Lit | 03/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BoogiePop Phantom was something I felt a bit unsure about at first, placing much of my judgment in the namesake and nothing more. Still, after viewing the first disk, I found myself intrigued by the darkness involved in the series and how every face seemed to be important in some regard as the worlds of rumor and disappearance began to merge together as one. Viewing the first BoogiePop Phantom disk left many questions within my mind, however, including the exact nature of people shown in the backgrounds and seemed a bit inconsequential, not to mention the serial killer that was prowling the streets in search of prey. Still, you could see a noose tightening around the lives of the people that were on display, closing in more and more on something akin to a purpose to the "angel of death" and the reasons she had made High School kids her victims of choice. Well, this continues onward now. Within this installation there are a few notable that are introduced, including a certain madman seen screaming on the streets while two girls walked past him, the little girl that created the strange butterflies from the second, a major player in the events that have been transpiring throughout the last few pieces, as well as a drove of other ideas that are set into motion as the bodies continue to amass and nobody seems to understand why. They simply blame the beast they call the BoggiePop Phantom, the proverbial "angel of Death," and try to go on with their fixations and their lives. Luckily some of the explanation is given as to why things are happening in the way that they begun taking place, plus there are a few more people alluding to the fact that the strange light in the sky might have had something to do with it. While not as strange as the first installation, it is something that is notable because of its ability to develop the notions involved into a streamlined idealism and because the effects it gives the viewer through sound and visual oddities presses it forward in such a commendable way. In many ways it reminds me of some of the other notable pieces of surrealistic horror anime and yet it pushes down its own path as well, giving it a feeling all its own. Granted, you have to like things that moved at an almost planned pace and that look into what the characters see with depths that leave few stones unturned, and you have to like the fact that all the individuals paint a picture as a whole. Still, if you are accepting of these portions and want something that keeps the eyes pressed and wondering what will happen next, then this is a worthy recommendation."
TRANSFER ME TO PROF. X'S SCHOOL
Sesho | Pasadena, TX USA | 01/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Boogiepop Phantom has to be one of the most complicated, intricate, and densely written animes I have ever seen. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Each episode builds on the previous one and slips back in time at will, with the apperance of other characters from past and present episodes, that at the time, didn't make much of an impact. It's only later that the payoff happens, and you're like "Oh, now I get it!"
In these episodes we meet Yoji, a lonely computer geek who spends his nights playing a dating sim. Then a new girl is hired at the restaurant where he works, and he begins to transfer all his fantasies into the real world, aided and abetted by a new street drug, which just happens to be hawked by a dead man. In episode 5, we get some explanation of what is going on in this series, telling of world conspiracies and "special" humans who have strange powers. The last episode, "Mother's Day", kinda breaks the mold of the series because it's actually uplifting in the end as a mother reads the diaries of her dead daughter, seeking forgiveness and understanding from a girl long gone.
This anime makes Kurosawa's Rashamon seem like the Teletubbies.
You just have so many threads of story going here, that I will take multiple viewings to catch everything. Very ambitious. The English track is boring and lifeless. The Japanese is great. Very unique look and sound. Some promos and commentary by the English director and actors. Highly recommended."