Title: Boogiepop Phantom
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Thriller
Summary: A light in the sky, followed by a strange aura and grisly murders. Each character tells there own connection to the event and to a similar murder spree 5 years ago. All of the different stories are slowly tied together by seemingly minute similarities and the story of Boogiepop is unraveled.
Review: Boogiepop Phantom is one of those anime that will actually give you a chill if you decide to watch it alone in the dark. It will also get you thinking and wondering with its strange stories and confusing character relations. The series did a great job making everyone seem individualistic and then finally tying them all together. With similar titles like Serial Experiments Lain, Boogiepop Phantom did a great job standing on its own. The story can be a bit confusing, and at times I found it difficult to follow with the heavy dialogue. None the less I still was quite entertained and enjoyed this psychological experience.
Like many other anime, Boogiepop Phantom does more than just entertain you. Every minute seemed to hold another clue to the mystery, another clue to life. That being said, the overall theme of the series is really on the base of psychology. As I said earlier it is a rather dark anime that can be considered a horror. However, it isn’t so much a horror where things will jump at you and scream, “Boo!”. Instead Boogiepop Phantom takes you into a world that could be, a possible realm that could explain all the things that happen around you. With the sci-fi and fantasy aspects it is clear that the anime doesn’t portray the real world 100%. I feel that bringing in non-worldly elements adds to the story by metaphorically explaining the hardships of life. The series takes you through multiple stories all of which can be considered stand-alone. These different stories pulls you deeper and deeper into the complexity of what we considered normality. By following the life teens, an age in which everything is changing (physically and mentally), Boogiepop Phantom sort of brings out the questions many soon learn to ignore. Questions like, “What am I doing with my life?” and “How can I fit in?” are an common occurrence. Because let’s be honest, when you were a kid it was always about how can you make some friends, or fit into the crowd. Even today, some of you may be older, 20’s, 30’s, maybe even 50’s; one thing has never changed, how you interact with the people around you. There are always the do’s and do not’s everyone person must follow in order to fit in with society. Boogiepop Phantom addresses all of these subjects and gets you thinking about where you came from or what you plan to become. It’s difficult to spoil anything when I am still confused on exactly what happened in the show, and also really difficult to explain. I would say that the series ends quite well for only twelve episodes. It is unfortunate that the series is actually continue, and quite better explained in the Boogiepop novels which I don’t believe were ever released in the U.S. (if any of you have information that says otherwise please let me know!). I would suggest that In terms of story, this series was top of the line for a psychological thriller. You can take more than just a sweet message home.
The anime didn’t have that high budget for the art, and that is clear to see. However, for this anime I would say that it works out just fine. The dark edges, brown coloring, and very murky atmosphere fits well with the story. The anime went in the direction of realism. You wont find many colors like purple, pink, or yellow because in reality those colors don’t generally show up. The characters can be a bit confusing to follow because of this. The illustrators did the best job they could by having different hairstyles and minor differences in body type, but if you don’t watch the episodes back-to-back it can get a bit confusing. By keeping the characters realistic (typical black hair and brown eyes), the audience can relate a lot better to the story. Even though we would like to think that we can relate to something or someone of a different anime with crazy colors and spaceships, nothing quite brings you in like realistic artwork. Boogiepop Phantom does have its supernatural, “unrealistic” moments, such as the entity known as Boogiepop, but as I said earlier that is a tool that metaphorically explains the psychological stress each character has. Overall the artwork is extremely well done and fits with the anime’s genre perfectly. Even though it was only made roughly eleven years ago it still holds its own against present day anime.
The soundtrack did just the same. Although the opening is a bit misleading in terms of melody, the background music does fit the creepy atmosphere. I quite enjoyed the ending as well, but again I wouldn’t consider it fitting for a psychological, horror, thriller. The only reason I probably didn’t see either of them fitting well is because I’m not fluent in Japanese, or really know any at all. I don’t want to make a complete judgment without first looking at an English translations which I have yet to find. Either way I really enjoyed the soundtrack, loved the creepy ambience and no real complaints here.
Final statements: If you are a fan of psychological thrillers this is a top priority. For everyone else I would still suggest checking it out as a high priority watch because it addresses quite a few psychological issues many of us have. I feel that this anime probably would have impacted me a lot more as a teenager rather than a young adult. So I guess you could say my only regret was not watching this anime sooner.