Boogiepop and Others – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Takeda Keiji was waiting for his girlfriend and junior in school, Miyashita Touka. But she doesn’t show up at the time they agreed on and he can’t get a hold of her. The sun starts to set and Takeda decides to give up and head home. But then, he sees a man unsteadily wandering around with tears in his eyes. Takeda and the other people around him quickly realize the man is not normal and decide to ignore him when a mysterious figure approaches the man. A mysterious figure wearing a cape and a bizarre hat. That figure happened to have the same face as Touka, the girlfriend who ditched Takeda… (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st and 2nd Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Boogiepop kicks things off with a really energetic and visually packed opening credit sequence that grabs the audience’s attention… yet clashes with everything else that follows in episode 1. Coming off the high of the thrilling OP, we are forced to sit through an episode’s worth of nothing but conversation after conversation, most of which come off as pseudo intellectual or philosophical, especially when the audience is barely given anything to really connect to the characters spouting all these vague lines.It’s hard to really absorb the ideas and thoughts being tossed around when you barely know or care about the people saying them. To make matters even more mundane, false hope is generated when a character begins talking about how the school, if not the entire world, is in great danger. The story seems poised to suddenly pick up, perhaps delivering on the promises of the opening animation, only to then calmly declare a few slow scenes later that the danger is, without reason, gone. We never get to see this danger and how or why it is gone, making its development feel very anti-climatic and disappointing.
Tom: That bait and switch between what Episode 1 offers and what was teased in the opening really puts a damper on Boogiepop’s first episode. If anything episode 1 feels like a prologue (perhaps understandable as Boogiepop is based off a 1998 Light Novel) meant to introduce audiences to some of the story’s core characters and psychological concepts. Stylistically the series presents itself in a disjointed/non-linear style, putting the introduction of characters and concepts before plot. This has its ups and downs, and if not for Episode 2 being available to watch I think many would find themselves struggling to tune in for a second week.
Linny: That second episode is a godsend. Boogiepop manages to turn on the charm with episode two. We shift the focus to all new characters but this time we get a large helping of plot, action and character exploration instead of just random philosophical conversations. Big reveals and twists emerge, with some thrilling and shocking content involving a man eating monster and the race to track them down. Not only that, the characters highlighted in this episode are a lot more endearing or intriguing, with more personality and energy to them compared to people introduced in Episode 1. Some of these new characters seem to be harbouring a dark nature, while others are adventurous to the point of rebellious. If I were to point out a criticism for this 2nd episode, it would be that two ‘evil’ plotting characters openly discuss their nefarious and psychotic plans rather loudly in a public cafe which makes you wonder how nobody has raised an eyebrow over their talk. Also, conversations between this pair are extremely tailored so as to give the audience exposition overload, ultimately making their lines feel stilted and unnatural.
Tom: Another slight issue between Episode’s 1 and 2 are how little Boogiepop, the titular character and who the majority of Episode 1 revolves around, has to do with anything happening in Episode 2. This makes the show feel perhaps too disjointed, although on the other hand assuming enough of these elements click for you it might pique curiosity as to how everything will ultimately tie together. Boogiepop and Others is based on a 1998 Light Novel, and an overall series that’s continued up through 2017. Viewers familiar with Boogiepop from the 2000 series should note that Boogiepop Phantom (2000) was a side story that existed more so as an original project. Phantom isn’t required viewing for this series and, assuming Episode 1 isn’t too disjointed and uneventful for you, I think Episode 2 proves that Boogiepop has some very interesting potential with plenty of mystery and psychological horror elements teased in.
Linny: It’s clear why the decision was made to release Boogiepop and Others in a double episode format because what you will see in episode 1 is unlikely to earn the shows that many followers. Even after two episodes, the show remains a gamble as the two episodes have such contrasting tones that it’s hard to confidently say which one will take precedence as things continue. Boogiepop is also already chockful of various ideas; from man eating creatures to space aliens to (not?) split personalities so much so that you might wonder just how smoothly it will harmonize all these elements and characters into its story. For now, I’d say you should check out Boogiepop and Others with cautious optimism as its supernatural elements do grab your attention once they are fully established. If that second episode is going to be the prevailing tone, Boogiepop and Others might be worth the watch for lovers of supernatural thrillers.