Boogiepop and Others – Mid Series Anime Review
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)
Mid Series (9 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: The more one watches Boogiepop and Others, the more one feels that the title and the opening credits sequences are misleading. Both of the aforementioned give off the aura that the show’s main focus is Boogiepop and/or another particular female character (seemingly poised as Boogiepop’s enemy in the opening sequence) yet we spend a large amount of time following various other characters, making the OTHERS part of the title feel like it should have been more emphasized. In fact, the series is crammed full of so many characters and various little plot lines that it feels like they’re all fighting for airtime, rarely getting enough to really suck you into their journeys while Boogiepop gets relegated to what one could describe as a guest starring role.
Tom: The opening animation doesn’t just set up false expectations for the focal point of the series, but is completely misleading on the overall tone. From the Opening Animation, and perhaps worse the Series Promotional Video that got so many excited, you’d expect a gritty atmosphere, eerie imagery, and explosive, visually captivating action. But Boogiepop and Others is hardly any of those things. More often the series is slow, wallowing in its pseudo-intellectual dialogue, its haphazard mash up of ideas, and bland arc-long leading characters who aren’t Boogiepop, our titular character that barely appears in their own series. Instead we’re treated to different lead characters depending on the arc, or even multiple leads who are given focus episode to episode, making Boogiepop and Others an attempt at an ensemble cast. Trouble is most of these arc-long leading men and women just aren’t interesting enough to follow as our primary driving force in the story. In fact it’s to the point where much of the time characters feel so bland and uninspired that they almost sound like the same person, never developing unique enough traits to stand out between one another.
Linny: It doesn’t help matters that the character designs often feel overly simplistic to the point of being bland and unmemorable. When you combine that with a bloated cast and a million and one random elements, it can easily feel confusing or disengaging to anyone not wooed by the show’s attempts at intellectual babble. Yes, the show has interesting elements and concepts but they are executed in such a chaotic manner that they end up feeling like a jumble of half baked ideas, further hindered by the show’s habit of coming up with its own terms such as Imaginator, which leave audiences completely in the dark. Every few episodes, we end up with a whole new protagonist or group of characters until it feels like the show is completely bloated with a cacophony of ideas. We’re talking aliens, ‘imaginators’, sterile clones sent to breed with real humans, ‘flowers’ inside humans, people with mind control powers, evil cooperations, etc. Good fiction can blend various ideas and genres (in this specific case supernatural and sci-fi) but Boogiepop and Others feels like someone pulling ideas out of a hat and jamming them all together without laying a proper foundation for the plot.
Tom: Perhaps most frustrating is Boogiepop themselves. The series introduces Boogiepop, the character, over its first two episodes, giving them a presence that makes them a curious, mysterious and compelling lead. But by episode 9 Boogiepop’s total number of appearances in their own show can be counted upon one hand. With so little screentime Boogiepop never evolves, or at least stretches as a character. This means Boogiepop has one default attitude– smug. And never appears as anything else. Ultimately our titular character is utilized as little more than a pseudo deus ex machina, to pop into the narrative and solve the ultimate threat before things truly start to go bad. It’s never really the arc-leads who undo whatever is menacing them, but Boogiepop jumping in at the last second. This creates a lack of drama, as you know the second we hit a point of no return, Boogiepop will pop in and save everything before it becomes irreversible.
Linny: Boogiepop to me feels very reminiscent of fiction made with the intent to make teenagers who read/watch it feel like they’re oh so deep and wise because this is such a ‘deep’ story with concepts that will ‘escape’ the layman. A clear indication of this is how it has a fair share of dialogue that often uses terms and phrases associated with ‘intellectual’ concepts. But for all that to work, Boogiepop and Others needed to tell compelling tales with strong characters and that’s where it fails. Its plot is bloated to the point of feeling nonsensical and disconnected, and most of its characters are unmemorable both in design and personality, making it one of the winter anime that can easily be left off your watch list.
Tom: Personally I find Boogiepop pretentious. It’s akin to teen pseudo-intellectual schlock. The series plays with too many elements, and too many characters that nothing feels well defined or meaty enough to be interesting. I don’t know if it’s the anime’s adaptation, or the source material itself I have issues with, but I can’t find myself recommending the series 9 episodes into its 18 episode run. This review does come on the heels of Crunchyroll dumping 10 through 13 onto their service over the weekend, with whispers that even those lukewarm on Boogiepop will find massive improvements, but up to the Mid Series I find Boogiepop to be Winter’s biggest disappointment.