Posted by SuperMario on 14 January 2019 with categories: Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019), Finished Series: Mystery/Suspense

Welcome to Boogiepop, one of the hallmark franchise in the history of this medium. The Light Novels itself dated back in 1995 and is still considered as one of the earliest Light Novels ever released and is often credited as starter of the Light novem trend in Japan. The anime adaptation in 2000 remains one of the most disjointed and confusing anime ever made and the Boogiepop franchise has inspired (along with its LN sources) a movie adaptation and its universe is still remain well known to this day. A straight adaptation from its source has been a long way coming and this first 3 episodes in particular closes up what I believe is the first book of the whole franchise. This new anime keeps the tradition of its psychological thriller genre and the 2000 anime’s tradition: it’s disjointed, vignettes and it’s dense with information and multiple narratives that repeated-viewing might require in order to get the most out of the story. It took me two tries in the first two episodes in order to grasp what the hell is going on and remember all the names and faces. Like the 2000 anime version (which I watched, enjoyed but mostly forgot all the details), you can view all these events happened in the story as a piece in a big puzzle and until the puzzle itself is finished that it starts to make sense. While the general reception to this new adaptation has been muted, it’s packed with such layered narrative that I’m willing to take the risk to blog the show and smooth out all the plot threads so that anyone who confused by the episode can have a better grip to what is going on.

So we can start with the main catalyst of this arc, which are Echoes and Manticore. As we soon learn from Naoko Kamikishiro (for the sake of consistency I’ll use surnames for all characters) – in Boogiepop’s most info dump moments that they apparently shared a telepathic link – Echoes is an Alien who was sent to us to judge the human race. He’s fallen into an evil organization (which we know very little of at this point), and from there they create a failed clone of Echoes, Manticore. Unlike the original self who can only repeat what he hears (hence the name), Manticore can talk, eat human flesh and copy the appearance of the person he eats. In one of his attempt, he encounters Masami Saotome, whom offers him to create “slaves” and lures the human to Manticore. This narrative takes a big chunk in episode 2, and the string of disappearances from those girls (why not boys?) cause two other main plot threads, which are 1) Boogiepop comes into the picture by using the body of Touka Miyashita and 2) Kamakishiro meets Echoes one day and informs the eccentric Nagi Kirima to investigate before spirited away herself.

Nagi Kirimi emegers to be one of the real protagonist in the first arc. She’s also one of the most interesting character out there. Always considered herself of eccentric, she learns from Kamishikiro about Manticore, and gets suspended herself so that she can follow around the “slaves” and makes sure if they were Manticore. Kazuko Suema (a girl with glasses) makes a brief entrance when she follows up on Kirimi’s action. As of now I believe Suema, Kirimi and Miyashita are the main players in this whole universe.

Kamikishiro’s encounter with Echoes prove to be one of the important plot points for this arc. She’s an interesting character so it’s a shame that she’s killed off quickly and I still feel like I haven’t spent that much time with her (in fact from what I heard they cut many of her scenes and even an entire character was cut off). Her disappearance though, triggers her younger boyfriend Tanaka and Niitoki the President of the Discipline Committee, tagged along by Saotome, to search for her around school. Episode 3 comes into a climax where Saotome locates Echoes and Kirimi, slits the latter’s throat, and lets Manticore to kill his original self. Echoes “commits suicide” by becoming a pillar of light to transmit himself back to his world. You know the rest of the story so I don’t need to recap it here. Personally, I feel a bit underwhelmed by this sudden ending, but I gotta say it never fails to intrigue me. One of the fun in watching this anime is to make sense of what is going on and how a piece of information fits into the big picture. The story holds up for me so far, so it all depends how the execution gonna be like. While I feel that the characters can be stiff at times, and I’m a tad bit disappointed that the adapatation doesn’t follow the source that faithfully, Boogiepop still delivers many striking moments and so far they keep the mysterious atmosphere right. Just remember, all we see within an episode is always just snapshots of what is happening.

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