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Boogiepop Phantom
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 05/22/2002

It is said that a mysterious phantom called Boogiepop roams the city, snatching up people as Death. Is Boogiepop evil? Is Boogiepop good? No one really knows for sure... but people are disappearing, and no one knows where they've gone.
I must say I was very excited when I got my Boogiepop Phantom DVD set. I've read nothing but glowing reviews, which whet my appetite even more. Alas, as I sit down to write this review, I find myself rebelling against the popular opinion once more.
To say that Boogiepop Phantom is an anime series is something of an inaccuracy. First and foremost, each episode features a different set of situations and characters -- with a few regulars criss-crossing from story to story. There's a brain-damaged mother who can't remember giving birth to her own daughter. There's a high school boy who can read people's minds. There's a weird guy who's so obssessed with bishoujo games that his whole life revolves around it. Boogiepop Phantom features about a zillion different characters, each with his/her own personal burden / trauma / dilemma. I can't even remember who's who, much less enumerate them all.
Since the episodes are presented in a disjointed manner, I can't really elaborate on the plot much. In one episode, a young girl put down by her music professor is driven to suicide. In another episode, some people are murdered by a serial killer on the loose. There are constant characters such as Boogiepop, Nagi, Poom Poom, etc. but what can I tell you about them? Boogiepop is supposedly the other persona of an ordinary girl named Toka, and Boogiepop supposedly surfaces whenever there is a threat to the world. Nagi is a brave young lady who feels it is her duty to fight for justice... alone. Poom Poom is a fictional character who somehow comes to life and tries to get people to be his "friend", but eventually lose their sanity in the process. There's no clear-cut connection or continuity between eps, and I learned about most of what was happening from the character profiles and descriptions that came as a bonus on the fourth DVD. I fell asleep approximately every other episode due to the sluggish pacing as well. There were times the 12 eps felt more like 112 eps, and it took me nearly a month to finish watching everything.
Of course, not everything I have to say about Boogiepop Phantom is negative. Sheer artistry exemplifies this series in most aspects. The visuals are composed with great care -- featuring some very creative camera angles, color schemes, and character designs. The first 11 eps are shown in dark, monochromatic tones. My guess is that it is because these instances are more of flashbacks. The last episode, however, suddenly bursts with color and life -- which I suppose represents the present time. Music and sound effects are also effectively used to enhance the mood of each scene. There's enough happening to make you think, but what I didn't like was the obvious extra effort to make everything seem profound.
With its intriguing theme and artistic merits, Boogiepop Phantom is quite good overall -- but it sure as hell not as great as most people make it out to be. It's like you're cool if you dig it, and stupid if you can't appreciate it. Maybe I'm somewhere in between if we follow the general opinion, but I'm not going to sing all praises just because everyone else is. It's only worth a look if you're looking for something different, or if you're into profound stuff.
The DVD boxed set comes with a bonus music CD featuring the Boogiepop version of Overture "Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg".

Boogiepop Phantom
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Review Title:
Boogiepop Phantom
Alternative Titles:
Boogiepop wa Warawanai
300 Minutes
General Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Drama, Horror, Mystery,
Psychological, Supernatural
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