Boogiepop and Others

Boogiepop and Others

Boogiepop and Others anime series cover art
Boogiepop and Others

Overview

Boogiepop and Others (Boogiepop wa Warawanai / ブギーポップは笑わない) was a strange anime to say the least. At the most basic level, it’s about a shinigami, known as Boogiepop, who fights against other supernatural beings over the fate of the world. However, this isn’t really what it’s about.

It’s hard to put into words what the true focus of the story is, but the closest approximation I can make is that it’s about how regular people cope with learning of the irregular. The real problem with this series, however, is that very little of it actually makes sense so it’s difficult to take much away from it.

And, I can point out two reasons for my general confusion regarding this series. The first is that we’re thrust into this world and the various arcs without much introduction. This wouldn’t be too bad, except for the fact it felt like I was already supposed to be familiar with all the characters and concepts.

Boogiepop as a series has been around for a long time, and it felt like this series knew that. Rather than making a plot which made sense, it was more like the series was a collection of references targeted towards longtime fans.

The second issue is the seemingly intentional confusion.

Often, characters will ramble on about seemingly unrelated topics while using nothing but metaphors. Not only is this hard to follow for viewers, but even the other characters often have no idea what each other are talking about.

If the characters in the series don’t even understand what’s going on, then how is the viewer? This isn’t a case of the viewer having more information than the characters, or the viewer being intentionally mislead. This is a case of things being intentionally confusing so as to create a false sense of depth.

As for the art and animation, while Madhouse is known for being a pretty good animation studio, I felt that this series was fairly lacking. When you compare it to a series they made at the same time last year, A Place Further Than The Universe, Boogiepop and Others doesn’t stand up.

There are moments of good animation, but for the most part it’s fairly simplified. And, the art isn’t anything special. I’m not saying that the art for a series has to be all that unique, but when the animation is lackluster, the story isn’t all that put together, and the art is boring, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Characters

Aside from the issues I outlined with the series above, there’s also one major issue with the characters, they don’t leave a lasting impact. Sure, there are a lot of anime whose characters I never think about once it concludes, but for Boogiepop and Others I was forgetting about characters while the anime was still running.

There are two causes to this problem. The first is that a fair amount of the recurring characters look similar, and the second is that not every character shows up in every arc. Alone, neither of these would be too big of an issue, but combined they make the characters hard to keep track of.

It’s kind of like if you know a pair of identical twins, but you only ever see one of them at a time. You’re never really sure which one it is even though you know there are two of them.

Spooky E and Aya Orihata from the anime series Boogiepop and Others
Spooky E and Aya Orihata

One of the major recurring characters is Touka Miyashita, although it’s really just her appearance, not her character. You see, the shinigami Boogiepop uses Miyashita’s body as a vessel, meaning that while Miyashita is technically a recurring character, she’s not actually important.

The truly important character is Boogiepop. I think Boogiepop appears in every arc of the series (as you would expect from a series named after her), but she doesn’t actually play a major role in a lot of them. Usually Boogiepop just shows up at the end of an arc to finish off the bad guy.

Oddly enough, while Boogiepop is definitely important, I’d argue that this next character, Nagi Kirima, is actually the protagonist of the series. And, Nagi doesn’t even play a role in some of the arcs.

Nagi is essentially the human equivalent to Boogiepop. She goes around fighting against the supernatural beings who would destroy the world, but she does so as a regular person. It’s also not exactly clear why she does this, but I think it has something to do with the death of her father.

Other than those, the rest of the characters are fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things. There are the antagonists like Manticore, Spooky E, and Imaginator, but each one of them is only relevant in their respective arc.

Conclusion

I wanted Boogiepop and Others to be good, I really did. But, in the end I can’t bring myself to rate it any higher than a 4/10. Some of the arcs were pretty good, but as I’ve already explained, most of the series is so intentionally confusing that it detracts from the experience.

Honestly, Neon Genesis Evangelion and End of Evangelion were easier to follow than some of the dialogue in this anime, and those are often paraded around as being hard to understand.

In the end, if you were previously a fan of the Boogiepop series then you’ll probably enjoy this adaptation. But, for everyone else, I really don’t think it’s worth it. I also don’t feel like it’s going to get a second season even though we were never introduced to the mysterious Towa Organization which kept getting mentioned.

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