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REVIEW: Boogiepop Phantom DVD




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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 12561
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:27 pm Reply with quote
Another show I need to re-watch, along with Serial eXperiements Lain and Neon Genesis Evangelion. I don't think I fully got any of those shows the first time through; that's the nagging feeling I get, anyway. I also need to get around to watching Revolutionary Girl Utena. Why? Just because.

Yep, the late nineties and early noughts were dark, dark times.
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504NOSON2
Anime isn't real? Nooo...Anime isn't real? Nooo...


Joined: 28 Jul 2008
Posts: 627
Location: Body:Santa Barbara, CA ~ Heart:New Orleans, LA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:43 pm Reply with quote
I held out reading everything in the review, except the synopsis, the first paragraph, and the report card. That's to avoid spoiling anything significant; since I just, last week, got the entire series (boxset) from TSRI. This review has just coerced me into not allowing this one to go into my ever-growing backlog.

Ah, how I love series that depict the aspects of man that he would rather suppress. That inherent proclivity of which he masked by various titles living under the banner of "virtue".

I think I'll make Friday night Boogiepop Phantom night. Cool
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Bonham



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 303
Location: Columbus, OH

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:44 pm Reply with quote
Carl Kimlinger wrote:
Jarring audio ticks and bursts of static are coupled with runs of distorted, overlapping dialogue and blended into an atonal score to create haunting soundscapes that speak of urban isolation and apocalyptic doom... [P]erhaps Watanabe's style owes too much to Lain, but it fits the series' world so well that neither really matters.

Considering they share the same sound designer, the similarities are even more apparent!

It's been a good few years since I last saw Boogiepop Phantom, but I don't remember it holding up that well when I saw it a second time. I'll admit my view was colored having read the original Boogiepop light novels that Seven Seas licensed, which were of a far more pulpish but, well, human style. The characters feel more like rounded characters, rather than mere ciphers for ideas... Not that that's necessarily bad, but I just don't feel the ideas these characters stand in for are actually all that insightful or interesting. With a series like this, you either really invest in those concepts and archetypes by developing them (ala Lain or Texhnolyze) or else make them relatively human characters that don't exist solely to voice those themes (Mushishi and Ghost Hound, and, to a lesser degree, Evangelion). Of course, I could have just missed/undervalued some of those ideas and not be giving it enough credit; I'm more than open to people convincing me otherwise.

Maybe I'm hard on the show because I feel Satoshi Kon examined similar ideas with better results with Paranoia Agent. Even though the characters in PA can be rather thin/stereotyped, Kon gives the series enough energy that makes even some of the more problematic episodes watchable. I don't believe a story's focus/worldview needs to have hope or humor to be good, but it can help sometimes.

I also have trouble comparing the surrealism that Watanabe is trying for compared to directors like Nakamura and Hamasaki. The long pauses in the works of the latter two - especially Hamasaki - allow viewers to get absorbed in (or bored by) their worlds, whereas the pacing in BP seems... monotonous? Poor criticism, but again it's been a while...

I do like ideas apparently behind the color scheme of the show. The sound design is really good. And I do appreciate the ambition and how the stories connect in ways that are and aren't important. Definitely something anime fans should at least check out, particularly because series like this are rare.
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eyeresist



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 976
Location: a 320x240 resolution igloo (Sydney)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:51 pm Reply with quote
Boogiepop Phantom is a great show, and it's one of my favourites. Unlike Lain, the plot actually makes sense (when you eventually work it out).

Does lack of hope really exclude an anime from being a "classic", Carl? I'd say the obsessively downbeat mood is part of what makes the series great.
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otakunomike



Joined: 20 Dec 2011
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:08 am Reply with quote
I'm surprised they re-released this series, considering it's not as well remembered as so many of the other late-90s, early-00s titles that were popular before being overwhelmed in the massive anime tide of the mid-aughts. That being said, it's well worth it to be re-released if only to show newer anime viewers a series that had the audacity to utterly screw with its audiences minds and expectations and force you to watch the whole thing to make sense of what was going on. Too many shows nowadays simply present the plot and story straightforward like without trusting viewers to follow through. I remember a time where you couldn't really call yourself a true anime fan unless you had sat through at least one mind-trip of a series, be it Boogiepop, Lain, Haibane Renmai or Paranoia Agent

Still, I wonder if Boogiepop has aged the best of those. It's probably the easiest to ultimately follow if you can make it to the end, aside from Paranoia Agent which obviously drew on BP for a lot of inspiration, but I feel a lot of Boogiepop's deeper story is only hinted at, a reference for people who've read the books. Making the story unique to the anime gave them some creative freedom, but made the novels so important and thus the series as a whole tricky to understand in a place where the novels aren't readily available. So I guess in short what I'm trying to say is: Wheres the rest of my novels Seven Seas?! Crying or Very sad
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adam_omega



Joined: 29 Aug 2005
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Location: Seven Seas

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:49 pm Reply with quote
otakunomike wrote:
So I guess in short what I'm trying to say is: Wheres the rest of my novels Seven Seas?! Crying or Very sad


Very few light novels can sell enough to break even on the production costs.
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Snomaster1



Joined: 31 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:51 pm Reply with quote
Oh,I remember "Boogiepop Phantom." It was on TechTv's/G4's "Anime Unleashed" block when I saw it. Or more precisely,when I saw bits and pieces of it. And believe me,it was dark and weird. And one of the weirdest parts of it was the opening theme song. It sounded like a 1970's song the likes of David Cassidy would sing. That was incongruous,to say the least.
I didn't watch a whole lot of it because it was so dark. I'll just say that "Boogiepop Phantom" wasn't my type of anime and leave it at that.
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Bright_Spear



Joined: 24 Jul 2012
Posts: 321

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:42 pm Reply with quote
Is there anything new with this release, or is it the same as the original. Can't remember if the commentary was on the original.
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khaos1019



Joined: 28 Nov 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:54 pm Reply with quote
Bright_Spear wrote:
Is there anything new with this release, or is it the same as the original. Can't remember if the commentary was on the original.


Yes, the commentary was on the original DVDs. This is just a repackaging, as Carl said.
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bob_loblaw



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 213
Location: Tanning in Hell

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:07 pm Reply with quote
adam_omega wrote:
otakunomike wrote:
So I guess in short what I'm trying to say is: Wheres the rest of my novels Seven Seas?! :cry:


Very few light novels can sell enough to break even on the production costs.


Well, I'm still grateful 'Boogiepop at Dawn' was released, as that was my favorite of the four.
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
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Location: England, UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:32 pm Reply with quote
Boogiepop was just a dog's breakfast to me.
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OldCharlieStoletheHandle
Bargain HunterBargain Hunter


Joined: 12 Dec 2009
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Location: Mastic Beach, NY

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:31 pm Reply with quote
When I first started collecting anime on DVD I was reluctant to buy into TV shows, preferring to by single disc releases of movies or OVAs. The old Ultimate Collection (I think that's what it was called, it's the one that came with 3 audio CDs and a couple of pencil boards) was one of the first 2 TV shows I purchased (the other was the old ADV brickpak of Martian Successor Nadesico) and it remains one of my all-time favorites. It was a little hard to follow the first time I watched it (mainly because, unlike most anime where characters have wierd hair colors and styles, most of the female characters look somewhat alike) but I still enjoyed it. I have marathoned it twice since then; before the first marathon I read through all the supplemental material which helped me a lot, and I liked it even more each time I watched it.
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