I could not find an inexpensive and legal way to watch the original Boogiepop Phantom. p213806_b_v7_aaHulu keeps telling me I need a STARZ add-on. I will have to contemplate the impact of another $9 per month on my retirement income. I am also mildly irritated that to fully understand what is going on, I’d need to have read the manga.

 

Lately, Crunchyroll has been randomly degrading the quality of the video. I have it set to 1080HD but it randomly drops to 480 or even 360. Might be their fault or it might be my ISP giving me a cruddy connection.

Moderate Spoilers!!!

In the meantime, we have Boogiepop and Others 2019. Three episodes and one arc down. I think I really like the format. We introduce the characters in the first episode, the bad guys get to be villainous and the good guys get to investigate in the second, and in the third, they fight. I expected to see more of Boggiepop but she doesn’t show up much unless the planet’s fate is at stake. Ordinary death and mayhem don’t inspire her to action.

2019-01-16_22-39-36
What can I say? I could gaze into those eyes forever.

The animation isn’t consistent but sometimes the art measures up to a pretty good standard. There are times when I melt to look at how well Boogie’s face is drawn. The odd fashion sense just adds to her charm. And the opening is just incredible. That Boogie ghost sure looks like a girl to me. (Maybe a boy with small, girlish breasts? Maybe gender indeterminate?)

I don’t care! Just grab that opening and put it on loop!

If this doesn’t get you hot and bothered, you may be dead.

2019-01-16_22-55-36

As I mentioned above, the level of detail is not consistent. Sometimes the faces aren’t even there. This may be an artsy way of telling us these characters aren’t important. Or it could be saving on the cost of animation. Or both.

OTOH some shots like these sideways glances are perfect.

Boogiepop has a conversation with Keiji Takeda.

The plot can seem baffling at times. It would help you a lot if you watched the original. (Or read a whole lot about it.) Boogiepop doesn’t really have a gender. It is a supernatural being summoned by (fill in the blank) to save the world. You can say Boogie’s gender is that of whatever person is being occupied.  Boogiepop’s “power” is the latent power that resides in all humans and is normally unavailable. The Popster showed up at Shinyo Academy 5 years earlier in the original anime and there is now a school legend that

2019-01-17_13-47-58
I checked. Both eyes are the same color.

Boogiepop is a beautiful boy who kills young girls at the peak of their beauty.

Keiji develops a crush on Boogiepop. Which is convenient because he already has a crush on Boogie’s human alter ego, Touka Miyashita, who, in turn, happily has a crush on KeijiAt first, Keiji thinks that Touka is suffering from multiple personality disorder. He thinks she has stood him up for a date and then sees her helping a distressed white-haired man and wearing a weird outfit. She shames the crowd for their lack of empathy and then discourages a couple of police officers from roughing the man up. Then she disappears. Later, all she remembers is sleeping all day. He soon learns the truth.

When Boogie takes over, Touka’s memories get altered – “for her own good”. She can alter other civilians’ memories if she feels a need to.

Notice the differences between Boogie (left) and Touka (right). Aoi Yūki voices both characters in an outstanding performance.

But Touka isn’t even the second fiddle female lead. That honor goes to Nagi Kirima, aka the Fire Witch. She developed an obsession to fight evil and often cooperates with Boogie in her efforts. Her witchiness doesn’t show up here yet but she is in the original and a spin-off manga of her own, Repent Walpurgis. She is intentionally off-putting as getting too close to her could be dangerous. But she does let a small number of strong “normal” characters in as friends.

Other junior protagonists and friends of Nagi are Kazuko Suema who has a deep interest in criminal psychology and is a big fan of the works of Nagi’s deceased father. Kazuko has also seen Boogiepop manifest itself. Also, Kei Niitoki who is the head of the school disciplinary committee and plays a major role in the denouement. She once had a crush on Keiji but he turned her down because of his interest in Touka. They are still good friends.

Shirou Tanaka is an archer who is in love with  Naoko Kamikishiro who loves him back. When Naoko encounters Echo, she acts with compassion for him. This is a good thing. Echo was sent to Earth from an advanced civilization to decide if humanity ought to be obliterated for its violent ways. He was supposed to live among us to learn the truth. The background remains a bit unclear but somehow he was captured and we attempted to make copies.

Now he is loose and trying to track down the copies. One appears to have been destroyed early on. It is just vaguely referenced but it seems “someone else” took care of it.

That is quite a list of good guys. You need a scorecard.

There is a problem in Shinyo Academy far more serious than the forbidden dating and use of social media that the adults are worried about. Girls are disappearing and are never seen again. For some highly improbable reason, there is no attempt made to investigate this. They are all written up as runaways.

The real reason they are vanishing is that they are being eaten by one of the failed copies of Echo. (How to compresses a human body into a small enough package to fit in a girl’s stomach is never explained.) This copy is able to assume the form of whoever it eats, most currently Minako Yurihara. It also has the ability to produce a drug from its brain that turns people into obedient zombies.  It has been befriended by Masami Saotome, a psychopath who would like to die but also rather enjoys killing. He gives her the name of Manticore, a Greek word for “man-eater”. Together they set out to kill Echo, create an army of slaves, and rule the world.

Manticore in the form of Minako and her boyfriend Masami.

The opening is loaded with all kinds of nudity and scenes of Touka being saved by Boogiepop. Nothing of the sort actually happens in the first three episodes but that kiss scene is worth watching over and over.