I’ve finally gotten the Starz to work on my PC. Seems Mozilla never takes me to the place where you can log in with your cable TV account but Chrome does go there. (I wasn’t about to spend $9 a month for Starz access on my Netflix account.) So I’ve watched the first 3 episodes of the original Boogiepop Phantom.
Boogiepop the anime was released in 2000. It was sourced from an original story, not a light novel. There are two anime, a live action movie, and 20 novels with the series ongoing. Boogiepop Phantom is much darker than Boog 2019, both figuratively and literally. It lacks color saturation and everything is a murky grey with a vignette filter further darkening the outer edges. In the OP, it looks very much like a badly done copy of a copy with lots of graininess and out of focus imagery. Fortunately, it is somewhat clearer during the actual show but it still looks like someone recorded it on their VCR on super long play.
First, lets look at Boggiepop 2019.
The story is told in a nonlinear fashion. One starts out the show in a fictional black bag with little clue of what is going on. You are expected to assemble the pieces as you go along and save the pieces that don’t fit in for later for “Aha!” moments. I like that style of story weaving. If you’re like me you start predicting what the missing pieces must be and constantly revising my projected storyline as new pieces confirm or deny my expectations.
The latest Boogiepop episode clears up many things. Combined with the previous arc it is obvious what Towa Corp. is trying to do: create synthetic humanoids with superpowers and eliminate any ordinary humans that have evolved them. Orihata is synthetic and they want to know if a synthetic is fertile with a normal human.
The plot starts to fall apart here. Human fertility is a chancy proposition. You could be perfectly fertile and have sex every day for months and not get pregnant. Sending someone out into the world just to try to get knocked up involves a huge number of variables and is not a scientific way to approach the question.
If all they want to do is find out if a synthetic can become pregnant by a normal human, you would do that by artificial insemination which is how an animal breeder would do it. But even before that, you’d start with in vitro fertilization just to see if the egg was even viable and then inserting embryos into a host to see if it could be carried to term.
But still, even if you wanted to test the entire biological process including intercourse, wouldn’t it be easier to have a volunteer do it? Very pretty young girl, no will of her own, lots of amoral men would jump at the chance. Does the boy Masaki have to be the one for some genetic reason?
Or it could just be an actual flaw in the storyline. Something done just to have the story play out a certain way. A bit of suspension of disbelief is required to get past it. That seems more likely.
Towa seems to be able to synthesize bodies almost immediately. One minute Kotoe Kinukawa has been zapped by Spooky E and the next they have a fully functional (nonreproductive) copy under their control. (She’s a bit po’d about that nonreproductive part.)
Spooky E sounds (from what he told Camille, aka Aya Orihata) like he may be going rogue but hasn’t been found out yet. The copy Kotoe doesn’t seem like a stable personality and feels great emotional pain from her reporoductive incompleteness. She did say she had “nothing down there”.
Spooks is playing with fire and it isn’t clear he is aware of it. He’s kidnapped and copied Imaginator’s current host’s cousin. He’s using the Fire Witch’s step-brother to dry to draw Boogie out. He’s made an enemy of Boogiepop without a clue as to who he/she/it is.
Orihata is not out of play as a force. She’s willing enough to get Masaki to play Boogiepop as part of Spooky E’s plan to draw out the Boogs and still willing to get impregnated. But now she is feeling real love for him and does not want to see him get hurt. After her little rooftop pep talk, (fight now, die later) is there just a spark of free will waiting for the winds of circumstance to fan it into flame? (Or not…)
But the plot is so nonlinear it is deceptive. You don’t know the sequence for sure until much later. When did the storyline did the rooftop pep talk take place? Is it before the events of ep 7 or after? Just because it happened at the end of 6 and appeared to be immediately before Orihita talked Masaki into being Boogie doesn’t make it so.
Boog 2019 is not about Boogiepop, nor is Boog P. It is about characters in crisis and how they rise (or fall) to the occasion. Sadness, loneliness, worry, depression, self hatred and suicide are the underlying issues and trying a quick fix is how you get into trouble. Maybe you end up with a mindless smile on your face and nothing in your head. Is that how to become happy? Ought one turn into a clockwork orange to accept the world as it is? (There are days for me when it looks like a good option.)
Boogiepop shows up, in the end, to clean up the mess. By the end of an arc, you should have a fair idea of what went on – but the characters you followed may not.
Boog 2019 is not a copy of the original nor is it a sequel. It is the same characters in a different but vaguely related story. I see Bogie as being a boyish-looking girl in the original (or a girlish-looking boy) and that matches the ghostly version of him in the 2019 OP. When Touka does her changeover to Boogie she looks even more feminine. The first is the shinigami version and the second is the alter ego. I don’t think a shinigami necessarily has a fixed gender, so it all works.
Boogiepop Phantom is really different. If the 2019 iteration left you a bit confused, the original will leave you a cringing mass of uncertainty. You see many of the same characters but they are envisioned differently. Nagi is a leather wearing motorcycle woman. So far I have only seen Touka very briefly. Seiichi Kirima, Nagi’s father, is mentioned once in a conversation between Nagi and Kazuko Suema where Nagi sternly warns her not to read her father’s books.
There is a character, Hisashi Jonouchi. who can see the “spider on a person’s heart that threatens to devour them”. If he can grope your breasts for a little bit he can lift the spider and destroy it. (Reminds me a bit of Jin in the VS Imaginator arc.) This leaves you free of your burdens. There are also creatures born of human regrets who like to devour people. (Reminds me of Manticore.) A girl let them into this world by her failure to let go of a friend who died. Though I am just 3 eps into the original, it is much more dark and supernatural while the 2019 incarnation has corporate science as the big bad.
Even though Kazuko would be my high school dream girl, I happen to really love the Nagi character as well. So far they have not yet given her a chance to shine.
The original anime Boogiepop certanly appears to be a stand alone shinigami. in the 2019 version, the Boogs is either a shinigami that takes over your body to use the latant power you cannot access OR an alter ego which can access that power. Touka would have created that alter ego as the result of a severe trauma the 2019 anime hasn’t shown up yet. I don’t trust the show to stay faithful to the original or to any of the novels so far published so I can’t really say which. Imaginator is either a shinigami, an alter ego, or yet another Towa experiment gone wrong.