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, let’s 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.
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 turn into a monster? 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 reboot of the concept. I see Boogie 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. However, when Touka does her changeover to Boogie in 2019 she looks even more feminine. Could be a shinigami or an evolved 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.
Boogiepop Phantom itself isn’t even Boogiepop. It is a copy of Boogiepop that was created by Echo’s beam of light when he transmitted himself back home.
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 certainly 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 latent power you cannot access OR an alter ego which can access that power. Touka would have created that alter ego as the result of the trauma of seeing “Scarecrow” bleed out in front of her in Dawn of Boogiepop. 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 also either a shinigami teaming up with the evolved human Jin or an evolved human herself.
A brief history of Boogiepop Phantom eps 1-7
A long time ago – in fact, 5 years before most of the events of Boogiepop Phantom – a schoolgirl named Nagi Kirima befriended a private investigator named Shinpei Kuroda. When she asked him what he wanted to do in life he said he wanted to become a defender of justice. To him, she was just a cute kid. To her, he was her first love. It turns out Shinpei was a Towa Organization agent.
Next, we see Nagi dying in a hospital bed. She is in the process of becoming an evolved human but the process is killing her. Towa is out to eliminate evolved humans and uses composite humans for the dirty work. Shinpei ought to have let her die but ended up with feelings for her, so he stole a drug that would allow her to survive and evolve as a composite human. He administered it, then jumped out the window only to be ambushed and murdered. He left the remaining drug behind on the floor of the room.
Touka Miyashita came across the dying Shinpei. Touka is another human capable of evolution. The shock of staying with the man in his death throes created Boogiepop as her alter ego. It resulted in a little hospital time too. Her parents thought she was possessed by the fox spirit.
The next stage of the story has to be gotten from the light novel, Boogiepop at Dawn. After Shinpei fled, Nagi’s doctor (Dr. Kisugi) discovered the lost bottle of the drug. When she saw Nagi’s recovery, she put one and one together to get “miracle drug”. After experimentation, she saw that the drug led to superpowers in rats so, of course, she dosed herself. Now she is a composite human with superpowers who likes to consume the fear at a person’s point of death. The fear of strong-willed girls is the tastiest. Hence we have serial murders of girls.
Nagi figures out who is doing this in time to save Kazuo Suemi who is being stalked. She confronts the doctor and with Boogiepop’s help defeats her.
Fast forward 5 years. Now we have the events detailed in Boogiepop and Others. The pillar of light we see in Phantom is Echo turning himself into energy to transmit himself home.
Phantom is more or less set in a period concurrent with and a month after BP and Others. That flash created a holographic image of the town where the past and the present could coexist. People who were too evolved to fit in were taken to a different reality by Boogiepop Phantom where they could find peace and continue to exist and wait for the day the rest of humanity could show up.
The themes of Phantom are where people suddenly have powers they aren’t aware of.
We all have memories we’d rather not have. Or are fearful and shy when all the rewards in life go to the bold. We all have losses with a lack of closure. We all want to escape the cruelty and irrationality of daily life. What if we had the ability to do what we wanted without realizing exactly what we are doing?
If someone really misses a dead person they may construct a simulacrum they can see and touch. Other powers seem to focus on memories, as in the ability to see painful memories and then remove them. Or loss of faith in parents due to their careless lies.
Since Phantom is somewhat in the future of Others, some of the reveals are massive spoilers for Others. Boogiepop Phantom is not Boogiepop but rather a holographic projection that calls itself Phantom in deference to the original Boogiepop. It was created by the EM field of Echo’s data beam. One way to tell the difference is that Boogiepop whistles.
Each episode of Phantom deals with another person who has been impacted by the EM
field and sent on the way to evolution. Manticore (an escaped failed clone of Echo, see Boogiepop and Others) is still around pushing drugs and likes to eat people. It is electromagnetic energy and can escape a body instantly if the body is about to be killed. The body it occupies is only a tool. Spooky E isn’t around so Snake Eyes is the new big bad.
Seen in this light Jin the flower seer (2019) is probably an evolved human. Is the young girl Imaginator another composite or another evolved human? We don’t know.
Use the pillar of light and a timestamp for every show. Does it happen during the show? Where? Did it happen in the past? How long ago?
In Episode 1, Moto Tonomura wants to confess to her late boyfriend so powerfully, she
can create a simulacrum of her late boyfriend Satoshi. A being later to be known as Manticore takes it over and wants to (literally) eat her. Phantom shows up at the last minute and destroys the fake bf but Manticore is electromagnetic in nature and gets away. Turns out Satoshi was one of the evolved beings spirited away by Phantom earlier.
In episode 2, Jounouchi Hisashi discovers that right after the pillar of light, he is able to see spiders attached to people’s hearts that represent painful memories. By removing and eating the spiders he is able to remove the pain and make the person forget those memories as well.
Along came a spider…
Turns out that about 5 years ago he was in the same hospital as Nagi for a bone tumor. While there he overheard her conversation with Shinpei about becoming a hero of justice. He complains to the doctor that he can’t become strong enough to be a hero. The doctor responds by saying cowards live longer and the Angel of Death prefers to take the
Nothing happens until that pillar of light. Because of that ability, a certain beat cop takes notice of him. Jounouchi becomes addicted to spiders. Phantom whisks him away to a different place for his own good.
In episode 3 Misuzu Arito loses her best friend to the serial killer. Paneru believed that “accepting the world as it is” was the key to being happy. Five years later, instead of accepting Paneru’s passing, Misuzu is trying to embody Paneru up to taking her name as a nickname. Things happen. Manticore shows up as Satoshi, eats one girl and threatens to eat Misuzu. Phantom chases off Manticore and leaves, only for Misuzu to run into that cop I mentioned before and end up sliced and diced.
Nagi Kirima had tried to intervene but arrived too late because Phantom had delayed her. It possible this saved her life. Neither Manticore nor Snake Eyes is an easy opponent.
Episode 4 there’s a boy named Yoji Suganuma who really hasn’t much going for him. No friends, poor at school, all he has is a dating simulation. He has the misfortune of encountering a drug called “Type S” which enhances confidence and lowers inhibitions. At work, there is a pretty junior high girl he is attracted to and he begins to use her insecurity over losing her job to pressure her into turning into her dream girl from the dating sim. Turn out the drug was created by Manticore to create slaves due to its addiction and slowly destroys the user’s sanity. (Already saw this in B and Others.)
Episode 5 reveals a lot. Officer Morito is the cop we’ve seen a couple times before. He is on the hunt to find “evolved” people and kill them for Towa Organization. He keeps telling everything to a fellow officer and then wiping his brain. Morito is actually a composite person known as Snake Eye who can change forms and wipe your brain.
Meanwhile, Kazuo had been stalked by the serial killer 5 years earlier. She goes to Nagi
to try to find out exactly what happened but gets nothing. Failing this she sets about
investigating on her own. This leads her to a hospital, a girl with shiny butterflies that produce images of the past. Some of the images don’t look bad but some of them are of the serial killings of 5 years ago.
She also meets a woman who has no memory before 5 years ago. One of the memories Kazuo gets is her being injected by the good doctor. The injection caused her amnesia from that point on. She now lives by notecards of everything that happens to her.
She doesn’t even remember being pregnant or her child, which was taken away from her.
We also know that the Towa Group has an interest in eliminating all these special people while at the same time is experimenting on people by secretly injecting them with drugs to create composites. My mind is thinking that they want to corner the market on advanced humans. The ones which occur naturally threaten the monopoly and can’t be easily controlled.
BP episode 6 was about a mother becoming reconnected with her daughter thru reading her diary.
Her husband had died earlier and the mother had to go to work. A coworker had an affair with her mother. The daughter then severed her relationship with her mother when she discovered it and assumed it was because Mom had forgotten about her recently deceased husband. Then the daughter had died during a string of grisly murders 5 years earlier, ending any chance of reconciliation.
The daughter’s ghost briefly appears before her mother and they reconcile. And then it is gone.
But… 5 years earlier when undergoing psychotherapy for her inability to tolerate sexual feelings (by the good doctor) she met a pregnant lady (the one who gets injected). The lady explains that every woman has two faces, one is the mother’s face and the other is a woman’s face and mixed in with some philosophy with it that makes her daughter feel better about Mom and life. Too late for her in life but not too late for her ghost.
Ep. 7 has a lot of big reveals. That pillar of light was a man from the future turning into data and leaving Earth. The man’s name is Echo and he was extremely evolved. (See also BP Others) His being was shattered into many pieces and fragments of his ability became attached to other people. This is how even more “special people” came to be concentrated in a small area. This is all mediated by disturbances in the electromagnetic field. The pillar also created holograms of past realities that could be accessed by evolving people. Boogiepop Phantom is a hologram of Boogiepop. When the EM field dissipates, so will Phantom but the original will still be here.
Spooky E has a brief cameo here to tell Morita to get his act together and kill those funky humans. It doesn’t go well for for the officer.
And that is as far as I am. I have been seriously ill for about a week. I went to work today feeling OK in the morning but by the end of day I felt miserable. Ah well, at least I made some money. So I went home, got undressed and crawled into bed. Soon, I have Avery the dog and Scamp the kitten laying on my right side, Oliver the dog on my left, and our 17-year-old cat “Mr. Cat” curled up and purring on my chest. Animals understand a lot more than we give them credit for.