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Finally, I can judge this first arc as a complete story. I still find the series entertaining to watch, but seeing the inevitable payoff for this arc makes me feel a bit disappointed. So many story points felt underdeveloped in the end, which may just be the inevitable consequence of being a light novel adaptation. The ultimate concept behind this first story is interesting, as the entire story seems to be largely resolved by normal people. However, I think this idea comes with a drawback, since Boogiepop is actually an intriguing character who basically contributes nothing.
I did like seeing Tanaka, Kei, and Saotome investigate Naoko’s disappearance, but Tanaka particularly felt incredibly weak as a character. He’s hinted at in previous episodes as Naoko’s secret boyfriend, but I didn’t feel like I got enough emotion from him to actually feel sorry for his loss. That being said, I do think it’s cool that Saotome tries to turn these two characters against Nagi.
Nagi’s violent death in this episode felt a bit overboard, but I do think it worked from a story perspective. Granted, I personally thought it was obvious that Boogiepop would arrive to revive Nagi, but we didn’t have any confirmation that this show would go to those lengths. And since we saw Nagi alive at the end of the first episode, it would be totally reasonable to conclude that Manticore succeeds at becoming Nagi.
Echoes was the main weak point for me in this episode. I’m not a fan of how he just disappears. His entire story seems extraneous, despite being the central driving force in the arc. It seems like he learns enough about humanity from watching how Kei and the other students stand up against Manticore, but none of that feels convincing to me. Maybe there’s some deeper message that I’m missing, but I just didn’t get it.
So, is this how Boogiepop typically operates? Based on this scene, it sounds like Boogiepop is accustomed to using normal humans to achieve its goal. I’m not sure how I should interpret this.
I guess this scene is supposed to imply that Nagi has already worked with Boogiepop in the past. It’s not exactly surprising, and I’m not sure what to make of it.
Am I really just supposed to take away from this story that it’s an extended representation for a test from a god? That’s…kind of a downer. I didn’t get that sense at all from watching everything, so it comes off as a throwaway message.