Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 3: Bringing it all together

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Tanaka meets Boogiepop

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.

Tanaka gets some advice from Saotome

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.

Saotome reveals himself to 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 leaves everyone behind

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.

Boogiepop traps Manticore

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.

Nagi reunites with Boogiepop

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.

Nagi muses about the true identity of Echoes

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.

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 2: The parts we missed in the first episode

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Kyouko is afraid to take the same path back home

I know it’s probably cheating to talk about the same show twice in the same week, but I couldn’t help myself. Having just watched the second episode of this series, I got too excited to talk about it. While the somewhat jumpy style of storytelling can be incredibly confusing, I find the series fun to watch when I take a step back and map things out. I know I personally had to take a lot of notes to make that happen, but it felt like I was being rewarded for it. Either way, this episode seemed to expand a ton on the previous episode, so I’m glad that they were released together.

Magic drugs make you feel better

It’s a feeling I recognize much more when I’m reading light novels. I just like it when a series makes me truly feel that paying attention is worthwhile, that the scenes in the episode matter. Granted, the series doesn’t make it easy. As I said last week, many names are mentioned very infrequently, so keeping track of the cast of mostly similar characters is a struggle.

Nagi attacks Kyouko and questions her about the drugs

Take this early scene in the episode as an example. We start the episode with Kyouko and Suema walking home together. Kyouko fears for her life, and she suddenly gets attacked from behind. At the time, Suema isn’t shown on screen, so we’re left wondering whether Suema made some supernatural move because Kyouko learns too much.

Suema and Kyouko talk about the attack later

The show immediately flashes forward to a cafe, where Kyouko and Suema are logically continuing their conversation. Kyouko tells her story about the drugs, and the two question whether it’s the reason Kirima Nagi is interested in Kyouko. This conversation indirectly confirms that Nagi attacked Kyouko in the earlier scene before a later scene flashes back again to definitively confirm it.

Manticore attacks Saotome

While this is happening, an unknown girl is being attacked by the Manticore, and we’re shown the ID of Yurihara Minako. Based on the positioning, I assumed that Minako was the victim, but this later scene reveals that she’s actually the Manticore’s disguise. We also see that the Manticore has allied with Saotome, who happens to be the guy who runs into Keiji in the very first scene in the series.

Manticore creates a drug to control Akiko

And what was Saotome doing when he ran into Keiji? He was on a date with another girl, who is then revealed to be Kusatsu Akiko, the girl who passed out the drugs that Kyouko took. At this point, the pieces felt like they were falling into place for me, so the story started making a lot of sense.

Manticore struggles to wake victims up

One thing that didn’t add up in this episode was why the Manticore needed the drug. Perhaps it was simply meant to make the victims easier to lure, but it doesn’t explain why the Manticore was upset about the girls becoming nearly catatonic. Do they need to be awake? That much still needs to be revealed, I guess.

Kamikishiro finds Echoes

Remember Keiji’s missing friend Kamikishiro from the last episode? It turns out that she’s not just another victim, but the key to Echoes, the true origin of the Manticore. She’s apparently also friends with Nagi, which didn’t fully make sense to me, but I guess it makes the story fit together better. I’m wondering why Nagi had to get herself suspended, but I suppose it’s just an excuse to investigate more efficiently.

Echoes wants to track down the Manticore

To be fair, I think Echoes takes this story into some really strange territory, since he adds the surprise alien aspect. If he’s somehow linked to Boogiepop, that might work out for some grand scheme, but that remains to be seen.

Nagi confronts Echoes

With all of that set up, I’m curious to see how Boogiepop factors into this story. We’ve seen Boogiepop standing before a dead girl, who is likely the Manticore based on what we know so far. Based on this style of storytelling, I’m presuming that Boogiepop didn’t kill the Manticore, but I’m curious to see how this ends.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai First Impressions (1): That kind of resolved itself

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Keiji runs into a friend

I know the second episode is out, but I’m writing this post having not watched it yet. To kick off the new season, it looks like we’re going deep into mystery territory with this series. We’re not given too much of an introduction in the episode, but it does do a decent job of setting up the basic mystery of the show, which is whether Boogiepop is a force for good or evil. We see this through the eyes of Keiji Takeda, a normal student who is friends with Touka Miyashita, the girl Boogiepop is inhabiting.

Boogiepop tries to save the suffering man

With Boogiepop’s introduction, we get a clear indication that its on the side of humanity, as it seems to bemoan the suffering of someone whom the other bystanders ignored. From that interaction, I got the sense that we’re meant to immediately assume that Boogiepop is in some sense the “hero” of the series.

Boogiepop stands ominously behind Touka

However, quick scenes throughout the episode seem to indicate something more sinister. We see Touka, who is presumably still possessed by Boogiepop, in various locations looking strangely amused.

Discussing Boogiepop in class

When we first see mention of Boogiepop outside of the main pair, the girls seem convinced that Boogiepop is behind the disappearances at the school. Naturally, rumors are not meant to be taken too seriously, but the episode continues to call Boogiepop into question.

Dead girl hangs from wires

Finally, Boogiepop is shown standing before a dead girl, right before it confirms to Keiji that it has completed its mission at the school. The episode leaves off suggesting that Boogiepop might have killed the girl, even if it denies that fact. In that sense, I think the episode does a good job of setting up the mystery surrounding Boogiepop.

Boogiepop deals with the police

Now, let’s take a step back and talk about the flip side. It might have just been me, but a few of the scenes in the episode had some questionable animation. It tended to look like the scene was jerking around, as though it was dropping frames or something. The most noticeable example is in the scene where Boogiepop is confronted by police officers. Perhaps there’s some stylistic choice going on here, but I really didn’t get it.

Random girl is scared of being killed

Additionally, I think the episode relies a bit too much on the audience knowing the characters more than we really should. I give the episode credit for having characters interact with each other in a realistically familiar way, but it also means that many important names are mentioned only once. For example, I had to look back in the episode to confirm my assumption that Kamikishiro was the girl who walked with Keiji to school.

Nagi introduces herself

Overall, I thought the episode was decently intriguing. I’m at least curious enough to see where it goes. As I mentioned, the animation was a bit weird for me. However, I did like the background music, as it was sufficiently eerie without feeling overly generic.

As a final note, I think the introduction of Nagi at the end was interesting, since it seemed to heavily suggest a future relationship between her and Touka. However, the opening sequences make her look more like an ally than a future enemy.