Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 16: Splitting off

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Boogiepop tries to find the true threat

I figured I’d go ahead and take this opportunity to fully catch up with this series and save myself a double-episode post this weekend. The idea behind the King of Distortion that gets introduced in this episode is surprisingly interesting, as I tend to like psychological concepts like that. I do think that the portrayal of the psychological condition is a bit insensitive, but I suppose it’s fair.

Boogiepop analyzes the King of Distortion

I do like the idea that the King of Distortion seems too minor to be a true danger to the world. I was thinking myself that he doesn’t seem to be as malicious as other antagonists in this series. I’m hoping the real enemy isn’t too crazy, though, since it seems at this point like that enemy would have to come out of nowhere.

Kazuko wonders about the legitimacy of split personalities

So, I understand what Kazuko is saying here about the controversy surrounding dissociative identity disorder, but it feels a bit harsh. I can buy into the idea that we don’t know enough about what goes on in the brains of these kinds of patients to make a reasonable judgment. In some sense, you could call it a form of self-deception, but saying it like this is a bit brusque, even for me.

Kentarou questions the world around him

Kentarou’s experience seems pretty interesting so far, since he seemed to be the most reasonable victim so far. However, it might just be the case that he’s fooling himself into believing he knows more about the situation than he does.

Also, I was wondering if the dead Hina might have been Shirou’s lost girlfriend, but I totally forgot that we’ve met Shirou already. He’s Naoko’s boyfriend from the first arc. Yeesh, that arc was so long ago.

Kei figures the King of Distortion out

The idea that the King of Distortion is a manifestation of a person’s split personality is quite interesting. I like how it’s presented, as it’s based off the previous discussion about how these personalities appear to help deal with a past trauma. It explains why the King of Distortion appears as a subject of regret in the person’s past. I still think the gold thing is strange, but I think this reveal is thought out well.

Boogiepop faces off against Zooragi

Well, this is a bit of a genre shift. This series has the most random action scenes.

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episodes 14-15: Distorting the facts

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Waiting in line

It’s weird returning to these characters after so long in the story. We haven’t really seen them since before the Imaginator arc, after all. It took me a while to realize that Keiji was a character we’d seen already, since he only appeared in the first episode. That being said, this arc seems promising so far. The King of Distortion seems like a reasonable antagonist, even if his name is bit worrying.

Kentarou meets his friend

It’s rough trying to follow along with these two episodes, given how many characters it jumps between. Kei’s the only familiar face who seems to be taking a major role in this story, so I suppose it’s just a new set of characters to remember.

Kyouichirou's last work

As I recall, Kyouichirou was the synthetic human that Kuroda was investigating way back at the start of the previous arc. Does that mean that the two arcs are related? I’d be curious to see.

Keiji wonders where Touka is

Keiji just has no luck getting a date with Touka, does he? Curse this episode for making me think he was going to be a major character this time. Well, there’s still a chance.

The King of Distortion's plan is to turn everything into gold

It might be too early to judge, but I’m having trouble understanding what the King of Distortion when they say they’ll turn everything into gold. I suppose it wouldn’t make sense to take it literally, right? The King of Distortion later says that they’ll turn people pain into gold, but that still doesn’t make any sense. It just seems like flowery language for now.

Kyouichirou has some plans

Are we supposed to suspect that Kyouichirou is ultimately behind the King of Distortion? Even if he’s a synthetic human, it feels a bit too easy. But I suppose it’s better than accepting that the King of Distortion came out of nowhere.

Also, I didn’t catch the woman’s name in this memory, but I assume she was the woman from the beginning of episode 14. That would make Makoto the kid who ran off to the bathroom.

The King of Distortion taunts people

I have to give the King of Distortion credit. Even if their name is ridiculous to type out, they do a decent job of living up to it. It feels like both of these episodes are a good demonstration of their ability to take a person’s regrets and distort them.

Sakiko has trouble facing her regrets

I’m not sure what to make of these memory sequences yet. I guess they work as character development, but they’re effectively acting as character introductions. These seem like the kinds of scenes you’d see after you knew a character better, so it’s hard to take them seriously. That being said, I think it might make sense if these characters are meant to represent different reactions to the temptations from the King of Distortion. Sakiko might just be the one who fully buys into the “turning into gold” thing.

Kentarou confronts the King of Distortion

I think Kentarou’s actually a fairly interesting main character for this arc. He seems reasonably competent, even if he was only using someone else’s tool to hack companies. I like the way he’s able to break himself out of the delusion using a healthy dose of skepticism.

Kentarou wonders who the King of Distortion is

I think I’d be annoyed if it turned out that Kentarou was still in a dream here. I get that the King of Distortion sets up the question of where the true nightmare is, but it seems like such a cheap reveal.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episodes 12-13: Instilling fear

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Seiichi is told he's about to die

This arc ended up being pretty entertaining overall. I still think that there were a few loose ends that felt awkward, but it was more fun to watch than the Imaginator arc. I also liked that it incorporated elements from the other series, because it truly gave the sense that this story was meant to set everything else up. I hope it’s not just because I watched the episodes in pairs, as I suspected it might have contributed a bit to overall understanding.

Gen confirms the death of Seiichi's fan

Am I supposed to conclude that the Towa Organization is the ultimate antagonist for this series? They feel like they’re being tied to everything at this point.

Seiichi meets Suiko

I’m not sure I fully understood what Seiichi’s role in everything ultimately was. Is he just there because the timeline is convenient for his story? He also seems to set the Imaginator case in motion by talking with Suiko here. It might just be because he’s an author, but I didn’t really get the heavily nuanced language he used.

Nagi states her feelings about Masanori

I guess I can appreciate the irony in this line. After spending some time with Masanori, Nagi concludes that he’s kind at heart, all without realizing that he’s the one who killed her father and Kuroda. Those two were probably the main influences in her life, so it makes it interesting. It also highlights the turmoil in Masanori that becomes a factor later.

Seiichi talks about the influence of bugs going in different directions

I’m a little disappointed that Masanori doesn’t get a fair amount of time to develop. The concept of the “bugs” within him is actually quite fascinating. I think it’s meant to highlight a sort of cognitive dissonance, as the series suggests that he’s acting against his nature when he does his work as an assassin. At least, that was my takeaway.

Nagi figures out Kisugi's motives

It’s cool to watch Nagi deduce Kisugi’s true nature based on what little information she had. I do like the idea that Kisugi essentially yearns for the kind of fearlessness that she targets. These motives actually make a lot of sense.

Nagi resolves to keep helping

I think the series does a decent job of introducing Nagi as the “hero” she attempts to be in the future. Personally, I think that Pigeon was a bit underdeveloped for the role she played in the story. It’s not completely illogical for her to be in love with Kuroda, but she kind of comes out of nowhere. I did like the references to Suiko and Echoes in this arc, though. Overall, it was an entertaining story.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episodes 10-11: Back to the past

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Boogiepop tells Echoes a story

In a valiant attempt to catch up with the airing release, I’m taking on two episodes this week. This next arc seems to focus on the background of the series a bit more, going back in time to explain Boogiepop’s name. So far, it strikes me as a lot more straightforward and interesting than the Imaginator arc, so I’m curious to see where it will go. The arc also starts with a reference back to Echoes, so I’m hoping it ties the other stories together in a meaningful way.

Scarecrow wonders about the Towa Organization

I’m still not sure I get the Towa Organization, but I appreciate that episode 10 starts out trying to explain them some more. Scarecrow’s a surprisingly interesting rendition of the “grizzled” detective type, and the episode does a good job of indicating early that he’s willing to betray the organization.

Nagi meets the detective

The younger Nagi was pretty entertaining to watch. I like how the episode gives some justification for her behavior in the present day. The idea that she tries to become a superhero as she suggested to the detective is a nice touch.

Scarecrow meets Boogiepop as he dies

Scarecrow’s story ends up being a sad one, but it was still nice to see him risk his life to save Nagi’s life. His influence on Boogiepop’s name ends up being a bit disappointing, since he just gives a vague description that we can link to the current name. I guess it’s fair for a series like this one.

Kisugi checks in on Nagi

Episode 11 is a nice shift from the previous episode. Scarecrow’s story is initially portrayed as the act of a hero, but we see in this episode that it has the direct consequence of putting the drug he steals in Kisugi’s hands. She then uses it on herself to evolve into a fear-draining villain. I like the idea of calling his actions into question by giving them a dual nature.

Kisugi marvels at evolution

I do have a slight problem with how “evolution” is used in this episode. The fact that someone with a science background like Kisugi calls regenerating rats a clear indication of “evolution” seems a bit much. I’m not sure I can buy into that.

On the other hand, Boogiepop’s conversation with Kisugi was great. She’s forced to face down a being who’s clearly stating an intent to kill her, and the way the two talk around that idea is cool.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 9: Coming to a close

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Masaki races to find Aya

As we finally reach the end of this arc, I find myself mostly disappointed with how everything is resolved. There are interesting ideas about emotion and free will, some of which is suggested in this episode, but it never feels satisfying. Jin, in particular, seemed ultimately weak as an antagonist, and his power remains a mystery to me.

Boogiepop questions Masaki's free will

Let’s start by talking about what I liked. This entire conversation between Masaki and Boogiepop was entertaining to watch. Boogiepop points out that Masaki was brainwashed by Spooky E, which forces him to question his own feelings for Aya. From there, Boogiepop basically makes the argument that Masaki’s brain is constantly molded by the social expectations around him, so his own free will is always in question. I don’t mind the concept behind the argument, since I’ve run into similar questions about the nature of free will myself. I just wish it went a bit further.

Boogiepop intervenes to help Masaki

Additionally, I enjoyed watching Boogiepop take down all of the assailants. I’m also especially curious about the fact that Boogiepop only gets directly involved to stop Kazuko from interfering. Is she supposed to be special for some reason? It might be cool if Kazuko’s always meant to be the one in the dark about the supernatural events happening around her.

Boogiepop appears to finally confront Jin

Jin himself ended up being pretty disappointing. Even if it does make Boogiepop look a lot more impressive, I’m not sure I like the idea that Jin’s plan was always destined to fail. It’s a neat idea to have him fundamentally misunderstand his own power, but I think he needed more development as a villain to make it truly work.

Imaginator appears before Masaki

Also, I still don’t think I understand what the Imaginator was ultimately trying to do. However, I did like the fact that the arc ends with Suiko touching the ground and fading away. It refers back to the opening of the arc, when the Imaginator mentions to Boogiepop that Suiko was “still falling”. Presumably, it means that they ran out of time.

Masaki begs Kazuko to save Aya

I’ll end with a minor nitpick. While it’s touching for Masaki to beg Kazuko for help with finding Aya, his vague request doesn’t make sense based on what we’ve seen. While he was fighting, he removed a mask and hesitated to attack the girl underneath. Given that Aya is nowhere near him at that moment, what would have stopped Kazuko from just finding her? I guess Boogiepop’s voice is there to save the day, but it bothered me while it was happening.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 8: The plan unfolds

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Jin reads leisurely

With the developments in this episode, I feel like the story is starting to become more clear. There are still many pieces missing, but Spooky E was the weirdest aspect to me. So, I’m somewhat glad to have him gone. I think I’d have an easier time with this series if I had some sense of perspective. At this point, there’s no way of knowing whether Jin as the Imaginator is meant to last us until the end of the series. It seems unlikely, but he did mention bigger plans related to the Towa Organization this week.

Boogiepop appears briefly to comment on Kazuko's behavior

I find it strange that Boogiepop has been appearing to Kazuko in such small ways. Is she meant to be the protagonist of this story? In the first arc, normal people ended up saving the day, so I’m wondering if Boogiepop is pushing Kazuko to move the story forward.

Kazuko confronts Jin

It’s interesting to finally get a sense of Jin’s ultimate plan and the nature of his power. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the metaphorical nature of what he says, but it sounds like he’s trying to create a world in which everyone thinks the same way. There seems to be more going on than that, but it’s my main takeaway.

Masaki beats down the thugs

I wasn’t expecting an action sequence in this episode, but it was surprisingly entertaining to watch (for a slow show like this one). The way the camera shakes through the scene is a bit jarring, but the choreography itself was pretty solid.

Masaki threatens Kotoe

I sure hope that there’s a dual purpose for Masaki’s Boogiepop disguise in the future. The fact that Jin just shows up to free everyone from Spooky E makes me question why it was important for Masaki to pretend to be Boogiepop in the first place.

Jin points out that his power is similar to Spooky E's power

I actually thought the conversation between Jin and Spooky E was alright. Even if it didn’t end up working, I liked the idea that Jin could use the similar nature of powers to infiltrate the Towa Organization. Also, I thought his breakdown of their differences was interesting. Spooky E violently injects his will into people, effectively forcing them to act. Jin instead convinces people to help him out of a sense of gratitude, even if you can argue that it’s artificial.

Jin finds Aya

Based on the line about a “sacrifice”, I’m guessing that Aya is the balanced seed he was hoping to use to fill everyone’s hearts. Based on the earlier scenes, I’m still not sure it’s clear what happens to the person who originally held the seed. Is he transferring a seed to another person or is he copying a seed? I’m not sure.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 7: Chasing after everyone

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Aya asks for drugs

After the events of this week’s episode, I feel like I at least have a good sense of what’s going with Aya, but that’s about it. It looks like the first arc in this series was just a teaser, since this arc seems to be a lot more drawn out. I’m actually kind of glad that it’s the case, though. If the series had started with this current arc, I probably would have been less willing to wait for the payoff. That being said, I’m still worried that the inevitable conclusion won’t feel worth it.

Masaki pretends to be Boogiepop

Was it ever explicitly stated that Masaki was under Spooky E’s control? Based on what I’ve seen so far, it seems like he’s acting of his own free will. However, I get this weird sense from the things Aya and Spooky E say about him. Maybe Spooky E let him roam free because Aya agreed to manipulate him into being Boogiepop.

Jin's father mysteriously dies

Looks like Jin has a bit of a mysterious past. There’s no way that his father’s death is a coincidence. Also, I’m curious about the idea that Jin was a talented artist in the past. Did his father’s death mess up his art career? I thought he was just a counselor.

Spooky E takes over Kotoe

I’m getting tired of Spooky E’s influence on everyone. It feels like he just pops up everywhere to grab faces and zap people. It’s starting to feel like Jin’s own power is meant to counter that in some way, which makes me wonder if they’re related somehow.

Kotoe searches for evidence of the Imaginator

I did think it was interesting that Kotoe’s shift after being attacked by Spooky E was much different than previous ones. It’s later explained that she’s a copy, rather than a terminal (whatever that means). However, the series does a good job of suggesting that fact early. Here, we see her wearing red and black clothes similar to the ones Spooky E wears. It’s also kind of ironic that he fully takes over someone who clearly knows Jin, which blocks him out from taking advantage of that memory.

Aya is confronted by Spooky E

So, it looks like Aya truly is a separate being from Spooky E, rather than just another terminal. It sounds like they’re both experimental subjects for the Towa Organization…or Axis, I suppose. Has Axis come up before this episode? Were they related to Echoes somehow? That would be cool, but it seems really unlikely.

Masaki chooses to continue alone

I don’t think it’s been explored too much yet, but Aya’s mental struggles seem interesting to me. She’s so obsessed with not being hated by anyone that she doesn’t notice that she treats Masaki differently. It’s almost like she has to admit that she likes him to get over that.

Spooky E tries to get Masaki killed

Wait, Spooky E is trying to get Masaki killed as Boogiepop? What exactly does that gain him?

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 6: Alliances start to form

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Spooky E tells Aya to have sex with Masaki

From last week’s episode to the end of this week’s episode, I don’t feel like my understanding of the story has changed too much. It’s interesting to see Kazuko (Suema) take a larger role in this story, as I suspect that the series is trying to build a main cast. It’s too early to say for sure, but I think she might be cool as the normal person who indirectly supports the other characters with a grounded perspective. However, a lot of the more salient pieces of information are somewhat in the dark.

Masaki valiantly tries to defend Aya

I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to glean from Spooky E’s conversation with Aya. From the nature of their argument, Aya still doesn’t seem as mindless as Anou did when he was under Spooky E’s control. However, she does have that “broken” sense to her, and she seems to follow his orders. Maybe that’s just another revelation yet to come.

Kazuko is identified as an expert on weird behavior

I almost feel sorry for Kazuko for being described as someone who’s an expert on people who suddenly act weird. It’s just an interest in psychology, right? Yeesh. Anyway, part of me wonders if it’s meant to set up a joke in the scene. Touka seems to shift to the Boogiepop personality when Kotoe arrives, and Kazuko doesn’t seem to notice at all. I give the show points if that was the goal.

Jin reaches for the chests of two girls

We’re starting to see more Jin’s power, but it’s a mystery nonetheless. Based on his encounter with the two girls in his office, he’s thanked for removing the girls’ fear. Is he removing emotion? That doesn’t make sense when combined with his encounter with Anou in the previous episode. So, maybe he’s removing the weakness in a person’s heart. That would fit with the growing flower visuals later in the episode.

Aya tells Masaki about the rumors surrounding Boogiepop

I quite liked the shifting conversations near the end, one between Aya and Kazuko and the other between Aya and Masaki. The conversations clearly seemed to fit together, so it was interesting to see it that way. The one thing I did find confusing, though, was the timing of it. Based on the earlier scene with Anou, it seems like the conversation with Kazuko is meant to happen before he’s saved by Jin, so I guess it’s happening on the day before the conversation with Masaki. It’s just weird that there’s an orientation happening at that time.

Masaki agrees to act like Boogiepop

Masaki’s going to pretend to be Boogiepop? He better not let his sister know about that. Still, I’m curious about this scene, since the episode ends with Aya vowing to fight against Boogiepop after talking with Kazuko. Is she lashing out at Boogiepop by using Masaki? Or is he meant to take Boogiepop’s place?

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 5: The Organization has found us

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Aya offers to have sex with Masaki

I see we’re still following the first arc’s of keeping the first episode in the arc very loosely related to the rest of the arc. This week’s episode basically took the random pair we saw at the end of last week’s episode and shifted the entire focus on them. I’m hoping that this arc’s random side element (the Towa Organization) has a better payoff than Echoes did.

Given this show’s penchant for tying everything together, I would be more impressed if they were somehow linked to Echoes directly. And with this unknown element, I guess most of this post will be a documentation of what I’m hoping does or does not happen in this arc.

Masaki ponders his situation with Aya

When I first saw this episode, I thought it was just an elaborate plot to get Nagi to join this arc, since it involved her brother. I guess that remains to be seen, but Masaki’s personal story was interesting nonetheless. I can somewhat relate to his issue with standing out when he’s trying not to do so. That being said, the first half of this episode seemed like quite the drastic shift. It almost felt like I’d suddenly started watching a toned-down romance series.

Jin gives Masaki some advice

I really should have expected it, but Jin remains a mystery in this episode. I’m absurdly curious about his newfound ability, and we didn’t get much more than a hint.

Towa Organization makes its appearance

Just when the series had convinced me that Anou’s story was a completely random development, it brings in the Towa Organization to throw everything into chaos. Part of me wonders if this series has too much going on, since these Towa folks don’t seem related to the Imaginators at all.

Jin comments on Anou's lack of emotion

I don’t quite understand this scene. Jin states that Anou cannot be saved, having fallen under the control of the Towa Organization, but he proceeds to free Anou from the mind control. I’m getting some mixed messages here. Did Jin mean Anou’s heart in general can’t be saved? Perhaps he was commented on Anou’s unrequited love for Masaki.

Boogiepop takes care of the Towa Organization

Boogiepop’s interjection makes this story feel so much more like a throwaway. I guess Boogiepop isn’t able to finish the guy off, so it’s not resolved. I’m not sure how to feel about it.

Aya is confronted by the Towa Organization

Part of me really wants Aya’s link to the Towa Organization to be more than what we saw from Anou. She exhibits similar behavior, but there’s something off about her.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 4: Bring on the Imaginators

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Imaginator muses about the world

It’s a brand new story arc, and I’m starting out with a lot of questions. I suppose that’s par for the course for this series. I’m a bit curious about this arc as a whole, since the girl heavily featured in this episode, Suiko Minahoshi, also shows up in the opening animation. I’m pretty sure she’s the girl reaching out towards Touka from a mirror, which makes me wonder if this might be the main story for the series.

Boogiepop labels Suiko as an Imaginator

For a main antagonist, Imaginator is actually quite interesting. If I’m understanding correctly, Imaginator is almost more of an idea rather than an actual entity. It’s almost like Suiko is perpetuating the idea in her death by visiting people in their dreams and dropping suggestions. I’m curious to see how that turns out.

Suiko talks to Jin through other people

All of that being said, I honestly feel like I just get more and more confused whenever Suiko is talking. Perhaps it’s just the translation or it’s the ephemeral nature of her speech. She just seems to use that kind of “fake deep” language that I tend to dislike.

Jin chats with a friend

But back to the point, the story mostly centers around Jin Asukai, a guidance counselor with the ability to see into another person’s “heart” by visualizing it as a flower. It would have been nice to get a better sense of his power, since it seems important. It’s all well and good to say that he can see what’s missing, but that’s such an abstract idea. It seems like he can judge a person’s aspirations, which I would consider to be a separate part of the mind than this heart business.

Officer wonders how Jin helped the girl

It might help with understanding what exactly Jin does with the heart of the dying girl. I suppose we’ll get into more detail about it in the future, but I’m really curious. This idea of “plucking the thorns in her heart” is clearly meant to have a grain of truth, but I’m having trouble translating it into something tangible.

Jin is shown visions of himself ripping out hearts

Personally, I think it might be interesting if Jin had the ability to use the hearts of the dead to fill in the gaps he sees in others. It would be in line with the vision he’s shown by Suiko, as he seems to be pulling hearts out of people. However, I’m not sure that idea makes sense with the scene where he’s testing his power.

Boogiepop admits to killing Suiko

But hey, it’s a new arc. Anything could happen. Maybe Boogiepop will be more involved this time. Who knows?