Kono Yo no Hate de Koi wo Utau Shoujo YU-NO First Impressions (1): Visit all the worlds

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Takuya is called out as a bad student

It seems my options are a bit limited with the spring season so far, so I guess we’re starting with the VN adaptation. As I mentioned in my preview, the premise for this series seems interesting. The story follows Takuya Arima, the son of a distinguished historian who has recently disappeared. However, he receives a package from his supposedly dead father, along with his father’s research on parallel worlds.

Takuya meets Shimazu

Remaining consistent with most VN adaptations, this episode definitely introduces a vast array of potential plot points. I suppose it’s not too surprising given its source, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these random scenes are setups for mysteries that will remain unsolved.

Takuya seems to know something

The most obvious example is Takuya’s conversation with Ryuzoji’s secretary. They clearly have some sort of history, and she seems to have some secrets that Takuya is aware of. However, we as the audience have no clue, so dropping this suggestive line seems a bit odd.

Ayumi tries to calm protesters

To be completely fair, I do respect that this episode doesn’t seem to overly insult our intelligence as the audience. Admittedly, the “mysterious transfer student” thing is a little bit obvious, but I could see this being a strength if the series is able to develop the threads that it opened. For example, I thought it was pretty clear that Ayumi was Takuya’s mother-in-law, even if the first episode never explicitly stated it.

Takuya receives a message from his father

The whole idea of Takuya chasing his father across dimensions reminds me a lot of Time Travel Shoujo, which doesn’t seem too promising. That being said, I’m admittedly most curious to see how this series approaches its “many worlds” concept. From the end of the episode, it seems like the differences in the worlds aren’t too drastic, but it’s hard to say. Akanesasu Shoujo started with a relatively similar world as well. There’s an elf girl, after all.

Takuya meets a strange girl

Another mysterious new girl for the opening episode? Hey, you’re suppose to make it easy for me to pick out the main heroine.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Final Episode (18): Who is the true enemy?

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Teratsuki taunts the players

I wasn’t expecting it, but I think this ending had a solid sense of resolution behind it. As always, it was a bit tenuous at certain points, but I thought that the episode did a good job of bringing the story together. I liked that the conflict was largely resolved with conversation. This series as a whole has been a challenge to watch, but it has been one that I’ve enjoyed taking on.

Kei figures it all out

In a way, I think this arc also highlights the issue I had with the Imaginator arc. Unlike the other arcs, the Imaginator arc seems the most isolated from the rest of the stories, so it’s hard to grasp how it fits in. For this arc, there’s a clear reference back to the first arc, and it resolves a loose end in Shirou.

Shirou is unsure about his feelings for Naoko

The power in this arc also seems to make the most sense for me. Shirou’s power is a straightforward projection of his own mental struggle. His own regret causes him to bring out the regrets in others. The other “enemies” had a similar personal link to their powers, but I think this one was the easiest to understand.

Boogiepop and Kei face off against Shirou

I also liked that the arc made Shirou out to be more than just a throwaway boyfriend for Naoko. He’s ultimately responsible for taking out the manticore in the first arc, but it didn’t have the right portrayal for an act of revenge. In this arc, I think we get the sense that he ends up as confused as we were, which leads to some personal problems.

Keiji finally enters the building

That being said, I think that Keiji and Kyouichirou’s roles in this arc feel a bit weak. At the end of the day, what did Keiji even do? As for Kyouichirou, he largely seems like a red herring. My understanding is that his grand plot is just an invention of Kentarou’s mind, based on how he sees the King of Distortion. As a result, the overall purpose of the building seems unknown, which calls Kyouichirou’s purpose into question.

Boogiepop acts smug

I feel the same way about Boogiepop’s entrance. While it’s cool to see that the King of Distortion turned out to be a relatively benign entity, it makes me question why Boogiepop appeared in the first place. My understanding is that the King of Distortion was never an enemy of the world. And so, Boogiepop would have only appeared to fight Zooragi, which was accidentally summoned by the King of Distortion. I guess it makes sense, but it doesn’t feel impactful.

Final Score: 7/10

Fun to think about, but it can be a pain to keep track of everyone in this series. Boogiepop is a cool concept too, but I think that the other powers in this series often come off as being underdeveloped.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 17: Where does the dream begin?

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Shirou checks in on Kentarou

To be honest, this arc has been an interesting take on the idea that you can’t trust anything you see, but I think it’s becoming difficult to keep things straight. Much of this episode seems like a return to the real world, but it’s not the easiest thing to confirm. I suppose the tie-in with the Towa Organization was always inevitable, so I’m curious to see where it goes.

Kentarou vows to defeat the King of Distortion

It was really hard to take Kentarou seriously after seeing the previous episode, where everything turned out to be a lie. I don’t particularly mind that he seems to be the guy who pretends to know more than he actually does, but it’s a slow discovery process.

Boogiepop refuses to kill Sakiko

I quite enjoyed this conversation between Boogiepop and Sakiko. I know that Boogiepop can’t truly kill Sakiko unless she’s a threat to the world, but it’s cool that Boogiepop effectively counsels her out of a tough situation. The reasoning behind Boogiepop’s position that Sakiko should be more proud of herself is very reasonable too.

Kyouichirou explains his plan

This part of the episode is where the scientist in me has a lot of trouble. As I’ve said before, I don’t think that evolution is quite right for what the series is trying to portray. Ultimately, evolution doesn’t have a particular direction. To demonstrate that fact, a species can evolve a trait and lose it later, based on how suited the trait is for the environment.

Kyouichirou wonders what the implications of this evolution are

That being said, I think the actual concept that’s being expressed is interesting. It seems more like Kyouichirou’s trying to tap into some vague form of determinism, which could be cool. Basically, the flow that he mentions is the continuous chain of cause and effect, so the idea is to glimpse at that.

Kentarou is confused by the message

The ending’s a bit hard to judge, since I’m not entirely sure what the takeaway is. Based on Shirou’s creepy expression and his disappearance in the final scene, the episode seems to indicate that he’s not actually in the room. As a result, the immediate conclusion is that he’s actually the King of Distortion, who has seemingly learned Kyouichirou’s plan. We saw the King of Distortion appear before Makoto at the beginning of this arc, so it’s not a stretch to have it appear as a general delusion. I guess we’ll see next week.

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.

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?