The End of the Imaginator and The Start Of A New Arc

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 9 Review

There’s just something about Boogiepop wa Warawanai that continues not to sit well with me. I know I’m not very invested in this story but I also consider myself relatively good at picking up small cues within a story and yet as the Imaginator’s arc comes to a close I’m just wondering what actually happened and why. Yes, there was a lot of babble about humans, hearts, organisations and free will in this episode but I’m just not sure any of it made even more than passing sense.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 9

Now, if I remove that from the equation, I’d have to say this was a reasonably fun episode. There’s a few action sequences, a show down between Boogiepop and the Imaginator and it feels like the characters we’ve been following for the past few episodes all get some kind of personal resolution, but then I start asking the how and the why questions and it all kind of crumbles apart. Not to mention I want to know what happened to all the other characters that Spooky E had changed and whether they are still waiting instructions or have they also come back to themselves.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 9 Jin

Again, I don’t really need a neat little bow wrapped around my narratives but Boogiepop feels like it is ambiguous because it doesn’t know how to be mysterious without it. There’s no sense that the pacing or direction is building up any kind of atmosphere at this point, and the visuals certainly don’t do much other than exist. About the only thing that manages to keep me watching as a viewer is the vague promise that somehow through continuing on the ambiguity will be made clear (or at least clearer) however as of yet the story hasn’t delivered on that at all.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 9 Imaginator vs Boogiepop

Still, there’s quite a few episodes out to watch so I guess I’ll keep going and see what happens next.

Boogiepop Wa Warawanai Episode 10 Review

There’s a slightly jarring moment at the start of this episode where we run into Echoes again (remember weird guy from first arc) only it seems like this is before the events of the first arc, maybe… It is really hard to tell. Anyway it seems like we’re on a different planet but somehow Boogiepop is there and after a needlessly confusing back and forth Echoes asks Boogiepop how she got her name and we flash back (which if we were already in a flashback makes it even more confusing or maybe I’m just struggling with the time-sequence here).

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 10 Boogiepop

However, once we enter that flashback, we get a fairly linear and interesting story around a guy named Scarecrow who works for the Towa Organisation. We get a little insight into what they are actually doing and we see Scarecrow encounter a younger version of Nagi. This whole story is not just interesting but it actively works to fill in some gaps in the story that we’ve seen play out so far and so I kind of enjoyed it.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 10 Nagi

Though it seems this story comes to a close with Scarecrow declaring that the shinigami type character he runs into is kind of like a creepy bubble before dying, it appears that this is the start of a new arc and for whatever reason there are yet more episodes already out to watch. While I’m going to put off the next couple for a week while I watch other stuff, I will point out this is probably the most interested Boogiepop has made me yet, though I wonder how we explain Boogiepop being on another planet talking to Echoes or will this be like so many other things and just left unexplained.

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Karandi James
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SKETCHES TRAVELER’S JOURNAL – MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD EDITOR’S LOG
SKETCHES TRAVELER'S JOURNAL - MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD EDITOR'S LOG

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Weak Introductions To Characters We’ll Never Know

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 5 Review

I have nothing against anime that have a large cast of characters even when those characters get little screen time. March Comes in Like a Lion has a massive cast when you consider all the people Rei and the sister’s encounter and yet each one feels like they could be a person and that they don’t just exist for the story or will cease to exist once they move off screen. Stories like Baccano manage an array of characters and perspectives and leave the audience with a sense that we’ve spent time with all of them and had a great time. So I’m wondering why Boogiepop is making me feel like each of these characters is paper thin and once the scene moves on from them I swiftly forget them.

Boogiepop Wa Warawanai Episode 5 Aya

Part of this is probably the character designs. So many of these characters are just kind of dull and generic student. Which makes sense from a realist point of view but it does make it difficult for any character to stick when we’re in a visual medium and the visuals are so forgettable. Outside of Boogiepop, Echoes, and the Art Teacher guy we met last week, none of the other characters have had any real visual distinction.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 5

But the other part of it is that all of these characters are so incredibly flat. No matter what they are doing we seem to have the same tone of voice and fairly understated reactions. When one cast member is a little flat it can be a defining personality trait; when every member of the cast seems to pride themselves on showing as little emotion as humanly possible you end up just wondering if this is still the read-through rehearsal before they actually decide to put on the story.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 5

However, complaints about characters aside, Boogiepop is getting better. This second mystery is a lot more compelling and the connections between each section of the story are far more readily visible even as we chop and change between character perspectives. While I couldn’t say I know what is actually behind what is happening, I will say that following events is significantly easier and the whole thing feels like it is moving toward something which is certainly a step up from the meandering first three episodes that just felt like they were drifting without a destination.

While five episodes in I still probably wouldn’t jump to recommend this one, it is certainly intriguing and if it continues to pull itself together it might even end up being a decent series by the time it is done.

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Karandi James
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Boogiepop Omnibus Vol. 1-3 (Light Novel)
Boogiepop Omnibus Vol. 1-3 (Light Novel)

The Sprouting of a New Imaginator in Boogiepop

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 4 Review

This week the story is more straight forward but the same languid pace and drip feed of information that makes little sense without context continues. It feels like a desperate attempt to make the story seem interesting as the visuals continue to be painfully dull to look at. Then again, I enjoyed this episode far more than any of the previous three so maybe I should look at what actually did work.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 4

A new character was introduced this week and he has an interesting ability to see a flower inside of people and what it is lacking. However, he’s frustrated because he can only see it and can’t always help people and he has no idea what he is also lacking. This concept really could have been very interesting, and despite the delivery, I’m still kind of intrigued at the notion even if not so caught up in this particular story.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 4

After encountering the spirit of the girl from the last arc (now named an Imaginator by Boogiepop) the new guy is caught up in a series of unfortunate events including a former student trying to rob him at knife point. Then said student, under the control of the spirit, slashes her own throat. During the interview with the police, more details of the girls’ life come to light and you can see that something is withering inside the man. Which probably explains his next actions.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai

Like with the first three episodes, the ideas are stronger than the execution here. The pace positively crawls and almost no-one ever emotes realistically. Every voice kind of ends up sounds dull and disinterested in the lines being delivered and with so many night times scenes and dull colours with limited movement it all just becomes a chore to watch where I’m wondering how long until the end of the episode.

But, whether I liked it or not, this flower idea has me so I’d watch the next episode regardless and I get the distinct impression that’s how this season will go. I may not be thrilled by the story but there’s enough intrigue to make me curious enough that I don’t want to walk away.

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Karandi James
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Boogiepop Omnibus Vol. 1-3 (Light Novel)
Boogiepop Omnibus Vol. 1-3 (Light Novel)

Disorderly and Dull, Perhaps The Worst Things For A Story To Be

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When a writer chooses to tell a story out of sequence there really should be some kind of reason other than there was an absence of any other narrative hook. Despite the desperate attempt to grab the audience through narrative devices, Boogiepop has fallen pretty flat with its first arc.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 3
Yes, we get that, but have you considered making it something interesting?

And I don’t say that to suggest that writers shouldn’t play with narrative structure or that a story told out of sequence can’t be entertaining. But essentially, Boogiepop wa Warawanai has so far confused and bored it’s audience, started to become clearer and introduce some intrigue, before showing its hand and wrapping things up in a neat little bow. All this begs the question was whether or not the story would have been equally as ineffectual if it had been told in order?

Boogiepop wa Warawanai episode 3
We have a man-eating monster on the loose and a potential alien and the story is still this dull. How did you manage it, Boogiepop?

Even leaving aside the plot, after three episodes we have zero characters to really get behind or that we know anything of significance about, the atmosphere is pretty placid though I guess maybe they are going for a still and mysterious tone (missing it if that is what they are going for), and they wrapped up the only mystery they’d presented worth caring about because the over-arching who or what is Boogiepop doesn’t really interest me. And why should it? They’ve done nothing to make me think that it will be a significant reveal.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 3
I wonder how many people will watch the next episode?

By the end of next week I’ll have decided my watch list for the season (though it does move a little after that), and at this point I can’t say that Boogiepop wa Warawanai will be on it. It’s done too little to interest me and it isn’t even something that will be fun to pull apart each week and complain about. Mostly because it is committing the worst of story crimes: it’s boring.

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Karandi James
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Boogiepop Omnibus Vol. 1-3 (Light Novel)
Boogiepop Omnibus Vol. 1-3 (Light Novel)

Boogiepop Begins To Reveal Its Secrets

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Boogiepop wa Warawania Episode 2 Review

I said in my episode 1 review that delaying reveals can payoff if you keep the audience interested enough, and Boogiepop seems to want to keep us relatively interested. While more mysteries come into being in episode 2 with discussion now of shady government organisations and aliens we get a different perspective on some of the events that intersected with episode 1 to fill in some of the details and it creates an intriguing mix of information and questions.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 2

None of that has really helped this along visually and the pacing within episode 2 is still pretty languid. This anime is in no rush to reveal, show its hand, or even move on to the next scene as it lingers over conversations and cups of tea. That isn’t to say nothing is happening, it is just taking its time and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a mystery.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 2

While I’m still not 100% sold on this one, the premise is interesting enough, some of the characters this week started to actually have some character (actually I’m not sure why this couldn’t have been episode one with a few minor additions), and the story seems to be taking shape. Hopefully another episode or two and I’ll be caught up in this one.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 2

There’s been quite a bit of chatter about the original anime which apparently aired back in 2000. Maybe at some point I’ll look for it but for now I’m pretty happy to see how this one goes.

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Karandi James
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Boogiepop Phantom Big Key Chain Suema Kazuko
Boogiepop Phantom Big Key Chain Suema Kazuko

Leaving the Audience On The Outside in Boogiepop

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Boogiepop Wa Warawanai Episode 1 Review

I am aware that this anime has some history and that some people will be fairly familiar with the subject matter here. I’m not one of them. I’d never heard of this one until the promotional materials for the Winter season started floating around and even then I only kind of paid it a vague kind of attention. As such, I went in fairly cold though the tags of psychological and mystery seemed like it might be something I’d really enjoy.

Boogiepop Wa Warawanai Episode 1

It is hard to judge an anime, any anime, on its first episode alone but honestly the best description I can think of for this first episode is ‘sedate’. We meander about watching a few interactions between characters, some rumours and whispers, and hear about missing girls and monsters, and then it is all over and Boogiepop leaves. We don’t really know how or why it resolved other than it did and it seems like things aren’t actually resolved at all.

There’s a strategy at play here and anyone new to the material will be wondering now just where this is going. There’s certainly lots of intriguing questions about the mystery, about Boogiepop, and even just about the ‘normal’ characters we’ve encountered.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 1 Boogiepop

The question is whether or not this episode succeeded in being interesting enough to make the audience care about pursuing those questions. Realistically, that’s borderline for me. The opening song was pretty average to dull (though it might grow on me), the animation and character designs are also pretty average. So far none of the characters have particularly grabbed my interest, not even the cloak and hat wearing Boogiepop and I don’t think I can recall a single other character name.

I’m going to give this one a bit more time because it does feel like this might go somewhere and it’s listed genres are ones I usually enjoy. Still, if there isn’t a noticeable pick up in the next couple of episodes or something that really hooks me I’ll probably leave this one.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 1

I’d love to know your thoughts about this first episode. Did you enjoy it? Did you find it a bit slow? Leave us a comment below.

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Karandi James
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Boogiepop Phantom Big Key Chain – Boogiepop
Boogiepop Phantom Big Key Chain Boogiepop