An Enemy Of The World

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Boogiepop Wa Warawanai Episode 11 Review

Continuing on with the arc started in episode 10 we see that Nagi has made a recovery from her mysterious illness courtesy of the wonder drug she was given. Too bad one of the doctors got a hold of some of it because she’s using it for some interesting experiments.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 11 Nagi

If torturing rats and removing brains isn’t your thing than this story might be getting gruesome. Then again, very little is shown in action and usually only the aftermath revealed. They wouldn’t want to interrupt the sitting around talking.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 11

One thing though, this new lady who feeds seemingly on fear, kind of reminds me of how we were introduced to the Imaginator and he seemed like he would be an interesting character, before the story failed to do anything with him directly and just had him moving around until it finally ended him. I’m kind of hoping for more this time around.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 11 Touko/Boogiepop

The one really interesting conversation was when Touka’s mother took her to the doctor because she apparently had another personality inside of her. Boogiepop emerges during the conversation with the doctor and more or less declares that she is an enemy of the world. The conversation kind of goes in circles from there, much like a lot of the dialogue in this anime, but it definitely seemed like Boogiepop was giving her a chance to back down. I wonder what will happen to her.

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Karandi James
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STEP – EGUCHI HISASHI ILLUSTRATION BOOK
	STEP - EGUCHI HISASHI ILLUSTRATION BOOK

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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

After Making Us Wait, The Promised Neverland Is Going To Deliver

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The Promised Neverland Episode 8 Review

I think it will be more or less impossible to review this episode without spoilers so count that as fair warning. This week we finally see the end of the Krone/Isabella power struggle and while the result of that is inevitable, Krone’s presence hasn’t been wasted. While I never felt she fit with the general tone of the story, her character role has been invaluable in understanding more about the world and Isabella and though we are left with more questions than answers, I really feel her presence has been fairly important to understanding the context for how this story is going to play out.

The Promised Neverland Episode 8 Isabella and Krone

However, how sad is it that her final thoughts are wishing the children escape as even in death she can only think of bringing Isabella and the world down? Amazingly when Krone believed she might be able to get ahead, while she wasn’t fine with the system she was working with it. But once it was clear that she was simply fodder and not going to achieve her dreams, she immediately just wanted to watch everything burn.

Though I do have a few questions about how that scene was composed as Krone was backed up against the bars one minute and the next was backing up toward the wall and the distance between Krone and the bars was never consistent. It was great to watch mind you, but just kind of made no sense unless Krone was suddenly capable of teleportation.

The Promised Neverland Episode 8 Krone's Death

And you know what, despite Krone finally coming to an end, that wasn’t the real OMG moment of the episode.

Was it Isabella turning on Ray and locking him in a room while she went to confront Emma and Norman? Was it Don coming to the rescue and barrelling through a wooden door to get Ray out? Or even the confrontation with Emma, Norman and Isabella?

The Promised Neverland Episode 8 Isabella and Ray

Nope. All of these moments were brilliant and building on all that careful groundwork this story has been laying down, but the real moment comes after the confrontation where Emma and Norman make a decision and Isabella just immediately shuts them down (by breaking Emma’s leg). Oh, I hated that sound-effect and yet it was perfect and yeet they still weren’t done as Isabella had one more bombshell for Norman.

The Promised Neverland Episode 8 Emma, Isabella and Norman

I feel that the Promised Neverland is going to join my collection of stories like Another and Shiki that feel like very slow burns and then things start happening. But the thing is, that’s what makes them great. They don’t rush the set up and give you just enough to keep you interested. The pay off may or may not end up reaching great heights but I really do enjoy this style of storytelling and I’m looking forward to the next couple of episodes of Neverland to see what they do next.

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Karandi James
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NENDOROID NO. 1092 THE PROMISED NEVERLAND: EMMA
NENDOROID NO. 1092 THE PROMISED NEVERLAND: EMMA

Things Finally Seem To Be Popping Along

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 8 Review

After episodes of very little happening, this episode seemed to be in a rush to pack in a lot. That said, we don’t seem all that much further along but at least while watching there was a sense of forward movement.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 8

And that is very important because while the characters were no more interesting and the visuals are still what they have been, because it felt like the plot was at least propelled in some general direction it kept me focused on this episode in a way I haven’t really been with this series previously. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a heap I don’t get, but I was really getting drawn into the events of this episode at least.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 8 Jin

That doesn’t mean it was all smooth sailing. I mean, we had the conversation between the mopey girl who people ask who would be a killer in the class (still haven’t managed to remember her name) and Jin, the art guy Imaginator, where she’s staring out a window and he’s sitting at a table behind her. Looking at the frame all I could think was it was a soap-take because nobody has a conversation like that.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 8

Character motives remain murky and the destination of all of this is still unclear but it kind of seems like things have come together for this arc at least. It’s incredibly messy story telling, and not the good kind of messy, and realistically I think they would have really benefited from thinking through how each of these characters should be presented because for me they are all still more or less sub-in-and-out-able as I barely remember any one of these characters as more than their back story that we are told or one personality trait that other characters point out. It kind of makes it hard to be overly invested.

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Karandi James
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GHOULBOY [LIMITED EDITION]
GHOULBOY [LIMITED EDITION]

Beware The Dull and Languid Pacing

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 6 Review

So stuff keeps happening and this arc is at least easy enough to follow but what that makes really clear is that these character are not interesting and the pace is painfully slow. If you enjoy standing on roofs or at gates watching characters talk this one might grab you but otherwise there’s a lot of waiting for uninteresting characters to do fairly ordinary things and meanwhile there’s a mystery that remains more or less in the background never getting the focus it deserves.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 6

To say that this story still hasn’t grabbed me six episodes in would be an understatement. While the first arc can look at its disjointed narrative structure as a reason things didn’t click, this second arc can’t really hide behind that because while we are perspective jumping here the plot itself is relatively easy to follow. What isn’t working is that none of these characters have made any kind of impact and they all stand around talking a lot.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 6

And this isn’t normal conversation or ever quirky and interesting conversation. They discuss book quotes, hypothetical situations, philosophy, but rarely does anyone have a conversation that actually just gets to a point or moves directly from point a to b. Again, this is a stylistic choice and some anime have managed to make unnatural and stilted dialogue work just fine for them, but here it just bores me so much watching these barely moving characters speaking in flat tones at one another.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 6

The only thing this anime has going for it is the basic mystery of what is going on with Boogiepop and these other supernatural elements. It isn’t much at this point, but it is keeping me from dropping this.

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Karandi James
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CHOGOKIN ONE PIECE: GOING MERRY -ONE PIECE ANIME 20TH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL EDITION-
CHOGOKIN ONE PIECE: GOING MERRY -ONE PIECE ANIME 20TH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL EDITION-

The Best Way To Catch A Liar…

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The Promised Neverland Episode 4 Review

There’s a definite sense of menace in some of the scenes from The Promised Neverland this week. Isabella confronting Krone is an icy exchange made even more chilling by the incredibly calm way Isabella speaks. Ray and Norman’s exchanges get increasingly more volatile as the episode progresses and nearly come to a head after Norman lies to Gilda and Don about the fate of poor Conny. However, they save the real bombshell for the final moments of the episode and in case you’ve managed to avoid being spoiled already I’ll leave that right there.

The Promised Neverland Episode 4 Mother and Sister Krone

Treachery is a real theme with Krone setting out not just to betray Isabella but to thoroughly take her down. The only real problem is that Krone is so transparent that Isabella’s seen straight through her and Krone’s only real piece in the game cuts her free during the episode. It makes you wonder whether Krone will manage to be a wild card that Norman can’t predict given she’s the only one likely to act erratically in this three way stand off.

The Promised Neverland Episode 4 Don

Meanwhile, Emma lies to Gilda and Don, and she does so before Norman does. While I understand that human trafficking is probably an easier story to swallow than demons eating children it still must have hurt her to deceive them. Even more so when asked point blank about Conny and Norman ended up leaving that answer ambiguous rather than clearly stating what the audience has known from the end of episode one.

The Promised Neverland Episode 4 Ray

However, while there are plots bubbling away here and the interactions between the characters become even more driven leading us toward the inevitable escape attempt, I can’t help but feel like some of the tension was gone in this episode and that the atmosphere wasn’t laying as thickly. It took a second viewing to really figure out why and it is the stark absence of interesting shot types this week. Gone are the clocks that dominated episode one (though we do still get the occasional clock sequence as they check a watch or similar), and a lot of the interesting camera angle and other direction choices that have really set a tone of unease were absent this week. There’s some great character blocking to be sure, but while that establishes personalities it isn’t driving the atmosphere of the story.

The Promised Neverland Episode 4 Ray, Emma and Norman

Ultimately it is a mild complaint about an anime that continues to be entertaining and leaves me wanting more, but if this diminished development of atmosphere continues The Promised Neverland is going to have to be carried by just its cast and the events in each episode. While these are good enough, it isn’t going to make this a must watch so I’m hopeful we see this aspect of it stepping back up next week.

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Karandi James
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THE PROMISED NEVERLAND PLUSH: LITTLE BERNIE
	THE PROMISED NEVERLAND PLUSH: LITTLE BERNIE

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)