Original Run: January 4, 2019 - March 29, 2019 Number of Episodes: 18 Genre: Horror, Mystery Based on the Series Created By: Kouhei Kadono and Kouji Ogata
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Boogiepop wa Warawanai. Reader discretion is advised.***
Amongst the female student body at Shinyo Academy, there is a rumor going around. Supposedly, there exists a spirit who will kill young girls at the height of their beauty so that they can never become ugly.
And scarily enough, it would seem as though those rumors may be true. Many people are mysteriously disappearing. However, the truth behind these events is far more terrifying than anyone can imagine. The only thing standing in the way of such dark forces is the very being which is said to be the darkest amongst them.
That is none other than the one and only Boogiepop (voiced by Aoi Yuki).
In the world of shadows, there are many things which lurk and wait. It is not safe to wander off at night. But, should you hear an eerie whistling in the air, know that someone somewhere is looking out for you.
To read my Boogiepop Phantom review, please click HERE.
When I first heard of Boogiepop wa Warawanai, I thought it was an amusing, albeit interesting, joke. Of all the nearly two-decades-old shows out there, this was not the one I expected to receive another installment. There is a three-year gap between this post and the last, but I actually did review the original Boogiepop series, 2000’s Boogiepop Phantom.
Thus, to avoid confusion, I will be referring to the two entities as follows:
- Boogiepop Phantom (2000) – Boogiepop 1
- Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – Boogiepop 2
Having now done that, to those who have seen Boogiepop 1 but not Boogiepop 2, I suppose the next point we must address would be:
What was Boogiepop 2? Was it a sequel? Was it a re-telling? Was it its own separate thing?
To that end, the best answer I can give is – yes and no to everything.
What I mean by that is, you don’t need to watch the first series to understand the second, but it will help. This installment retained many of the same themes as its predecessor, but it also added so much more. This show was far more extensive than the last go around, but it never felt entirely disconnected from what came before either.
Considering all that, there is really only one thing you need to know. Boogiepop 2 was much better than Boogiepop 1 – and that is coming from someone who once ranked the first series ninth on their Top Ten Horror Anime (2016) list.
For starters, if you found Boogiepop 2’s story to be confusing, I will agree that this narrative did twist and turn a lot. Nevertheless, everything was still vastly more explicit and more straightforward than the original. I could actually keep track of what everyone was doing and – to an extent – why they were doing those things.
Granted, one of the aspects which made Boogiepop 1 an effective horror anime was its complexity. Accordingly, Boogiepop 2 was less focused on scares and tension – assuming that was its intent. This show was more about the psychological.
Plus, there was a lot more action in this series, and that was, indeed, a surprise. Fortunately, it was a pleasant surprise since Boogiepop 2 had fight scenes only when it could and not because it could. It also helped that when there was a fight, it looked cool as all hell.
Getting to the real heart of the matter, though, there were two pillars which allowed Boogiepop 2 to be as fascinating as it was. The first was this series’ dialogue.
As is the nature of a narrative trying to explore any sort of philosophical thinking (pseudo or otherwise), the words and conversations that come out of characters’ mouth will either keep your attention or make you want to bash your head against the wall because of the corniness. For me, at least, Boogiepop 2 was firmly in the former’s category.
That said, it could very well be that Boogiepop 2’s dialogue might not have been as good as I thought it was. I’m feeling such an idea isn’t impossible since this show’s second critical pillar would have made up for anything the first might have been lacking in.
Boogiepop was terrific. I absolutely loved this character.
Boogiepop was able to offset any cringy philosophy speak because our titular phantom had an uncompromising matter-of-fact attitude. Boogiepop didn’t let emotions cloud purpose. When faced up against an opponent, Boogiepop neither underestimated nor overestimated the odds of victory. How things went was how they went.
More importantly, Boogiepop understood that humans DO operate with their emotions. Therefore, concepts such as sadness, fear, and love weren’t alien to Boogiepop. In fact, there was a point in the series where Boogiepop openly admitted to feeling something akin to jealousy. Did that derail Boogiepop’s mission? Not in the slightest. The situation and the feelings attached to it were just how things were, and they didn’t change what needed to get done.
To put it simply, whenever Boogiepop was on screen this series was at its best. And luckily enough, Boogiepop was on screen quite often.
Calling this section Series Negatives feels inaccurate. I suppose what I am about to talk about could be seen as a flaw; from a certain point of view.
The question you need to ask yourself is:
How much do you care about an overpowered character?
To be clear, if a story has something or someone who makes every conflict nonexistent, then that’s just lazy writing. In the case of Boogiepop 2, there wasn’t anything that did that. There were still obstacles to overcome and problems which needed facing.
That said, there was almost zero tension in this story because Boogiepop was too good at being a badass.
To give some due credit, it was never Boogiepop’s actions that created this sense of perpetual ease. No, it was Boogiepop’s lackadaisical attitude which did that.
Please keep this in mind, though. It was always clear things could go tragically wrong for the characters in Boogiepop 2. Death and brutality were common enough. But this was one of those shows where you kind of know which people might be safer than others.
Therefore, if you are a fan of the first series and were hoping the second was going to give a modern horror-ization to the franchise, you probably won’t get what you’re looking for.
Be that as it may, Boogiepop 2 found an identity that was its own, and since the actual Boogiepop character was so damn fun, I would argue everything balanced out in the end.
This was a new chapter to a series I didn’t know I wanted to have a new chapter.
The story was interesting, the fights were cool, the dialogue was engaging, there was a lot to like about this show. Most importantly, though, we were given a character who managed to make everything that much better.
Is it possible that character did their job a little too well? I guess you can worry about that, but you won’t see me doing so.
Boogiepop wa Warawanai gets a full recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Boogiepop wa Warawanai? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.