Boogiepop Phantom isn’t a new anime. It dates back to 2000. There are three reasons why it’s now getting reviewed on Geek Native.
Firstly, there’s a new anime coming called Boogiepop Doesn’t Laugh which looks like something of a reboot. Although trailers have come and gone, being republished under the title ‘Boogiepop and Others’ so it’s okay to have some doubts about what Madhouse are up to.
Secondly, I found Boogiepop Phantom on Microsoft and watched it with my Xbox and my Windows 10 PC. Yes, really. I had no idea I could get anime via Microsoft. It’s a thing I’ll do again. I see even that Boogiepop Phantom is available for the Microsoft HoloLens, an augmented reality device, that must make some spooky animes absolutely terrifying. Pass.
Thirdly, most importantly, Boogiepop Phantom is a classic.
My copy of Boogiepop Phantom, bought legally from Microsoft, was of terrible quality. It looked like someone had copied a VHS. In fact, it’s possible that’s exactly what they did. The resulting picture was tiny, square and grainy.
… but that rather suited the sombre mood of Boogiepop.
Boogiepop Phantom is actually set five years after another and largely untold story. Some creature known as Manticore was involved in a string of murders. Boogiepop may be a result of that or just the persona of someone traumatised by that horror or something else entirely. All we know as Boogiepop Phantom starts off is that weird things are starting to happen again and there’s someone in a tall hat who is getting involved.
The anime is a series of spooky short stories about people struggling to cope with life. Slowly but surely, to begin with, these stories start to overlap. As is the anime way the amount of overlapping rapidly gains pace in the final few episodes, the level of supernatural horror hikes and we find ourselves at a crescendo of drama.
There’s a college kid who sees bugs that no one else can. What does he do? He eats them.
There’s a strange drug that gives users control and confidence over others. There’s a policeman who warns of a conspiracy of bodysnatchers.
There is a serial killer, agents going after the killer and doctors persuading patients into sinister clinical trials. There are strange lights in the sky, drama at school and things escaping undercover organizations.
These all tie-up, eventually.
Boogiepop Phantom is absolutely an anime you should watch on a small screen, in a dark room, when you’re alone and can’t get to sleep. That’s one way to deal with the poor rendering quality of the legal copy and another way to eat up the dark and spooky atmosphere that so expertly oozes from the story.