Boogiepop Phantom Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 89.95
  • Running time: 360
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Boogiepop Phantom

Boogiepop Phantom Box Set

    February 25, 2002
Release Date: February 05, 2002


Boogiepop Phantom Box Set
© Nozomi Entertainment


What They Say
A scream in the night, and in that instant the world changed ... or at least, it appeared to. There have always been forces in the world and voices in the night: some friendly and other malevolent. Invisible until summoned; they slide through dimensions as people walk through doorways. They wait, and watch the doings of Man closely ... each for their own reasons. Sometimes, they appear ... and when they do, the world changes.

Everyone knows about Boogiepop: meet her one dark night and you are taken. People tell each other the stories and laugh: no one believes that she exists in this day and age. Still, there are some strange things that appear to be going on just below the surface. Darkness takes many forms, though. Evil and good intermingle. The glass shatters. Time stands still. There is something in the darkness. You aren't alone. Are you safe?

Five years ago, there was a string of grisly murders that shook the city to its core ... and in the present, psychic echoes reverberate.

Contains the entire series!

The Review!
Overall Rating: 4.6
(on a scale of 1-5)

-Technical Ratings-
Sound: 5
Picture: 5
Menu: 4
Presentation: 4
Goodies: 5
Overall: 4.6

-Content Ratings-
Animation: 4
Sound: 5
Plot: 5
Acting: 4
Music: 5
Entertainment: 4
Overall: 4.5

-Intro-

Ohhhh, I liked this one. I really liked this one. Sometimes taking a chance with the boxset is worth it, and I have to say that this was one pleasant surprise. I’m itching to watch it again and then maybe again with the commentary. O.K. I’ll stop blathering and get on with the review.

-Technical Review-

I’ve never had the pleasure of reviewing a disc from Right Stuff International before, but I have to say that they’ve done a bang up job here. The picture was great. This is such a dark series that it’s important to be able to see everything clearly. The mastering here looked great on my system. In addition the sound was also top notch. We listened to this in 5.1 (even though we don’t have our surround speakers set up yet) the sound track was awesome. Great job. The menu is pretty nice. It has some images and music, but nothing flashy. It reacts quickly, but it’s a bit hard to figure out how to pick things on the scene access menu. The boxset presentation is also pretty good. You get an extra large keepcase that holds all four DVDs as well as the CD single. It doesn’t have any inserts, but the back has most of the info you need. It’s got the number of languages, number of channels of sound, rating, region coding and length of the series. It doesn’t tell you how many episodes are on the series, and doesn’t list all the extras you get. What do you get as extras? There are music videos, trailers for Japanese release of the series, promo’s that were shown on Japanese television. In the final disc you get some character drawings and some reflections made by the producer of the region 1 version. Some box sets will include a CD with two tracks on it. This is to make you thirsty for the soundtrack when it gets its domestic release. But the creme de la creme, you get a commentary track by the English ADR director and the producer (I believe). I listened to the first episode commentary and these guys sound like they are having fun doing the commentary and working on the show. I’m definitely going to be watching this one again and again, so a listen with the commentary track is not out of the question. There are some spoilers revealed in the commentary track and in the reflections on the final disc, so don’t look or listen to those until you’ve watched the whole series. This is a great set of DVDs

-Content Review-

You know whenever someone compares anything to Lain I get interested and a bit leery at the same time. I really enjoyed the mood and style of lain, but found the ending to be lacking. Key the Metal Idol was in the same boat. It had a very intriguing mystery about it, but solved it too quickly and obviously for my taste. It seemed like a total switch in style. If you felt the same away about those two series, than check this one out. Boogiepop Phantom does not lose it’s sense of mystery at the end, but it isn’t as twisty as lain or Key either.

The basic premise is hard to pin down. Basically this series is a sequence of character studies. Each episode focus on a character and usually some kind of mental or emotional trauma they are under. Supernatural elements are woven into each character’s story as well as little pieces of other stories. The best way to describe what you are watching is a picture that has been taken apart. You see little pieces at a time, but get a sense of a larger story going on. There is no main character per se, but there are characters that appear in virtually every episode and who seem to key each story. The more you watch, the more of the whole picture you see. I can’t say too much about the whole thing without taking away from some of the mystery of the show.

The animation has some real great points and a real detriment to it. The best thing about it is its use of visuals to create a real mood. Each episode is designed to give you a sense of unease and the uncanny. Interesting lighting, angles, filters and editing are used to not only make you uncomfortable, but to increase the mystery surrounding events. This is a very dark series, with blacks and browns being the key colors. Much of the light we do see is brilliantly garish, or very subtle. When you do see any of the cooler colors, like a startling blue sky or green trees it comes as a shock. The character design is realistic, and that only serves to increase the disturbing nature of the show. These characters don’t have outrageous hair styles or colors, and it helps to draw you into the story. The big problem I had was with the large number of characters, almost all of them being high school girls. I was having trouble keeping track of all the names and characters. They start looking the same after a while. I remember seeing about four different girls with glasses and couldn’t figure out if they were the same girl with a different hair style, or actually four different girls. I think this was a budget issue, in this case. For me it hurt the show a bit when I couldn’t remember from just looking at a girl which character she was and how she fit into the whole story.

Much like the animation the sound design has a style all it’s own. Not only is it used to enhance the creepy mood of the series, but it also goes beyond a typical sound design job. For a series that is so grounded in "the real world" this show uses normal sounds and amplifies them or changes them slightly. It reminds me of the sound work found in David Lynch’s darker movies (Lost Highway and Fire Walk with Me). Not only does it keep you listening, it just adds to the general mood and feel of the animation.

The story itself is pretty straightforward. It deals with the supernatural and the way it affects humans. You’ve got your typical school girl/boy cast. And of course there are all kinds of unusual powers being thrown around. The real key here is the way the story is told. By fragmenting and focusing on the way these troubled characters see and interpret the events, enhances the whole mystery. Beyond that you get the feeling that these characters are real. You get a definite sense that things have happened before you know them and (if they survive) that their stories continue on. The way each character’s stories intertwine and help weave the bigger story is really well done. There was some great writing to get all these episodes to fit like they do and keep the sense of mystery alive up to the last episode. Once you dive into this plot you will want to watch it till the end. Of course not everything is explained, and not every story thread is followed to its conclusion. That’s a good thing in my book. But the story arc that encapsulates these characters is resolved. But I’m very curious to see if the books these are based on get translated. I’d love to read them.

The acting is pretty solid. It’s not the best job I’ve ever heard, but for the most part the cast does a very good job bringing the characters to life. Realistic acting and even subtly help this story work much better then going over the top. In fact I didn’t notice any over the top acting at all. There were some moments were trying to fit the lip flaps became a problem and some lines seemed to be delivered strangely. The only other problem was certain actors and actresses doing multiple roles. Because I was having trouble keeping all the characters straight, some of them having similar voices didn’t help. On the whole this is a good English dub that keep true to the feel and style of the series.

The music was something that really grew on me as I watched. The opening and ending themes really don’t seem to fit (style-wise) into the whole feel of the show. The opening theme especially sounded out of place. It’s done in a very 70’s style and contrasts with the electronic score that goes on during the series. But I have to say that I didn’t mind it at all when I got to the second disc. The score itself is great. It’s a mix of sound effects, electronic music, Wagner, and some standard scoring. The result is something that is as interesting as the sound effects track, and really adds to the whole series. The CD that comes with this boxset has two interpretations of the Wagner opera theme used in the series. It’s a great sample of part of what you will be hearing. The electronic music reminds me of some of the darker stuff that was used in Trigun. I love the music from Trigun, so I think I’m going to be picking up the score for this series as well.

I don’t know if this show is very entertaining. But I really enjoyed watching it. Or maybe I should say I was very intrigued while I watched it. I haven’t seen anything really like this before, especially in the way the story was constructed. It was dark and moody, and in a way reminded me of the feel of Seven. But it also reminded me of the film Lost Highway. I like dark and moody so this was right up my ally. It was also a refreshing change from the typical anime story I’ve been watching lately. It’s not really a deep philosophical show, but it’s like a puzzle that reveals more the more you watch. The only downside, was keeping all the characters and events straight. I would think this boxset would allow you to watch each disc very close together and would help that. But watching one a day or even every other day might help you digest what you’ve seen. I think for people who enjoy dark anime or movies this would be one to check out. If you enjoy the work of directors like David Lynch and David Fincher (what’s with the name David?) then check this out.

I do have a suggestion for those of you willing to take the plunge. Simply watch all the episodes. Don’t try to figure out what happening while you are watching. Just take it all in and then piece it together once you see the whole thing. There is plenty of stuff going on and lots of mood to take in so just let go and have fun. This is another dark little gem in my anime collection.

Roman J. Martel
Tell me what you think! E-mail me at...
roman@animeondvd.com

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Commentary Track,Music Videos,Image Gallery,More

Review Equipment
Phillips Flatscreen (27 Inch), Sony DVP-NS300

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