Boogiepop Phantom Vol. #2 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, August 11, 2003
Release Date: Monday, August 18, 2003
What They Say
EPISODE 4: MY FAIR LADY
Yoji’s concept of the world is what he sees on his monitor. For him, the only real thing is the generated girl he plays with every waking moment. Then, one day, reality intrudes on his world and the girl of his dreams appears. She’s so very nearly perfect… with a little help she will go the rest of the way.
You see, it’s really all so very easy
EPISODE 5: INTERLUDE
Morita and Yamamoto are two typical cops in what seems like a sleepy town. It wasn’t always like this: there was that string of murders five years ago, but most of their days are spent going over reports and chatting about the mundane events of their lives.
So, how does one define “mundane”?
EPISODE 6: MOTHER'S DAY
Shizue and her mother didn’t really know each other: the death of her father saw to that. Driven apart by a mutual lack of understanding. Shizue’s death and the discovery of her diaries sends her mom through Shizue’s short life. Her few joys. Her disappointments. A crystallizing event.
And at last, a moment of clarity for each.
A quick flick through my dictionary for the word “weird” elicits the definition as “Strange, odd, bizarre, peculiar, eerie, creepy….. see Boogiepop Phantom”.
I listened in Japanese and English, and no fault was heard. The 5.1 English is the main option I’d recommend going with, although either sound track produces a great sound with very eerie sound effects. Opening track is “Evening Shower” and has a nice Jazz-Funk beat to it, whilst the closing theme “Future Century Aki Club” is a cracking good tune.
The video presentation is extremely good, with no problems detected, but it is highly stylized. This is done in a soft focus, slightly dirty optics style, but the Anime characters are always well defined, although the colours will look a little washout (but that is deliberate).
The box front cover has three girls from Class C & D. The rear cover has stills and plot outlines from all three stories. No insert was supplied, and the disc itself has a very nicely printed Boogiepop with a clock in the background.
Menus are well designed with the episodes presented as butterflies, whilst some of the characters appear and disappear on screen in a ghost like fashion. All links worked and no dead ends were encountered.
Two promo videos which are not very interesting, although I recommend you check out the “Fruits” video which is disturbing to watch, but enjoyable.
The optional commentary was both interesting and off putting. You need to watch it again with the commentary turned on to get the best, don’t try to watch and listen to it first time around as it’s just too distracting from the plot.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Confused by volume 1? Well be prepared for this continue. The three stories contained on this disc are presented in the same strange manner. For a start, it’s third person presentation is done through a circle of observation that stays focused on what’s front and centre. If you look to the periphery you’ll notice that the background gets progressively darker toward the edge. They want our attention in middle, like some peeping spy, and so the effect is one of looking through a camera with a dirty lens.
And it isn’t just the visual that that is manipulated, but also the sound. The sound varies a lot, with booming bass beat, fade and reverb being inter-cut to express the weirdness of the plot in an eavesdropping fashion- I like it!
The first story is called “My Fair Lady” and follows Yoji Suganuma. This boy is a senior at Hijiridani High School. He is quiet and withdrawn, which is mainly due to his overbearing father who constantly pushes Yoji to do better. The effect of which is to make Yoji delve into a fantasy life with a computer generated girlfriend. Things go from bad to worse when someone sells him a drug (Type-S) which causes Yoji to loose his ability to tell real from fantasy. This in turn makes him come onto a new waitress (Rie) at the place he works part time. The downside is that he starts to loose his grip on reality and can no longer tell fantasy from reality His story ends with a power cut that sends a beam of energy up to sky. A result of this mysterious force bursting forth is that Joji hard disk corrupts, this in turn sends Yoji mad when he looses his fantasy girl.
In a smaller, parallel story we watch Sunami Uehara, who also in the same class as Joji, as she gets into selling - on behalf of “the man” in front of the station - as well as using a drug called S-Type. In fact one of her early customers is Yoji. By the finish of the first story she has come to a very sticky end (assisted by the mysterious Nagi Kirima).
The final line of this first story asks the question “who’s Panuru?”. The answer will be important, but I have no idea why (honest).
The ending of story one, with Yoji being arrested by the Police is the link to story number two. In this story called “Interlude” we follow a déjà vu conversation between two Police officers (who arrested Yoji). We learn, or we think we learn, a lot more about the strange goings on in town. And the information given concerns the omnipotent and malevolent Towa Organization, who watches over human race. The organization doesn’t like change (evolution) so they created composite humans (perfect mimics) to find and kill evolving children. The evolution of these children may have been accelerated by a stolen drug that was designed by the Towa Organization. Is any of this true? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that Morita isn’t what he seems and that he has an interest in Miyo Kisaragi grand daughter (Manaka). And the reason for the déjà vu? Well Composites get bored so they like to tell stories and then they make the listener forget.
At the same time we follow Suema who is asked by Nagi Kirima to find out information about fellow school mate Toka Miyashita (what’s in the bag Toka?). We learn in a flash back that Nagi Kirima knew a “detective”, possibly a composite human detective called Shinpei Kuroda. At the same time we see the drug stealer being killed by a women. We know that the drug was given to Miyo Kisaragi’s daughter (Muyumi) when she was pregnant. The girl in the hospital is Manaka, and she has a special power to show fragments of the past (butterflies), not too mention she likes to mimic speech!
The third episode “Mother’s Day” really expands on what we’ve learnt in episode 5. We discover the grisly remains of the real Policeman Morita, and this confirms the phony Morita’s story from episode 5.
We follow Shizue Wakasa’s mother (Wakasa) as she prepares to relocate, but finds herself caught by the ghost of her dead daughter, and the regret she carries. As she flicks through Shizue’s diaries we learn about events from the past just prior to the serial killings. Some connections start to appear with Shizue meeting the pregnant Muyami at the Prefectual Hospital, but they have more in common, they shared the same Dr Kisugi.
So having watched these three episodes, my head hurts, but I have been able to identify three killers and two motives.
In summary- This series is a riddle wrapped in an enigma, and it scatters small clues around like confetti. So if you like to read “mystery who dunnit” stories then this series will continue to intrigue and tax your mind. Conversely, if you like DBZ, I suggest you avoid this volume like the plague ;-)
Japanese 2.0 Language ,English 5.1 Language ,English 2.0 Language ,English Subtitles ,Music Video ,Promotional Spots ,Directors Commentary
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
Running time: 85
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Boogiepop Phantom