Look inside yourself, and pick the answers for yourself.
Boogiepop is not what I was expecting, although I admit, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I wanted to watch this show because a friend of mine whose taste I trust said that while it was violent, the girls were all very good and had time to be themselves, to breathe. Upon watching this, I certainly agree with their assessment. It’s a messy show about people during their most imperfect, and the supernatural tinge that surrounds all of that. While most of the characters are teenagers that struggle to figure out who they are and why they’re here.
All in all, Boogiepop is about choice. A majority of the cast are synthetic humans, artificial creations with the potential to evolve past humanity’s limits, who are watched over by the mysterious Towa Organization. The Towa Organization manipulates them all, and has a hand in nearly everything that happens, from the creation of the Manticore to Teratsuki’s rebellion, and they are trying to be the driving force beyond humanity’s ascension. Despite being a key player in everything that’s happened, we don’t see any of the leadership from Towa even once– because beyond their manipulations, they are just the set-makers. The artificial humans may have all been given a purpose by Towa, but over the course of the series, they are given the choice to give in or to pick their own path.
Most of the time, they forge their own path. Even when faced with pain, isolation, or death, most of the synthetics all end up picking their own path. They connect with other people, for better or for worse, and in interacting with their peers, they form attachments, they make bonds, they decide for themselves what they want in life. There are always challenges to their directives that require them to be impartial and unfeeling, something that’s impossible. It’s always other people forcing them to challenge their expectations that blooms change.
Even Boogiepop themselves, while they are in essence a self-defense mechanism of the world, seem to have resigned themselves to the fact that they exist to get rid of problems. They carry their duty out without complaint, but they also know that it’s a very lonely existence. They make connections, but it’s all very transient and is more along the lines of them just interact with coworkers. It isn’t until everything comes full circle at the very end does someone want to interact with Boogiepop as a friend, truly, which gives them a connection beyond being an observer.
What made me most impressed by it is yes, the characters were all interesting, but most importantly, it makes the audience want to think. It may have supernatural elements, but it’s more interested in challenging the psyche behind the cast and why they do things that having flashy battles. Considering this series is what kickstarted the light novel trend, I wasn’t expecting it to be such an in-depth series. This, unfortunately, combined with the fact that it’s nonlinear, seems to have isolated a lot of viewers. A general comment I usually saw in the comments was the fact that people are confused, and that it didn’t make sense. To be fair, it is confusing, a lot of the parts of the show remain unanswered in the very end. However, the information that is revealed is gradual and rewarding- but requires patience. It isn’t a show that will hold your hand, but one that wants you to pay attention and engage with it. For a casual viewer who wants some mindless entertainment, this might not be something that would be enjoyable. For those with patience, it’s a lovely experience.
It also helps that the soundtrack by Kensuke Ushio, who also did Ping Pong and Devilman Crybaby, lent his considerable talent to this show, and I am as grateful as ever. His haunting music is very fitting for this series and makes the experience even better.
I’d give it a watch since I had a surprisingly good time. But it’s also definitely not the show for everyone, so keep that in mind.