What They Say:
Believe it when they say—the legend is back! Boogiepop, the angel of death,has returned. Rumors fly as victims vanish in the night, but no one knows where they go. The mysterious spectre is only a myth—at least, that’s what people think.
The audio presentation for this series is pretty solid all around as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo and the English dub in 5.1, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series is one that is largely dialogue based when you get down to it but it uses some creative sound design elements with the games that are played and some of the flashback moments that lets it stretch a bit more. The music is where things have the better form as it’s warm and sometimes stinging in order to tense up the situation, making for some subtle moments that build when you least expect it. The design overall is straightforward enough when you get down to it with some decent placement at times and a solid score that when put together with this clean and problem free encoding leaves you nicely immersed in the show without any distractions.
Originally airing in 2019, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The eighteen episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and nine more on the second. Animated by Madhouse, the show has a strong sense of design about it with the details of the backgrounds to be sure but also with the characters. It feels like it adheres well to what’s come before through various incarnations of books, manga, and the previous anime, but with the stronger modern touch to it. The color palette does lean darker and murkier for a lot of scenes with how it operates but it also spends a lot of normal world time and that has more life and color to it that’s really nicely done. The details hold up well and the overall result is one that’s definitely very appealing as the encoding captures it all perfectly.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the walls with no hinge. It also comes with an o-card that replicates the case artwork but with a bit more color to it which definitely helps since it’s such a darker and murky piece. I love the visual itself with Boogiepop on a rooftop as the inclement weather goes by as there’s light from the life below and the moon above but it’s hued in shades of green that are unnerving. And so much of it is dark across the middle that it really feels ominous. The case itself doesn’t show this as clearly, unfortunately, but it conveys it as well as it can with its paper stock. The back cover keeps to the same overall darker design and color usage with the moon and clouds along the top. The middle goes for a large black section with the summary of the premise, a breakdown of the extras, and a strip of shots from the.show itself. The remainder is the standard fare of detailing the digital copy and the technical credits. No show related insert is included but we do get a reverse cover that gives us the two sides of our leading character.
The only extras for this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences, which is welcome but pretty basic.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the novel from 1988 by Kouhei Kadono that launched a manga in 1999 and then a live-action film in 2000, it took almost twenty years but Boogiepop and Others got its own anime adaptation. We did have the Boogiepop Phantom series back in 2000 as an anime adaptation and that serves as a sequel to the events here, which means you can jump into this without knowing the original work. Madhouse worked on both properties but it was Shingo Natsume who stepped up to direct this based on the scripts from Tomohiro Suzuki. The previous series is one that was strange and tantalizing back in the day, and in subsequent re-releases, because so much of it could be interpretative with what you wanted to take away from it. That, to me, is a good sign of psychological horror and it made it the kind of show that was easy to talk about with others who viewed it in very different ways.
As much as I enjoy Boogiepop in general, it’s a title that always leaves me feeling a little unnerved and one that makes me feel like I don’t quite get it. There’s a hook to it that just never clicked for me as it moves about its particular type of horror – a genre I’m very familiar with but not the biggest fan of. What this series does is operated in various arcs, which when broadcast ended with some of them bundled together so that the eighteen episodes still fit within a singular season. And I do recommend checking our reviews for them for a more in-depth look at each particular arc as we’re just going for an overview of the series here. The arc nature of it is definitely welcome and it doesn’t try to cram the stories from the book into preset lengths. The opening arc is three episodes but the second is six. That was followed up by a four-part arc that aired as a single “movie-like” event. It then rounds things out with a five-episode arc to bring it to a close.
The opening arc really does set the tone well as it establishes our core character and the situations being faced. Touka Miyashita isn’t who she was anymore as she’s essentially something else that has inserted herself into the world to deal with the things that shouldn’t exist in reality. Here, it’s a man-eating monster in a school and her taking on this role has her also being a girlfriend to Seiji Takeda. That’s something that didn’t exist until she inserted in and will disappear once her job is over but she takes advantage of the time where it does exist to have a slight kind of encounter with him, a taste of normalcy. Seiji’s aware of all of this because she reveals herself and describes the condition of a kind of split personality thing but it’s a little more complicated than that. But it makes for an enjoyable arc as we understand how Touka operates under these conditions as well as seeing her as her true self, Boogiepop, handling the dangers that walk the school. With her particular outfit and very blank slate kind of personality, there’s a distance that comes from her but it also plays well as we see the more human moments slipping out here and there thanks to her connections with other people.
Boogiepop’s handling of the things that shouldn’t exist in the world has her moving through the arcs well. Each one blends in an expanding cast of characters and shows how she befriends them in her own particular way and searches for the information she needs to understand her prey. It’s all cold and calculated, even as each new person she deals with touches upon her with their humanity and changes her just a little, but that cold approach is what’s a draw for the most part. We know she’s changing bit by bit but she’s still largely what she is, a unique thing unto herself. Whether it’s dealing with the manticore, and Imaginator, or something else. Hell, we even get one episode starting a new arc that takes place on a new world when Echoes first encountered Boogiepop and ended up where they are now. The whole concept of Echoes is interesting with its power and abilities and how it manages to interact with people . But these are small moments revealed incrementally and in a teasing fashion so that the how of the mystery of the arc can be sussed out slowly and teasingly as it progresses. There are no quick and up front answers with this. It’s layered mysteries to be explored within the realm of the strange.
In a way, I don’t think Boogiepop and Others is quite as “out there”as Boogiepop Phantom is.That show leaned harder into the darker and murkier material whereas this one takes place in brightly lit areas a lot more often and involves a greater range of story points involving people for our lead to deal with. It’s not quite as grim and dark but it still has all the right undercurrents of tension and unease to drive the narrative properly. The arc-based nature of it allows each story to really feel more defined and clear while also highlighting the bigger elements that blend across them all for Boogiepop. The show was a creative one in how it got eighteen episodes out in a single season and just to work with such an old property in a new way once again. Funimation’s release may be a bit basic in that it only has the standard extras, but we get a lot of content here overall and a good dub with it as well. Fans of the show will be pleased to have it in a tight little package like this.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: January 28th, 2020
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.