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Monday, 16 September 2013

Boogiepop and Others by Ryu Kaneda

What was I thinking when I rented this from the library?

It looked fascinating, and it most certainly was, but it was borderline culturally impenetrable from a western standpoint.

For those who don't know, Boogiepop is a series of Japanese Light Novels (a genre very similar to our Young Adult Fantasy genre) about a girl who turns into a Shinigami, a Japanese Angel of Death, who is bafflingly named Boogiepop for no adequately explained reason, at least within the confines of the film.

Note that I will be approaching this film review with the film as a standalone object.

Boogiepop and Others is a fascinating film, with some very interesting cuts in it. These cuts come off as a very jarring, as the soundtrack doesn't even fade out. The film opens with a series of short vignettes that give us a brief introduction to the various storylines we see later in the film.

Each storyline builds on the last, giving us a different piece of the picture of the various high school students attending the school that the movie centres around. The central conflict is that there are girls going missing, one girl named Nagi is being blamed for them and accused of being Boogiepop, when in fact it's a completely different girl who is Boogiepop. It's all very confusing.

And that's perhaps the worst crime of this movie is that you spend half of it with no idea what's going on, and when you finally do find out and everything makes sense, it's just not super-rewarding. That said, the movie does a great job developing it's more realistic characters. Unfortunately, this just makes the fantastical characters seem more unreal, with the notable exception of The Manticore and her boyfriend. Those two were freaking fantastic for the short time they were in the film. I've never seen such a deranged and yet believable couple in my life.

All in all, if you're a fan of Japanese stuff you'll probably love this movie. Otherwise, probably not worth your time.