One of the things Boogiepop Phantom does well is tell a cohesive story in a non-traditional way. Rather than march through a series of events, Boogiepop Phantom uses multiple point of views and stories to flesh out the larger mysteries surrounding the series. There’s something like ten to twelve different stories happening at the same time – sometimes crossing over and sharing scenes – ultimately telling one giant story involving the Boogiepop Phantom, an urban legend said to be an “Angel of Death.”
Boogiepop Phantom’s weaving narrative is handled really well and, at least in my view, is something that should pull in viewers who go for that sort of thing (say, for example, later seasons of Lost or Fringe). The approach isn’t incredibly uncommon for primetime TV viewers, though if the numbers of “mystery” shows that have failed to launch have taught us anything, its building a big story based on constantly twisting questions is tough. There are successes, but you usually either confuse everyone or rely on legions of dedicated Internet fans to stitch together their own timelines (only to enter intense debate thread wars over whose timeline is “right.”)
Boogiepop Phantom avoids both scenarios. The writing is as precise as it can get. I didn’t come across any contradictory moments, and the dialogue is written in such a way that important information is always prevalent. There’s no clunky “reminder” dialogue or momentum-killing stops for explanation. The storytelling is so precise the series can jump around within its own timeline to seemingly unrelated plot threads without much issue. Later episodes take place early in the series’ timeline, yet it is usually easy to keep watching without much adjustment.
The reason I say “usually,” however, has to do with the show’s visual style. As much as I enjoyed the series’ dark undertones and near use of visual effects, the character designs leave something to be desired. They’re good, though some characters lack significant visual identifiers. I lost track of one or two characters just because I couldn’t tell them apart. It is not an issue that runs rampant through the entire series, but don’t be surprised if you get tripped up once or twice.
Boogiepop Phantom ships with an impressive, yet fairly standard set of extras. The requisite clean opening and ending are included, as well as a selection of trailers and an art gallery. The better features include an extensive set of Producer Notes, which help tie some of the show’s plotlines together. Not that the series is that hard to follow, but the notes are still a welcome addition. There’s also an informative Producer’s Commentary track for viewers who want even more information on the series.
I can’t recommend Boogiepop Phanton: Complete TV Series enough. It offers a great mystery, twisting plotlines that will leave you guessing with each passing episode and an unbeatable sense of continuity. You won’t leave the series disappointed.