Friday, January 25, 2002

I’ve abruptly hit a block in trying to work on Quiet, so I’m updating this diary in an attempt to distract my mind for awhile.

re-watched the first episode of Boogiepop Phantom earlier today, then re-re-watched it with the directors’ commentary switched on. I’m glad I did, because the commentary has intrigued me enough to make me want to watch more of the show.

Boogiepop Phantom suffers from the junction of two factors, based on my experience: a massive story and set of characters, combined with a a desire to tell that story in an unconventional way. As a result of these factors, too many characters show up in the first episode, and because they’re not introduced using a straightforward infodump, they seem to be superfluous (to me, at least). Moreover, since most of these characters don’t re-appear until later, I had no reason to think that they were anything other than superfluous until I’d seen a few more episodes.

This problem is compounded by the characters’ designs. The show strives for a more realistic feeling to the show; nobody has neon-colored hair or impossible hair styles. This led to confusion on my part, though, because with a cast this large, and that wears school uniforms for most of the show, many characters look alike. I lost track of who was whom.

Once I was able to deal with those issues, though, I began to be increasingly impressed with Boogiepop Phantom. It’s certainly one of the most ambitiuos anime shows I’ve ever seen. It’s trying to weave a complex, character-driven story out of the backstory and relationships between a large cast. There are at least half a dozen central characters, and many minor ones; I found one page that briefly describes each character in Boogiepop, and it’s 77 KB in size.

Moreover, it’s a psychological horror series, which is extremely hard to pull off effectively. And it manages to succeed, provided that its audience is ready for an unusual experience.

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