Boogiepop and Others (Vol. 1) – Light Novel Review

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The Boogiepop franchise seems to be one of the more popular in anime and manga. Strangely, I’ve never really gotten into it. When I did decide to get into the series, I chose the original source of the story, the light novel!

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The Boogiepop franchise seems to be one of the more popular in anime and manga. Strangely, I’ve never really gotten into it. When I did decide to get into the series, I chose the original source of the story, the light novel!

The publisher says:
There is an urban legend that children tell one another about a shinigami that can release people from the pain they may be suffering. This “Angel of Death” has a name–Boogiepop. And the legends are true. Boogiepop is real.

When a rash of disappearances involving female students breaks out at Shinyo Academy, the police and faculty assume they just have a bunch of runaways on their hands. Yet, Nagi Kirima knows better. Something mysterious and foul is afoot. Is it Boogiepop or something more sinister…?

Analysis:
I really don’t envy the people whose job it was to translate this novel. It’s complicated. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character with five chapters in all. Each chapter happens in a different place in the timeline of the story. And each chapter has characters whose names need memorization. I’m pretty bad at that…

I read Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury back in high school, so I guess I was sort of ready for this kind of crazy jumping around. But at least that book came with cliff notes…

Basically, as the story progresses, the reader is able to eventually piece together the events of this sci-fi/horror novel. Of course, the ending is somewhat open ended, and the events are never really concretely explained. This is the only the first novel in a series, y’know.

I thought the novel was really interesting for the most part. I have a hard time with names, so at points I became really confused. The illustrations helped somewhat though. There was also a handy guide in the back of the book (that I only discovered after reading all of it!) that showed the relationships between characters.

The Actual Book:
I don’t know how actual Japanese light novels are set up, but this book was nice. It had a bunch of color inserts in the front with illustrations of all of the main characters. Within the chapters there were monochrome illustrations scattered here and there.

I thought it was slightly weird that the book was the same size as a normal manga tankoubon. I just sorta expect a novel to be smaller than that. I guess it’s because I’ve been reading Tokyopop’s light novels, which are smaller and have thinner (I think) pages. I think the smaller size makes it somewhat more convenient to read.

Conclusion:
I thought the Boogiepop and Others was a good, if slightly confusing, read. In the end, a lot is left to speculation, but that’s how a lot of Japanese narrative works. The story unravels in such a way that it’s engaging if you’re actually up to speed with all of the characters and events.

I also found out that there’s a Boogiepop DVD thinpack that contains the entire TV series and the live action movie. It’s only like $50 so I might just pick this one up.

Thanks to Seven Seas Entertainment for the review copy of Boogiepop and Others.

13 thoughts on “Boogiepop and Others (Vol. 1) – Light Novel Review”

  1. The Boogiepop TV series is worth getting, it’s mainly about the aftereffects of the novel events, although you really have to keep re-watching and re-reading the different parts of this franchise before you can really understand it. There’s also a Boogiepop Doesn’t Laugh manga that covers the events of these novels in manga form.

  2. The show and movie only span shortly after and during Boogiepop And Others, but the other novels (theres a shitload and still going apparently) take place earlier, and later then any of that. So theres a lot that you wont understand no matter how much you watch teh show/movie and read this novel (and part 2) as well as the rest of whats out in the US so far, cuz it just keeps going and going. So expect lots of unanswered questions, lol.

  3. There is a live-action film that covers much of the same ground as the first novel. The animated series (which was made around the same time as the movie) actually seems to be “written around” the movie — as there is remarkably little overlap (and seeing the film first makes the events of the animated series at least a bit easier to follow).

    Frankly, I prefer the novels to any of the dramatized versions (or to the manga).

  4. The Boogiepop series is definitely one of my favourite franchises.

    The best way to do it (in my opinion) is to watch the TV series first, then read the novels out, then watch the TV series again and marvel in how much sense it makes. I just hope Seven Seas decides to release the rest of the novels, since they might not. I just want to read the backstory novel (I believe it’s 5 or 6).

    Each incarnation of Boogiepop and others has something new. The movie has a few nice scenes of Echoes and Naoko, and the manga has a few more scenes of exposition from more of the characters.

  5. I’ve never read the novels, but I enjoyed the series very much (as others have mentioned, it has very little overlap with the novel, so apparently knowledge of the book is not necessary to make heads and tails of the story). From your review of the first volume, it seems like the style of the series is very much in keeping with the novel – every episode centers around a different character and jumps back and forth chronologically, so you only gradually get to piece out the facts. And there are moments where, if you don’t pay attention for five seconds, a plot point is lost forever. (Forever meaning until the next viewing.) You discover new things on your third or fourth time through. The animation quality isn’t that good, but all in all, it was a very good watch.

    The live-action movie (if it’s the one I’m thinking about) was just ridiculous, though. Horrible acting, horrible effects, horrible everything.

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