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…?
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.
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.