Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator Part 1 – Light Novel Review

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Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator continues the “Faulkner lite” reading that the first Boogiepop Phantom novel started. We get new characters, new villains, and even a new Boogiepop!

boogiepop-returns-1.jpg

Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator continues the “Faulkner lite” reading that the first Boogiepop Phantom novel started. We get new characters, new villains, and even a new Boogiepop!

Story:
The events in Boogiepop Returns happen mostly after the events of the first novel. Duh, it’s called “Boogiepop Returns” for a reason, right? In this installment, Boogiepop faces another enemy, this time in the form of the “Imaginator.” Not only that, there’s also a fat guy by the name of “Spooky E” whose name indicates gangsta rapper, but whose actual identity is more like an alien brainwashing badass.

Analysis:
I didn’t like this novel quite as much as the first Boogiepop one. I think it’s because this is a multi-parter. Since this is only part 1 of Boogiepop returns, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions. For one thing, Boogiepop doesn’t even find the Imaginator. She(?) fights the Spooky E guy, but that’s not satisfying enough!

The novel is interesting, but I just felt as though I wasn’t getting the whole story. Most importantly, the end of the novel didn’t really bring any closure; it just teased you for the next volume. I do like the subplot with the kung-fu expert Taniguchi Masaki (who impersonates Boogiepop and fights crime) and Orihata Aya (who reminds me a lot of Nagato Yuki from Haruhi).

There’s also a funny essay about “pop culture” written by the author at the end of the book. It really makes no sense and it’s more of a weird extra than anything else.

Conclusion:
I find myself liking these Boogiepop Phantom novels because of the ways that the characters interact with each other. It’s all really gritty and realistic, and it seems to explain the plight of Japanese youth (like with cram schools and all those crappy entrance exams), though in a sci-fi setting. I haven’t seen any of the Boogiepop anime, manga, or movies, so I’m really experiencing the story in the way it was intended (minus the whole language translation thing). Seems pretty cool to me!

Many thanks to Seven Seas Entertainment for sending me a review copy of Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator Part 1!

7 thoughts on “Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator Part 1 – Light Novel Review”

  1. I really, really liked this book – more than the first, anyway, but that’s probably because I’ve seen the LA movie before.

    Oh, and the name of the series is just Boogiepop – the name Boogiepop Phantom refers solely the anime series, which takes place around the continuity of the books (immediately following on from the end of the first one).

  2. Oooh, I’ll try to use Boogiepop correctly in the future then. Is the book really that rare? It’s available from Amazon.com, but I guess shipping to the UK could be prohibitive.

  3. Amazon have it listed as “5-10 days”, which is usually Amazon speak for “it’s on order with the publishers”. I wouldn’t mind paying the extra shipping if they actually had it to hand. UK Amazon, which usually lets you order US books direct and save on shipping, had it listed but weren’t even allowing orders until a couple of days ago. Most the other stores I’ve checked either haven’t had it or had it on order as well…

    I think part of the problem is that, for these books, I think they had a 3-month exclusivity deal with Borders or something, and after that period was up it doesn’t look like other stores ordered many copies of it in.

  4. Thanks for these reviews! I’ve just bought these three yesterday and I’m starting the VS Imaginator part of the story today. It’s extremely good!

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