''Boogiepop Phantom'' is one of the premiere examples of MindScrew. The anime, manga, and other media are based on the ''Boogiepop'' novels for young adults, which are popular in Japan. The plot revolves around a mysterious pillar of light, a caped person called Boogiepop and the disappearance of a group of high school students.
''Boogiepop Phantom'' is probably mentioned more often by comparison with ''Anime/SerialExperimentsLain'' than in any other context.
!!Tropes in this anime:
* AllThereInTheManual: It helps to have read [[LightNovel/BoogiepopSeries ''Boogiepop At Dawn'' and ''Boogiepop And Others'']], in that order, to know what the Hell's going on.
* AnachronicOrder: The episodes are all over the place in relation to each other's place in the overall timeline.
* AnimeThemeSong: A funky, live action, grainy, 70's throwback depicting a drive into the city for a night out.
* TheAntiNihilist: Panaru from episode 3, ''Life Can Be So Nice.''
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler:Kuroda and The Manticore, in a sense; the former as a kind of living memory of his former self (similar to the "shadow" of Echoes that appears in ''Boogiepop At Dawn'', the novel Kuroda dies in), and the latter a shadow of its former self, having not actually died at the end of ''Boogiepop And Others'' as was previously believed.]]
** Nagi Kirima, although the show's position on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism means she still fails more often than she succeeds.
** [[spoiler:The original Boogiepop it/herself]].
* BatmanGambit: Nagi pulls a minor one on Kazuko when she asks her if she knows Touka, and if so how the friendship is going. This bewilders Kazuko (Touka's not even in their class) but also piques her curiosity (as Nagi knew it would; Kazuko's nothing if not curious). Sure enough, Kazuko later notices Touka and strikes up a conversation with her, and by the time they all graduate the two are best friends. (It's not stated, but Nagi presumably did this either to get Kazuko out of her hair, or because [[spoiler:she knows that if something bad happens Touka/Boogiepop would be Kazuko's best protection]]. Or maybe both.)
* ContinuityLockout: It is ''essential'' that you read the books mentioned in AllThereInTheManual (the show is really more like an epilogue to ''Dawn'' and a direct continuation of ''Others''), or a key element of the over-arching plot ([[spoiler:the true identity of Boogiepop Phantom and its relation to/the origin of The Manticore]]) will seem to come out of nowhere, and the final episode will be utterly incomprehensible.
** Poom Poom, the Pied Piper-like entity that accompanies Manaka.
** The balloon children that Poom Poom draws from the people he gives balloons to.
** The robed girl.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: Everything is really brown, but this ceases at the end of the series, when the funky electromagnetic effect in the air causing all the anomalies finally dissipates.
* EvilCounterpart: Boogiepop Phantom to the true Boogiepop.
* FalseCameraEffects: Most of the episodes have a vignette effect throughout.
** The entire plot is connected mysteriously to an event 1 month ago (which occurred at the end of ''Boogiepop and Others''), with references to an event 5 years ago (explained in ''Boogiepop at Dawn'').
** The entire series, with the [[MindScrew likely]] exception of the final episode, is made of flashbacks within flashbacks.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: The story is largely focused on Victims/Monsters of the Week, with the "main" plot occurring off screen until the final episode.
** [[spoiler:Nagi Kirima, more or less.]]
* HiddenDepths: Shows up all the time, but most notably in a character who [[StableTimeLoop prevents herself from committing suicide]].
* HugeSchoolgirl: Actually a past medical problem of one of the characters.
* ImpossiblyCoolClothes: Boogiepop's cape and gravity-defying ribbon thing stand out from the austere realism of the rest of the clothing.
* LowerDeckEpisode: ''Almost all of them''. Alternately, the entire series is made up of separate [[ADayInTheLimelight days in the limelight]].
* AMindIsATerribleThingToRead: Yoshiki in episode 9, "You'll Never Be Young Twice".
* OnTheNext: Eps. 1-11, with eerie multi-layered dialogue.
* OracularUrchin: Manaka is a perfect example of this trope.
** One sets the series in motion and is featured in several episodes.
** Another occurs when [[spoiler:Manaka dies]].
* SecretIdentity: [[spoiler:Toka Miyashita]] is the new Boogiepop.
* StepfordSmiler: Misuzu. ''So very much''.
* TomatoInTheMirror: [[spoiler:Kuroda]]
* WeaksauceWeakness: One straight out of Greek mythology--[[spoiler:Echoes is unable to speak other than to repeat people's words back at them.]]