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Anime: Boogiepop Phantom

Boogiepop Phantom is one of the premiere examples of Mind Screw. 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 Serial Experiments Lain than in any other context.

Tropes in this anime:

  • All There in the Manual: It helps to have read ''Boogiepop At Dawn'' and ''Boogiepop And Others'', in that order, to know what the Hell's going on.
  • Anachronic Order: The episodes are all over the place in relation to each other's place in the overall timeline.
  • Anime Theme Song: A funky, live action, grainy, 70's throwback depicting a drive into the city for a night out.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Panaru from episode 3, Life Can Be So Nice.
  • Back from the Dead: 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.
  • Badass Normal:
  • Continuity Lockout: It is essential that you read the books mentioned in All There in the Manual (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 (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.
  • Creepy Child:
    • 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.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: 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.
  • Evil Counterpart: Boogiepop Phantom to the true Boogiepop.
  • False Camera Effects: Most of the episodes have a vignette effect throughout.
  • Flash Back:
    • 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 likely exception of the final episode, is made of flashbacks within flashbacks.
  • Heroic Wannabe:
    • Jonouchi
    • Nagi Kirima, more or less.
  • Hidden Depths: Shows up all the time, but most notably in a character who prevents herself from committing suicide.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Actually a past medical problem of one of the characters.
  • The Hunter:
    • Nagi Kirima.
    • The original Boogiepop.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Boogiepop's cape and gravity-defying ribbon thing stand out from the austere realism of the rest of the clothing.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Almost all of them. Alternately, the entire series is made up of separate days in the limelight.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Yoshiki in episode 9, "You'll Never Be Young Twice".
  • Mind Screw
  • Living Memory
  • Nothing Is Scarier
  • On the Next: Eps. 1-11, with eerie multi-layered dialogue.
  • Oracular Urchin: Manaka is a perfect example of this trope.
  • Pillar of Light:
    • One sets the series in motion and is featured in several episodes.
    • Another occurs when Manaka dies.
  • Secret Identity: Toka Miyashita is the new Boogiepop.
  • Stepford Smiler: Misuzu. So very much.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Kuroda
  • Weaksauce Weakness: One straight out of Greek mythology—Echoes is unable to speak other than to repeat people's words back at them.

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