Boogiepop Never Laughs: Boogiepop Phantom is an anime spinoff of Kouhei Kadono's Boogiepop Series of novels. The plot revolves around a mysterious pillar of light, a caped person called Boogiepop and the disappearance of a group of high school students.
This anime is not an adaptation of any of the arcs of the series, but an original Interquel story that takes place after the first volume, making also references to the Prequel sixth volume Boogiepop at Dawn. It was created with involvement of Kadono himself.
Though not a very similar show in plot and story, it is probably mentioned more often by comparison with Serial Experiments Lain than in any other context. Both shows were animated by Shigeyuki Suga in his very personal visual style.
Tropes in this anime:
- All There in the Manual: In order to know what the Hell's going on, it helps to have read the series's prequel volume, Boogiepop at Dawn, and the first volume, Boogiepop and Others, in that order (or you must watch the Boogiepop and Others 2019 anime, which adapts both, before starting this anime).
- 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:
- Nagi Kirima, although the show's position on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism means she still fails more often than she succeeds.
- The original Boogiepop it/herself.
- Batman Gambit: 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 she knows that if something bad happens Touka/Boogiepop would be Kazuko's best protection. Or maybe both.)
- 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.
- Hero of Another Story: The story is largely focused on Victims/Monsters of the Week, with the "main" plot occurring off-screen until the final episode.
- Heroic Wannabe:
- 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.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Boogiepop's cape and gravity-defying ribbon thing stand out from the austere realism of the rest of the clothing.
- Introductory Opening Credits: The opening introduces Touka, Nagi, and Kuroda with names beside their appearances in it. Though ironically, in the majority of episodes, this is the most you'll ever see of those characters, as they are appear quite sparingly in the show itself.
- Lower-Deck Episode: Almost all of them. Alternately, the entire series is made up of separate days in the limelight.
- On the Next: Eps. 1-11, with eerie multi-layered dialogue.
- Oracular Urchin: Manaka is a perfect example of this trope.
- Secret Identity: Toka Miyashita is Boogiepop.
- Weaksauce Weakness: One straight out of Greek mythology—Echoes is unable to speak other than to repeat people's words back at them.