To add a little more variety to this blog, I’ve decided to drop in the odd review of live action films based on anime and manga franchises. First up is Boogiepop and Others, the live action counterpart to the first Boogiepop novel and the Boogiepop Doesn’t Laugh manga. The story, for those who do not already know, covers the lives of several high school students who are affected by the arrival of the mysterious Echoes and the powerful yet deadly shape shifting Manticore, alongside the emergence of ‘Boogiepop’, an alter ego committed to upholding justice and preventing disaster.
Mindful of the way the tale twists in time and covers various different perspectives, I made an extra effort to pay attention, perhaps an unnecessary measure as it wasn’t as hard to follow as I had led myself to believe. In fact, the alternate perspectives proved to be an advantage to the tale, preventing it from getting dull, and allowing the stronger stories to compensate for the weaker ones. For example, the first segment is quite poorly done, with an unnecessarily theatrical (and poorly dressed) Boogiepop and a protagonist who is so badly portrayed that the actor feels extremely out of place playing a high school student, but luckily stronger performances turned in later one help to erase all memory of him. By the end, the overall impression is of a reasonably entertaining tale that, while not the best version of this story, nonetheless has some memorable moments- with the tale of the girl who befriends Echoes standing out as the most well developed of them all.
Even though the bulk of the action is set in a normal high school, the presence of supernatural beings ensures that there is a certain amount of action and even some special effects, and unfortunately, this is where the film falls down. Whilst not particularly well done, elements such as Boogiepop’s outfit can at least be gotten used to, but the same cannot be said of more ambitious elements. Effects such as the electrification of one character and a scene where Boogiepop opens his cloak to reveal a galaxy of stars are laughably poor, and certainly do their part in making the film look dated.
It may not have the time to offer the same level of content as the manga, anime and novels do, but as a way to get your feet wet in the Boogiepop universe, Boogiepop and Others isn’t a bad choice. The weaker actors and the extremely ropy special effects may break your concentration from time to time, but if you ever find yourself with two hours to spare and nothing else to do, this film is as good a way as any to pass the time.