For general information on this series: Boogiepop entry
This review is for the first volume of the Boogiepop Series by Kouhei Kadono (with art by Kouji Ogata). The English edition was released by Seven Seas in February 2006. Three more volumes followed (the last being published in 2008), but the remaining eleven volumes of the series were never officially localized.
I have not seen the Boogiepop Phantom anime based on this light novel franchise, so my reaction is solely based on the text of the novel Boogiepop and Others. As can be guessed from the title though, the story is an unusual one. Each chapter focuses on a different set of characters, and the structure of the story in general is not straightforward, as events are not revealed in chronological order. I feel the disjointed plot and its reliance on multiple viewpoints pays off though, and works well with the central concept of mysteries involving urban legends.
Overall, Boogiepop and Others works as a plot-driven piece, in which many different characters are affected by a story that begins when a number of students start disappearing at a specific high school. I enjoyed trying to figure out how all the different events pieced together over the course of the novel, but some may be disappointed in the lack of character development for most involved. Though the main conflict of this plot is resolved by the end of the story, there are still many loose ends the author saves for future installments to deal with. But on the other hand, perhaps it is only fitting for a story about urban legends to leave some of its questions unanswered regarding its more enigmatic characters.
The translation was overall handled well, save for a number of grammar errors. The translator (Andrew Cunningham) interestingly decided to keep names in Japanese order along with terms such as -kun and sempai, which you’ll either appreciate or you won’t. A number of translation and cultural notes are also included in the back of the book, which I rather liked.
All in all Boogiepop and Others is steeped in mystery and tinged with horror, working with supernatural elements in a high school setting in an engaging and intriguing manner. It grabbed my attention with its sinister plot, then held my interest with its moody atmosphere.
Cho’s Rating: Strongly Recommended