As much as I love the Boogiepop Phantom TV series, I can honestly say that its narrative can feel a bit impenetrable. The live action film version, Boogiepop and Others, which is based off of the first light novel, makes for a much smoother transition and an easier effort, that could help people get into the series, rather than the television show. Released in March of 2000, shortly before the TV series ended, the film follows a group of high school students that are following leads on the disappearance of fellow classmates. The disappearances lead to a new drug that becomes popular at the school and the sudden appearance of a mysterious urban legend, named Boogiepop, that the students begin whispering about. Directed by Ryu Kaneda and showcasing a smaller budget than many other popular horror films from Japan at that time, Boogiepop and Others is still a solid foray into the world of Boogiepop and is sure to be liked by fans of the series.
It certainly helps to digest this version of the narrative in 109 minutes, as opposed to all 12 episodes of the TV series. Granted, the film is only working off of the first light novel, as opposed to the first and the second light novel, Boogiepop At Dawn. A major problem that I had with anime, was that I always got many of the characters mixed up, with not only looking too similar, but the fact that they show up multiple times throughout the series. With this live action version, not only was it easier to keep track of each of the individuals, but the narrative seemed much stronger. The acting from the cast is pretty solid and the brilliant sound design remains intact for this outing of Boogiepop.
If there was anything to say that would be pretty bad about this film is its nonexistent production value, in terms of the costume design and some of the effects. Boogiepop’s costume doesn’t translate well to live action and would have benefitted from shooting the character in close ups or in darker light set ups. When it comes to some of the CGI or practical effects, they can easily be seen as fake and take away from some of the mystery and intrigue that the story sets up so well.
While these are certainly some faults, there’s still plenty of great things to be found in Boogiepop and Others. Many times, live action adaptations fail to deliver the same energy that the anime or manga exuded. While it may look a tad cheap, Boogiepop and Others retains key strengths from the original series and helps elaborate on the worlds characters a bit more, which makes it solid in my book.