Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Boogiepop Doesn't Laugh, v. 1

Story by Kouhei Kadono, Art by Kouji Ogata
Published in the U.S. by Seven Seas

Slugline: Boogiepop "manifests" from within an average schoolgirl to defeat a demonic presence feeding off the student population.

This manga is based on the original Boogiepop novel, as opposed to the many other forms that popped up in the course of Boogiepop's success. I find this one easier to follow than the Boogiepop Phantom anime, as it seems to cover the timeframe of the story completely before moving on to the next character viewpoint of the timeframe. It also helps that the first viewpoint allows for some explanations about Boogiepop himself, whereas in the anime he just came and went and it took much longer to get a grip on what was happening.

Volume 1 starts with missing girls and rumors about the local bad girl and a new drug on the scene. Then Keiji finds out his girlfriend is being "possessed" by a protective spirit and things get odder from there. Being far removed from the action, Keiji's viewpoint of the timeline sets out some structure and landmark events for later reference. When Keiji's side of the story is finished, we move on to Kazuko's view of the events.

Boogiepop Doesn't Laugh gets points for nice brush-and-ink artwork, general weirdness, and social/psychological commentary. Nudity, drugs and sexual situations mean it's probably going to be shrinkwrapped, too. The anime, if you're interested, was quite dark and gloomy and I recall liking the soundtrack quite a bit.

- Miranda

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