Boogiepop Phantom Rewatch – Episode Four

A post in the Epic Journey.

This episode was great once again, however it was also pretty self-explanatory. Like the first two episodes, it gets more into the characters psyche, but still tells an important bit of the overall story. Interestingly, the bulk of this episode actually happens before the pillar of light cracked through the sky. The episode as a whole could be considered a side-story to the first novel, which of course means that it made me squeal like the fanboy I am when it tied in. This episode also had what could be almost considered cameos of Nagi Kirima and Miyashita Touka (the alter-ego of Boogiepop) since neither played any roll in the plot whatsoever.

This episode is about a very lonely man. Naturally, he’s an otaku. He’s pretty obsessed with this dating sim game, and is pretty disassociated with reality – he chants in his mind that he has a date and when he sees other people with dates, the thought grows louder. This is all quite understandable – when you’re lonely and you see other happy couples it can piss you off or make you feel worse about yourself. I cannot even COUNT the amount of people I’ve talked to on the internet who say how much they hate seeing couples walking around. And this guy’s pretty powerfully antisocial – he sees other people and immediately finds them disgusting. When he gets home to his eroge, he talks to the girl on the screen and at a part where he he selects to kiss her, the screen goes up on her face and he, in real life, presses his lips to the screen. Once again, this really isn’t that bad. I will not fucking deny it – when I was 14 and lonely as shit, I would take images and maximize them until the size of the image’s head was the same as mine, and then make out with the screen or figure out how big her boobs would be in real life or whatever. …Don’t fucking patronize me.

Anyway, meanwhile, the girls in school have been discussing a new ‘aromatherapy’ treatment called Type S which makes the user act more boldly. It’s not hard to figure out that this is way more like a drug. One of the schoolgirls is a dealer straight from the producer – Motherfucking Saotome. Only those of us who are wise up on this know that at this point, he was actually still alive. Well anyway our main character kid (they didn’t say his name enough times for me to catch it) hires a girl at work (a restaurant) who reminds him of his galge girls. At first, he’s just your average stalker – he records her voice and masturbates to her picture, but nothing crazy. It’s when he runs into the girl from school that things get tangled up for real – she sells him some Type S so that he can act more boldly and the downward spiral begins. Our main character slowly starts loosing distinction between reality and the world of his mind as he becomes more and more forceful, bending the girl around his finger. His little fantasies are going well for him until he find out the girly has a boyfriend! When he sees them together on the street he freaks out and happens to see his dealer girl walking into an alley. He follows.

Dealer girl is all up on Saotome talking about how the drugs have made her happy. Saotome remarks something about her lack of use to them and BOOM! Her cranial cavity explodes and bits of brain and blood fall to the floor. A girl in a school uniform has just destroyed her head and begins viciously eating her corpse. She seems to be Saotome’s accomplice – and if you’ve read the novel, she is the Manticore. She met Saotome by chance while she was eating another girl. Her power is to secrete a kind of almost poison from her throat which she uses to lick someone’s body down, then dissolve it into a gas which she inhales. This secretion also happens to be a kind of drug that can turn people into it’s slaves. People become so dependent on it and get to be so bold that they will do anything the dealer asks to get it. Saotome’s plan is that he and the Manticore (with whom he of course considers himself romantically involved) will rebuild society with themselves at the center, as is mentioned in the episode.

Our demented otaku is right there when the murder happens, but he doesn’t even flinch. He begs Saotome for the drugs. Saotome is interested in seeing what a final-level slave is like and continues his supply. However, everything comes crashing down for the main character at once after he borderline attempts to rape the girl he’s been stalking. We see her talk to the manager who promises the kid to be fired. Meanwhile he’s at home playing his galge when, in the night sky, the pillar of light crashes out. We already knew that this caused a cit-wide power outage for a few minutes, but who’d have expected the consequences – the kid’s computer is crashed and with his ‘girlfriend’ disappeared, he immediately goes balls fucking insane. And of course, we all know that the pillar of light is what killed Saotome and the Manticore, so if he tried to go get type S he’d be fucked. We are given a time skip to a month later when the kid is in the street being carted into a police car after going fucking insane in public and frothing at the mouth. The scene has occurred in the last episode as well when Misuzu was walking around town, taking it all in, and sure enough we see her there, mentioning Panuru before the episode ends.

This episode’s character wasn’t so much his own downfall like the last 2 were. He was just a seriously lonely otaku who probably needed a little help that managed to get mixed up in the wrong business and spiral into madness. It’s a shame, but it happens. Once again, this episode had a great atmosphere and fun directing, and like episode 3 most of the music wasn’t from the album with the exception of a well-placed Delirious chiming in. I’m pretty sure the next episode is where the stories start to get changed up a little, so we’ll likely hear more of the songs from the album, plus what is at this point is a needed change of theme. This was, thankfully, the first episode not to feature someone running down a dark alley while screaming, however it featured plenty of the same grinding insanity. I look forward to the more twisted and less obvious mental issues of episodes to come.