I’ve gotten in the habit lately of only updating on weekends.  Though I cram most of my manga into weekend reading sessions, I still read a few things during the week and I decided I should try to update during the week. Instead of reading the usual 2-3 volumes of manga, I read this one novel instead (I also read two nonfiction books this week, which I mention because I’d hate for you to think it took me all week to read a middle grade fiction book).

Anyway, yes.  This one was pretty good, though I liked it a bit less than the other one.  There was less action as the events were non-explained in the cryptic Boogiepop way.  I think I prefer the weird events to lengthy explanations that don’t make much sense, but that’s entirely a personal preference.  There was much reflection and revelation of feelings by the characters, but somehow I felt like that the only character who was developed this time around was Jin, where we found out a bit of what he was actually thinking.  We also found out for sure about the relationship between Camille and the fake Boogiepop, and we did learn more about Camille and how she was feeling, but other than that… I don’t know.  There was one other important character who got turned into a Spooky E puppet, and I felt pretty bad about that… it made me squirm whenever they’d do something evil, and they were such a nice person otherwise.

I did like this for the most part, though.  The conflict that arose for the fake Boogiepop was pretty good, and the final showdown in Paisley Park at the end was awesome.  Real Boogiepop was pretty quiet in this volume up until the end, and the final battle was all the more awesome because of it.  I wound up liking Spooky E a lot as a villain too, his final showdown was pretty satisfactory and when he had a breakdown near the end, it was pretty well done.

Actually, I take back the no action thing.  There are three pretty awesome fight scenes in this volume with a lot of story in between them.  All the fights are pretty far out there, and all are also very awesome.  I still think I liked the last volume better, but that could be just because the buildup to these fights was very good.

I like these novels an awful lot.  I’m not looking forward to any of Seven Seas other novel releases, so here’s hoping others are because it seems that more Boogiepop is dependent on the light novel line being successful.

What a long title this book has.

Once again, I’m not one for the manga-based novels, but I do like these.  The main problem I had with the first one, that there were too many characters to follow, disappears here.  There are really only… 6 or so main characters, and instead of each chapter focusing on a different one, the chapters go between two or three main groups.  Suema and Boogiepop is one group (though Boogiepop isn’t really a “focus”, it just appears along with its girl host in several chapters), and another is a boy who just winds up being a third party.  Much of the focus of the novel is on Nagi’s brother and his girlfriend, and an art instructor and the Imaginator.  Forgive me, I don’t remember their names very well, but rest assured it wasn’t nearly as confusing as the first one.

The plot is kind of split though, which isn’t as bad as it sounds.   The main focus of the book seems at the beginning to be on the Imaginator, and the art instructor its using as its go guy.  This seems to be Boogiepop’s main mission, to defeat the Imaginator.  However, we don’t really find out what the Imaginator’s mission is, and we don’t really know what its doing to interfere with humans other than the art instructor seems to randomly kill (?) some students.  We don’t even really find out what he’s doing, though.  The actual focus in this book is on another seemingly evil organization run by Spooky E.  Spooky E seems to be making robots out of school-age kids, though again, for what purpose is never really stated.  Nagi’s brother is dating one such robot, who is in conflict because she really does love Nagi’s brother and isn’t supposed to.  They go on a campaign to find Boogiepop that includes mimicking its method of vigilante justice.

I prefer the Spooky E conflict myself, mostly because that’s what we found out about here and I liked the pairing of Nagi’s brother and “Camille” (the girl’s codename, since I can’t remember her real one).  There are hints that their bond will be sundered, which is a very sad thought for me.  I actually really liked the art instructor as well until he turned into an evil creepy.  Suema isn’t my favorite character in the world though, and I’m kind of sad to see that she’s putting in another appearance, but she’s not a bad character, and she seems to be serving a pretty good purpose so far.

For not knowing much about either of the two plots, quite a lot happens, and I wasn’t too annoyed that not much was revealed.  Presumably, everything will wrap up in the second half of the Imaginator story, and as this book left things, the second half should be pretty epic.

About the only things I didn’t like were minor nitpicks.  The story once again gets kind of philosophical, and Suema brings Kirima’s writing into the fray again, which never makes any sense to me in any situation it’s applied in.  And once again, the writing seems kind of advance for the age level this book is aimed at (I presume middle-grade/early high school age), though the writing style does set a mood I can’t imagine the story without, and I certainly enjoyed it.

And of course, the trademark “fit the pieces together” gimmick of the series is present.  Not only do the pieces fall into place from this story, there are also some head-slapping moments that tie the first book in subtly, too.

I really wasn’t sure if I was going to be getting this or not. I’m a huge book snob despite my manga consumption. Plus, I’m so far behind on some of my series, there are just better things I could be doing than starting a long series of novels I’m not sure I want. But I did like the Boogiepop Phantom anime in theory… I knew there were a ton of pieces of the puzzle missing though, and it was maddeningly incoherent as a result. Apparently they just LEFT OUT THE VILLIAN.

But the novel is amazing. Literally, I was floored by the storytelling techniques, and the translation is top notch. If I didn’t think she’d have a problem remembering the names, I’d give it to my mom to read, too. The way the story is told piecemeal through the eyes of the different characters and their roles in it, never directly getting behind ECHOES (well, almost never), the Manticore, or Boogiepop, and the story itself, everything is amazing. The only problem I had was keeping the characters straight, as there are a lot of people referenced throughout the course of the novel. This is easily fixed by offering the character chart and having them sorted by class, relationship, and major players, which I loved. The other thing that had me worried a bit was that although I adored the translation, it was definitely not written for the young adult crowd the book originally targeted.

Just… yes. I wonder how it continues through into a series, as the story is pretty much told here. I will like it very much if each book tells a different story. Can’t wait for the next one, and I definitely don’t regret my purchase.

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