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Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator Part 1 (ブギーポップ・リターンズVSイマジネーターPart.1, Bugīpoppu Ritānzu VS Imajinētā Part 1) is the second novel in the Boogiepop Series. It is the first part of the "VS Imaginator" Arc, and was released in Japan on August 10, 1998[1], and in the United States on June 21, 2006[2]. It was later included in the first English Boogiepop Omnibus, collecting volumes 1-3.[3]

Publisher's Summary

Sometimes it snows in April…

Have you ever felt that there was something missing inside of you? Have you ever been envious of what other people have? Have you ever wished for someone that could make you whole? You need not worry any longer. Your time is near. A new possibility is dawning–a time that will end all suffering.

From the mind of Kohei Kadono comes the thrilling second novel in the mind-bending Boogiepop series–Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator Part 1. Witness the first appearances of the mysterious Towa Organization–a major player in the Boogiepop Phantom anime series–as Boogiepop finds himself hunted by the synthetic human known only as “Spooky E”. All the while, a deadly entity is out to remake humanity in its image, one mind at a time. Can you escape from the clutches of the Imaginator…?[2]

Plot Summary

Prelude

Mariko Komiya stands on Shinyo Academy's Roof, recounting a memory of her friend Suiko Minahoshi, who had committed sucide. She wants to join her in death but is stopped by Boogiepop who assures her that if she jumps she will not end up where Suiko had gone, because Suiko did not end her life of her own free will. Boogiepop killed her, "because she was an enemy of the world", and she never went to heaven, and with that he disappered leaving Mariko alone recounting what he had told her. Later Boogiepop returns to the school and examines the white lines in the shape of a person, exclaiming "Are you going to try again? Imaginator?"[4]

Chapter I

Sawako Nakadai tells of a recurring dream she has to her cram school guidance counsellor, Jin Asukai, who has the ability to see the flaws in peoples hearts in the form of a plant. He reassures her about her worries on getting into college and as she leaves she remembered one thing about her dream, "Sometimes it snows in April". After his job at cram school ended he walked back to his apartment through a shopping street where it suddenly snowed. When he looked up he spotted a girl falling from the fifth story of a building, but the girl just hovered in mid-air laughing with her mouth closed. Only he could see her and she states that she knows exactly how he feels because she also has extra sensory perception, she "can see peoples deaths". She wants his help to "recreate the world", but he wants to know who she is and vanishes replying "My enemies call me the Imaginator".

He later arrives at his apartment and is greeted by Kotoe Kinukawa, his cousin and and apartments owners daughter. She brings him dinner and together they talk about her future, when he looks at her chest he sees "a bountiful amount of leaves," with a secure steam and roots which symbolise her "kindess and warmth". She says he worries about others too much and not enough about himself, but after he responds her voice changes into that of the Imaginator. She shows him a glimpse of the future with a kiss, he donesn't like what he sees and throws the bowl at her, soaking her. But she had then returned to being Kotoe, and had no memories of what just happened. Asukai then wiped her with a towel.

Several days pass at the Cram School where he talks to more students about their problems, the one day he passed by an alley where he heard a groan. He finds Shizuko Imazaki, a student he once counselled, she wants his money so she can buy more drugs to sell to others.  Imaginator takes control of the girl and slits her throat because "either way, this girl was finished", but a woman walking by had seen this and called the police. At the police station the officers question Asukai, where he proves his innocence and the police write it off as a sucide. In the evening he walked looking in the alley ways for a sign, but what he found was five boys ruffing up a boy and a girl, he tells the boy to take the girl and leave. Asukai "takes care" of the boys after they leave, and the last one asks "what the hell are you?". Asukai looks behind him and the floating girl appears and replies "Imaginator", he then lunges towards the boy and a muffled scream is heard.[5]

Chapter II

Masaki Taniguchi recounts memories about Aya Orihata and explains a little about both of themelves, the it cuts to where he is surrounded by a bunch of school boys who begin beating him. Even though he learned karate in Phnom Penh when he lived abroad before coming back to Japan, he doesn't use it because it would cause more trouble if he fought back since the attackers were probably from the same school as him. This was when he first met Orihata, she walked into the alley and asked "What is your purpose?", knowing that the boys are angry because Taniguchi "stole" their girlfriends, she provoked them and ripped offs her own shirt stating "If you have frustrated desires, I can fulfill them," then a man, Jin Asukai, intervenes and tells Taniguchi to take her and run, he does so and runs with her leaving the boys to the mysterious man. After getting to a bench he is about to go back and help the man out but halfway the man meets him with not a scratch on him, the man tells him to help the girl and leaves. Taniguchi lets the girl keep his jacket since she had no top, but she insists on paying him back, together they introduce one another and Taniguchi falls in love with her.

Some time later they both go on a date at the cinema, the line is long and Orihata waits in line while Taniguchi goes to a local fast food joint, he bumps into another classmate, named Shinjirou Anou, who taunts him about making his girl wait, but he brushes it off since he's in a rush. He returns to the line and both of them eat their food, Orihata licks ketchup off his face and proclaims "Now you're clean". After the movie they head to the nearby cafe "Tristan", they drink coffee and they talk. Some time later they have another date and talk about what school they will be going to next, together they decide to go to high school at Shinyo Academy. Orihata phones Taniguchi for the first time (instead of him always calling her) and they both decide to meet at a park, Orihata arrives early and while waiting for him a fat man comes up to her and calls her "Camille". He wants to know if she has "done him", he forefully tells her to speed up the process of having sex with Taniguchi, but Taniguchi comes running telling him to unhand her. The two start fighting, and the man known as "Spooky E" knocks Taniguchi out cold, but before falling unconscious he hears the man tell Orihata to hurry up and find "him". Taniguchi wakes up later and remembers that he apparently fell alsleep on the beanch, Orihata tells him that he got sunstroke and passed out, she then asks him if he knows anything about a certain shinigami, "Boogiepop".[6]

Chapter III

In late March, Touka Miyashita and Kazuko Suema are studying for exams, Suema glances over at a nearby abstract oil painting titled "Snow Falling in April", the picture was painted by Jin Asukai. She analyzed the painting in-depth, until Kotoe Kinukawa asks them if are they from Shinyo Academy and that she was referred to Suema by Kyouko Kinoshita (A former classmate). She wants help with Jin Asukai, Touka leaves and Suema agrees to hear her out, she states that Jin has changed somehow and how he comes home with blood stains on his clothes. Suema agrees to help her out. She sends Kotoe home and proceeds to search the guidance counseling office, until she hears footsteps approaching the room and she hides under the desk. Jin Asukai and two girls (Yuriko and Misaki) enter the room and talk for a while about "doing it" until Asukai rips off both of their shirts and the move towards each other and place their arms on each others shoulders. Suddenly the girls fling their heads about "like some sort of wild animal", the nails dig into each others skin and everytime Asukai shifted his shoulders the girls bodies shook. After they are done the girls covered in sweat just look at each other and giggle, then Asukai says "How does it feel to be true friends?", the girls then dress one another and they all leave together. Suema still under the table looks at a sketch she found in the room and remembers that the girl in the sketch looks like Suiko Minahoshi, the drawing was obviously Asukai's.[7]

Chapter IV

A girl sat on a bench in a train station waiting for somebody, a boy came over to her and together they left and headed into town. They went towards a deserted area of town with signs stating "no trespassing". The boy brought the girl to a bunch of men who asked "how much do you want, girl?", she replied "everything". She had no money and declared that she would be taking their drugs, the men obviously annoyed by her tone started to chase her, but they stopped after the girl went flying backwards. A figure wearing a strange outfit appeared before them, he called himself "Boogiepop", he the proceeded to beat up all the men, took all of their drugs and met the girl under an overpass. The girl was Aya Orihata, and the boy, taking off the Boogiepop costume, was Masaki Taniguchi. She emptied the drugs into the nearest ditch. Together they started punishing all of the evildoers in town with Taniguchi playing "super-hero".

It then flashed back to before Taniguchi put on the costume, they discussed Boogiepop and how Taniguchi could become him and "save people". The discussed their plans about how they would lure bad guys and then Taniguchi would appear and stop them. As Orihata applied the make-up she asked him if there was anything he wanted her to do. He fumbled for an answer, prompting her to call him an "idiot", to which he only replied "I know". One day, when they were looking for prey, they found nothing, even after checking multiple dangerous spots across the city. After finding nothing, Taniguchi walked Orihata home, both of them in silence until exchanging goodbyes at her apartment's elevator door. Orihata's phone rung, and Spooky E asked if she had caught "him". Disappoined at her answer, Spooky E stated that they would "sterilize the area" soon. He hung up, leaving Orihata to stand in horror at what she was told.[8]

Chapter V

Shinjirou Anou set his eyes upon a third year junior student who had just transferred into his class. His name was Masaki Taniguchi, and "it was love at first sight" for Shinjirou.[9]

Chapter VI

Characters

Note: Bold = First Appearance/Mention

Illustrations

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Boogiepop Volume 2 (in Japanese). Published by Dengeki Bunko
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Boogiepop Volume 2 (in English). Published by Seven Seas Entertainment
  3. Boogiepop Omnibus 1 (in English). Published by Seven Seas Entertainment
  4. Boogiepop and Others Novel, Prelude
  5. Boogiepop and Others Novel, Chapter 1
  6. Boogiepop and Others Novel, Chapter 2
  7. Boogiepop and Others Novel, Chapter 3
  8. Boogiepop and Others Novel, Chapter 4
  9. Boogiepop and Others Novel, Chapter 5