|“||Now that you have seen me, I cannot allow you to live.||”|
The Manticore (マンティコア, Manteikoa) is the main antagonist of Boogiepop and Others. It is a man-eating clone of Echoes created by the Towa Organization that escaped the institute where it was held, and proceeded to fall in love with Masami Saotome, and steal the body of Minako Yurihara.
The Manticore is an unempathetic creature, being able to kill others for food without feeling any guilt, and when it isn't hiding its true identity, it is very aggressive towards everyone aside from Masami. When it first met him, it was unconcerned with its future or its place in the world, as it just tried its best to survive the day without being hunted by any Towa Organization agents, who it has shown great fear towards. However, Masami was able to convince the Manticore that, with his help, the two would be able to reconstruct society with them at its center. The Manticore quickly fell in love with him, as he was the first person to show kindness towards it, and its love was proven genuine when Masami was killed protecting it, when it became frenzied and attempted to kill anyone in sight.
The Manticore's original appearance is never shown, only its body after the transformation into Minako Yurihara.
In the anime, it is shown to be identical to Echoes, its original, though with a distinctly feminine shape, before taking the body of Minako.
After Echoes was captured by the Towa Organization, he was experimented on and cloned, most likely intending it to be a weapon. The clone, however, quickly turned aggressive, and killed everyone in the institute where it was held, before escaping. Later, it broke into Shinyo Academy school ground, and murdered Minako Yurihara. It was, however, seen by Masami Saotome, and attempted to kill and take his body, but the boy explained to the creature that Minako would be a better choice for infiltrating society. After that, the two started working together.
- Mimicking Others: Upon consuming a person, the Manticore can transfigurate itself to look exactly like that person, being able to integrate itself perfectly into society. Intrestingly, her mimicking seems to also include the make up a person was wearing at the time of consumption, as she was left with the lipstick that Minako wore the day she was killed. However, rather than being regular make up, it becomes a part of its body, unable to be removed.
- Creating Slaves: Aside from just consuming them, the Manticore can reanimate corpses to do its bidding using the chemical synthetized inside itself. While they do not show any anomalies at first, the slaves are robbed of their free will, and exist only to fullfil the mission assigned to them.
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Boogiepop and Others
Masami Saotome enters the tea room of Shinyo Academy and finds the corpse of Minako Yurihara, before being attacked by the Manticore, which was hanging on the ceiling. While being attacked, he feels happiness for some reason.
The Manticore watches over a deceased victim in a dimly lit room. Then, it begins licking the girl all over her body, with each spot it touches changing color. Afterwards, the corpse begins dissolving into a strange smoke, which the Manticore then breathes in, eating all that remained of the girl. After any traces disappeared, the Manticore licked its lips and laughed.
Chapter Two: The Return of the Fire Witch
After the girls laugh a little too loudly, Minako Yurihara, the best student in the class, a loner with no friends, turns to glare at them.
Chapter Three: No One Lives Forever
After the movie, the group notices 'Minako Yurihara' walking on the street. While the others speak about how they admire her genius, Masami alone knows 'her' true nature.
Once Jun Sakamoto and Sachiko Noguchi are gone, and Akiko gradually gets weaker and weaker, Masami drags her into an abandoned parking garage. Once arriving on the seventh floor, he places her (who had already stopped breathing by then), on the ground, and moments later, a creature jumps all the way to the top. It's the Manticore, with the visage of Minako Yurihara. It laments the fact that it can't eat her now, but Masami assures it that they could get five more victims if they play their cards well. Convinced, the Manticore kisses the body, forcing a gaseous essence inside her. As Masami watches with sick pleasure, the Manticore continues the kiss for 30 seconds, then pulls back, its lips now red. Then, the corpse becomes revitalized, with a blue liquid pouring out of its orifices. Having become a slave, Akiko is ordered to administer the drug produced by the Manticore to her friend group, and is robbed of her memories of the encounter.
Five minutes later, Akiko, having come to her senses, is walking alongside Masami. She tries and fails to remember what had previously happened, unaware that she had already died, and was simply a puppet. As she slowly comes to her senses, all of her emotions quickly fade away, even forgetting her love for Masami, not even realizing that he is the one she previously treasured. Then, he meets with the Manticore at the cafe Tristan, and the two discuss their plans for the future, looking like a regular couple. Masami flashes back to the day he first encountered the Manticore, in the tea ceremony room. When he entered the room, he was met with the corpse of Minako Yurihara. Then, he was attacked by the Manticore. Pinned back, the Manticore explained to him that it would take his body and blend into society. Hearing this, Masami said that it would be more helpful for it to keep him alive, explaining that, if it became him, people would notice, as he was fairly popular. The Manticore asked him why he wasn't struggling for his life at all, to which the boy proclaimed that 'he loved her'. Back in the cafe, Masami and the Manticore plot out the strategies they should take in order to remake society, with them at the center. Beforehand, the Manticore only thought of survival, so she accepted the new goal gleefully. Then, with the conversation ended, the Manticore declares its love for Masami once more.
All according to their plan, Akiko spreads the drug to her friends, and then they kidnap and kill them in order. However, they are unable to turn them into slaves this time. They already killed many high school girls from multiple schools, leaving no traces, and throwing off the authorities. The teacners don't spare a thought for the missing girls, as they see them as 'troublemakers'. Soon, however, Akiko's behavior becomes strange. Concluding that she began to break down, they dispose of her, fearing that, if she were to be examined, the "institution" that created the Manticore would find out. The Manticore, frustrated that she is unable to make any more slaves, promises that she will do it next time, but Masami advises that they shouldn't kill any more people from the school, or they would be found out. The Manticore accepts obediently.
Upon telling the Manticore about Nagi in the pool changing room, it becomes enraged and suggests they kill her. Masami protests, bringing up her family's wealth and the unlikelihood of her disappearance being put down as a runaway. The Manticore, however, accuses Masami of still being in love with the girl, to which Masami becomes startled. However, just then, Naoko walks in, calling out to Echoes. Masami tries to stop it, but the Manticore lunges at her and murderes her instantly. Masami yelles at it, asking it why she killed the girl, but the Manticore showes extreme fear, having heard the name of her original. Masami tries to calm it down, and then, realizing the body belongs to Nagi's friend, assures the shaken Manticore that the advantage is on their side. Then, they take Naoko's body to the basement, where it is consumed. During this, the lyrics of a song called "No One Lives Forever" flash through Masami's mind.
Chapter Five: Heartbreaker
Nagi and Echoes lead Kei, Masami and Shirou out of the lecture hall, and instruct them to go home. Kei, still upset, is about to go off on Nagi once more, but she is stopped by Masami, who then begins speaking to Nagi, telling her that he is glad that she rejected him back then, because otherwise, he'd have been the Manticore's enemy instead. As he speaks, he takes out a mechanical pencil, which, upon finishing his monologue, he uses to stab Echoes in the throat, declaring that, now, Nagi is "their enemy". In that same instant, the Manticore, under the guise of Minako Yurihara, jumps on Echoes, cutting him open from shoulder to waist with its fingernails. Distracted by the appearance of the monster, Nagi fails to defend herself against Masami, who kills her by cutting her throat open with a small knife. Seeing this, Echoes dodges the Manticore's attacks, takes Nagi's body and runs away, with Masami telling the monster to chase him. Seeing the sudden carnage, Kei remains stunned, while Shirou runs away, screaming. Masami began approaching the shaking Kei, proclaiming that killing is fun as well, even though he originally planned to be killed by Nagi.
As he flees, Echoes realizes that the pencil he was stabbed with contains a poison synthesized by the Manticore, which severely weakened him. The man wonders why Masami, a boy that hadn't suffered any brainwashing, would ally himself with that monster, and then looks at Nagi's lifeless body, once again wondering "which is it". Soon enough, the Manticore begins to catch up, smiling. Echoes leaves Nagi's corpse in the bushes of the school garden, and then is shortly hit with a powerful kick from the Manticore, sending him flying.
After hearing the thud of Echoes getting kicked, Kei snaps out of her confusion and dodges Masami's attack, quickly arming herself with the stun gun that Nagi had left on the floor, which stops Masami from approaching. Kei flusteredly interrogates Masami about the monster taking the guise of Minako, and upon hearing the name Manticore, she recalls its meaning of "man-eater", and connects the dots, realizing that the girls who went missing, including Naoko, were eaten by the creature. As Kei realizes that she was used by Masami to trick Nagi, she askes him if he lied about loving her. He responds by saying that he did indeed love her, which is why he wanted to kill her with his own hands. Hearing this, Kei tries to attack him using the stun gun, but Masami dodges easily, proclaiming that he loves her strong-willed eyes. As she swings her weapon wildly, Echoes, sent flying by the kick, passes over her head and slams into the ground, torn to pieces. While that distracts Kei, Masami kicks the stun gun from her hand. The Manticore tells Masami that it would finish things, and Masami agrees. Kei runs over to Echoes, who has holes all over his body and a severed arm. The Manticore laughes, telling Kei that Echoes wouldn't be able to save her, and Masami follows up, saying that he is weaker than expected. Seeing the two, Kei shouts that they aren't humans, but rather, devils.
Hearing this, Echoes wonders "which were humans". The ones who captured him, studied his body and created the Manticore, or the ones who showed him kindness, the cloaked boy, Naoko and Nagi. Hearing her proclamation, the Manticore laughes vulgarly, telling her that it was never human, and that Masami is nothing like the other foolish humans. Through tears, Kei shouts back that, even though she and Echoes would die there, others like Nagi would stand in their way, unable to ignore their evil. Seeing that, even through her fear of death, Kei still holds on to him, trying to protect him from the Manticore, Echoes finally comes to a decision. The Manticore chuckles at Kei's words, deciding to "become" Nagi next. Seeing her confusion, it explains that it would take her form and gain control of her vast wealth and information network, and also that it would turn Kei into a mindless slave who could feel nothing. As Kei hugs Echoes' body in horror, the alien man raises his hand toward the sky and, for the first time, speaks a command for him to be turned into information and transmitted back to the source. Then, the air around them begins to glow.
That evening, an electrical disturbance is recorded in the area, causing a massive blackout. Witness reports all say that a strange light could be seen covering the sky for just a second. But the reports are all eventually forgotten.
Kei sees as Echoes becomes a beam of light which almost swallows up the Manticore, until Masami pushes it out of the way, shielding it with his own body, which ends up completely disintegrated. Kei is thrown aside by the shockwave, and when she regains her senses, the light disappears. As she looks around, she can only see the Manticore, with its uniform completely burnt off and half of its body charred black. It sits there, looking blankly at the sky. Then, it lets out a howl of pain as the loss of its loved one sets in. When Kei tries to run away, the Manticore attempts to follow suit, dragging itself after her. As it keeps getting closer, Kei begins to hear the tune of someone whistling Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. Then, Kei slips and falls to the ground. Turning around, she sees the Manticore reaching out for her, and right as she thinks she is fated to die, the Manticore's hand is cut off by a nigh invisible metal wire, which then twists around the monster's head and tightens. The Manticore begins to claw at its throat, but cannot escape from the wire. As she watches this, she realizes that she must have tripped on the wire, and, following it back to its source, she sees something impossible. Her classmate, Touka Miyashita, dressed in a black cloak and a black hat. When Kei says her name, the figure instead tells her that it is currently Boogiepop, with a boyish voice. Then, Boogiepop turns his attention back to the Manticore struggling to escape, and proclaims that, even though it is stronger than a human, he can make use of a human's unconscious strength, as he is only borrowing this body. He then gives the command for Shirou to shoot it, and, in that same instant, a duralumin arrow pierces the Manticore's chest. Spinning around, Kei sees Shirou Tanaka, who aimes his bow at the captured monster. In that moment, when it knows that it has lost, the Manticore shows an expression of momentary relief, before Boogiepop mercilessly orders Shirou to shoot its head. He kills it at its most beautiful, before it has a chance to grow ugly, just as the legend say. Cracks begin to run along its body, before it crumbles into purple smoke, drifting in all directions.
- Manticore means "man-eater" in ancient greek.
- Manticore is also a reference to the song of the same name by the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, from their album Tarkus.