「VSイマジネーター 4」 (VS Imajineetaa 4)
“VS Imaginator 4”

For an episode with no Boogiepop, Boogiepop sure gave us a lot of Boogiepop this week. Not to mention peeling back the curtain of mystery surrounding the premise just a bit more than it has, and cementing this arc’s status us being more emotionally consequential than the ones which came before. For those new viewers who stuck around (like me) despite the show’s anachronistic manner, this was the most conventional episode so far, for better or worse.

I confess seeing Masaki become a Boogiepop impersonator was a turn I didn’t necessarily see coming. He’s a natural for it in the sense that he’s skilled at karate and possessed of a strong sense of justice, but the main reason he goes along with Aya/Camille’s suggestion is that he’s a pubescent boy in love. The tenor of Masaki’s ominous conversation with Nagi suggests that he’s had issues with biting off more than he can chew before, and perhaps not always thinking of the consequences before he acts on his emotions.

The reason behind Aya’s request is that she’s following orders, of course, and Spooky E is the first big bad of the series who gives the sense that he’s important in the overall picture. The idea is simple, use the fake Boobiepop to draw out the real one (with whom Spooky is obsessed). There may be a bit of social engineering involved here too, though ones suspects that the drugs Spooky is ordering his terminals to test on human guinea pigs are drugs of a different sort. What he does with the ones Masakipop steals for him isn’t expressly stated, but selling it to help support his activities seems a likely bet.

One thing this episode makes clear is that Spooky E is not truly working for the Towa Corporation any longer, or even “Axis” whoever they are (not that we know who Towa is to begin with). He’s gone rogue, though without knowing what his employer’s (creator’s?) goals are, it’s hard to extrapolate on his. Another important nugget of information is that both Spooky and Camille are “synthetic humans”, though clearly different in at least one area (he’s no Commander Data, let’s put it that way). All of Aya’s sexual escapades, it seems, were an attempt to see if synthetic and real humans could crossbreed – and Spooky E won’t rest until she’s tested it with Masaki.

Also in Spooky’s orbit of destruction is Kotoe-san, who is indeed Jin’s cousin rather than his little sister. Spooky E turns her not into another terminal, but a copy – what this means for her future is unclear. Unfortunately for Kotoe she’s usefully positioned as far as hunting Boogiepop goes, but it’s worth noting that her whirlpool intersects with Suema’s, which has already intersected with Nagi’s. She’s been sidelines from the plot for this entire arc, but Nagi has made it clear that she feels enough towards Masaki that she’s likely to step in if he gets himself into trouble (and perhaps has already done so). Could it be her intervention that saves him in the end?


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