I admit, I haven’t been much of a mecha fan nowadays. Back when I was younger though, a lot of mecha shows were dubbed by our local television. The likes of Voltes V, Daimos, and later on, a few Gundam shows, like Wing and Seed. I was a fan of the genre for some time. But that was then, and the only mecha that I have on my list besides those is Code Geass (yep, haven’t watched TTGL)
Which brings us to this Quick Look. After looking for some anime with a ‘psychological’ theme, I stumbled across this show, at first thinking it was just another mecha show. Apparently, it’s a mighty bit more psychological than it appears to be, to my surprise. Here’s Bokurano.
Bokurano (Ours) is an adaptation of a manga series with the same name. The manga has eleven volumes with sixty-six chapters, which went for more or less seven years. The anime has twenty-four episodes in total and aired during the Spring-Summer seasons of 2007. Something interesting to note about the adaptation from manga to anime is the conflict that arose between manga author Mohiro Kitoh and anime director Hiroyuki Morita. Apparently, Hiroyuki didn’t like the original story of the manga, which led him to make some changes. He stated in a blog that Mohiro is fine with the changes, as long as it isn’t too fantastical. Mohiro, however, finishes with a statement saying:
” The director of the anime version of Bokurano hates the original work. Viewers should not expect to see any aspects that they liked about the original manga appearing in the anime. So fans of the manga, please stop watching the anime. “
Now, having read that after finishing the anime made me want to read the manga, to see just how great did the changes affect the story. I’ll probably get to it at some point. So yeah, It’d probably be a good idea to check both the anime and the manga.
Bokurano starts out with fifteen teenagers on a nature camp, playing around at a shore. Each one of them knows each other only relatively well, but they do get along to an understandable level. That is until Komada gets everyone’s attention when he kills a harmless crab by burning it with a firework. He then proceeds to explain that there was really nothing to fret about, since killing animals was human nature, which also killed the mood of everyone. Add to that, the rest of the fireworks were now drenched for some reason. Having nothing else to do, the group tried to think of something. Machi then suggested that they check out a nearby cave not far from there.
Waku takes the lead from there, as the group walk deeper and deeper into the cave. The path ends at, what seems to be, a makeshift control room of some sort. As they ponder the possible reasons of someone actually living there, a middle-aged man enters the ‘room’ as well. He introduces himself as Kokopelli, and explains to the kids that he was a game developer working on a game. According to him, he wanted to re-assess his ideas, that’s why he based himself within the cave, much to the kids’ disbelief. He then proceeds to talk about the game he was developing.
Fifteen heroes take control of a gigantic, black, armor-clad mech, as they defend the Earth from fifteen enemies, or else, the planet is doomed. Kokopelli’s story piqued the interest of the group. He then asks the kids if they would want to partake in the game, since, they were, in total, fifteen individuals already. The group agrees, as they take the contract one-by-one, save for one kid, Ushiro Kana. His older brother, Jun, didn’t like the idea of his sister taking part in this, thinking that she would just be a nuisance. Kokopelli let’s it be, and agrees to partake in the game as well. With the contract complete, the fates of the fifteen teenagers was sealed.
This series definitely surprised me. I’ll say this now (to those who haven’t read the manga and/or have heard about the anime beforehand) but Bokurano is not your ordinary mecha-themed show. Far from it really, I mean, sure, a giant robot fighting other giant robots is mecha by definition, but the driving force of this series was not the fights, but the dark, deep, and for the most part emotion-driven story that comes with it. A fine example of deconstruction, Bokurano offers psychological-drama, the likes of which really are, well, sad (part of the reason why the director tweaked the manga’s story) and gripping, to the point where I’d dare compare it to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.
Although I haven’t read the manga, I’ve already looked up some of the changes made, and I do agree that the anime is a bit on the lighter side (albeit only a teeny bit) compared to the manga. Nevertheless, this show deals with some pretty serious stuff like death (a lot of death actually), abuse, and human morals. Each of the fifteen have their own unique circumstances, and have their own reasons for fighting, that really separates one character from another. This gave the show a nice balance and variety in its cast.
Almost every show has its Achilles’ Heel, and Bokurano may or may not have one, depending on how you score endings. Yes, the ending to the anime adaptation made some viewers content and for the most part happy, while there are some who just want something else. I personally have no problem with what they did there, but of course, that’s just me. Don’t let this throw you guys off though. I do believe that this series is one worth watching.
That aside, I didn’t notice any other problems with this series (though, it is definitely undersubbed) So yeah, if you guys are into shows like Evangelion and Madoka, or are just itching for a nice story, give it a shot. I mean, I’m glad I did.