Posted by psgels on 26 September 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Bokura no


Bokura no, is the second series to finish of what I’d like to call the “big three” of the spring-season, along with Toward the Terra and Kaze no Shoujo Emily. For me, these three series stood out like no other for the past two seasons, and they just kept delivering quality over and over again. While Toward the Terra had its character-development, fast pacing and production-values, Bokura no shines not only through its well-written storyline, memorable characters and a rock-solid concept.

As soon as I read the concept, I knew we had something very special here. Revealing it entirely would be too much of a spoiler for the early episodes, but basically, this comes from the same mangaka as Narutaru. This time, however, a bunch of children are given the control not over monsters, but over a huge mecha. Bokura no shows what really happens when children get such a heavy burden placed upon themselves.

But don’t expect this to be a continuous angst-fest like Narutaru. The beauty of Bokura no is that the children involved aren’t special in any way. They’re just random and could in fact be your neighbour if you live in Japan. Each of these children is so incredibly different, and one of the many delightful elements of this series: every two or three episodes, the entire mood of the series changes for something completely different, while remaining logical and realistic. Sure, some children freak out, but that’s only one or two of them. Each of the children has his or her own problems and wishes, and that’s what makes this anime so brilliant. I could go more into detail, but I refuse for the sake of spoilers.

Then there’s the plot. Manga-readers should be aware that halfway through the anime, the director decided to go into a totally different direction when compared to the manga. Whether it improved or not, I can’t say, since I haven’t read it. But I can say that it has some definite competition with the storyline the director came up with. The pacing is very fast yet nothing feels rushed, and yet there’s a different and shocking plot twist nearly every episode.

Perhaps one of the few lesser points is that some episodes decide to focus on politics, instead of what this anime is really about: the children. But even this contributes to an overall mood of believability of the series. A giant robot has just appeared. Of course the military is going to react, and yet I see so many anime where mechas can just walk over the street without anyone noticing it. Also, when buildings get destroyed, they really get destroyed, and don’t magically disappear from the screen without any traces left. This really shows the impact that those giant robots can have on the societies.

If I had to mention a bad point… well, some plot-twists are a bit too coincidental, but that describes nearly 90% of all other anime as well. According to the manga-readers, the first half of the series also left out a few parts of developments for the different characters, but that’s probably in order to make it to air on tv, since the manga has a reputation to be rather gruesome at times. Still, I prefer this down-to-earth style of storytelling.

The character-designs are also perfect. Well, that’s what I think at least. The beauty of them is their simplicity: this really shows that the characters are just normal people, dragged into the story, instead of busty schoolgirls with hair in every colour of the rainbow and overly large pupils. Gonzo has been animating them, and it shows: when the animation is at its best, the characters look beautiful, despite their simplistic designs. One of the few elements of this series that isn’t outstanding is the music. It’s just good, but there are enough series with a better soundtrack.

Overall, while it isn’t the most popular anime out there, I absolutely loved this series. It’s delightfully different and unique, and quite possibly one of the most thought-provoking series of the year. While a few of the characters could have used a bit more development here and there, the rest of the series totally made up for it.

18 Responses

  1. Avatar tman aka kauldron26 says:

    better than terra??? r u serious?? wow… i guess i gotta check it out then. right now terra is the best anime of 2007 hands down.

  2. Avatar reslez says:

    You’re on the mark with your characterization of Spring 07. A lot of great series. I’m always tempted to make fun of Bokura no for its somewhat leaden depiction of dysfunctional children, but it brings a lot to the table. One of my favorite aspects of the series is the glimpses we sometimes get of alternate Earths, and the different ways other societies responded to the same dilemma. We root for the children to win, but we slowly begin to wonder if their Earth deserves to survive.

  3. Avatar Forwho says:

    Are you going to pick up the Manga?

  4. Avatar Archer says:

    your review is really well done,i bet if someone read this it would not spoil anything if they did not watched the anime
    but i can certainly say that this is not the best anime of the year as some said but i won’t go any further even if i think there are more than five animes better than this one and since it is one of the good animes of the past seasons but i am sure that it won’t win any prizes in the annual rankings anyway nice reviews for your last two completed animes and lets hope that the new season wil be better than the last one

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Forwho: I’m not sure exactly when or how (I’m not that big of a manga-reader), but the chance is very large that I’ll end up reading it someday.

    Archer: Ah well, I kindof expected this. My own taste isn’t exactly “mainstream”. ^^; Anyway, I’m glad that you like my review. My own outlook for the upcoming season is that it’s rather small, when compared to other ones.

  6. Avatar Ivy says:

    Oh yay its over.

    Hmm I’m a little underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong I thought both 23 and 24 were good, its just I hoped the series as a whole would be as good as those two episodes, but it wasn’t its merely ok. Plus why mess with such great source material grrr! Oh and bad director choice, I mean I lowered my expectations significantly after hearing about the director’s infamous “I hate original”. One scene I thought was well done was the kana and Daichii’s siblings meeting. That was unexpected and a nice change of pace.

  7. Avatar IceFayth says:

    hey is bokura no= bokura ga ita? cause the bokura no i found only have 18 episodes where as bokura ga ita have 26 episodes. please clarify me asap k?

  8. psgels psgels says:

    Heh, Bokura no is something entirely different from Bokura ga Ita. The reason you can only find eighteen episodes is that there are only eighteen of them subbed. You can find the downloads at regular torrents sites as Tokyo Toshokan.

  9. Avatar IceFayth says:

    ic, then how u get to know about the next 6 episode’s storyline? im interested in deathnote too anyidea where can i get to download them?=)

  10. Avatar IceFayth says:

    ic, then how u get to know about the next 6 episode’s storyline? im interested in deathnote too anyidea where can i get to download them?=)

  11. psgels psgels says:

    I watched these episodes raw, without subtitles. ;)

    Death Note is also available on sites like Tokyo Toshokan.

  12. Avatar Forwho says:

    (I realised this is kind of late but) I’m not a Manga reader either but I’m gonna read this Manga after my exam. If you do pick up the Manga do review! I like your reviews. I think your taste is not very “mainstream” either but I think that’s what is nice about it, because mine isn’t too lol.

  13. Avatar yuseff says:

    I just cannot agree to your review. I apologize if this sounds rude, but while it is very true that this anime was very thought-provoking, it just didn’t click. There were so many plot holes in it, it’s just annoying. I agree that this anime has strayed away from your typical anime where no one dies (aka Bleach), but in the end, its an anime of enjoyment, its an anime which revolves around deep-thinking instead. And the reality point, I just can’t agree with that. Why was it all just focused in Japan? I mean if involved the whole world being at stake, then seriously, Japan shouldn’t be the only one taking care of it. Seriously, Mushi shi is much better than this!

  14. Avatar Tan-Tan says:

    TBH I don’t think it’s thought-provoking either. What stood out really was the cruelty of reality and the strength of mankind to move on. What about the dimension survival stuff thing? Well, that’s just the concept isn’t? But the main story, as you said, was about the children themselves. And frankly their stories are nothing new but I think it was done amazingly anyway.

    Well I guess it depends from person to person, how the message hit him.

  15. Avatar Oroboros says:

    This may sound heretical… but Bokura No is the closest thing to Evangelion, and is probably a little more realistic if not as epic/ambitious, and more consistent if not as stylish or ground-breaking.

  16. Avatar Nosfistis says:

    I’ll be frank, I didn’t enjoy the anime that much. My main enjoyment came from the sorrow and drama that came with the inevitability of the situation. The children’s stories didn’t leave an impact on me, except for a few of them, because of the very fact that the anime portrayed them too realistically. Drama is stronger when there is hope or happiness and it’s crushed under the plot’s circumstances. Bokura no didn’t leave any place for hope or salvation. Also the kids, because they are real, random persons, their problems feel too familiar and on the ground to really create theatrical drama. It felt uncomfortable, true, but almost never dramatic. Worse of all, the anime didn’t expand much on the core story, the giant robots and their enemies. So much lost potential there. All in all, while the execution is very good, the themes of the story never clicked with me.

  1. […] My thoughts immediately turned to Bokurano; the way I dropped it, the way my fellow bloggers really loved it and most of all, the way it’s such a fascinating idea for an anime series. Long story short, […]

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