I’ve got to stop dropping these boring-looking series without giving them a chance… looking back at what I wrote on my first impression on this series, I realize what an idiot I’ve been, dropping this series in favour of… Binbou Shimai Monogatari. In any case, if you’re looking for good romance, then look no further, because Bokura ga Ita has lots of it, and then some more.
And what romance it is. The beauty of this series is that it just feels like it’s about a real couple, and throughout the series, they explore all of the common aspects of being a couple: rivalry, understanding and compromising for each other, truthfulness, breaking up and saying goodbye, but the common theme for this series is the fact that love can turn sane people into a bunch of inconsistent idiots; the contrast between common sense and your own feelings, and the 24 episodes do an excellent job of exploring said themes in-depth.
Obviously, the characters in this series are deep. About 50% of this series’ dialogue happens inside the characters’ heads, so at the end of the series, you’ll know exactly what went on in those multi-layered minds of them. They way they evolve throughout the series is also pretty amazing, and you can see the subtle changes that occur in just about everything in this series. The pacing is slow, but every single episode hardly ever loses focus on what’s really important in this series.
Let me place a warning, though, and a very important one. The pacing is incredibly slow, so you obviously don’t want to watch it if you generally like fast-paced series, but there’s one more thing to be aware of: the female lead Nanami Takahashi. She’s by no means a bad character, but the creators made no attempts to make her into something like “the perfect girlfriend”, or something similar. She’s weak, incredibly wishy-washy and hardly ever gets to the point she wants to make. I realize that this is exactly the creators’ intentions, but you do NOT want to watch this series when you’re frustrated, because she’ll just make these frustrations worse.
In terms of the production-values, this is a typical Artland series. The character-designs are very stylish, and the animation is consistent, yet you’ll hardly ever notice it. There are so many EDs that they make any Shaft-productions pale in comparison. I now also understand why Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino’s action-sequences felt so low-budget, because it’s just not something they’re good at, and instead they excel in style and subtlety (something that was plenty available in Il Teatrino as well).
This pretty much is exactly what a pure shoujo romance should be. My only real complaint is the ending, as it’s a bit too open-ended for such a series, but mostly because the manga at that point featured a very interesting plot-twist that was omitted in the anime, and which would have had so much potential if the creators included it in a second season somehow. But then again, then it would look a bit too much like a Makoto Shinkai rip-off, and this way Bokura ga Ita really has its own identity as a series.