Posted 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.

Posted on with categories: Bokura no


What a magnificent and absolutely incredible ending!! Okay, others may disagree, but there’s a very good chance that Bokura no has the best ending of the year for me. Obviously spoilers are going to follow this post, so this bit of text is there to fill up space for the blog-aggregators, in particular Animeblogger Antenna. So, this should be enough.

Let me start with saying one thing: NONE OF THE CHILDREN WAS REVIVED!!!! THE DEAD REALLY REMAINED DEAD HERE!!! The thing the director said in his blog, about reviving the children was all just one huge bluff!!!!

Sure, there were a few things that lacked, but in turn, they all have their own charms. In the end, we never get to know who’s behind everything, but I actually think that was a good thing to do. It’s like the previous episode said: Bokura no is about the children. Not some interdimensional space-complot. I also absolutely loved how the grown-up Kana ran into Daiichi’s siblings, the ones that he left behind. It may have been too much of a coincidence, but it was such a beautiful choice for an ending, to give the three of them a last bit of development.

And the battle! Seriously, it was one of the best fights of the series. Not because it’s the longest, but because it was so delightfully different. Usually, when the final episode of the anime ends, it’s standard fare where two titans duke it out, though Bokura no adds so many fine details that make it awesome to watch. First of all, the development that Jun has gotten turned him into an amazing and sympathic character. And most importantly: I loved how he actually fought alone. I loved how he talked to himself while fighting, despite nobody being in the cockpit. You don’t often see shy persons relax while they’re alone, do you?

Seriously, Bokura no couldn’t have ended better. If there was anything that was needed to make this show even more amazing it was this episode! It’s so sad to see one of the best shows of the year gone, but it’s definitely been an awesome ride.

Posted on 19 September 2007 with categories: Bokura no


I’m not sure why, but my mood seems to be extremely random and unpredictable when it comes to final episodes. Bokura no, though, still had me as pumped as ever with its semi-final episode, and I’m really looking forward to see the end of this. I actually remember making a few predictions about the next episode, and surprisingly enough NONE of them came true. Obviously, this episode is going to be filled with spoilers. DO NOT READ this entry if you haven’t seen this episode yet.

Seriously, Bokura no started off with so many characters, and only three of them are alive right now: Jun, Kana and Seki. The rest of them: all dead, because yes, in this episode, Yoko kills Koemushi and takes Kana’s place as a pilot! I remember predicting that the giant tower would bring some kind of major plot twist: it didn’t. Yoko just destroys it, along with the building of Kanji’s mother. I also never expected that she indeed would be a pilot as well!

The fight also was one of the most exciting ones in the series, as it was also one of the most challenging ones. It really looked like a battle between titans, though in the end, it was Yoko’s experience that managed to finish the fight in her favour. This episode also was the first time we saw the government really involved with their bombardments of the city, around the fighting Zearths. It was actually a pretty weak strategy, as it would place both mechas at an equal disadvantage, not to mention the huge amount of homes that were burned in the process. The next and final pilot is going to be Jun.

The obvious question remains: How the HECK are the creators planning to finish this series?! Who were these people dressed in white? Are they really the ones behind everything? Will Bokura no attempt to rush its ending by killing off these guys in the end, or will it just close off the story of the current world, where the giant robots of other worlds will remain killing each other. Will the reset-button truly be pressed, or is this just a piece of false information. I’m dying to know!!!

Posted on 12 September 2007 with categories: Bokura no


This episode was truly magnificent. Even though there are only three episodes left, Bokura no spends an entire episode on Jun’s past, but boy, does it turn awesome. I love how well his character has been developed up till now, this makes his background even sadder. The creators did a wonderful job in making his personality as real as possible.

All the times Jun’s been yelling at others, these were all about relieving his frustrations. The problem with his father wasn’t the fact that he didn’t pay attention to Jun, heck he seemed awfully keen to please him. But at the same time, he only spent very short times with his son, before getting distracted with something else. Jun has actually been screaming on some quality time with is father alone, but that never came.

And unfortunately, he often spent time alone with Kana, so he often directed his frustrations at his father towards the poor unfortunate girl. Kana realized this, which is probably why she kept supporting him. She kept hoping for someone or something to save him. This is why she asked Tanaka to search for Jun’s real mother: she thought that a mother would be able to save him. She was probably too tiny and scared to do it herself.

I’m seeing Kirie more and more as the biggest saviour of Bokura no with this. Not only did he bring Yoko closer to the other children with his revelation, he also was the one who managed to save Jun from his built-up frustrations; both by coming to live with him, and by refusing to fight. I almost believe that he did this to show Jun that there are far worse people on this earth. And it definitely made impact: ever since then, Jun started to change, being helped by all the other children. I seriously love both his and Kana’s characters.

Anyway, with only two episodes left, it doesn’t seem like Seki will be piloting. My gut says that in the next episode, during Jun’s fight, something very special will happen, that will somehow resolve the story. Two episodes are just enough time for both the fight, develop the people who are behind all of this, and give some conclusion. It’s going to be tricky, but I’ve got faith in the writers. They’ve already accomplished so many great things, if anyone can pull off a great ending, it’s them.

If I had to guess, then it’s got something to do with the giant tower that was being built by Tanaka’s employer’s employer. I assume that he’s been working on it for a while, and now it seems that it’s finally finished, due to Kanji’s mother’s research. The previous episode already showed that things like these can accidentally suck up the energy of the entire planet. I’m interested in how Kanji’s mother managed to tweak it in just a few days, and what the effect of it will become.

Long story short: I love Bokura no.

Posted on 4 September 2007 with categories: Bokura no


First, the good stuff:

The episode immediately begins with Kanji’s fight. There’s only one thing he did between his selection and his time to pilot: ask Tamotsu to kill his mother. Kanji’s case is similar to Kirie’s in a way: they both didn’t have any friends outside of the group of twelve, and they both had problems with their mothers. They were both struggling with a reason to fight. Kanji resolves this quite differently from Kirie, though, when the fight happens right besides the building his mother is currently in. Yet again, this episode was totally different from the previous episodes and fights somehow. Kanji is one of the few members of the cast who doesn’t like doubting (by lack of better description).

This time, the enemy also is an inexperienced one. They probably haven’t figured out yet that the other side is being piloted by real people as well. They go all out, but Kanji manages to easily beat them, protecting his mother in the process. He’s given quite an interesting reason for it: his mother may be an idiot, her research is top-notch. He’s actually fighting, so that he can give Seki and Jun a chance to survive! He probably knew that Tamotsu would never kill his mother, but he did want to make her aware that he’s fighting for her, and Tamotsu is of couse, the perfect person for this.

Then, when Kanji destroyed the enemy’s control-chamber, something strange happens. The enemy robot uses Kanji’s mother’s research to pull power from the entire city to get back to life. If this continues, it could suck up the energy of the entire planet, at least that’s what I understood.

What follows was a part I didn’t quite understand. From what I could get, along with an online-translator, it seems that even though the enemy’s children had been killed, Kanji still needed to immobalize the enemy robot to prevent the earth from being destroyed. The scene we see in the OP also reappears, and it turns out to be the links to the pilots of the enemy earth. Either that, or I just missed a huge plot-twist.

Kanji’s life-force is meanwhile depleting, but he manages to finish off the enemy robot, and places the power-source on top of the building where his mother works, in order to restore the power. I think that Zearth’s program really is linked with the earth itself, and when the enemy robot made contact with the research that Kanji’s mother had been conducting, it managed to pull out every bit of energy from the planet itself. All in all, it’s been quite an interesting explanation, and this really strengthens the theory behind the different Zearths and how they work. Seriously, other anime should really take an example from this series, and the way it so carefully explains its dynamics.

That was the good stuff. Now comes the GREAT stuff. :)

After the battle, Jun and Koemushi remain in the cockpit and have a little talk, and it’s indeed exactly like I feared: Koemushi plans to turn Jun into the next Kokopelli by making KANA the next pilot. If I understood things correctly, there will be two pilots left on the current earth: Kana and Seki. Jun will then go to yet another earth to get members, and he’ll stay alive. I’m not sure if this was in the Kokopelli-way, as in do it once and you’re fine, or in the Koemushi way, making him destined to become Koemushi’s successor.

Koemushi really believes that Jun is willing to throw his sister’s life away in order to live. What follows is the most amazing scene between Jun and Kana, where it becomes clear that Kana is indeed willing to die for her brother, if it was only because she didn’t want to live without him. Jun then makes a phone-call to his father, asking him to pick up Kana. In other words, he’s going to beg Koemushi to switch places with Kana, so that she can live, after she probably rounded up fourteen new pilots on a different earth.

And I think he’s actually going to pull this through, unlike Kokopelli, who at the last moment became afraid for his own life. I think the biggest difference between the two was that Kokopelli only seemed to care about his daughter. It’s just a guess, but I don’t think that the different pilots on Kokopelli’s world formed such a unity as in the current world. Every world has different pilots, some have the entire planet backing them (Takami’s opponents), others are afraid (Moji’s opponent), and others want to save the people from different earths instead (Kirie’s opponent).

Because the group here was more closely knit than with Kokopelli, who probably never cared about the other children, Jun, who started out like a jackass slowly came to understand why his different opponents fought. He probably understood this when Kirie started living with him, and he suddenly had to take care of him and became involved with his problems.

Still, the thing is: is Koemushi just going to let Kana and Jun swap places? He’s proved himself to be sneaky and a total idiot, and he loves to see others suffering. Is he really going to be content with such a happy ending?

Also, with this episode, I became convinced: Bokura no is THE most thought-provoking anime of 2007. At this point, this series goes much further than Seirei no Moribito, Jigoku Shoujo, Death Note and all the others combined. Also, in terms of realism it’s one of the best of this year. I really love this series because of this, and I just hope that the creators saved the best for last. :)

Posted on 29 August 2007 with categories: Bokura no


Whoa, plot twists! Before I start with them, I must say that I finally realized how incredibly versatile the second half of this anime had been. It started out as a case-based series, then, with Kirie and Maki it turned into science-fiction, then with Takami and Aiko, the political undertones of this series suddenly got lots of attention, and the past two episodes have yet again changed the main focus, as they start to explain all of the mysteries in the series. It’s hard to name a series where the difference is so noticeable.

Anyway, this episode: Yoko’s background. It seems that her original world has been visited by a Koemushi-like creature as well. Yoko wasn’t part of the pilots, but her brother was. He already was a huge brat at that time, but it seems that the group of children had also decided to battle until their deaths. Then, if I understood things correctly, the gray Koemushi came with a revelation when Yoko’s brother was the final pilot left: if he were to travel to different worlds, enlisting people for the very same game, he’d be allowed to live. With this news, he became overjoyed, and gladly accepted this for the chance to keep living. Yoko, while she didn’t like this, still decided to accompany her brother.

They then travelled through countless other worlds, where their robot always ended up defeated at one point. Then they reached Kokopelli’s world, where they met him. Things were a bit different in that world, as Yoko entered a class as a transfer-student in order to get them to sign up, and she became friends with them. Kokopelli’s daughter was among that class, and Kokopelli was their teacher. He was the one who nudged his daughter to enlist.

Kokopelli became like Tanaka when he found out the true nature. I guess he felt responsible for it, and offered his life, in exchange for others (aka, his daughter). Obviously, with Koemushi, this didn’t turn out as planned. In the end, only he and his daughter remained alive. I think that it’s then when they knew about the final pilot being the one to remain alive. Kokopelli offered himself, to keep his daughter alive, though Koemushi had different plans, and chose the daughter instead. When Kokopelli’s wife tried to commit suicide along with him afterwards, he suddenly was begging for his life. After that, he went on to help Koemushi and Yoko.

At least, that explanation makes the most sense. There are quite a few details in this episode I didn’t get, like why didn’t Kokopelli turn into a Koemushi as well? And why did he so easily throw his life away in the first episode? Why didn’t we see the last fight of Kokopelli?

And holy god, I suddenly realize how similar Yoko and Koemushi are to Jun and Kana! With Kanji being the next pilot, And after that only Seki and Jun are left, and it really seems like Koemushi is trying to make Jun into the next Koemushi, due to Kana being there. There’s also a thing I’ve been wondering for the past few episodes: the final pilot. Now that Kirie killed two, and Tanaka died, there should be no need for it. But according to THAT Anime Blog‘s entry of episode 17, the line-up that Koemushi mentioned consisted out of all the pilots (Komoda – Jun – Seki – Tanaka – Kanji). This has confused me for quite a few episodes already.

Anyway, next episode should be awesome: Kanji is going to pilot! (at least, I hope ^^;)

Posted on 22 August 2007 with categories: Bokura no


And finally there’s another episode without fighting. Heck, the next pilot hasn’t even been announced yet. Okay, we know it’s going to be Jun (I seem to have misunderstood the seventeenth episode, where Koemushi announces the pilot order. It’s not Kanji who’s going to be next, it’s Jun), but still. Anyway, this episode has to be anime-original: it explains Jun’s background, and how Tanaka got pregnant of him.

Kawai turned out to be a good friend of Yun’s father, hence why he’s so friendly with him. He’s the one who tells him the truth, by the way. At the time, though, both of them were involved in shady business. Jun’s father then picked up a high-school girl at one point, whilst being an adult himself. This girl was of course Tanaka.

Things went quick, and they got married and had a baby: Jun. Their happiness didn’t last long, though. I suspect that Jun’s father had gotten in trouble due to the fact that he owed money to the wrong people. As a response, they trashed their house, and made them run away. Jun’s father wanted revenge, though, and he died in the process of doing so. Tanaka was still in danger, however, and so she was forced to separate from Jun, so he was adopted into a new family, whose mother was at the time pregnant of Kana. The mother, however, died when she gave birth. Their father is actually still alive, but I suspect that he’s often gone due to his job. Tanaka, meanwhile, joined the police after her experience. Something tells me that she still felt guilty, which is why she was so eager with the Zearth-case: finally she could be the one to support children. At least, that’s what she first thought.

In the next episode, Yoko should be getting some background info. I also hope that they show Yun and Kana together a bit more, now that they both found out that Tanaka is Jun’s mother. This definitely was one of those building-up episodes, and even though it lacked major plot twists, unlike the previous episodes, it was really good, and I’d love to see what Jun’s going to do when he’s going to fight. He’s definitely changed a lot since the beginning of the series, when he was just a heartless bastard. It started when Kirie started to live with him, and because of that, he’s become closer to the other characters.

Posted on 15 August 2007 with categories: Bokura no


MAJOR SPOILER UP AHEAD!!! This episode was amazing, though there’s one plot twist you don’t want to find out until you’ve actually seen the episode. I repeat, if you haven’t seen Bokura no 18, STAY AWAY FROM THIS ENTRY!!! The following line should fill up enough space for the blog aggregators.

I should be complaining that Takami only got one episode for herself, but holy god, Tanaka’s death totally made up for it! She goes down, along with Takami’s father by the hands of the terrorists we’ve seen for the past number of episodes. This not only removed one of the key support-characters from the show, it also means that Koemushi has to select a new final pilot. Something tells me that it’s going to be poor Kana, as Koemushi has been hinting towards her for the past few episodes. O_o

What also surprised me is the relatively short amount of time that is spent on mourning about Tanaka. The only one we really see crying is Tamotsu, and the others seem to have accepted her death, just like she was one of them. These kids have really matured throughout the series. I also wonder when Tamotsu is going to tell Kana and Jun about Tanaka.

So, now there are three pilots left: Kanji, Jun and someone Koemushi still has to decide on. For a chance, we don’t get to see who’s going to be the next pilot. My money is on Kanji, though the finale of this series is going to start in the next episode. This episode definitely proved why Bokura no is one of my favourite series. Will the ending do the same? I definitely do hope so!

Posted on 8 August 2007 with categories: Bokura no


Interestingly enough, Aiko only gets one episode for herself, compared to the four episodes that were between Kirie’s selection and death. What’s more, it seems that her role was more to build up for Kanji’s case. Now that Takami has been selected as the next pilot, t becomes clear that Kanji and Jun will be the special pilots, and they’ll probably be the ones who get some extra attention.

In fact, Aiko could have been the one along with Takashi who got the least amount of development for her case. While the people in the middle got an entire episode for themselves, this episode is not only about Aiko. Kanji, Jun and even Koemushi get developed. Tanaka and Jun finally have a talk between the two of them. I couldn’t pick up whether Jun already knew that Tanaka was his mother, but Tanaka was definitely trying to help him without trying to sound too suspicious (and failing horribly, of course. ^^;).

Kanji, meanwhile, gets into an interesting love-relationship with Aiko, right before she dies. She’s indeed really been stressed out, but it’s not only because f the fact that she’s a pilot. Her father has also been cheating on her mother, her mother kept drinking after she found out, and now that the situation of Zearth has become public, she keeps getting bothered by reporters, looking for a scoop. For her, Kanji looked like a huge beacon in the night, and something tells me she fancied him already.

We also learn something interesting about Koemushi: the one he’s been talking to is Yoko, and not his assigner like I originally thought. He’s also already decided the order of the pilots: Yoshikawa – Takami – Jun – Tanaka. Of course, this doesn’t turn out to be true when Kanji provokes him, and he lets the guy live for even longer by selecting Takami. I think that the rest of the order will match up pretty well, though. Something tells me that Koemushi has been planning to let Ushiro go last of the children, for some reason. It’s also interesting that Tanaka will indeed be piloting, if everything goes to Koemushi’s plan, at least. I really wonder how the director is planning to end this one, and save the children without the use of magic.

Another thing that makes me wonder: why were there only four lights burning on Zearth when Aiko was still alive, when there were supposed to be five more pilots?

Posted on 1 August 2007 with categories: Bokura no


Ah, so the previous episode was episode 15,5, while this one is the true sixteenth episode of Bokura no. And yet again, I loved it, as it comes with yet another shocking plot twist at the end. We start the episode with the news that the fact that Zearth is piloted by children has leaked out to the public. The parents of Kanji, Takami and Jun also come together and learn that their children still aren’t saved. Kirie meanwhile decides to fight for his mother, who has gotten out of hospital and finally managed to find a job.

The awesomeness begins when the fight starts, though. Not only do they have to battle an enemy which has been highly experienced, with only two pilots left, Kirie also somehow manages to increase Zearth’s abilities tenfold, killing him or her off easily. He also had some strange ideas for his final moments. He actually knew that Yoko was the one who wasn’t part of the contract, and he told this to the others in his final moments. Because of that, he didn’t die as the centre of attention, but he died on the side-lines.

But still, I knew that Yoko was the one who remained out of the contract! Though it’s because of different reasons. I originally thought that because Takashi forced her to enlist, but I think that that was just an attempt of her to make it look like she ad suspicions from the beginning. She’s actually Koemushi’s accomplice and sister! She was the one who pointed the twelve children towards the cave, and was the one who introduced them to this mess!

I’ve also been wondering whether we see Tanaka and her partner as a pilot in this series. The fact remains that this series is starting to near its end, and there are only four children left: Jun, Takami, Kanji and Aiko. This means that there’ll be five fights left, if I recall correctly (since Kirie beat two enemies, instead of one).

The next episodes should also promise to be awesome, since Aiko is one of the most mentally unstable of all the pilots, apart from Isao. I really wonder how she’ll chose to deal with things, especially now that she knows the truth about Yoko.

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Anime draws on many different media types in its endless search for properties to adapt, but manga is still the king of the bunch. And why not? It’s a distinctly Japanese art form, their main demographics have significant overlap, and manga’s panel-based layout means that some of the anime staff’s work is already done. Plenty […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Anime Review – 93/100

Recently, sports anime have become a bit of a dying breed. Falling into the same hole as Mecha, aside from a passionate base audience, most are overlooked. There are the occasional hits like Haikyuu, Yuri on Ice, or Darling in the Franxx for Mecha, but those are few and far between, often taking years. Even […]

A quick and dirty review of Garo: Vanishing Line

What it claims to be about: A secret order of knights and alchemists, the Makai Knights and Alchemists, fight horrifying creatures called Hollows who prey on human weakness .Part of the media franchise spanning anime and live action shows, this iteration is set in modern metropolis and concerns the attempts of Sword, the strongest Makai […]

Planetes Anime Review – 84/100

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]