Review: Bokurano is a sci-fi/fantasy in the extreme but it surprisingly retains very solid and realistic atmosphere because the anime never gets carried away by its own fantasy elements. It always stays on the ground where we all are and it never chooses explosive action over detailed characterization. It dives deeper into life and emotion instead of leaping forward and abandoning the stories of human. Thus, watching Bokurano is such a unique and incredible experience.
Bokurano begins with fifteen high school children currently on a summer camp. While exploring a cave together, they run into a mysterious man who invites them to join in the game of piloting giant robot. Thinking that the game is just for fun, they agree to participate and since then, they are forced to walk the path of doom. The children takes turn on piloting the giant mecha and the fate of the world will be decided by the results of each battle.
The anime uses quite common plot device; a group of people getting trapped in difficult situation. With this kind of plot, the anime has plenty of opportunity to explore each character in depth and Bokurano does exactly that. There are fifteen pilots and fifteen battles. On each pilot, the anime spends at least one full episode on exploring that character. As a result, the viewers never gets bored since every few episodes, new subplot emerges. What separates Bokurano from other mecha anime is that each subplot deals mostly with the characters’ lives, not their battles. Surprisingly, the battles, however brief they are, turn out to be extremely powerful because I care about the characters. I know them so well. I know how they feel, what they have been through and what they are fighting for. Every death breaks my heart and shakes me to the core.
Besides several minor themes hidden in each subplot, I believe the show has two main themes that are worth mentioning. The first theme is about the insignificance of human lives. The whole thing about parallel universe and how the game is used to eliminate excessive universes makes me realize how small we all are. No one would care whether we live or disappear.
The other theme is sacrifice. As the post title suggested, Bokurano is the story of true heroes. Each character’s life is far from perfect. They face many common obstacles and sufferings we all face in reality; family problems, feeling of guilt, unrequited love etc. Plus, they know they are doomed after each battle. Considering all these factors, these people should not have any heart to fight even if it’s for the sake of the world because the most assuring drive for any living thing like survival has already been taken from them. They cannot fight for their own survival and I can’t help admiring these children who, instead, fight for other people. They are true heroes.
Due to the greater part of the show taking place in normal urban setting, the great animation never really stands out. The sluggish movement of the mecha is deliberately done to emphasize on its enormous size. The soundtracks including the opening and ending themes do nothing but to make the viewers more depressed. This doesn’t sound like a complement but it is, actually. Conclusion: Bokurano exhibits ideal mixture of sci-fi/fantasy and drama genre. If this is not one of the best shows ever made, I don’t know what is.
Genre: sci-fi, mecha, fantasy, horror
Release date: April 8, 2007 – September 25, 2007
Director: Hiroyuki Morita
Animated by: Gonzo