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During summer vacation a group of fifteen children discover a mysterious man living in a cave surrounded by high tech gadgets, the man claims to be a game developer, creating a video game with a giant robot defending Earth from fifteen alien invaders. He asked the children to test the game for him and they agreed.
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Entertaining but not a masterpiece
It's entertaining but not really a masterpiece. For starters, just the same story every 2 pr 3 chapter, except with the focus on a different child. The Kids are in the 7th grade but sure don't act like it. They just seem to accept things too well which is something 7th graders are not normally good at. No 7th grader would ever be so well adjusted or self sacrificing. My biggest gripe is they never show the friends or family of the character after the battles so you never find out what happens there and that's a major letdown.
... Last updated on December 25th, 2015, 6:20pm
Now, I'm not usually one to throw around the word, "Masterpiece," lightly. In fact, this is only the second time I've ever rated a series a perfect ten. But, Bokurano is, no doubts about it, a manga that I can find no faults with. It's also the manga I would pick every time if I was asked, "What manga would you recommend to everyone?"
When I first read this, years ago, it blew me away, and it was deeply influential to my own sense of morality. Now, rereading it years later, with the Viz editions in hand, it still delivers, maybe even better than I remember.
Bokurano is, at its heart, a story about humanity. It's about the actions of humanity when faced with pain and destruction, death and despair. Ultimately, it's about finding hope, even at the most difficult of times.
Bokurano is composed of a fairly big cast, around 20 significant people, give or take, not including the families of the pilots. While not all of these people are sympathetic, they are all so very human, so much so that it's difficult to fully hate any of them, even when they do terrible things. And one of the things Bokurano is best at is giving its deaths weight, even when there's so much of it. It complicates what it means to live, and what it means to die.
It's a story without any real answers, and some may call it bleak for that, but the ending nevertheless fills me with hope. It's about making a better tomorrow, no matter how difficult that may be.
Deeper than a well with no bottom in sight
The action is not the best, but that is not what makes or breaks this manga. To me the psychological exploration of the characters and their development as they fight for what they hold precious is the main course. This is a sad manga that explores human nature. I watched the anime first and that didn't tell the story of the character as well as this manga. Get ready for a tear jerking, heart pounding ride!
Did'nt particulary liked it. at first it looked good, but i'm not really into mecha. but even without that, i did'nt feel any attacment to any of the charactere. they were boring, maybe some did have great backround, but not enought to satisfy me. did'nt even cry or feel sad. it was really without emotion that i read it completly. why? curiosity. i really just wanted to know the story behind everything and what will happen to all of them.
Existential Battle Royale
This work reminds me of Battle Royale, which is great because I loved it and have always wanted to read something like that again. Apart from the play or die situation with kids, there's not much similarity in plot or even atmosphere, but I love that both works focus on each character and we get to know each character intimately. That's what makes survival or apocalypse works awesome for me: the relationships between characters, how they interact with each other, how they think, and how they make the decisions they did.
While Battle Royale explores morality, the decision of whether to play the game or not, friends banding together or turning on another, Bokurano is a quieter work and explores existential questions. The battles in Bokurano are mere plot devices for the characters to explore the meaning of life and other philosophical questions. After reading it, I just felt empty and hollow, which is in line with its existential themes. I don't think Bokurano will make most readers love it, I certainly can't say I did, because you're not supposed to find it "entertaining" or "exciting". It's a journey for both the characters inside the manga and the readers. You will certainly think and reflect on life as you read Bokurano.
Most survival mangas build up momentum toward the climax and the end but like I said, Bokurano is a quiet work. In other survival mangas, you don't know who's gonna die next and that's where the excitement and the momentum come from. However, in Bokurano you know who's going next and all characters have certain death on neck. No matter how much you're rooting for them, they're going to die. Thus, the tone of the manga can be very depressing for some, but Bokurano doesn't glorify the depressing atmosphere; rather it's about finding hope and meaning in face of the finality of death and the futility of life.
I would recommend not to marathon it because like another reviewer said, it could make you numb to the characters' plights. Once you don't sympathize with them and their impending deaths anymore, it will sap the meaning away from the manga's message and the discussion on life and death. Instead, experience it little by little as you also reflect and find your own answers to the questions the manga posed.
... Last updated on January 21st, 2014, 5:56pm
Bokurano is unlike any other manga I have ever read. I haven't read any of the author's other works, but apparently they are in a similar vein.
For a manga about massive mecha battles, Bokurano is a surprisingly quiet manga. The battles aren't truly important, it's the children and how they mentally prepare for them. Fifteen children, faced with an awful and inescapable fate. They can't run away, all they can do is decide how they will rise up and meet their deaths - and rise they do.
This is what the manga is truly about, dealing with a horrible situation and trying to make the best of it. It is about finding humanity in the most desperate of times, of trying to find meaning in a life that is about to end. In some ways, it reminded me of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, which is about a girl living with terminal cancer. Her primary concern is her parents, and how they will deal with her inevitable death. Some of the children spend their last days trying to make things easier for their families and friends. The boy who doesn't want his younger siblings to know that he died. The boy who wants to save his friend's life as his dying wish. The girl who fights so that her baby brother will have a world to grow up in, even if she can't live to see it. Others try to find some kind of peace with themselves and accept their fates as gracefully as they can. But these are children, and sometimes it isn't possible to do this. Some children, futilely, try to run away. Others use the mecha as a means of enacting personal revenge, even at heavy costs.
At one point, one of the boys is debating whether or not to fight when his turn comes. He explains to a police officer that he never understood films where a lot of people are killed by a monster or natural disaster, but so long as the hero is alive and laughing at the end, everyone considers it a happy ending. If even one person dies, he considers it a tragedy. The only difference between the hero and the anonymous casualty is that the narration follows the hero, but it could just have easily followed the victim who died. He makes us, the readers, aware of the immense casualties these mecha battles have caused. Early on, numbers of death tolls are thrown out so casually we breeze past them in our hurry to find out what happens next. But the manga reminds us that even the anonymous victims were people who had lives, who thought their own existence was valuable. And they died. That is a tragedy. Even if one of the fifteen survives, Bokurano cannot have a happy ending, because too many have died to reach that ending.
Bokurano is a quiet, sad, surprisingly existential and thought-provoking manga. It won't be to everyone's taste. But that's just fine. Most of modern day manga is cheap, quick entertainment, and that's fine too. Manga is entertainment, first and foremost. But it is such a joy to discover a manga that looks deeper and asks the reader difficult questions, ones I'm not sure how to answer. How do you live when you're going to die? I don't know.
Bokurano was written by Kitoh Mohiro. That sentence is summary for the whole series. Kitoh Mohiro has a very unique style of storytelling, characters, drawing and almost everything which you can think of. His works are depressing and even when there is a joke or heart-warming moment you feel like it's just a small spark of hope in a huge sea of hopelessness and tragedy. His stories are psychological and readers are not supposed to enjoy them but to think about them.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
In Bokurano author introduces us to fifteen children who are going to die. They aren't big pals or overly happy kids and each of them has its flaws. Some of them has their small or big problems but they still feel kind of real. As the story goes we get to slowly know about story of each child. This manga isn't about unfolding the mysteries but about how each child faces his or her time before death and the death itself.
One shouldn't ask "How will this end?", "Will they win?", "Is there goind to be some crazy plot-twist?". Instead one should be thinking and wondering about the nature of each child and his/her attitude to family, world, life and death.
Kitoh Mohiro works doesn't force people to think but are written in a way reader wants to think about them. If you like style of Kitoh Mohiro you may like Bokurano. If you don't like his style you won't like this piece either. If you are new then prepare for sober look at given theme and perfectly fitting drawings.
the characterization, the plot, the pace, the atmosphere, the conclusion, etc all is excellent. this story might be depressing, but you dont want it any other way. the only gripe i have is the art where all the kids have the same face, but it is okay since the hairstyle is different enough for me to make a guess. this is a must read.
good way to end this
yeaaaa i was not really expecting this mang a to have a happy ending nor did i want it to have a happy endiing. but anyway i dont really have nothing to say other than this was a nice manga, worth reading, and would kinda confuse you in the ending. yayyyyyyyy
story wise- this manga is awsome art wise - kinda different than the others but you get use to it so nice art for me character - i didnt like that every single femal character look almost like guys especial when they all are flat chest "every single one of them" but o well
i give this manga a 9.5 because i kinda got confuse with the ending but in a way kinda understand what the author was trying to say
Repetitive action, but stay for the existentialist themes
First of all, let me get this straight: the plot is very repetitive. There are a lot of robot battle scenes that aren't particularly exciting. The plot is woven around the individual pilots, to the point where they seem like individual independent short stories that have been tied together.
What's the point of reading this then? Well if you're looking for a simple thrill this manga is not for you. The manga really shines in its dialogue, its exploration of the humanity behind each of the characters. I was surprised that such an existential manga existed. Of course, the manga leaves you empty and kind of hollow, and there is no resolution; but this is so with any existential work.
I was very impressed by the author's treatment of existential dialogue. Spoiler: Upon learning the true nature of the "game", that is, every pilot is to die, each pilot deals with this crisis differently. The most important parts of this manga has to do with the fundamental points of existentialism: why them? Why not anyone else? Kirie mentions that in a movie, anyone's death is equal to the death of the hero - and that is the idea that the existence precedes essence; just essence of the "hero", created through the construct of the movie, is no better than an extra in the same movie. It is a biased viewpoint. The extra has probably validated his existence through his choices and his behavior.. just because the movie dictates that these are the ones to root for, which is their "essence", does not mean that their death is more tragic than the others.
This dialogue is especially brilliant, because it pertains directly to the heroes of this manga.
Other existential themes involve the absurdity of life. We learn that *SPOILER* every earth is going through the same thing, and Kokopelli did the same thing for his earth as well... it is an endless cycle. The way that the manga ends is perfect, with the dungbeetle sitting, starting a new cycle, over and over again. The world is neutral, it is not biased. It goes on, no matter the thoughts and the beliefs of the people. They ask who it was that made this game, and dungbeetle can only claim that it's always been like this... and so it is with the futility of life.
And of course, like any good existential work, it is all about death. In a cyclical world that seems without purpose, everyone in the manga still cherish life, as this life is given meaning by the finality of death.