I love me some giant robots! The bigger the better, the less “real” the better I say as well. These are just my personal preferences when it comes to robots in anime and manga. Give me Go Nagai over Gundam any day and I will be very happy! I also really enjoyed Evangelion which is quite a bit different than what my preferences suggest.
Perusing my local bookstore I stumbled upon Viz’s release from their Sig Ikki line, Bokurano Ours. I looked at the cover and read the very short synopsis and decided to give it a try. Maybe it will hit my Eva nerve and intrigue me, but at least it should entertain, right?
Bokurano starts off very quickly by introducing the main characters, 15 junior high kids, and immediately getting them involved with the giant robot. The kids wander into a cave and find a secret hideout that belongs to a strange man named Kokopelli. Kokopelli offers the children the opportunity to play a game in which they will pilot a giant robot and defeat alien enemies. Immediately 14 of the 15 kids sign a contract stating that they will play the game, thinking that it is just that, a game.
The children then appear back on the beach and assume it was all a dream, or in this case a mass hallucination. That is until a giant spider-like robot appears in the ocean and the kids find themselves in the cockpit of the creature. Kokopelli uses the robot to defeat an alien that appears as sort of a tutorial for the kids as they will have to pilot the robot by themselves next time. Kokopelli disappears and the kids are back home safe and sound.
While reading this volume I was extremely underwhelmed. As I said, I love my giant robots and this was nothing special. The kids were largely unlikeable, there was no character development whatsoever, and with the way the story was being told it sorely needed it, unlike Go Nagai where development doesn’t really need to exist. The artwork, while very well done, used too much white space and it almost seemed lazy to me as all the detail was put to the characters and not the world. Even the robot isn’t very well detailed and it is kind of hard to distinguish what it even looks like.
Then the kids have to fight their first alien alone. Only one child, Takashi Waku, is allowed to pilot it because he was the one who was called upon. Before the fight starts some time is put into Waku’s character, some back-story and motivation to set him up as the main character. He is flawed but strong willed and the perfect candidate to run this story to its end. Once the fight is over...Waku gets killed!! WTF!!?!?!?
I instantly became intrigued, what was this story doing, where was it going, what is really going on here? I don’t know how he did it but author Mohiro Kitoh took a bland, generic, and uninteresting story and over the course of two pages got me hooked and addicted! The last chapter in the volume begins with more back-story and motivation on one of the other kids who is then called to pilot the robot in another alien fight. This is the best chapter in the book as the author has clearly hit his stride and with the knowledge of earlier events interwoven into the new story line, a denser, more interesting manga is starting to form.
All I have to say is...I have to wait till September for the next volume! WTF!?!
P.S. If you think I’ve gone and spoiled the book for you, go buy it and see for yourself! In other words... I didn’t spoil shit!