Genre: Action
Format: 26 Episodes
Allegiance: Gonzo
Director: Hiroyuki Morita
Vintage: 2007
Intelligence Agency Report by: Drake
During a stay at summer camp, a group of fifteen children finds a cavern by the sea while exploring a nearby beach. Upon investigation of said cavern, the children discover computers, an assortment of electronics, and a man named Kokopelli. They soon learn that Kokopelli is a programmer working on a brand new video game, in which players pilot a large robot in order to protect the Earth. Seeing the kids’ interest in the game, Kokopelli offers each of them a chance to beta test the game for him, and all of them (save one) sign a contract binding them to play. Little do they know exactly what they have gotten themselves into by agreeing to play Kokopelli’s game.

Field Agent Report by: Drake 
Plot
Characters
Impact
Visual
Audio
9.75
9.75
9.50
7.00
8.50
Overall 9.50
(not an average)

I can’t begin to describe the number of times I’ve come across Bokurano in passing, but shrugged it off as a typical mecha anime that I may or may not get around to watching. That is, until a good buddy of mine made me read the first volume or two of the manga. The basic concept was definitely an eye-opener, but I lacked the resources to continue the series until I found the anime. Dear god, I wish I had found this sooner and immersed myself more aggressively into the world of Bokurano. From the opening theme, “Uninstall,” to the finale of the series, I was dead hooked.

First off, I must admit that this anime won’t be for everyone due to the overly dark themes and depressing tales of the characters. What makes it so depressing? Well, the main premise is that each of the kids must pilot a mech in order to defeat another mech. However, upon gaining victory in battle, the pilot loses his or her life, whereas losing the fight means the immediate destruction of the world. Pretty heavy burden, right? It only gets darker. The battles are but a small piece of a greater story, a story of how humans cope with the knowledge that their lives will soon be over. Roughly two episodes are devoted to each character before the inevitable demise, and in that time we are given a fully fleshed-out story on each of them. Most of the stories are pretty dark, and some even touch on taboo topics such as rape, pedophilia, suicide, and teen pregnancy. In other cases, we are given a deep look into the personal struggles of life, such as taking care of younger siblings, having a loved one in the hospital, or worrying over when one’s younger sibling will be born.

Some believe that this series has too many dark elements outlining the evils of the world inhabited by the children, both within their own lives and pertaining to the world itself, with the politics of the nations struggling to deal with the situation at hand. However, I think that showing back-door deals and attempts by the governments to hide the truth from the world adds another level of realism. By the end of it all, we are not only given a very realistic portrayal of the children’s struggle to live their lives, but we are also shown an equally realistic world overall.

As far as the mechanics of the show go, the music is out of this world, with Ishikawa Chiaki singing a chilling opening song and two beautiful ending songs. However, the same cannot be said for the animation, which is pretty average and not worthy of the typical flair Gonzo usually brings to the table. Given the powerful story, however, the animation is not the biggest issue in the world. I would much prefer a heart-wrenching and mind-opening story to some flashy animation.

Like I said earlier, I must impress on everyone that this anime is not for the light of heart, nor for those seeking a happy rainbow-puppy-and-unicorn-type anime. This anime will dig down to your core and make you wonder how you would react if told that, within a week, you must give your life to save the world. It demonstrates human greed and ambition, but it also shows human fear and pain. However, most importantly, it shows the beautiful strength of will that humanity should strive for each and every day.