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Bokurano Ours 10 Manga Review

bokurano ours 10Title: Bokurano Ours 10
Author/Artist: Mohiro Kitoh
Publisher: Viz Signature
American Release Date: February 18, 2014
Format: Manga
Publisher Age Rating: T+ for older teen
Genre: Science Fiction, Suspense, Mecha
Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Bokurano Ours Series Overview:

A group of middle school students unwittingly enter into a game which is actually a contract to pilot a giant mech in battle against a mech from another universe. Losing has immense consequences for each world. As each kid takes a turn, we explore their back story which helps explains why they make the choices they do and how they end up handling it all.

If you haven’t read the books up to volume 9, please skip the next paragraph because, as it is specific to volume 10, it may give clues that could ruin the natural unfolding of the story but I’m trying not to.

Volume 10:

More of the origins of the game are revealed. Machi explains all she knows to Jun but there is more, even Koyemshi doesn’t understand it all. There is no escaping the game.

Now that only Machi and Jun are left, they try to make their remaining time mean something as they wait for the next battles. They leave on the train to visit the families of the other pilots. They see how things are affecting others, something they hadn’t had thought of before.

 

Commentary:

Whoa, another intense volume. Once again, I have to leave out important stuff, but that is how Bokurano Ours really is. There is so much story in each volume.  This volume doesn’t fail on the twists. There is a real stunner in here and leaves me wanting to see what happens in the next (and last) volume. I’m not even sure what happened at the very end of volume 10 and looking forward, I no longer can assume how I want it all to end.

The art comes across as a bit stark and stiff, yet very concise and clear. It struck me how emotionally deficient their faces usually are. It is more than a sense of calm, which is part of it, but the drawings don’t do much to convey emotion. The emotions come most from the words. I don’t know if it is intentional, an artistic style, or lack of skill. Still, it doesn’t change the overall performance of the series.

Two peeves that I have about this volume are: Not always making it clear when the Machi and Jun arrive at another family, even with a location shot because they were not labeled. There is a large secondary cast with the families and there is no way I could remember what they all looked like or where they lived.  My second issue was something Machi said to Jun, another one of those too adult moments for middle school age kids.

Volume 10 seems wordier than usual, but it makes sense because there is a lot of explaining to do as we near the end of the series. It was unexpected but good to see how the battles and the losses were affecting the families and other citizens. What they were doing now, how they were handling it, how they all adapt to deal with what happened. This really got us out of the group box and brought us closer in as spectators.

Bokurano Ours  is a Viz Signature series and it meant for adults, and I think will best be appreciated by those a little older. Even though it is a story about kids, it is about kids who have to deal with things they shouldn’t because they are kids. These are still adult issues.  This series has a lot of merit, but it isn’t flashy, or romantic, or funny or cool, so I think it might be one of those with a quiet place on the manga shelf but it probably deserves more attention because it can really illustrate what is beyond the typical manga.

 

Overall Grade: A-

 

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