Kitoh, Mohiro. Bokurano: ours 1. VIZ Media, 2010. 198 pages. ISBN 978-1-42153-361-2
Fifteen children, all seventh graders, and one fifth grader, are staying at the beach and they wander into a cave situated by the rocky shore. They are surprised to meet a guy in the cave, who claims to be doing research. The kids are curious so they hang around a bit. Then the guy asks if they want to participate in a game, and he tells them that they all have to participate in order for it to work. Some of the kids are reluctant at first, but are persuaded to join. The guy has them all write their name on a piece of paper, all except for the fifth grader, she is allowed to not participate. Once they all have their names written down, he says the game has begun and the kids don’t understand. They leave the cave and head back to their cabin for now. Later one of the boys is unable to sleep so he goes down to sit by the beach, and is join by another boy. All of a sudden this giant alien robot falls out of the sky right into the ocean and they are met with this strange small alien who floats through the air. He tells them that he will be their guide for the games. Now things get interesting.
This is a science fiction graphic novel that is quite disturbing and would appeal to readers who enjoy dystopian novels. This manga has an interesting and well thought out plot, but the ethics behind it have to be questioned. A group of seventh graders are tricked into piloting this mechanical monster to fight off other alien mechanical monsters that land on Earth and leave a wave of destruction in their path. But the kicker is that fact that after each battle, whoever the pilot of the robot was dies instantly, the life sucked right out of them. This seems wrong that these kids didn’t even know there were going to die. They just thought it would be fun and they would be helping the world from the alien robots. I suppose it is akin to Hunger Games in that they are all kids fighting for a death that is sure to come and there is no way out of it. But unlike Hunger Games, these kids didn’t know in the beginning what they were getting into and they don’t get a fighting chance, they are just killed instantly after the battle is over. All of them are thirteen and younger. It is very depressing yet hard to put down because you want to know what horrible thing is going to happen next. Young adult readers will love this manga series as much as they love dystopian novels.
Would you give your life for the whole of mankind? When faced with the truth it’s a tough choice, but these kids didn’t have the choice.
Mohiro Kitoh (鬼頭 莫宏 Kitō Mohiro) was born August 8, 1966 and is a Japanese manga artist. He was born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, and graduated from the Nagoya Institute of Technology. He created the manga Shadow Star and Bokurano: Ours, both were adapted into anime series. He designed the ‘Third Angel’ in Evangelion 2.0 and the Septentrions for the sequel of Devil Survivor, known as Devil Survivor 2.
His art and writing are unique and have an identifiable visual style and storyline that almost always lean towards the tragicside of things and focus primarily on the vulnerability and cruelty of human beings. One things you can see throughout his works are graphic depictions of violence and sex involving children. The characters he draws are almost always tall, skinny, and gangly for all ages and genders. His female characters are unlike those of most manga series and generally have small (aka normal-sized) breastsand narrow hips. His male characters are rarely muscular, except under a few circumstances. His facial features are generally small and the expressions are subtle. Nudity is common in his works.
Graphic Novel/Science Fiction
Giant alien robots are trying to destroy the world.
The worlds safety has been put into the hands of a group of seventh graders.
Reading Level/Interest Level:
Why I included this book:
This is a really interesting manga series that I happened across and it made me think of the Hunger Games while I was reading it. I think young adults will really enjoy it.