Want to play a game? You get to hang out with your friends and use a giant robot to defend the Earth from aliens! Sound fun? Well, sign on up. One more thing…it’s a REAL giant robot, real alien, and you and countless innocent civilians can and probably will die. 15 young friends stumble on a scientist in a cave and sign on for the most dangerous game of their lives.
This is a clever twist on the mecha (giant robot) genre. Kids piloting mechs and questioning the morality of their action isn’t brand new(Neon Genesis Evangelion did it ages ago), but Bokurano has a different take. The kids choose to sign up for the game and play out of boredom and a sense of adventure. It looks at the drive for violence in people and how the line between simulated and real violence is quickly blurred. This is especially timely as warfare often uses remotely controlled drone aircraft to kill from afar. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a direct comparison, but it definitely fits as a metaphor. This is a fast paced series, with a main character being axed in the very first volume, so readers get pulled in fast. The art has an appealing rough quality to it. All the characters are drawn with sketchy uneven lines. I look forward to future volumes eagerly and strongly recommend manga fans of all tastes give Bokurano a chance.