Bokura ga Ita

Title:Bokura ga Ita
We were there
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: KAWAKUBO Takuji
YAZAKI Hiroshi
The beginning of high school also means the beginning of a brand new love life for the girls there. For lively high school freshman Takahashi Nanami (nicknamed Nana), this is definitely true as she finds herself entranced by the highly popular, always smiling, wisecracking guy Yano Motoharu. Rumor has it that two-thirds of the girls in his middle school class fell in love with him--but why does classmate Yamamoto seem to hate him?!

(synopsis from ANIDB)

[TV series, 2006, 26 episodes, 24 min; Animation by Artland]
Based on an ongoing shoujo manga series by Yuuki Obata of 14+ volumes (as of 2011), covering volumes 1-8 (of 10 that were completed when the anime started).
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 5 7 9 8 9 7 Devil Doll [series:1378#752]
[Score: 80% = "Rent+"; similar shoujo romance stories: Kareshi Kanojo no Jijoo (female avatar), Aishiteru Ze Baby (male avatar); reversed roles of: Suzuka]

The crybaby and the liar. A very shoujo romance featuring "nice guys", not just a romance with a female avatar.
Favorite line: "Yeah... but this isn't some soap opera or anime, so don't be sulky."

This show looks like a sure bet for a "Rent" rating, with an interesting Story but outright horrible Art and Animation. It's not so much the childish way of drawing that annoys me, its the lifeless eyes in a story where expressing subtle emotions would be absolutely essential for an anime. Sometimes the characters have no eyes at all, or just one eye, and this even includes the character currently having the dialog focus. So the voices have to make up for what the visual elements fail to deliver; both songs are okay at least, and the seiyuu do their job right as well. Sadly, I have to skip the ED song right at the beautiful instrumental part as that's the point where the horribly spoilerish episode previews begin, resulting in a two points deduction from episode story. All of these technical issues will make this anime score lower than Suzuka regardless of how great the story will turn out to be. The narration style is the highlight of this story for me even though its hard work to permanently checking who's lying to whom in which situation. And the more I've seen of this series, the more I begin to like the many different ED and insert songs.
  • episode 1: (+) A fast and efficient start without any unnecessary stuff, introducing the key players and the main obstacle of the romance-to-be; sadly the episode preview completely spoils the second episode and can't be skipped easily as it runs during the ED song already.
  • episode 2: (++) A rollercoaster episode. This romance is going to be exciting, and I love how the series is focusing on dialogs instead of comedy or ecchi elements. The development is still high speed if you ask me.
  • episode 3: (+) Flashbacks and an improving relation - Nanami is so wrong, she already got a lot of what her classmates would envy her for. I still can't understand why other reviews considers the narration speed low as lots of little things are happening, you just have to look closely at them; Suzuka took about 10 episodes to get to this point. Does anyone wonder about Takeuchi's motivation for doing what he does at this stage?
  • episode 4: (++) Another episode where lots of things are happening. No steady progress but a significant one nonetheless. If only the technical aspects of this series were better...
  • episode 5: (+) Things went so well up to this point... almost too well. But three foreshadowings (the jealousy issue, Take's de-ja vu experience, and Yamamoto passing by) remind us that only the first arc is completed by now.
  • episode 6: (0) With romance in full bloom, first jealousy scenes and a potential love polygon forming, the real story may have only just begun. Nana was quite insensitive about Takeuchi's issue; can't she see the most obvious problem of this boy, being Yano's best friend? It's a bit sad that so much depends on the flashback scenes.
  • episode 7: (0) More jealousy, and more lies. The story is running out of steam.
  • episode 8: (+) A tasteful handling of he "H" subject, plus another lie despite both promised "nothing but the truth" to each other, and this one looks like it will backfire one day.
  • episode 9: (+) Mostly a comedy episode about more of the same, but ending with a surprising twist and reviving an unanswered question. What a relief... something drastic had to happen in order to prevent the remainder of this series being filled by sex fantasies.
  • episode 10: (++) Photograph and sea urchin - the show is back on track. Nanami begins to notice Take's good traits, and Yuri is getting more important with every little scene she has.
  • episode 11: (+) It looks like the secret is disclosed. This might be the turning point: How will Nana-chan take it?
  • episode 12: (++) The beach. And the second strike was even harder. Half-way through the show everything lies in shambles. 14 episodes to go.
  • episode 13: (+) Final warning. The third arc has begun; note how Yuri doesn't have a single scene this time.
  • episode 14: (+) The race is on, but both participants will have to question their attitude at the end of this episode.
  • episode 15: (0) Stalemate. With Ayaka and Mizu-chin stirring the pot, one might wonder what the result will be. Yuri is back in the show, so the next episode may again be a blast like several times before.
  • episode 16: (0) Uh... so this is what a shoujo romance is all about... I see. And the world rotates around Nanami, right?
  • episode 17: (0) Not a date. What once was a story with exciting characters turned into a show with none of them knowing what they actually want.
  • episode 18: (++) Finally! Both leads begin to deliver, showing they're not just all talk. And Nana-chan has matured as character, being aware now what she should have done earlier. This should conclude the third arc; 8 episodes to go... and we didn't have Yuri in the show for quite a while now.
  • episode 19: (+) Taking a breather before the final arc. Neither Take nor Yuri are out of the game yet, and each of them starts something new at the end of this episode.
  • episode 20: (0) A step forward, and dialogs about the nature of love. With Take starting an interesting experiment but not much happening otherwise, the focus of interest may be directed to Yuri and her sudden use of contact lenses.
  • episode 21: (-) Too much. I see now what Ggultra2764 doesn't like about this story: Having all these events happen at the same moment was really forced even though they used it to keep the drama going.
  • episode 22: (+) Drama peak. Yuri played her ace in the right moment. What once was a silent romance story now drowns in additional issues coming out of nowhere, much like Toradora!. Still, an interesting competition on several fronts at once.
  • episode 23: (+) Confusion. Take has declared his hand and sidelined himself; only Yuri is still in active mode. Did she trade her glasses for contacts in order to look like her sister? I'm hoping for no happy end as that would have to be forced given the current situation, and the manga goes beyond the anime anyway.
  • episode 24: (0) U-turn. It's as if the previous episodes never happened. Are we in a different anime now? It all came too convenient. But there's still that letter which looked like it should have consequences some day.
  • episode 25: (++) Decision. The final arc has completely changed the tone of this story, but I like the sudden focus on the leads.
  • episode 26: (+) Where's the sequel? A super emotional ending but not that much content in this final episode. And Yuri ended up being underused in this show.
As for the manga, the anime is a very close adaption with only minor changes. The anime covers volumes 1-8, and after this the manga makes a leap forward in time by several years and again tells a story of how that situation arose, with lots of flashbacks. So the anime made the perfect choice for a first season, and a sequel would certainly possible, with almost as much additional manga story available as of 2011 as the first season had. Its just that the story turns a lot gloomier after this first season...

Last updated Tuesday, June 14 2011. Created Sunday, May 22 2011.
Rent 7 6 6 6 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1378#1552]
Bokura ga Ita had a good premise that had me latched onto it at its start in the awkward romantic developments between Yano and Nanami. However, some later developments with the relationship combined with the show's questionable style of conveying the plot and character developments hindered my enjoyment of the show enough for me to give it a Rent.

Before I rant on about what annoyed me with the show's style of conveyance, I'll at least cover what I enjoyed from it. The central characters of this anime (Yano, Nanami, Yuri, Take) are not your archetypal shoujo romance characters as they all have their positives and flaws that give them down-to-earth personalities. The actions taken by all the characters as a result of their desires have their awards and repercussions as bonds either break apart, strengthen or get strained depending on what others do. The ups and downs of Nanami and Yano's relationship get believably explored as each have their expectations of what they want from their relationship and while having their happy moments, their own insecurities on understanding one another can create tensions and conflicts between them. The show has a slow pace taking its time to allow its developments to flow and it knows when to place in comedy moments to either reflect on a character's personal issues (Yano's thoughts of having sex with Nanami get a classroom laughing) or to ease the tension from more serious scenes where it doesn't kill the mood from the earlier drama. In addition, the series ends on a bittersweet note under believable circumstances which was also a plus in distancing from standard shoujo romance formulas.

Unfortunately, the show's style in conveying its developments work against it at a number of points. The show quite often relies on flashbacks of earlier events and inner monologues from the characters to express the thoughts and actions of the characters. While the flashbacks were necessary to know more of Yano's past before meeting Nanami, I felt flashbacks replaying events from earlier episodes and the inner monologues were blatant attempts at spoon-feeding the audience how to feel and think towards the characters instead of keeping things subtle. And much like both seasons of Hachimitsu to Kuroba, the use of insert songs during tense scenes really killed their mood in Bokura ga Ita considering how loud the vocals were being sung and music being played. More quieter insert music or nothing at all would have worked much better in such scenes. As the series progressed, I do have to agree with Dreamer to some extent that some of the character comments and relationship developments were a bit on the melodramatic side. As for visuals, don't go expecting anything high quality and detailed. The visuals to the series are quite simple with backgrounds and character designs not having much detail, some soft color tones and limited animation.

Overall, Bokura ga Ita was a decent little romance title to look into thanks to the series not totally going down the trodden shoujo anime archetypal path and doing a decent amount of fleshing out on the characters which it takes its time with doing. But a number of its elements of conveyance and some melodramatic moments in the show's second half do hinder its quality for me. Also be warned that if you can't stand slow-paced titles, then you might not be able to get through this series considering the amount of time this show's takes with its developments.

Last updated Saturday, August 14 2010. Created Wednesday, August 11 2010.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Violet D [series:1378#1393]
I started watching this yesterday. It is a wonderful film to watch. I only saw episode 1 and 2. But I want to see more of it. The young first love approach is very appealing how they do it. We all had that moment when a first crush or love happens. The characterization portrays this in a wonderful and delightful way. If you want to just relax and forget about the news of the world for awhile you have to see this. You will love it. Oh my gosh this is so good. This just isn't about a high school romance. This is about the ups and downs of a relationship. The good times and the bad. Looking at both sides of it . The guy and the girl. Their emotions and their lives. This really is excellent. I'm to episode 13 now. Now Yanos friend is in love with Takahashi. So he tells Yano he is going to go for it. So what is going to happen now? A interesting note and that is there is also a Manga of this same Anime. The Title is WE WERE There. Supposedly there is more to this stories ending. Now I really need to look for the series and also finish the Anime. You have got to see this one if you get a chance and if you like to read Manga this is a good one.

Last updated Monday, June 28 2010. Created Thursday, June 17 2010.
Buy 9 8 10 9 9 10 Silence [series:1378#2939]
There are romances where the protagonists overcame odds to be together, and lived happily ever after. Bokura ga Ita is about the "after".

Right off the bat, the quick developments between Nana and Yano drew my attention. From the viewpoint of a girl, we look at a deep romance with a boy who has a history. This series goes deeper than most romance series and does a detailed examination of a relationship. We see how they have fun, how they fight and how they deal with their problems and feelings. The emotions of the main characters are really realistically portrayed in great detail. And this is basically what the 26 episodes are about: emotions that a couple may go through.

We can see that Yano has his faults, and Nana hers. But as we learn more about how they think and feel, we become closer to them and empathize with them. At least for me, I was able to feel for them from very early on, so this is perhaps one of the most intense dramas I have been through. My heart cringes from their pain constantly, and I cannot help but to root for them and cry and laugh for them. The ending is very reflective of the quality of the series, showing a very nicely done tie up. This is perhaps the very reason I love stories in general, romances specifically.

The supporting cast is also very well done. They feel real too, despite not having much screen time. From Takeuchi to Yuri, we see their personalities showing strongly, and can identify with their actions.

The music is nice and suits the mood, though at times it can be a tad bit too noticeable. The opening theme is classic J-pop, though it begins to sound rather pleasant towards the second half. The variety of ending themes shows effort on the part of the producers and are all very pleasant. The artwork is good, though an interesting point is how one or both eyes are sometimes omitted to cover the emotions of the person in question.

Once, a friend commented that for a guy, I really liked shoujo anime. This series is testament to everything I see in shoujo. The plot is never meant to be very complicated, it is the character drama that is the core of BgI. This realistic and detailed treatment of romance in high school really struck many chords with me, and I have to say that it is perhaps one of the best romances I have seen. Yet this is one of the most shockingly underrated series. It deserves way more attention.

Last updated Thursday, November 19 2009. Created Thursday, November 19 2009.
Buy 7 7 7 10 9 9 Anonymous #3161 [series:1378#3161]
One of the most saddest anime i have ever seen..In the ending, I got hungry for more!

Last updated Tuesday, September 15 2009. Created Tuesday, September 15 2009.
Rent 9 8 8 7 7 7 Dreamer [series:1378#2279]
It seemed like an interesting anime.... even though I'm not big on romance types. However, I thought I'd give this one a try and it was worth it.... a little.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
The art and animation is slightly different than the norm, in that the background more times than not is not "fully drawn" or illustrated. It's more of a "minimalist style" artwork. It actually works well with this anime and it's episodes. At the same time, this style of art is actually quite beautiful and "dreamy". The characters themselves have a soft, gentle look to them with curves instead of sharp points for chins and other facial features. As for character design, nothing special really. One of my favorite (sorta) characters was Mizu-chin.. one of Takahashi's friends and that's only because of some of the facial expressions she would make. Take for example in episode 13, Mizu is wanting to know what happened between Yano and Takahashi. It was kinda silly seeing some of her facial contortions, it had me snickering a bit. Takahashi herself, I practically fell in love with her voice. It was soft, and not too feminine. Takeuchi, Yano's supporting character seemed like one that I can closely relate to. He's laid back, level-headed and gives advice when needed while at the same time not drawn to any particular or one-sided conclusion on things. With all that said, I'd say he's my second fav character..... and ultimately near the end, actually becomes my fav. Finally, I actually like Yamamoto. I think she's the cutest and her character seemed more attractive... at least to my tastes.

The music throughout the episodes are soft, dreamy and sometimes "romantic".... at appropriate scenes that is. The theme song isn't anything to gawk about and the closing song is more or less the same..... bland, but at the same time, fitting to the anime.

Series and Episode Stories
Slow paced. That's the two words I can use to describe this anime. The story is pretty simplistic and runs almost at a snail's pace. If you can't stand the laid-back types of anime, this one isn't for you. However, as the story slowly unfolds, you tend to get drawn into it's slowly revealing plot. Then you realize that it's not as bad as initially thought... at least that's how it was for me. Some of the plot scenarios was obvious, like Yamamoto fall...... oh, I better not reveal that bit. Or Takeuchi wanting T.... better not reveal that one either. Suffice it to say, a lot of the plot can be easily picked out.... if you're one to pay attention to details. As for humor, there's not a lot to be had. Although, episode 18 was somewhat amusing as they bickered over what popcorn was better. One of the gripes I did have was, at times the sorrowful dialogues between Yano & Takahashi would get too cheesy and overdone. Honestly, I got tired of Takahashi getting hurt, crying or feeling miserable..... over and over. In the end, it ended up pretty predictable..... and pretty....simple. Nothing really happened and there was nothing to be excited about. In fact, I could almost say that the ending disappointed me.

Overall, this anime was average. The plot was slow and simple with very little progression but nevertheless, it was "sorta" enjoyable.

Last updated Saturday, January 17 2009. Created Saturday, January 17 2009.
Rent Stretch [series:1378#628]
I was burning some shows onto a DVD and had some space available, so to keep it from going to waste I figured I'd include episode one of Bokura ga Ita. I'm glad I happened to select this show, because I found episode one to be highly enjoyable. The OP and ED songs seemed so-so (actually the OP song has seriously grown on me since); what really caught my attention was how quickly the plot seems to move forward--I bet most series would have taken two or even three episodes to cover as much ground. Correspondingly, the subtitles move fast, too--I was continually pausing the player in order to have time to read them. Character designs are simple yet somehow unconventional, which I like--they remind me of Honey & Clover or Kodomo no Omocha. A curious technique is that sometimes the eyes of characters are ommitted (or only one is shown) perhaps to indicate that this is a minor character, or to intentionally hide the emotion a major character is feeling. The characters frequently go into an even simpler SD mode, too, which is fun. Perhaps best of all was the goofy, funny tone of the show. Bokura ga Ita seems fairly original and the comedy has a good deal of wit to it--I like the sense of humor which is conveyed to the viewer. Perhaps it's the clever timing, for example as Yano and Nana are getting all love-love and then suddenly one of them says something unexpected (and funny!). So far, so good. I was impressed, to the extent that afterwards I immediately fired up the computer to download the rest of the available episodes.

The pacing and pretty much everything else about succeeding episodes are more normal--was I too quick to praise this series so enthusiastically? But whereas I lost interest in the series Nana because it seemed a bit too angsty for me, I still like the pleasant balance of drama and cut-above-the-rest comedy in this show. One thing which has become clear with time is that this series is all about the consequences of Yano's previous love (which ended tragically), and the secrets he gradually reveals to Nana. To it's credit, BgI hasn't lost sight of this clever ongoing plot. When episode 12 ended with an unusual ED sequence I was startled and wondered if the series was over with an unexpected conclusion, but no, there was a preview for a 13th episode, which I assumed would be the last one. It turns out that this will be a twenty-sixer, as well--how many more shocking revelations can Yano make? The plot skillfully feeds us more intriguing details of his past, keeping us interested, but I began to wonder if it could maintain the quality of the first half, now that the novelty of the show has worn off. The content seemed to shift towards more drama and less humor, which I sort of regretted, and I kind of lost track of the state of Yano and Nana's relationship. Nevertheless, in spite the flood of new series during the fall season, I remained eager for new episodes of BgI. This is definitely my favorite High School romance anime, beating out Peach Girl and Suzuka. And, since the former of those two has been R1 licensed, I'd be willing to bet that someday this show will be as well.

For a while I was thinking 13 episodes might have been better for this show, but I'm impressed by the bittersweet way the series ends. I'm glad the makers didn't go for a cheap-shot "happy ending" conclusion. It feels live it was either based on a well-written Manga that was complete before being adapted to TV, or the anime crew did a first-rate job of wrapping things up (or both). I'm glad Yamamoto and Takeuchi got some closure as well (though I wouldn't have minded more in the former case). Not many series end this well, with all characters remaining likeable to the end. If High School romance anime is your favorite genre, BgI would probably qualify as a "Buy", but since it's not my favorite, I'll give it a Rent+.

My favorite line: "If you put that much tabasco on, you'll get hemorrhoids!" --Nana

Last updated Wednesday, January 24 2007. Created Wednesday, August 30 2006.

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