The start of high school life. To the girls, that also meant the start of their love lives. For brand new first year student, Takahashi Nanami (Nana for short), it was no different... She happens to end up in the same class as the incredibly popular Yano Motoharu, who rumors say that two thirds of all the girls are guaranteed to fall in love with. But will that hold true for Nana, who says that if she had to choose between like or dislike, she'd say she dislikes him!?
Two words that truly sum up the entirety of Bokura Ga Ita - We Were There. The story follows the interconnected lives of four people made tragic by circumstance and choice from their highschool days, and ten years hence.
This manga is categorized as a Shoujo, yet the maturity of the tale, and the realistic way everything is approached and handled is far more like a Josei, and therefore better for a more mature audience, either in age, mentality or both.
★ Story (9) - What starts off as a deceivingly simple and very cliche tale of a good, innocent girl falling love with the
school delinquent quickly evolves into a very painful and tragic story spanning ten or so years. A simple tale of what seems to be a first love during high school is completely shattered as dark, troubled pasts come to light; revelations of secrets in families are revealed, abuse and abusive behavior are uncovered, cheating scandals abound and the death of one girlfriend takes its toll on several characters.
Yes; this manga is dark.
What stops this story from being cliche and overly dramatic is the mature, realistic way events are shown and handled. None of the events are taken lightly, or just passed by as a chapter's event, or played up for the entertainment factor and the sake of the reader. Everything is taken seriously, broken down and scrutinized from all sides and different perspectives, each side with its own conflicting feelings and thoughts that adds to the realistic nature of the tale.
There is also a certain ambiance...A certain feeling throughout this whole story. The atmosphere is somewhat vague and dreamlike, coupled with a nostalgic sense, and a feeling of yearning for people, places and even the past. This dreamy, sad quality suits the entire story very well and only adds to the plot.
★ Art (3) - Unfortunately, this is where the good reviews go out the window. The art for this series (an award winning series at that) is extremely poor and badly done. The blank, pupil-less "frog eyes" that every character has are incredibly unnerving, creepy, and rather off-putting. Their bodies and clothes look like rough, sketchy doodles and the backgrounds look very lazy or merely incomplete.
The sketchiness and bad line art coupled with poor landscapes, and overall poor design make this one of the poorest artsyles I have ever come across in a manga.
★ Character (9) - You have the innocent girl, the bad boy, his good-guy pal who wants the innocent girl, and the sister of the dead girlfriend who wants the bad boy. Cliche and stereotypical, right?
This manga really deconstructs all the stereotypical cliches and "boxes" that so many authors place their characters into. Every character is given depth, meaning, different sides and perspectives, making them very three dimensional and understandable. While you may think you know a character, you'll see that they make choices, or act completely differently from how you perceived them. Characters you thought you knew make surprising choices, or shocking things are revealed about them which changes your perspective from back to front and around again.
These characters are carefully layered and even convoluted. Intricately layered and folded with sharp edges that can cut if not carefully handled. The beauty about the characters in this series is that they are not limited by what the audience wants them to do, but they live by whom they are.
And that changes more often than you think, making them all very interesting.
★ Enjoyment (9) - For those out there that are sick to death of immature, cheesy little Shoujo tales this is for you. This manga is very realistic and almost brutal in its deconstruction of a first love, and of love and relationships in general.
★ Overall (9) - This is a beautiful, tragic, and very understated series that I highly recommend for those with a taste for realistic relationships, and the heart to handle them.
This, most certainly, is not a series for everyone. For instance, this series does feature unhealthy relationships and the people who stay in them voluntarily. This has upset many people (including me) but then, that is the character's own choice and it is interesting to see WHY they choose to stay, or still love the abuser.
This series is for older, mature audiences, or those that can understand that love can be painful and dark; that it takes and wounds; that it chokes the innocence and youth out of life - that it scars and leaves behind bruises on the heart that even Time cannot heal.
“I’d been living all this time to meet you, Takahashi.” – Yano
Bokura ga Ita (We Were There) is a must-read for all rom-com and drama lovers. Written by Yuuki Obata, it is filled with the most beautiful (and romantic) quotes relating to life, which is one of its greatest aspects as a Slice of Life manga. Given that the story follows a high school romance between an innocent girl (Takahashi) and a popular boy (Yano), it may be assumed that this is just another cliché rom-com or drama manga. However, it’s greatly unpredictable. As the story progresses, you will face several turn of events among
Volumes 1-8 (and the anime) focuses on their lives in high school, while Volumes 9-16 goes into their adulthood five years later. The manga takes place within a ten-year time span. Instead of dragging on, the story allows you to understand the characters by reflecting on their past and their daily lives.
The story is uniquely remarkable. High school love begins to bloom, and they both face several obstacles over time, especially the meaning of trust. A new chapter of their lives begins after high school, and shocking secrets are revealed that took place within the five years of their separation. Reality hits every character. It focuses on several aspects of life, including unrequited love, psychological issues, and family drama. The drama goes on, and the characters mature as the years go by. The ending is so beautiful that I could reread the last chapter for a lifetime. (10)
Thankfully, there are only five main characters, and each of them have their own personality that distinguishes them from each other. They all meet new people that make a huge impact on their lives. Interaction with the supporting characters influences their decisions and allows them to think of situations from different angles. It’s easy to develop a love-hate relationship with the characters as they mature, especially when tears are shed. As you read on into the story, you may find yourself sympathizing with some of the characters as they experience trial-and-error. (10)
The art is unique for the most part, but some may find it annoying. The manga’s artwork leaves a lot for your imagination. The introduction of a new scene is fully drawn with a concise background and artwork in general. After that, it becomes sketchy with mere outlines until the next scene. The backgrounds are not fully drawn, and the characters will appear to have either one eye or a blank face. It doesn’t distract from the story at all, and it’s easy to grow used to it. The characters are drawn to fit their personality. For example, Takahashi’s eyes are round, giving off her cute baby face that shows her innocence. (8)
After watching the anime, I became curious as to how the two main characters continued their relationship. Honestly, the characters pissed me off in the anime because of their naivety, but my feelings changed after continuing the story. I read the best romance, drama, and slice of life manga in my life. My heart reached out to the characters as they dealt with tragedies, and I found myself relating to the characters, especially Takahashi as she dealt with her first relationship. (10)
If you’re looking for a good slice of life, rom-com, and drama manga, I highly recommend Bokura ga Ita. You’ll come to realize why Yuki Obata won the Shogakukan Manga Award for this masterpiece in 2005. Read into the remarkable love story of Takahashi and Yano. Prepare to laugh, cry, and even crave to punch a character in the face. I promise you won’t regret reading this. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read this beautiful final chapter again. (10)
*If you completed the Bokura ga Ita anime series, you can continue the story at Volume 9: Chapter 32. However, read Chapters 29-31, because the scenes are different from the series.*
I think this is the best manga I have ever read. I can't believe Obata-sensei's art. It was so amazing it captured my heart. There was no need for petty dialogues and self-reflections, all feelings were portrayed in the art itself. I've never read a manga that tells a story in a series of pages that have no written words, but still flawlessly telling such a wonderful story.
I kind of didn't appreciate how she drew eyeballs at the start though, and how the characters still look like kids even after ten years. Haha. But every flaw was overlooked by every emotion so everything was
still good. I cried so much til my eyes dried up. I cried still even though it's done. Plus Obata-sensei preaches safe sex. Plus points for that.
In every manga there are two things which I really judge and those are the story and the art. In this manga, it showed a magnificent story but with the art.. well not so much.Wait, I shouldn't bash up my point already..This is only the start of my review.
"We Were There" or "Bokura Ga Ita" has a very amusing and phenomenal title that really gives off that refreshing and relieving feeling that suits the taste of every Shojo Manga lover. But of course, the title isn't the only one that's phenomenal and uniquely developed and believe me.. the story is as magnificent as its title.
It centers on high school life, a teenage love story and a twisted plot will make your head bang on the computer table, laptop screen or you'll just make a serious face every time a very unpredictable scene comes up. There are also mature sides in this manga and I'm sure people could catch up with it and handle it. What makes the story different is that it has a very dramatic sense of telling the story and there may not be a lot of comedic moments but it has an artistic style of capturing the highlights and the climax of the story. I don't know if I've seen a manga like this before and honestly I haven't. It's pretty original from the beginning to the end. Unrequited Love is truly present in this manga.The author has her way with words that made me absorbed the sad scenes and the emotional message of the characters. I can say that no words could describe the greatness of the story.
The drawings or rather the art is stylish and exceptional. The chapters that are near the end didn't have beautiful sketches. It was inconsistent and I had a hard time reading it maybe because it's a bit rushed. I think the author concentrated more on the story than the art. I believe that it's not perfect but it is not that bad either.
The characters were extremely enjoying to watch and fun to observe. It's hard to believe that a character can make the readers feel sensitive about the story besides the fact that it's only an anime character. If I were to grade or to choose which character was the best actor/actress, I think it's Yano. His complicated and bipolar personality almost depict a real person. I feel as though as if I'm looking at an award-winning actor. On the other hand,Takahashi Nanami is a typical shojo character who seem pretty normal but resides as the only girl in Yano's eyes. Takeuchi is another character whom I think deserves better (you may not know what i'm talking about but you will if you read this manga.). He is smart and conservative but he always gives up the girl he wants because the girl never chooses him. It's just fantastic that the ending gave a highlight for him even just for a little peek.
I can't say I got bored in this manga because if I did then I wouldn't have completed it. I really enjoyed the comedic acts of the characters and their honesty. The truth of life is what I witnessed in this manga and how true love really exist and how the words "if its meant to be then it's meant to be" because in this life you can truly meet your soul mate if you won't give up.
Overall, It's almost perfect but the art ruined it for me. I just hope you guys can have the luxury to read this manga because it's such a classic and a fine manga to read. Shojo fan or not, you will enjoy it if you just give it a try. The story, the characters and the drama will keep you coming back for more.
Ao Haru Ride is your standard shoujo series, featuring a gutsier-than-average heroine, a cold male lead and lots of unspoken words between them. It pulls at your heart strings and gives you a little window into the challenges of (Japanese) teenagers in their spring of youth.