Bokurano: Ours Vol. 1

By Mohiro Kitoh
200 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

Everyone who’s been reading comics for more than several years has at least one; a discontinued series that they wish would return. Sometimes the creators stop working on the book, other times it’s a problem at the publisher’s end. For me, one of those series is Mohiro Kitoh’s Shadow Star. Cancelled (along with the other series being initially serialized in Super Manga Blast!) by Dark Horse several years ago, the book had just gotten past the halfway point. Hopefully Kitoh’s new series to get translated into English, Bokurano: Ours, won’t fall to such a similar state. Because, in terms of story, it’s hard to ignore the obvious parallels between the two.

Like Shadow Star, Bokurano: Ours is using teenagers as its protagonist, as fourteen children get access to a massive robot warrior that they have to use to defend the planet against alien invaders. And, like Shadow Star, it’s already getting sinister. Kitoh raises the red flags early in Bokurano: Ours, as the mysterious man who offers the children the contracts to fight off the invaders warns them not to trust their "guide." Of course, the mysterious man is named Kokopelli, which is also the name of a Hopi deity that serves the role of trickster. Still, things seem simple enough at first; one by one the children will each get to be in the cockpit of the robot they’ve named Zearth, and with each new mission Kitoh focuses on the latest pilot. The first volume of Bokurano: Ours sheds the spotlight on two of the fourteen children, and already we’re starting to see that not all of our protagonists are necessarily heroes.

There’s a certain cruelty among children that Kitoh used as one of the main themes of Shadow Star, and it’s making another appearance here. Kitoh delves into their minds here, showcasing just how each of them think. Waku and Masaru each approach their friends and their duty rather differently from one another, and it’s fun to compare and contrast. Even the perception of the group of children changes as the book shifts from Waku to Masaru, showing us just how each of these young students views one another. And of course, since this is a Kitoh book, there are nasty consequences for all of the children who signed up to defend the planet. What may have seemed like an innocent game is proving to be anything but, and it’s that grim, slightly unsettling tone that sets Bokurano: Ours apart from other series of this general nature.

Kitoh’s art looks excellent as always. The robots and alien invaders here manage to look both recognizable and strange at the same time; they might tower above the city like many other creations, but they’ve got strangely angled appendages, clusters of eyes, and a general gangly nature that stands out. These are creations that are anything but warm and fuzzy, and it helps with the general feeling of unease that permeates Bokurano: Ours. His characters are much more palatable to the eye, though. I love that even they, though, are generally skinny and un-muscular kids. They look just like the real thing, with their faces like open books, unable to hide what’s bubbling up inside of them.

Bokurano: Ours is anything but your average alien invasion story. It’s deliberately disturbing and creepy, and it looks like things are only just getting started. Part of the SIGIKKI group from Viz, Kitoh’s story rapidly proves itself to be anything but ordinary. And, since it’s from SIGIKKI, you can even check out sample chapters for free on their website. I may still miss Shadow Star, but so long as Bokurano: Ours is around, it lessens the sting a lot. (If someone wants to pick up the license for Shadow Star, I won’t complain.) It’s nice to have a Kitoh series back on the shelves again.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com | Powell’s Books

2 comments to Bokurano: Ours Vol. 1

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  • Sekai14

    I asked on their blog if they would license Shadow Star because Dark Horse did not finish it and they insisted that it was “finished”. So I don’t think Viz is going to license it.