This manga was like a singer who doesn't exactly have an amazing voice, but draws people in with his/her heart and soul. I was really infatuated with Bokura ga Ita's story. It's hard to describe exactly why. This manga is normally the kind of manga I wouldn't go for. I intially watched the first two episodes of the anime before reading the manga and noticed how the anime's art style appears so manga-like - it was more of "moving illustrations" than an "animated anime" if you know what I mean. I became curious of what the manga would be like, so I dropped it for a while and searched for the manga. I read it all in one go. Took me about five hours to read all seventy chapters. There was just something about the manga that kept me holding on until the end. I feel really neutral for the most part, throughout the whole manga although there were a few WTF moments. Bokura ga Ita was truly a unique story and I have never read a manga like that before. I feel like I took away a few life lessons from it as well.
I'll have to post a more detailed review later, I literally pulled an all nighter just to read this manga. ^^"
This will be a short review, not extensive like others of mine (if they can even be called extensive)...
Bokura ga Ita drew me in with its minimalistic-art charm and its easy approach to a school life love story. I hate school life love stories and avoid them like the plague despite myself ending up reading a handful of them, but I like Bokura ga Ita for some reason.
The art is simplistic and drawn like nearly all recent Shojo Beat! serializations are wont to do: Lined and re-lined features, very well-defined and attractive profiles (Forehead, Nose, Lips, Chin, BAM! Done!), and large yet minimally-detailed eyes. There are recurring instances of a phenomenon I'll dub "wobbly pen" which is the shakiness of the lines due to the extreme thinness of the inking, but all-in-all it's nice to look at. The problem with it is that it doesn't really catch the eye, and when there is a lot going on the artist has a bad habit of jamming as much as possible into one page, leaving bubbles and panels crowding each other and stressing the eyes (this wa glaringly annoying in the very last volume XO ).
Another problem is that near the last few manga volumes, the characters graduate high school, yet they're still drawn exactly as they were while IN school. Even though they should be like, 20-22 years old, I keep forgetting that and think that they're 15-18 years old. Nanami looks like a butter-faced Freshman throughout the entire manga, no changes at all except a lack of a school uniform... Oh, and the dogs in this manga were drawn very badly in my opinion. The faces looked smooshed or warped in such a way that, as my friend pointed out:
Yep. That's what the dogs looked like to my friend and me...
Yes, it's a school-life love story that soon moves onto a "real life" love story. Girl meets boy. Boy is one of those infuriating assholes to the girl. Girl falls for boy. Boy is cryptic and closed-off while joking around and teasing the girl. Boy reveals his previous love died in a car crash. Girl and boy promise to love each other. Boy and Girl have their heads swimming with the whole "I don't know what he/she's thinking" plus things like "misunderstandings", "where is this relationship going?", "how can I prove to him/her that I love him/her?", "I can't live without him/her", etc. The angst in this manga was justified and went in circles in a nice way. It reminded the reader every step of the way that the two lovebirds were forever overshadowed by Yano's previous love, Nana. One cannot enter another relationship with strings like that instantaneously cut off, and such psychological torture and stress haunts these two teenagers until they're hurting each other. Damn you Nana, even from the grave you make Yano's life miserable!
In the end, it's all about the two trying to figure out if their relationship is worth the heartache, is it worth cutting ties with each other, is this a relationship that is unhealthy/is their devotion to each other just causing more pain and confusion?
Characters were good, I'd guess. (shrug)
Personally, I couldn't get into the very last volume. Like I mentioned before, the artist jammed so many things into each page of the volume that my eyes just said "Fuck it. I give up.". So I basically read the first thirty pages of Volume 16 and then flipped through the last 100+ pages or whatever. Yep. The last volume was disappointing as it seemed like the author needed to rush and fit everything that was supposed to happen in this one volume when the plot developments in the previous volumes were all spaced nicely and gave my eyes a chance to BREATHE when looking at the panels. Like, there were actually SPACES of sky or whatever instead of bubbles hanging around everywhere with chattering text that I really didn't give a shit about.
So the last volume brought this down from a 8/10 to a 6.95/10. But that's just my personal preference. Try it out if you think it seems good.
We Were There, Bokura Ga Ita, was one of the first manga where i actually cried. I haven't read it recently so I don't really know whats happening but i can say this much. If you love romance and like reading mangas that are heart touching you'll like this manga.