For those not already familiar with my inexplicable taste for just about any anime with a decent romance, I'll just say that it's not too terribly difficult to pique, and keep, my interest. Thus, when I started to fight off boredom not long after Bokura ga Ita's halfway mark, I knew I might be in trouble. The series employs a somewhat odd style of pacing, however, that, despite this problem, managed to carry me through all twenty-six episodes. In lieu of undulating more than a sine graph on steroids, the story orchestrates a rather innocent romance between two high school kids, and does so in a practical fashion, which perhaps explains its charm.
That said, the gist of the series is told from the perspective of the female protagonist, Takahashi. For the first half of the series she's a good choice as narrator, but her indecisiveness becomes grating as the series progresses, and she ends up being somewhat of a turnoff. While the same drama repeats cyclically, her thoughts themselves do not change, which gives rise to an annoying repetition of her, in many cases, downright whining. As the viewer I wanted to see her character evolve and her romance strengthen, but instead I ended up wanting her to simply shut up and stick with a decision.
Bokura ga Ita's main problem is that it simply doesn't have enough content to span the timeframe that it does. While relationships obviously have their ups and downs, Takahashi is like an abused dog that enjoys being kicked, and each time she justifies going back to Yano simply because she likes his smile. As such, her character development peaks very early on, and her self-loathing and denial is only bearable for a short while. She never really matures or changes throughout the two-year span of the series, as the same childish Takahashi in episode one bears a lot of resemblance to the adult Takahashi in episode twenty-six; her naïveté is only endearing for so long.
I can't say I cared for Bokura ga Ita's animation all that much, especially considering how much it varied in quality. Most of the time it carried a rather simplistic feel emphasized with the liberal use of pastels, generally ignoring substantial amounts of detail in favor of plain, character-focused settings. During important scenes, however, the animation would kick itself up a notch and start incorporating much more elaborate shading effects and the like, which somewhat forced the mood and made serious moments seem slightly awkward. Likewise, in scenes of minor importance, quality would decline, often in the form of blank backgrounds and disproportionate faces. I've seen plenty of series with lapses in animation consistency, but it borders on obtrusive here, and I can't say that was too appealing.
Like the animation, the musical score also left a lot to be desired in terms of quality. The same tracks were repeated over and over throughout all twenty-six episodes, and this repetitiveness seemed to coincide with the dragging out of the storyline, which certainly didn't help in keeping my already taxed interest. Along with an only mildly impressive cast of voice actors, the series often came across as rather monotone, and I thus found my mind wandering a lot. Were there not considerable pacing issues with Bokura ga Ita in general I don't think this would have been as much a concern, but considering the fact that the series already teeters on the edge of boredom rather often, this was not a good thing.
To be honest, I never really liked Yano from the beginning. While a nicer, more restrained male lead would no doubt have made the drama less entertaining, he came across as far too arrogant and chauvinistic for my tastes, and made the whole romantic scenario seem forced; for a good portion of the series Yano treats Takahashi in a downright asinine fashion. Given that Takahashi starts off the series with a general dislike for him, it was a bit hard to swallow the nature of her attraction, most especially during the middle portion of the series. To make it worse, toward the end Yano's personality drastically shifts from one extreme to the other, and he came across as shallow.
Takahashi proved a much stronger female lead to begin with, but she, too, ends up whiny and clingy, which made her more annoying than empathetic by the end. Despite Yano being a total prick to her for a good portion of the series, she keeps wandering back to him time and time again, and it gets old quite quick. Yes, I got the fact that she's supposed to draw parallels to Nana, but the writers really took it overboard and I wanted to reach through my screen and slap her on a number of occasions.
My favorite character of the bunch, though, was Takeuchi, who turned out much more likable than Yano. The fact that the opening sequence shows absolutely nothing but Yano and Takahashi, though, indicates from the first episode that they will be together, so the "love triangle" his character introduces does nothing but draw out the drama pointlessly. The fact that he served absolutely no purpose but to drag the series out to cover twenty-six episodes instead of thirteen bugged me to no end, and his trivialization did more to harm the anime than help it.
Were Bokura ga Ita half the length with a bit more solid main characters, I think I would have enjoyed it more. As I mentioned before, I'm a terrible sucker for romance, but when a story is drawn out so terribly long by dumbing down its characters, I can't say it suites my tastes. However, I don't think it's as bad as I've made it sound, and settles somewhere just above my bar for mediocrity, so perhaps I've bashed it a bit too much. It's a decent choice for a serious, relatively realistic romantic drama, so if that fits your tastes, it's at least worth looking into.
Yano Motoharu is the most popular guy in class, the school’s basketball ace, and highly charismatic to boot! No wonder Nanami Takahashi can’t resist falling in love with him. When Yano returns Nana’s feelings, things seem too good to be true and the two begin a relationship; but Yano has a contradictory personality which confuses Nana most of the time. On top of that, tragic events in Yano’s past won’t stop haunting their relationship. Unable to halt their passionate feelings, are Yano and Nana heading for disaster or can they save each other from irreparable hurt?
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Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!