2009 in anime: #6 Unfair

by Grungi

(Seventh post in the “12 days in anime” 2009 project led by Mega Megane Moé. Other participating blogs include Shameful Otaku Secret!, Continuing World, Fighting for Nippon!, We love maids., Bokutachi no BLOG, Anime Profiling, Desu ex Machina, Blogging about Anime, I Will Show You Terror in a Handful of Flans, Pontifus, Open Your Mind, ∑Xce7ion, Ganbatte Forever!, Mikotoism, wat u say, Memories of Eternity, Simplicity, Gabrielino Anime Club, UNMEI KAIHEN, Nigorimasen!, Mainichi Anime Yume and We Remember Love)

There is something universal in the way real tragedies are able to tell you what is going to happen, then still deliver their emotional blow at full might when it does happen. One could think that being prepared lessens the impact of the events, but with a well-written tragedy, it’s absolutely not true.

If anything, it makes the whole ordeal more painful. You can’t help but to hope that everything is going to be all right for the characters, yet you know those hopes are vain, as destiny rolls over them and leave them crushed.

And then you want to scream that it’s unfair.

At least that’s what I wanted to do while watching Bokurano. Especially episode 13. (Warning : spoilers ahead)

Bokurano is a vicious show. At episode 5, you learn a first shocking truth : the children composing the main cast and piloting a giant robots to protect the Earth lose their lives after the battles. That in itself is pretty cruel, they’re only children, dammit !

Then, at episode 13, you uncover another aspect of the “game” the children are taking part in : their opponents are also humans from other universes, and the universe of the loser disappears into oblivion. A that is a pretty dramatic turn of events.

Until then, you could have been thinking that it was alright because they were fighting “invaders”. But no, all the while they were defeating people who were, like them, trying to defend their world.

All in all they find themselves in a inextricable situation. They have to choose between winning, killing a whole universe, then dying, and losing, dying and taking their whole universe with them. That’s pretty bleak, isn’t it ?

What I found really interesting, and memorable about Bokurano was the way it was structured. The story really takes the time to investigate the way each of the children deals with the situation and the imminence of their death. More often than not, I found myself holding my breath as all the chairs were spinning, ready to designate the next pilot. I knew at least most of the children would die in the course of the “game”, yet I couldn’t help to root for some characters, wanting them to escape their fate.

Paradoxically, I’m glad that the show didn’t shy away from the dark outcome of the whole thing. It made the ending that much more powerful. I would have hated it if the ending had been a “happy” one. The sacrifice of all those innocent children turned the memories and the life of the little Kana into something so much more precious.

Sometimes, no matter how much you want to run away from it, there’s no escaping fate.