14th Manga Division Excellence Award
Story manga [Japan]
Bokurano (Ours). During one summer vacation, 14 junior-high school students and one elementary school pupil visit a less-populated village to attend camp school. They meet a mysterious man who identifies himself as Kokopelli in a cave on the beach. Kokopelli pursuades the students to enter into a contract to fight inside a giant robot called “Zearth” to defend the earth. Whoever becomes the pilot of this robot will die in return, but unless they fight, the earth will be destroyed!
Reason for Award
A new frontier for the mega-robot fiction genre
An intricately detailed backdrop to the story
From robots that are manipulated by remote control to ones that are manipulated by the people who ride them. Manga and animation have a long lineage of “mega-robot stories,” but in this series we are not only intrigued by the mechanical details, but also the torment that the pilots maneuvering the robots go through. After all they are only junior high school students. At their tender age, they are complete amateurs when it comes to war.
If this were happening in the real world, we would need someone with unforeseen powers to save the day, but even that would not prevent the downfall.
This story, though, is a story of the children who stood up in place of all those grown-ups who could do nothing in the face of destiny. The stories vividly depict what these children go through as they embark on their battles aware of the absolute certainty that they will die, and as they deliver their dead comrade’s messages to their bereaved families. Nobody would have imagined story telling like this in the robot genre.