We Were There

We Were There

[Vol.] 3

Graphic Novel - 2009
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"Nanami tells Yano that she has a crush on him, but when he asks her to go out with him, she declines because he doesn't know if he truly likes her or not in return. As the months go by, the two gradually become closer. Then Yano tells Nanami that he likes her, marking the beginning of Nanami's blissful days, but..."--T.p. verso
Publisher: San Francisco : Viz Media, [2009]
Edition: Shojo beat manga ed
ISBN: 9781421520209
Characteristics: 182 p. : chiefly ill. ; 19 cm


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Oct 02, 2010

*Please Note* My 5-star rating is for the -entire- series, not just this volume.

"We Were There", also known as "Bokura ga Ita", is simply put one of the best (if not the best) shoujo mangas I have ever read. This manga will break your heart many times over, and will hopefully teach you the reader a thing or two about the reality of love and trust, and how these things can both be broken and forgotten. Nevertheless, like the main character, we must pick ourselves up and learn to forgive.

The first few volumes of this manga will start a bit slowly, and this is where Bokura ga Ita (BgI) receives some of its negative comments. Some readers will mistaken the first volume to appear "formulaic" (i.e. popular boy falls for main character girl, but both deny liking each other). Yes, it would seem stereotypical, if not for the main clincher of this story – the fact that we know off the bat that something tragic happened to the main male character, where his previous girlfriend had died in a car accident. This curiosity is what keeps a reader going through the otherwise tame first volume, but it's well worth the venture as the story probes deeper and proves to have many more depths in store.

The pacing of this manga is quiet and slower than most, but it gives the reader that essential time to really understand the character's thoughts. Every panel in Yuki Obata's work is cleverly planned out! She knows how to set up her page spreads to give the most impact. By the first 3 volumes, I could already notice Yuki Obata's ingenious setups. She will draw the smallest expressions (a hand outreached to cup a face) and that alone will say volumes. She doesn't feel compelled to fill the pages with needless dialogue, just the very poignant words of the main character's thoughts. She lets her drawings do the talking, and she does it well. Although the story appears simple at first, as you get deeper into it, you will get the sense that Yuki Obata had much more planned out from the start.

One of the greatest things about this entire story is the sense of time. It is true to the title "We Were There". Yuki Obata doesn't forget a thing. She will allow the characters to look back on memories from earlier volumes and suddenly they will become very important. She places foreshadowing carefully throughout the story. She allows time to pass, and the characters will age from high school bumpkins to working adults before you know it.

BgI has a lot in store for its readers. The twists that will come midway through the series will break hearts and will just get you completely engrossed into the story. The first half of the story is childlike and innocent – cute, young love – and it will mature and grow until the inevitable truths come out: love isn't always beautiful, and sometimes it will not last. The reader will fight on with the main character to find answers, and overall, to mature and find ways to cope with the reality of life.

This is a great manga, definitely not one to miss! It is still ongoing and the finale will be interesting :)

PS: The anime is noooo good. Stick with the manga :).


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