Bokura no Yuki Mimantoshi also known as The Kids are in Charge is a fantastic older Japanese drama. Just as Yaksha was my favorite Korean drama The Kids are in Charge now ranks in at my favorite Japanese drama. I loved everything about this series so I’ll try my best not to gush over it too much in this review but no promises. It has sci-fi, mystery, semi-post-apocalyptic wrapped up in a dark story that touches on themes of survival, totalitarian government, media manipulation, exploitation and relationships. For comparison it’s very similar to Lord of The Flies with a bit of Battle Royale (two classics!). It’s a dark story but it’s mature enough in tone that it’s pulled off extremely well.
After hearing of a devastating earthquake strikes in Makuhara, 18 year-old Yamato (Domoto Koichi), leaves to Makuhara to find his friend Kiichi who lives in the area. Promising his girlfriend he will return soon. Along the way Yamato meets Takeru (Domoto Tsuyoshi), who is also traveling to Makuhara as a volunteer in the relief effort and to rescue his sister who lives in Makuhara. However, when the two finally arrive at Makuhara they are shocked to find that the city, which is under government lock down, is intact and is being run internally by children. Yuri (Hosho Mai) an awesome nihilistic girl the two meet reveals that a meteor crashed in Makuhara and with it a mysterious virus resulted in the deaths of all the adults ( above age 19). Children must fend for themselves in the city, some chose to rebuild their society in a manner reflecting their old world some just choose to survive. The government offers very little in terms of support there is an irregular schedule for food drops but it’s not enough.
The interesting angle of the show was how the kids survived in the new world they inhabit. Some just try and survive not thinking of others and some of them try and work together. It’s a good character study I haven’t seen played around with too much in TV. The Walking Dead has some of these themes but I think it’s taken more seriously in this show because in that one it’s too easy for everyone to work together. How would you survive in this world with no rules? I liked that some of the kids didn’t want to work together even fighting with others for food. Brute force and manipulation are the only weapons left at anyone’s disposal and its interesting to see exactly how far the kids (keep in mind KIDS) would go to get what they want. It was pretty shocking sometimes when blood is spilled but it can be even more so when those best at manipulation decide they want something.
The characters are what sell this show; you want to see what they will do. Yamato rallies a small group that want to work together and he becomes very close to them. Yuri is my favorite she’s just awesome she has a gun and a small knife and forces her will on people mostly by taking whatever she wants. There are about 60 kids left and you get to know a lot of them so you get to see many different personalities and survival techniques interact. I really liked Takeru and Yamato’s partnership. They played off each other well, Takeru was really smart and intuitive and understood group dynamics well, using this skill he was able to try and stay one step ahead of what others were likely to do. Their partnership led to a variety of endearing moments as they become better friends they even share some comedic moments to break the tension.
There’s also a subplot about the government controlling the media and it becomes clear that nobody on the outside knows what’s really happening in Makuhara. But after a while it seems they are protecting an even bigger secret when they cut off all supplies to the kids. There’s also tension because the microbe only kills those 19 and older and Yamato is getting close to his birthday. The soundtrack and score also work impressively to immerse you in this cut throat world. I really loved this show the characters the set up and the side plots all come together in an impressive ten episodes. It’s a dark complex story with a lot working for it I’d suggest finding it.