Dealing with the death of a friend or loved one isn't easy, no matter how old you are, and everyone comes to terms with their loss in different ways. Adults can drink themselves into a stupor in an effort to dull the pain, take off on a journey of self discovery, bury themselves in their work, or find some other coping mechanism. Unfortunately the same isn't true for children, and all too often they are unable to truly deal with the emotional turmoil that occurs.
Now it may seem a bit odd to talk about death, grief, and learning to deal with the loss of someone
close, but essentially that's what Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day), is all about.
The story opens with Yadomi Jinta, a seemingly grumpy teenager who is playing a game in his room on a hot summer's day whilst his childhood friend Honma Meiko (Menma), pesters him repeatedly. Having had enough of the game, Jinta decides to make lunch, but only for himself and his father which annoys Menma no end as she also wants to eat the ramen he has made.
It all seems like a fairly normal, everyday scene that one might see in anime, but not everything is as it seems ...
On the surface AnoHana looks like a fairly straightforward tale of teenagers learning to deal with a past trauma and maturing in the process, and for the most part that's a fairly accurate perception. The plot is well constructed and takes a measured, almost methodical approach to events which is reflected in the often placid tone of the narrative. Unfortunately this leads to a degree of predictability as certain events in the storyline are clearly foreshadowed, and while the series promotes a degree of empathy for the characters and their situation, there may be occasions where viewers want the story to get to the point.
One surprising aspect is the manner in which flashbacks are used to punctuate specific occurrences or emotions, whilst adding historical context to the relationship between Jinta, Menma, and the rest of the "Super Peace Busters". These sojourns into memory act as a nice counterpoint to the current state of relations between the characters, and highlight just how much has changed for each of them over the last ten years.
This contrast is also reflected in the visuals, and while there is a marked difference in the appearance of almost all of the Super Peace Busters, it's actually the subtle contextual setting that makes the change much more pronounced. The key thing to remember is that people often romanticise personal history and memories, especially if one has undergone some kind of trauma, and AnoHana plays on this by sharpening the focus and darkening the tones on the present day, which contrasts with the soft focus flashbacks that are often filled with "light".
The design itself is well handled, but while efforts have been made to really highlight the changes ten years can make to a child's physical growth, it's the character animation that stands out. A-1 Pictures have tried to visualize the movement differences between a child and an adolescent, and while there are a few niggles here and there, the overall effect promotes the sense that the characters are no longer the children they once were.
Because AnoHana is a character driven piece there is a heavy emphasis placed on the dialogue, and while the majority of the script is actually pretty intuitive, the manner of speech during the flashback scenes can sometimes seem a bit odd. Thankfully the series has some very talented seiyuu on hand, and it's interesting to note that some of the roles feature two different voice actors - one for the present day and one for the past. Each role is given due care and attention, so it's unfortunate that even with so much talent on hand, there are a few issues from time to time as the seiyuu handling the child roles are all adults. Now while this may be standard practice in the industry, studios like Ghibli have proven time and again that children are much more capable of playing the younger roles than the majority of adults, and while the relatively minor flaws in the dialogue do stand out, one has to wonder how different the series could have been if child actors had been used.
AnoHana features a number of slow pieces of background music performed on piano or guitar that reflect the measured plot and add a slightly bittersweet air to the storyline. The opening theme, Aoi Shiori by Galileo Galilei, features a sequence that shows the characters in their past and present forms and hints at the the reason for their emotional difficulties. The ending sequence features a montage of the three girls of the Super Peace Busters, Menma, Anjou Naruko (Anaru), and Tsurumi Chiriko (Tsuruko), and is set to Secret Base ~Kimi ga Kureta Mono~ (10 years after Version), which is a cover of the 2001 single by Zone and is performed by Kayano Ai, Tomatsu Haruka and Hayami Saori, the seiyuu who play the roles of Menma, Anaru and Tsuruko.
Now given the nature of the series and the near constant focus on the characters, certain viewers may assume that AnoHana should feature almost continuous development, so it may come as a surprise to some people that the show takes more of a "stop-start" approach. Because of the attempt to apply a degree of realism to the characters and the emphasis on depicting them as plausible, any attempts at continuous development would seem overly contrived.
Balancing that though, is some rather strong characterisation. One of the key things to remember about each person in the story is that they have experienced a specific defining moment in their lives, and that allows the characters to be depicted as individuals from the start. The strength of the characterisation is even more palpable if one compares the present versions of the Super Peace Busters with their past selves from the flashbacks. That said, there are occasions where the story has difficulty finding a resolution to a given situation so it can sometimes seem as though events are being dragged on in a effort to develop the characters.
AnoHana is a surprisingly simple, yet slightly over sentimental, look at the coping mechanisms of children and adolescents when coming to terms with a past trauma, and in that respect it's one of the more surprising titles of the last few years. The series errs more on the side of soap opera than outright drama from time to time, but like many of the other relatively minor flaws, this can be forgiven in light of the fact that the subject matter is well managed and delivered. In truth, the closest neighbour to AnoHana would probably be Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 as that also highlights the difficulty children have in dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one.
It's difficult to say whether I actually enjoyed the series or not. On the one hand it has some genuinely entertaining moments, but on the other the series deals with an issue that has little enjoyment value (unless watching kids coming to terms with emotional scars is your thing), and even though AnoHana isn't a story without flaws, that doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, the reverse is true as while the series does take a slightly romanticised look at the characters and events, the constant element of realism that runs through the narrative sets this anime apart from many others.
If nothing else, AnoHana is a great example of how good a completely original anime can be.
''Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai'' (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day) is a series that sets lofty goals for itself. It is, in essence, a ghost story that aspires to be a poignant drama about (unrequited) love, loss, adolescence and self (re-)discovery. Heavy themes that require a delicate touch.
That last part is where things go wrong, but more on that later.
As the show begins, we see a boy sitting at home while his female friend is pestering him. The boy's father is remarkably unfazed by what
is going on. Soon enough, we learn why. The girl, Meiko, died 10 years ago and is a ghost visible only to our protagonist, Jinta. She's come to him with a request: he has to help fulfill her last wish so she can part for the afterlife. Problem is that Jinta has grown up to be a recluse. Nonetheless, he gathers all his courage and ventures outside.
Earlier episodes show Jinta in his attempts to reconnect with his group of old friends to find out what Meiko's final wish could be. The Super Peace Busters (the name of the group) are a colorful bunch, and the series is at its best when it shows them getting back in touch. AnoHana nails that mix of awkwardness and nostalgia felt between people who haven't seen each other for a long time. In particular when they're connected by tragedy. In this regard, the character interactions feel incredibly authentic.
And then Meiko comes into play.
Meiko, as portrayed by the series, is the most wonderful girl ever. She's incredibly sweet, loving, selfless, wonderful and innocent. Jinta is in love with her, even after all these years; as are the other boys from the Super Peace Busters. And the girls? Their emotional crises are all about how they could never match up to Meiko, even now that she's dead.
Keep this in mind: we're referring to a girl who died over 10 years ago, when all of them were around 5. I repeat: this happened 10 years ago. A lot can happen in so much time, especially for children growing up. The death of a friend, tragic as it is, will usually stop hurting quite as much. Life goes on, and day-to-day concerns have a way of catching up. AnoHana doesn't seem to grasp this. Every single person who knew Meiko even the slightest bit is still devastated over her death because she was simply the most wonderful girl ever.
Or so we're told.
The Meiko we can see, however, is an annoying caricature. Her personality is that of ditzy, clingy, ''moe'' characters such as Yui Hirasawa (K-ON!). Her reactions mostly consist of either crying or being incredibly cheerful, and things she does on her own usually boil down to misguided attempts at cheering up Jinta with antics that we're supposed to consider cute. The makers even shoehorn in some fanservice of her. Raising the question of how seriously they really want us to take her.
Very seriously, it turns out.
The whole plot ends up revolving around Meiko and her wish. By the end it's difficult to remember any aspect about the other characters that doesn't trace back to Meiko in some way. Worse yet, the series spends a lot of its running time having characters doubt Jinta's claims that he can communicate with Meiko's ghost. This in spite of the fact that Meiko is a ghost who can interact with physical objects. That's right. Proving her existence would be incredibly easy and yet the series keeps contriving ways to wring melodrama out of other characters' disbelief. One could defend this by claiming that people in real life don't always go for the best solution and make stupid mistakes. Which is true. But the characters in question are portrayed as decently smart in spite of their issues so it feels strange that such an easy to solve problem is dragged out for so long. Worse yet, the actual narrative ends up pointing this out. Indeed, the series itself pokes fun at how long it took to solve its nonexistent problem. It would be cute if it wasn't so infuriating.
Sadly, the frustration only gets worse from there. As the series culminates in an ending that's composed and executed with such bombastic melodramatic sincerity I almost felt bad about laughing at it. The climax basically abandons any pretense of subtlety in favor of having characters shout their feelings at each other, only to neatly wrap up their issues with an instant-cure group therapy session. If only it were that easy in real life.
Real grief, of course, is a totally different beast. It's not something you get over after a miraculous event. Rather, it's a constant uphill battle as you struggle to pick up the pieces and try to fill the void that's appeared in your life. The way AnoHana presents a one-size-fits-all solution is hopelessly naïve, however well-meaning.
That last bit is a great way to sum up the series in a nutshell. Its superb presentation and handful of interesting parts are ultimately wasted on a series that decides to focus on all the wrong things. Pandering, sentimental and ultimately frustrating. ''Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai'' is a crushing disappointment.
The ideas I have formed about the themes explored in this series are based on my own imagination and second-hand accounts of people less fortunate than I. Should you disagree things I have written in this review then please do not hesitate to write me a message. I apologize for any offense I may have caused and wish to explicitly state that it is in no way intentional.
There’s nothing quite like the loss of a loved one for changing a person. We always feel that death is such an alien concept, it exists but is somehow detached and unrelated to our own little world until it comes knocking on our doorstep. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day), tries to show us just how powerful an effect death can have on us.
The keyword is ‘tries’, and for the most part, AnoHana succeeds. It is one of those anime that illustrates perfectly the idea that the
relative distance to perfection is inversely proportional to the obviousness of huge, glaring flaws. For everything that AnoHana does just beautifully right, there is usually something little it gets horribly wrong.
Before we go on, I would like to state for the record that I absolutely endorse this anime to anyone who asks, reasons which are perfectly illustrated in Archaeon’s neatly succinct review, of which I direct you to. There really is no reason to write another straightforward review reiterating everything he's said when you can just go and see his. Instead, for those who have already finished the anime and are looking for a more critical approach to viewing AnoHana, it may interest you to read further here.
There’s no denying AnoHana is fine piece of work. Everything from animation to sound, characterization to story are all quality material and together form both a visually and emotionally satisfying experience. The anime is far past the point of debate about whether watching it would be enjoyable and worth one’s while, because it most certainly is. The proceeding point of scrutiny would be to examine the anime at it’s core fundamental level. This is the point where the ‘really good’ pieces of work are separated from the true masterpieces. This is also the point where AnoHana unfortunately falls flat. Specifically speaking, AnoHana’s screenplay just isn’t very good.
In fact, considering how well rounded the anime feels as a whole, the screenplay is actually deceptively and surprisingly bad.
Okada Mari, one whom I respect greatly for her work on Tordora and Kuroshitsuji is back again; this time she is chief script writer for AnoHana. Unfortunately Mari’s apparent inexperience in writing shines through clearly in the screenplay. There is no doubt she has talent and a knack for good ideas, which makes it disappointing to see she still stumbles on some basic areas of writing. The narrative for example, is sorely lacking in woven exposition, with the many aspects of the story left feeling one dimensional and underdeveloped (more on that in a moment).
The dialogue is also inconsistent; the majority of the time it is written and delivered beautifully, but there are frequent punctuations of awkward, out of place lines that leaves something to be desired. Most of these instances are offset by the talent of the seiyuu who try their best to bring emotion to these parts, but the moments are still unavoidably noticeable. For instance, count how many times this scene happens: Jin-tan glances to his side at Meiko and mutters ‘Menma...’ another character looks at him, confused, and questions ‘Yadomi?’
There are very clear distinctions between the lines that have significance to the plot or the character, and lines which are simply conversational pieces, with almost no blending of the two types. At times it feels like the latter lines have no contextual meaning at all and are simply there to fill in time because the script writer couldn’t think of anything else to write. For an anime like AnoHana where the entirety of the narrative is delivered via dialogue and character interaction, this is a very dangerous habit to fall into.
There are many good things that Okada Mari brought from her experience working on the series compositions of titles like Toradora, Fractale and Gosick. Unfortunately one of them also happened to be the abysmal pacing that they all suffered from at one point or another. Naturally, the structure Exposition-Rising Action-Climax-Falling Action-Resolution can’t possibly be adhered to as strictly for anime as it does for say, novels or films, simply due to the episodic nature of anime; there is an underlying need for each episode to be standalone in it’s own right, even if it is meant to contribute to the overall story. However that isn’t to say we shouldn’t at least make an effort.
The problem with AnoHana is that it simply tried too hard to be episodic. Each episode’s substory warranted so much attention that there was very little room left to develop the main plot. Although each individual 24-minute segment was neatly tied into a little package with it’s own structure, which seemed fine at the time of watching, suddenly we reach the end of episode 9 and we realize with 2 episodes to go we’re still on the exposition part of the main story. This is again, partly due to the fault of the narrative not having any woven exposition in itself, relying instead on almost purely dialogue and flashbacks to establish the backstory, an alternative which is both more time consuming and less efficient. (To throw an example out there, think how easy it would have been to tell stories of Popo’s adventures around the world by simply including a few souvenirs from his travels in his little hut. A few frames to easily explore an episode’s worth of exposition, which can then be used to add elements to Popo’s character without the need for spoken exposition.)
I am strongly hesitant in calling AnoHana a melodrama. The constant hint of realism in both the visuals and characters suggest otherwise, as does the very real themes that it tries to convey. The anime obviously works very hard to provoke an emotional response and I wonder at times if it is trying a little too hard. Not a scene goes by without Yadomi frowning at something, and the prevalence (or rather excess), of falling tears in every episode almost screams at me: “Here is an emotional scene, indicated by the tears. Feel sadness you sheep!” The need for AnoHana to constantly use the act of crying to convey sorrow seems almost shortsighted, and while they are a good tool for reinforcing the emotional instability of the characters, they seem to serve little other purpose.
All this cumulatively leads to the biggest flaw of AnoHana: as an anime observing death and how people cope with it, there is shockingly little character development observed. What AnoHana tries to offer instead are single characters at two points in time. On one hand we have the happy-go-lucky childhood of the super-peace-busters, on the other we have the sullen, withdrawn adolescent individuals of those friends, drifting apart and trying to move on with their lives. At first sight it is amazingly easy to mistake this contrast of past and present for ‘character development,’ however true character development demands something a little more in-depth than, ‘friend dies, people become sad.’ Yukiatsu is arguably the only character who experiences true change, *spoiler alert* in his brief contact with Menma *spoiler alert* he experiences denial, confusion, jealousy and anger, and in doing so, realizing his self-loathing attitude and changing himself. Yadomi’s development is also arguable, though I remain skeptic as to whether what seems to me as merely an overdue self realization can be categorized as development if it were there subconsciously all along. In comparison, the other characters, experienced only minimal changes, exchanging confessions and realization which, while heart-moving, can hardly be justified as ‘development,’ begging the question of whether there was any point to the whole thing other than being an emotional roller-coaster of adolescent diversions.
If you’ve managed to read this far and haven’t yet ‘unhelpful’d’ this review or thrown your mouse across the room in anger, then props to you, and perhaps you’d like stay a bit longer and allow me to explain where all this nonsense is coming from.
The mindset of a critic is slightly different from that of an average viewer. We’ve seen, considered and analyzed far more than what would be considered healthy for a normal human being and as a result, we view things a bit differently. Cliches and archetypes you’ve seen maybe half a dozen times, we’ve seen hundreds of times. We get bored quickly, we’re more easily dismissive, we hone in on small mistakes like vultures, we’re very excited by originality and we’re far more disappointed when a promising series falls short just inches from the finish line.
Nine out of ten times, the things we watch are mediocre at best. Stuff that’s so average that it takes all of our willpower just to struggle through a normal review; talk about some story, mutter about some character, drag on about some animation and call it a day. But then something like AnoHana comes along, something new, something exciting, something to sink our teeth into. We may end up enjoying it, we may not, but the fact that it had piqued our interest meant it had already established itself as something special, something good enough to be able to be improved upon in the future, something we WANT to spend time thinking about, something actually WORTH criticizing.
Think of this review not as a “everything that was wrong with AnoHana” review, but as a “AnoHana was this close to being a true masterpiece, I found myself taking time out of my busy schedule to watch it twice and write up this critique, if only it had improved on these points, I might have given out my first ever 10/10" review. In fact, consider this review a praise by exception, in that everything I DON'T mention is absolutely friggin' brilliant. That's a LOT of stuff.
"Oh no, here come the tears!"
Anohana was a fantastic, emotional story of loss that struck all the right heart chords. Anyone who has abruptly lost someone premature in their lives can relate to this series. What it does, it does very good in fact... And I really started empathizing with the characters like I knew exactly what tragedy they had gone through. All of the characters and their motives were believable, and it made for one enjoyable experience.
Although Anohana only had 11 episodes to get it's point across, I had no problem understanding any part of the plot. Six kids, inseparable
it seemed were devastated when one of them was tragically killed in an accident. Now they all gather back several years later to attempt to send off the memory of one of their best friends by granting an eternal wish. The exact details of Menma's death were never explained, but it was unneeded. The writers did an incredible job of making that information irrelevant. The subject was so sad to even talk about, the characters all got fragile when they started talking about it.
I can't help but think the writer had some personal tie to a similar situation like had transpired in the series. It seemed so gripping and personal to me. Especially near the end, none of the characters wanted to let go of the memory they had of Menma, and often had trouble coming to terms with their own personal guilt. I'll just say it takes a lot to make me cry, but at the end as the closing theme played, I lost it. Incredible, original and emotional storyline.
Like I previously stated, all of the characters in Anohana were believable... and it made the show that much better. The main, Jintan struggled constantly between wanting to move on and wanting Menmas memory and love to stay with him forever. He is obviously stricken by what had happened that day, and leads a very closed off life because of it. However, Jintan opens up more and more as the show continues. I love the growth he had even through such a short amount of time.
Poppo reminds me a lot of myself. He handles grief by putting on a "everything is ok" façade, which the others mistake for him just being a goofy individual. Deep down is more than likely a sad grieving man desperate to make amends with his regret from that day. Yukiatsu kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but his character was still strong and understandably jealous of Jintan. The only strange thing I thought about the characters were how they all filled in a strange love triangle of sorts. I felt it was unnecessary to write in love interests of 10 year olds... And after years later their feelings were all still so strong. A bit odd.
The animation was very good in this series, but nothing buzzworthy. I thought it was a little strange how they made Menma age, but still not quite as much as everyone else. I'm not sure what the artists were going for here. The opening was also alright, but didn't feel as as fitting as the ending song (which I felt was very good). Especially how it was incorporated into some of the episode's conclusions.
I think it's safe to say that after all of the action animes I've seen recently, it was really nice to see Anohana. Even with as blubbery as I was at the end, I felt it showcased the feeling of loss and grief to the best extent possible. I would recommend this anime to just about anyone, especially those who enjoy heart-felt stories. Loved it!
Ano Hana follows the flashbacks of six teenagers. Well, to be exact, five of them.
Honma Meiko (Menma), Yadomi Jinta's childhood friend returns after many summers. Jinta, annoyed by her childish attitude, tries to ignore her with everything he's got. But Menma is so persisting, Jinta can't overlook her anymore.
Jinta, who has been an all energetic boy from his childhood now finds himself to be a lethargic teen, uninterested and unmotivated to absolutely everything, ignores people around him and a complete shut-in. As he merged himself to video games over the years, his grades dropped and couldn't even make it to a reputed high school.
Naruko (Anaru), one of the six childhood friends has grown interest in make ups and dresses, like most of the teenage girls of her age. But she has become more distant and snaps pretty easily. She is not the all shy "Anaru" Jinta and Menma used to know anymore.
Matsuyuki Atsumu (Yukiatsu) and Tsurumi Chiriko (Tsuruko) are different. They are now students of a very good high school. Both got themselves absorbed in school and are taking life more seriously as anyone should. But in the process, they have become distant too.
Hisakawa Tetsudo (Poppo), who was the smallest of the childhood friends, is a big guy now. He has grown interest in 'erotic' stuff, well, any teen of his age should be interested in stuff like that.
With everyone drifting apart from each other over the years, Menma is left with shock as she met her childhood friends after so many years. She thought everyone would remain the way they were during those colourful summer days. And now, she insists that everyone should get along just like before. A wish she has unfulfilled and wants Jinta to grant it for her. Just that, she has no idea that her childhood friends have all drifted apart because of none other than herself, ever since that day in a summer she left them. For all eternity.
Despite being in its very first episode of an 'Anime-Original' story, Ano Hana caught me off guard as I wasn't expecting such a sad story to unfold.
As the name translates, "We still don't know the name of the flower we saw that day," it is understandable after the first episode that the "We" is the five of them and the "flower" is Menma, their childhood friend who was the slowest of the lot, but was an inseparable member that kept them together. Only after she was gone, they realized it as their bond fell apart.
At the beginning, I was kinda annoyed the way they started the anime thinking it will be yet another loli-chara anime. But it all made sense after I realized she is an existence made by Jinta's imagination, the Menma who died so young, that everything she does is nothing more than the shards of memories Jinta has. She might have a physical appearance of a teenager, but everything about her remains exactly of the Menma Jinta got to know, making her the only one unchanged after so many summers have come and gone. But is she really an existence made by Jinta's imagination? Her existence around Jinta is so profound, that I was unable to tell.
The characters are so brilliantly portrayed in the very first episode, you can already tell them apart. You can already see their inside like a mirror. Despite all of them showing they have moved on since that summer day, their facial expressions say otherwise.
The story is so nicely paced and gently told with flashbacks and fond memories, I don't see places where it might improve to get your attention, yes, it is that good. Noitamina at their very best.
The character animation style is nice. Exactly like Toradora. The background is very detailed and it is one of those shows you wanna see in glorious 720p resolution at least.
The OP and ED are nice and the lyrics go wonderfully well with the storyline so far.
If you are a fan of nice slice-of-life anime or in general, looking for a very good anime, then this should be your auto-pick of the spring season. Ano Hana left me with an impression powerful enough to make me write a review just after completing episode 1.
I've heard of depressing animes being "stupid shit", because feelings and emotions are such "garbage". No, I disagree. If pulled off with realistic character psychology, such "depressing animes" may teach a viewer a lesson. Any anime can teach a viewer a lesson.
So, why do we care about AnoHana? Simply, because of death's inevitability. AnoHana portrays different ways in which people cope with a death, whether through blaming oneself, becoming a shut-in, or obsessively buying anything in relation with the deceased one. These examples presented by AnoHana helps us delve deep into characters.
"Jintan" has the core of a leader, but Menma's death has made him a
shut-in, as it is his way of coping. However, he shows leadership in several parts throughout the 5 episodes, but he's just unsure of his ability to lead after Menma's death. He acts as a leader that had just been defeated. On the outside, he looks like a messed up person. However, he is dependable because he is true to himself.
"Anaru" is a dependent person, struggling to fit in with society and reaching conformity. Little does she realize that the path she is going down does not lead to happiness, because she is preventing herself from expression and self-freedom. She actually like games and being at home, but she decided to stop doing that because it doesn't help her reach "normality". According through direct dialogue, it is said she is easily influenced by others. I agree, because the concept of "normality" is created by others.
"Yukiatsu" is the most messed up dude in this show. On the outside, he is a charming honors student that seems to have a great future. However, his unstable core depends on either a person and/or a dream. For example, his dream of being with Menma is ruined by her death. Now he couldn't depend on anything in regards to that situation. He fell apart. But he creates a facade of a responsible and dependent guy so he won't be looked down upon.
There are plenty more characters a viewer would get to know.
That message I'm getting from this show is that when somebody dies, or anything bad happens, breathe in, accept the fact, swallow it, maybe cry, breathe out, and keep living.
Oh yeah, the art is brilliant...
The OP is brilliant...
And I enjoy it a lot, except for the beginning. Sure, maybe to hook the nasty people out there. But oh well, it's a great show with deep characters, and has a message. Why should one watch this show? What is the purpose?
My guess, it's to deliver a message saying: Let's not forget the dead, but let's not obsess over it, either.
What do you do, when you suddenly see a ghost of a person that you were close to? Most people would think it's just their imagination or the effect of stress. But what if your mind doesn't play tricks on you and you really encounter a ghost from the past? AnoHana plays with this idea. The story starts out on a usual day for the shut-in Jinta, who suddenly sees the ghost of his childhood friend Menma. Menma tells Jinta she has a wish that she wants to be granted by him. And from here on, Jinta's unusual summer starts.
The story itself centers around the
six members of the Super Peace Busters, which was seemingly disbanded after the death of one their members. At first you'd expect that the story revolves around Menma and her wish but the truth is, the story tries to center around the members' lives and the way they were affected by the death of their friend and the show does a sloppy job with that. Of course true friends wouldn't leave each other in times of need. So why were the Super Peace Busters disbanded? Obviously there are more reasons behind that than the death of their friend.
I personally thought that story would be a coming-of-age story, where the characters deal with the problems of becoming adults and finally dealing with the death of their beloved friend. And boy was I wrong. Instead, the show turned out to be a love story pretty soon and the romance became the major driving force of the entire show. The mystery behind Menma's wish didn't unfold until the last episode and tension has been lifted so suddenly, at first I didn't know how it happened. The story itself moved forward pretty slowly, until the last 3 episodes, where the pace suddenly changed and everything was wrapped rather quickly up in one final episode. Not to mention many questions were left open and many were left unexplained.
The first 4 or 5 episodes were very promising, but after them, the plot went down the drain pretty soon and was dragged out for too long. I think the story could have been told in roughly 6 episodes, and then we could have been spared of all those unnecessary scenes that were dealing with the love polygon between the characters. It's a pity that they wasted 11 episodes on a story that was worth roughly 6 episodes.
The reason why AnoHana became popular is the romance and the fact that you could ship many characters together. Most of the characters rethink their relations to the others and since the cast is half male half female, it is inevitable that some of them play with the thought of starting a relationship with someone other from the Super Peace busters.
The plot wasn't really planned out from the start and it seemed the writer didn't know what to do with the 11 episodes he or she got, the pacing of the story made this obvious. This problem affects most of the original anime shows and AnoHana wasn't an exception either.
One of the major strong-points of the show. The animation is consistent, the backgrounds are well drawn. This is no wonder, since the anime was originally meant to attract tourists to Chichibu city and I think that AnoHana managed to capture the beauty of the region pretty well and reached its goal with this.
The background music fits in the show perfectly, it was very well done. The opening and ending songs are very catchy and perhaps they are the best of the season.
There are 6 main characters in the story. The creators could have used 6 episodes to explore their backgrounds and the nature of their problems, but the show wasn't able to do this either. I would have really liked if we could have gotten more info about Chiriko and Poppo too, since they were as important as the other four. The characters aren't any special and there is little to no character development throughout the story. Not to mention everyone is emotionally so unstable, that they can break into crying every now and then. This became very annoying especially in the last two episodes. The conflicts between them feel over-exaggerated most of the time and everyone runs in circles until the very last episode. But the execution of the last episode was so terrible, I can even tell the exact moment when all the problems are suddenly solved. The character interactions are melodramatic and take everything to the extreme. As I was telling earlier I was expecting a coming-of-age show, so I thought maybe the characters were going to discuss their problems and try to find a solution to them, but all the cast was doing was crying and complaining about their issues throughout the story and they didn't even care about the things the others were saying. Without analyzing characters I must say, that they weren't original, the show just managed to re-use some common and popular character archetypes. They are rather easy to forget.
This show makes a perfect job on summoning emotions from the viewers and fills the holes of the plot with the tears of the viewer. It started out as a promising drama but failed to live up to its high expectations. But this might be a good start if you're unfamiliar to dramas, because AnoHana heavily relies on the sympathy that you feel towards the characters and takes you on an emotional rollercoaster and sucks you in to the story easily. If you had experiences with dramas before, I suggest you skip the show, because it’s forgettable and has many flaws that might disturb you and the rushed ending basically ruins the tension that has been building up since the beginning. Overall I say that AnoHana is a mediocre show, that had potential, but failed to exploit it, but despite this it became very popular. If you like shipping in general and crying over love stories, AnoHana is the anime for you.
I've been watching anime for a while, having watched over 50 series, and at least 10-20 OVA/Movies.
This is the anime that finally made me decide to create an account here and share my thoughts. I was going to sum this up in one word, but I realized that no single word in the English language does this piece justice.
Since if you're looking at this page, I'll assume that you will have some idea of what the story is about, and that you're into this genre. In that case, to make it short, this is absolutely worth watching.
Having only watched the first episode, I find this show quite promising. In fact, I can honestly say that it is the best first episode I've ever seen. Even masterpieces such as clannad and elfen lied did not contain so much emotions in one episode. This first episode is at least as good as the first episode of five centimeters per second, and considering that it's a whole series and not a movie or OVA, that is quite impressive.
I know a couple of people who are not used to this kid of a character design, but if you're one of those people, you'll get used to it, and the background is quite good.
My only concern, is that such an impressive first episode might bring too much of an expectation for a great ending, which seems quite hard considering how fast paced the first episode is. I hope this series doesn't lag on for 20+ episodes, it doesn't seem to have enough material to fill in that much. If this series nails the ending at say 12 episodes, it may just become my all time favorite, and one of the best animes of all time.
I don't often follow currently airing shows. It's usually hard to tell which shows are genuinely good until the hype dies down a bit. But under intense peer pressure, I started following a certain series this season. That show is "Deadman Wonderland". To cut a long story short, it sucked. So to deal with the disappointment I decided to follow another series, the sleeper hit "Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai", which apparently translates roughly to "We Still Don't Know the Name of That Flower We Were Smoking When We Came Up With This Title". Something like that. With a
title that long, no wonder everyone just calls it "AnoHana" instead.
The reason I chose AnoHana is because while everyone around me was talking about "Deadman Wonderland" and "C" before the season began, those talk quickly became dominated by AnoHana soon after the season got under way. And as the show also looked like a drama that isn't bursting with moe juices, I honestly thought it was going to be awesome.
...but it's not.
Which is not to say it's a bad, or even mediocre series, but while I definitely think the positives outweigh the negatives, I certainly don't think Ano Hana is a show that deserves all the praise it's been garnering.
Firstly, let me get something off my chest: having recently been annoyed by the spontaneously violent, clingy, cheesily cheerful, hyperactive white haired girl Shiro from "Deadman Wonderland", I was dismayed to find a clingy, cheesily cheerful, hyperactive white haired girl in AnoHana too. If you extracted everything that's annoying from Shiro and put it into a new character, you would essentially end up with Menma from AnoHana.
And unfortunately, Menma is one of main characters of the series. In short, AnoHana is about this exceedingly annoying ghost girl Menma returning to the world to make her childhood friends' lives miserable.
Ok ok, I jest - it was only me she made miserable... her friends were already miserable to begin with, and her re-appearance just brings their problems into focus. These group of friends, who collectively called themselves the "Super Peace Busters", had drifted apart after the unfortunate accident involving Menma that left them all mentally scarred in one way or another. But her return succeeds in bringing them back together again, and in doing so opens up the old wounds that never really healed.
Oh yeah, I should mention that there're a couple of catches in the set up. The first one is that only one of Menma's childhood friend can see her - and that's the main character Jinta (but this gets a satisfactory explanation). The other catch is that she apparently returns in order to get her wish granted... except she can't remember what it is (which smells like a bullsh*t plot device to me), and so they spend the series going on wild goose chases in order to make this unknown wish come true and thus help Menma achieve nirvana.
This second catch helps to illustrate one of main issues I have with the series - though the concept itself is promising, the story is over reliant on convenient plot devices. In the short space of 11 episodes, I counted at least four or five major plot devices being used to keep the story on its intended track, resulting in some quite exasperatingly un-natural plot progression, not to mention some massive plot holes.
The other problem I have with AnoHana is its melodrama. It may not have it by the bucketload, but it does have it in spades. The "Super Peace Busters" sure live up to their name, as whenever they come together, the peace is bound to be busted at some point. The dialogue and character interactions would often take up baffling turns that inevitably lead to lots of confrontations, angst and tears. I guess if you try hard enough, you can come up with reasons for why a character say this and does that etc, but at the end of the day, the way it all comes together just doesn't feel quite right to me. I can often feel the tug of melodrama taking the flow of conversations etc off their natural course.
AnoHana's habit of overcooking promising drama into melodrama gives me the impression that the makers are a little insecure about the potential of AnoHana to move people, and so felt like they had to work it harder in order to cement its idenity as an emotional drama. But the thing is, I feel AnoHana a show with enough good material and interesting ideas that it doesn't NEED the melodrama to make it tick. A good example of this is during final episode, when the realisation regarding Menma's situation dawned on her friends. In all honesty, it was a great moment, perhaps the best one in the entire series... and then the girls started screeching and grappling at each other and completely ruined the mood. What the hell were the makers thinking??
But while I was complaining to my friends about my disappointments regarding this series (as well as this overrated experience of following currently airing anime), I was struck by a sudden realisation: in spite of its shortcomings, I really WANTED to like AnoHana, and kept desperately hoping the show would get it right. It's a striking contrast to "Deadman Wonderland" where I couldn't care less what happens. Despite AnoHana's frequent heavy handling of drama, there's a sincerity about what it's is trying to achieve. Also, being a nostalgic person, the strong sense of melancholy about the show really speaks to me. The bittersweet joys of getting together with old friends and briefly re-living the carefree days of childhood, the aching sense of loss as you realise things can never quite be the same again... these are all feelings that the show manages to convey very successfully.
The role that the background music plays in creating the poignant moments in AnoHana cannot be underestimated. While the show itself can be accused of trying too hard at times, the same accusation certainly cannot be levelled at the music. Simple, and yet quietly evocative, it barely put a foot wrong throughout the series. In fact it's hard to fault the music in AnoHana at all - the opening and ending themes are both very solid songs, which is quite rare in anime as at least one of them is a dud normally.
Given everything AnoHana has going for it, it's a real pity that it isn't a lot better. Perhaps, given the length of the series, the makers made the decision to rely heavily on contrived plot devices in order to keep things moving along, and on melodrama as a shorcut to character development. But some things are not meant to be hurried, especially when some of the problems the characters have are quite bizarre, and the hurried execution just made them seem more random than anything else. However, it is a show that deserves some credit for its good intentions and powerful ideas. In some respects it reminds me of "Cross Game", as the two shows have some overlapping themes, particularly in the early episodes of AnoHana. "Cross Game" though, does it so much better.
So yeah, this whole following currently airing show thing has proved to be quite a disappointing experience. Don't think I'll be doing it again in a hurry (unless I succumb to peer pressure again). On the plus side, finishing a show so soon after it airs did briefly make me feel like I was down with the kids for once...
In this review I will defend the claim that "Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai" is an absolutely terrible show. It is well known that this show get's a lot of positive attention. At the time of this write-up, it is currently ranked 42nd on the site overall (or, if the site had good programmers, 39th since Gintama 2015, Unlimited Bladeworks season 2, and One Punch Man are above it and have not even aired any episodes), with a weighted score of 8.70. It is often discussed in forums as being a tear jerker. Indeed, there
were points where I simply couldn't stop the tears of laughter from flowing down my face. This is a spoiler-filled review.
Ano Hana begins with a boy (Jinta) hanging around a house. There is an immature, white-haired girl pestering him. It turns out that she is the ghost of a girl who died in an accident ten years ago. Her name is Menma, and she has come back to earth to fulfill her wish, just as soon as they find out what it was that she was wishing for. His father's non-reaction to Menma's antics, and a visit from Jinta's friend (Naruko Anjou) suggests that only he can see her, but that she can physically affect things. In other words, the only element of her non-corporeality is that she is invisible and cannot project her voice. She is in no other way a non-corporeal entity, and is LITERALLY just a normal human, except not visible to anybody but Jinta. She can pick things up, and she can eat things, and when she jumps on Naruko her weight is felt.
Menma is portrayed as a very sweet, wonderful little girl. Ignoring nitpicky aspects about how annoying she is, let us examine the larger picture. She is haunting a childhood friend until he spends copious amounts of energy fulfilling her unknown wish. To me, this negates any "cuteness" she may possess and makes her a menacing turd.
The above was merely a subjective issue I had with the show. Now, let's get to the biggest objective issue that I have already alluded to earlier: the fact that Jinta can prove his assertions to everybody, literally, by handing Menma any object whatsoever and pointing out the levitating object. In fact, you could show that it's Menma, and not some other supernatural entity, by draping anything over her body that would reveal the shape of her body. You could even splatter her with mud or paint and you could basically be able to see her just walking around. This is a huge issue because he doesn't do this for the vast majority of the show, and the vast majority of the melodrama can be traced to this plot point.
The plot point starts off as a background thing that could more or less be rationalized away in the first few episodes. Perhaps she cannot do physical things unless Jinta is around, but that's not true because of the scene where she jumps on Naruko and her weight is felt. Perhaps she is limited in some other way. Maybe the things that she touches and cooks are also only visible to Jinta.
As the show transitions into it's middle section, these rationalizations become more and more difficult to contrive. It would be one thing if this didn't affect the character interaction very much, but nearly every tension and grievance can be traced back to the fact that Jinta cannot muster up the 2nd grade level brainpower required to prove Menma's existence. The entire time, I was assuming there was some technicality, but situation after situation confirmed that Menma can just move stuff around at will, as she demonstrates by opening a door (and everybody in the room noticing), knocking stuff off of tables, other people feeling her weight when she jumps on them, and her moving a light and then everybody remarking how the wind couldn't have possibly done it. There is even a sequence where Menma tries to communicate with people and is actually able to place phone calls (but her voice messages aren't there since only Jinta can hear her voice). Meanwhile, the old friend group has a long stick up their collective asses about whether Jinta is just outright lying, and large amounts of time are devoted to melodrama derived from this.
There are several times where Menma is in the room with Jinta, reminiscing with somebody else about the wish situation. Hey... hey idiot... just hand her a thing... hand her literally anything... hey... you can remove all doubt by picking up those chopsticks over there, and then saying "hold this"... you can immediately resolve half of the plot... right now.
At this point, you're still holding out hope that the show will ignore it and you have to come up with your own rationalization for it, or that the show will explicate some as yet hidden concrete reason as to why Jinta cannot provide evidence for his claims. Nope. The worst possible thing happens: he finally has her just hold objects to prove his claim. In episode 9. They even try to rationalize it away by using a character to conjecture that Jinta wanted Menma to himself. Then what was the point of his endless pleading for the group to just believe him in the prior episodes? Essentially, the resolution of this simple plot hole takes six of the eleven episodes. I say six because it is not a central plot point in the first two episodes, whereupon it then becomes important, and then isn't resolved until the 9th episode of the show.
Let's get to the second worst aspect of the show: the characters. We have already shown that Jinta and Menma are terrible characters. We also know that the average IQ of the entire friend group hovers around 40 by dint of their inability to devise any experiments demonstrating the existence of a ghost that can be seen and interacted with by one person and can move physical bodies like a normal person. Moving away from the plot hole (which by itself ruins the entire show) the dynamic between the characters in the group (which is called the 'Super Peace Busters' or SPB) is as follows: two of the males are in love with Menma (Jinta and Matsuyuki), one (Hisakawa) is just a chill dude and the only one to suggest that Menma could just hold something, and the two remaining girls are left wondering why two males are still in love with a girl who died when they where about 5 years old. However, this doesn't stop them from wanting to date them.
A prominent theme in the show is the guilt that all of them feel about the circumstances of their group the day that Menma died. Jinta is a broken human because he defensively argued against accusations of a crush and called Menma ugly, just like every 5 year old on the planet. Matsuyuki is still intensely in love with Menma. In fact, he keeps a broom with a white wig in his closet and frequently takes it out to sniff it; and then runs out in the woods in a cross-dressing cosplay of Menma for multiple consecutive nights. The last two sentences were not a hyperbole or a joke. Hisakawa is the best character, the only one who suggests any way of proving Menma is there prior to episode 9, and the only one whose past (actually seeing Menma get carried down the river and drowned) actually warrants the amount of sadness he exhibits (and he is still less sad than the other group members by orders of magnitude). Anjou has a crush on Jinta, and Tsurumi has a crush on the cross-dressing creep.
The plot hole and terrible characters make the melodrama hard to care about, and it's poorly executed anyways. The show doesn't actually show you anything sad. Instead, it has characters cry so that they can beat you over the head with a metaphorical hammer that says "ITS SAD, WE SWEAR! CRY RIGHT NOW!". You can feel the writers using the crying characters because you don't actually feel sad: you have to be told that something is sad. Nearly every scene in the entire show is melodramatic, which means that the characters only speak in lines that are emotional jabs at one another. At virtually no point do we see more than one consecutive minute of logical, level-headed discussion. Nearly every scene of the last three episodes is insufferably overdramatic, and by the end of the series everybody is bawling all the time and screaming out their feelings.
This is my first ever review. Why did I decide to write this review? I chose to write this review for one main reason: it is the most divergent my opinion has ever been from general consensus about the quality of a show. I am in no way the type of person who diverges on opinion for the sake of divergence. In my opinion, if a show is in the top 100 on MAL, it is probably a very enjoyable show. I also believe that shows with higher ratings are generally better than shows with lower ratings. Popular anime is probably popular because it has good elements in it. I was genuinely shocked at the appalling quality of this anime and cannot possibly see why everybody would think that it's even watchable, let alone near perfect or perfect. The only saving grace was the better than average animation, which prevented it from being a 1.
Updated in response to Uriel1988 1/01/2012 Happy New Years!
Having just read your review on Anohana, I'm truly saddened to see you didn't enjoy it, at the very least you didn't buy into any of the hype. But more on that later, the main issue I would like to point out is that I don't agree with you on a couple fine points. First off, the series sets no lofty goals, it's flawed with execution errors and plot holes undoubtedly, but its base method in itself is its simplicity. Like you stated, it's a story of loss in a form of a "ghost story". I don't
see it as a profound series at all, in fact, it often lacks in presenting a serious tone. However, for someone who can step into the characters' mindset, the technicality and surface value of the anime is rendered forgivable, reason falls apart in the face of emotions. And I believe it's not fair to only judge it from your eyes. Especially when you claim most people in real life eventually forget about such a "loss" as day-to-day routines and just life in general forces us to forget. Which normally I would more then agree with you on, we see it happen all the time e.g the death of a relative/loved one or the shock of a sudden undue revelation. However, keep in mind these are indeed kids you're talking about. And no matter how you argue, children are at their most vulnerable age, they soak in every detail and every event influences their personality. From my personal experiences and working with many mentally challenged individuals, I can tell you it's no small thing to have someone/ something you love taken away, especially with all the implications of painful realism, forcing decisions upon unanswered questions. Without a doubt all individuals react differently and I can't say such a generalization of yours can be made. And additionally, I don't believe that all the characters' inability/ or at least difficulty of moving on is hinged on the fact of how "perfect/wonderful" Menma really was. Think of it in a child's perspective instead of an adults'. And add that to the fact of how her death marked the end of innocence for all those involved and the beginning of regret, so many words left unspoken, the true manifestation of loss/grief with no way to set things right. Then tell me if it's simply normal to walk away, that might be the case in today's modernized western world but it's not within the culture of the Japanese. They don't blot out the deaths of cherished family/friends, but instead pay their respects to something that clearly defines what they are to that day. That being said, I clearly understand your position on this anime but am having difficulty just accepting it, I loved this anime not for what it is but what it provided me as a medium, the joys of adolescent friendship preserved, the remembrance of certain things I thought had left me, rediscovering elements I've clearly needed to think more upon.]
If you're reading this, it means you have no life.
Read on if you dare... All jokes aside, if it takes you this many positive reviews and what-not just to convince you to pick this series up, then I have no words to say.
*But, however, if you're like me and like to read over some of the reviews of your favorite anime then proceed. (Warning: I'll be including as little plot summary as possible.)
After the completion of this work of art (Yes, in my opinion it's that great) there's only one phrase I could write.
"This anime defines the reason why I watch anime."
So much so that I didn't even bother writing a cliched philosophical statement regarding this work's main theme and/or problem.
For those who ignored my first statement and still wish to continue -It's best to go in with no expectations and no prior knowledge of the plot... It'll make it even more amazing. If that's possible.-
That being said, after deciding to place this among the top of my "planned-to-watch" list I had very high expectations and was ready to judge harshly if necessary. I can be a cruel sadistic bastard when it comes to something that I find dry and overly lacking in innovation. However... even I'm surprised at how badly I contracted brain damage. I went in with my many preconceived notions (Is this just another tragedy?) and cognitive biases (If it's repetitive material then I'm going to hate) (My friends are probably up to their usual "Freak of the moment" rants).
The end result? I was still absolutely floored.
Now time to analyze:
Is it original? Perhaps, but it still had many of the elements found in other less-than-original-anime. And what are those? The setting for one. Childhood friends centering around a memory-ridden landmark. Slight plot-holes due to the rapid transformation of adolescence characters into adulthood. Transition was done quite well and even the middle episodes were quite interesting to watch.
Is it life-changing? Few works are. But this one could perhaps edge out one or two of the masterpieces. Although there's only 11 episodes there's more than one pivot point in the anime where raw tendrils of earth-shattering thought are summoned from even the dullest of minds. (No offense, I don't mean dull. Just dense in the metaphysical criteria) You feel this sort of fire and restlessness from a simple scene. There is definitely power in Anohana to be witnessed.
Is it emotionally provoking? Sometimes, but there is also a smooth liquid quality to most of the story. The beginning started strong. I was immediately hooked. You sort of get used to the quality of the scenes. It becomes mentally harder and harder to draw yourself away from each and every little detail.
Is it informative? Critical issues are addressed but this is not one of those slice-of-life portraits. But if you mean informative in terms of sheer joy and gratification you'll be hard pressed to find another that is both serious and light.
Why exactly is this anime so damned good?
I guess it all goes back to the holistic representation + the sum of all its parts. The message is almost starkly dismally hopeful, pardon the oxymoron. You dream of life for the characters but at the same time you are sad because of the result. The story-line is balanced and well construed. There are almost no fillers of any kind and almost each little conversation and flashback plays a paramount position in the overall work. The music made starting each episode easier, as well as giving one of those joy-rides upon the completion of each sequence. The characters are quite realistic and not your typical stereotypes; They are also designed well with actual capacities for growth.
For me at least, those were just the key points of a good anime. Not a great anime. So why did I just give it a score of 10 overall?
Along with many other titles I enjoy there is a goal the main characters hope to achieve. And just like those titles there should be a pleasing story that usually runs smooth while finishing the conclusion with a bang. But what sets Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokuachi wa Mada Shiranai apart, asides from it's slightly long name, is a thoroughly different approach to a traditional method. It's this style that makes Anohana so enjoyable. But how is this possible? What possible ploys and techniques from the usual suspect directors have we not seen? A profound sense of loss? Death and an unavoidable universal subject matter? A basis on a belief of afterlife and reincarnation? Psychological dilemmas and love triangles? Of course not. The truth is by the time most of us get to watching Anohana, we would have witnessed some of these more than just a couple of times.
By now you are probably a little tired of the reviewer for avoiding the point. Here's where you skeptics ask "Yes, I reckon it's a good anime but why should I drop what I'm doing and give it a try?"
More than one person has already suspected this review is another one of those multi-section circular breakdowns which is a practice in the art of saying nothing. But it's missing a few things.
1.) Where's the statement of undying loyalty?
2.) Where's the "It was damn good but I'm too cool to admit it because I'm the reviewer so I'll just pretend I didn't love this anime so much that I apparently wasted my time writing a review".
And if you didn't understand what I just wrote up there then look down.
Questions have arisen. Such as: I understand Anohana is probably amazing but how come you haven't explain it properly yet in your own terms? What are you exactly saying and where's that ground-breaking theory of yours at? Why should I waste my time reading this kind of wishy-washy overly florid review? (aka when I could just STARE AT THE NEXT REVIEW DOWN and read me a complete plot-based thriller or a fan's praise-fest) The answer? I don't know. At this time of writing this review I still have no idea. Ha, you think If I knew I wouldn't tell you? Probably. But once I know I'll most likely share. Until then, I'll try to abstain from writing at 3 in the morning, even if it's about my favorite anime. It would also be good if I didn't fret so much if I was being too sarcastic.
Rest assured I loved this anime and you should too unless you didn't get past my first statement in which case...
Death of a close friend is always difficult to deal with, mainly because it always comes when you least expect it. It is especially hard to portray it accurately in any medium, let alone anime. When I first heard of Anohana, I was expecting a beautiful story about a group of friends coming to accept the death of their beloved friend and eventually becoming better people. I was sorely mistaken. Anohana is a travesty of writing and I have no idea why this deserved any praise whatsoever.
Story- My first issue is, that Anohana is OVERLY melodramatic. The first couple episodes had me hooked to the
computer screen, they gave me hope of seeing a great show but sadly I was wrong. Every episode after that is basically a crying contest. In all of the upcoming episodes, a different character breaks down in tears to get an emotional rise out of the viewer. This is not only laughable, but it boils down to poor writing and obvious emotional manipulation.
My second issue is the ghost herself, Menma. Menma is the star of the show, every character in the show loved her and never got over her death. I assume she was supposed to be a plot device to facilitate the development of the other characters, but this never happened at all. Instead of the characters reflecting upon themselves, we got a group of morons crying over a ghost without addressing their own problems. Wasn't that the point of the story? Moving on and becoming better people? I guess not.
Another issue is that many episodes are wasted on trying to prove Menma exists. In the first episode, Menma herself is a semi-corporeal being able to move objects around. Jinta ignored this fact and continued to think that she still didn't exist, despite objects moving around the room. This takes time away from the much needed development of character.
My last issue is the ending itself. Not only was it horribly executed, but none of the character's problems resolved. People were misled into thinking this was a great ending because everyone was crying and Menma, "moved on," but ultimately everyone basically remained the same aside from a few minor changes.
Art- The artstyle was pretty nice, a lot of vibrant colors and scenic backgrounds. Nothing to complain about here.
Sound- I only liked the ED, "Secret Base~Ten years later," it was a very catchy and sweet song. Such a shame that the song was wasted on a horrible show.
Character- In a show like this, the characters are arguably the most important aspect. This, however, is where the writers failed once again. The cast of this show is so unlikeable and idiotic that they failed to get any emotional reaction out of me. First we have Jinta, an NEET/social recluse who never recovered from Menma's death. He is the main protagonist of the show and a poor one at that. Jinta is so oblivious to the feelings of others that it becomes irritating just to watch him on the screen. Menma, as mentioned previously, is a moeblob with the personality of a doormat. Her one and only flaw is caring too much about other people? Isn't this supposed to be a slice of life? Aren't people supposed to have multiple flaws as opposed to just one that can't really be considered one?
Too summarize this all up, basically we have a group of unlikeable nitwits who cry a lot, are selfish, and cross-dress. Now this wouldn't be a problem if they became better people but they never did.
Overall, Anohana gets a 4/10 from me. To me, this is the most overrated show on Myanimelist. Maybe it is because people are suckers for people crying. In all honesty, that is all the show is, just a bunch of losers crying over a dead girl and never getting over it. Am I cold for saying this? Not at all. Many shows have done drama right EX: Kanon(2006) Clannad, Rumbling Hearts etc. and Anohana isn't one of them. I implore everyone who is going to watch this show to look at it with open eyes, do not be misled by the buckets of tears you are bound to see. The show has a poorly mis-managed plot, bad writing and terrible characters. I would not recommend anyone watch this.
After finishing Anohana, I could only think of one thing.
"So what's the point?"
There are many positive things to say about Anohana. Its opening is well designed, featuring the characters in their past and present forms as well as hinting at their emotional problems. The theme ("Aoi Shiori") is not only a great song by itself, but also well fitting with the show's melancholic tone. Its ending is similarly well made, and it is sung by some of the voice actors of the cast.
The animation/art is amazing. It is fluid and never drops in quality.
The show also does a pretty good at demonstrating character
interaction (for the most part). It's meant to be awkward and unpleasant, given the long period of time the characters went without talking to each another after the death of Menma. And, I do think the characters feel realistic (with some exceptions). They are all deeply flawed and selfish people, which is OK. In fact, it is very refreshing to see this in anime.
The issue is they don't ever develop from their mistakes, or hell, develop at all. In fact, it's very debatable whether or not most of them see what they did wrong in the first place. The show doesn't go into them actually becoming better human beings. They end up basically the same as they started, only able to slightly accept that Menma is indeed dead. There's no catharsis, no growth. The only thing you get at the end of the series is screaming and crying for the sake of it. So what the hell was the entire point of the confessions, the crying, Menma coming back as a ghost- everything? Was the entire point of the show "Haha these people are really bad human beings"?
And this is only made worse with the copious amount of melodrama.
Now, I'll be the first one to say people overuse the term "melodrama". Under stress, or when angered, humans will act in very irrational ways. This is natural. But Jesus Christ, the characters can just put a damn blanket on Menma and 9/10 of the drama could be solved. Jinta genuinely can't figure out a way to prove the ghost's existence. Please, Jinta, make her hold something. Anything. The object will appear to be floating. She's pretty much an invisible person. Hell, just put some paint on her and none of the characters will ever have a difficult time figuring out where the hell she is. It is insane how severely lacking the characters' mental faculties are, and it's genuinely distracting. This wouldn't be that bad by itself, except for the fact that many plot points revolve around Jinta being unable to prove the damn ghost's existence. The characters argue vehemently about whether or not she exists, even accusing Jinta of being a liar rather than assume he's hallucinating. This goes on for almost half the show, and it is extremely stupid. Eventually, the show devolves into the characters crying hysterically together and yelling about fucking nothing for most of the screen time. It's almost as if the show is holding audience cue cards, where the show tells you you're supposed to feel emotion when the characters bawl their eyes out.
In addition, some of the characters' emotional hurdles are very unbelievable. Although I did say the characters are realistic, I say that with a grain of salt. Yukiatsu, for one, is god damn insane for little reason. He dresses up as Menma and obsesses over her, hopelessly in love with what is a walking loli moeblob. It was a childhood crush- they were 5 years old when Menma died, it's been literally over a decade. There's just no way he could still have that amount of feelings for her. It's hard to take his character seriously, which is detrimental to a drama like Anohana. His character is there just to add more drama, and he never contributes anything.
Speaking of not being able to take things seriously, it was difficult for me to empathize with the characters, mostly because the "tragic" event of Menma's death is pretty much just alluded to. It takes very little screen time actually developing this extremely important event. I genuinely wonder why this show didn't start with their childhood, featuring their reactions to Menma's death, with the rest of the series as a time skip showing with their hatred for one another, their eventual acknowledgement, and finally their realization/redemption. It would make a lot more sense, and the events would have more of an impact on the viewer.
Overall, Anohana is a melodrama that has way too many things wrong with it for me to give it a positive score. Certainly, I am in the minority when I say this, as at the time of writing the show has an 8.52 on MAL. However, I want to make it clear that I am not being contrarian for the sake of it. There are plenty of popular, highly rated shows I love (my favorites include Ghibli movies, Monogatari, and Jojo), but this show just didn't do it for me. For reasons mentioned in the review, I cannot recommend Anohana to anyone. If you are looking for a coming-of-age story, I suggest you to watch Ping Pong the Animation or Nagi no Asukara, and for manga, read Onanie Master Kurosawa or if you love action, Vinland Saga.
Story: 2 (dreadful presentation of the story events, combined with the massive plothole of being unable to prove menmas existence makes it the lowest category, good concept for a coming-of-age tale though)
Art: 8 (what you would expect from A-1 Pictures)
Sound: 9 (exceptional op/ed, bgs were fine too)
Character: 3 (tons of potential for these characters, but 0 development and little reason to empathize with them)
Enjoyment: 4 (the excessive crying and yelling in the second half was quite annoying, but the first few episodes were pretty entertaining)
Overall: 3 (I believe art and sound are not enough to save this show)
Please leave a comment letting me know if you have a criticism of my review. Feedback would be great.
I watched Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (I will call it Anohana in this review) after all the episodes had aired so I didn't have to wait for each episode. I saw a lot of posts about this on tumblr so I decided to give it a try.
I really liked this story. Well, the story wasn't exactly out there but it was still very interesting and I was able to watch episode after episode eagerly. The cliff hanger endings were great and I've already rewatched the whole series. The story was great!
The art was indeed outstanding! The characters
were all different and easy to tell apart and they each had an appropriate set of outfits (except Menma of course). I had no problems with the art. In fact I was extremely impressed. The animation was great too.
All the voice actors did a great job and I really love the sound track. A cry manly tears when I listen to 'Last Train Home'. The voice actor who played Anaru did superb! So much emotion! I was really impressed!
Very interesting... I found it kind of odd, coz well, Menma died when she was a kid. She has grown like everyone else but... she still thinks like a kid. Isn't that a little awkward, I mean there seems to be something going on between her and Jintan but how is that okay, when she's still emotionally a kid? Menma's character was okay. She really was a bother to me though. All the other mains were very interesting and unique.
I enjoyed this anime a lot! I felt like crying in every episode (welll almost every). It's definitely one of my favourites! Unforgettable anime!
I definitely recommend this anime to shoujo fans and people who like a good tear jerker. I want to rewatch this anime..
Ano Hana is quite mediocre when it comes to acquiring good themes from it. The characters are hard to relate to because their problems are extreme and unrealistic. For the love of God it is a girl they knew back in grade school, get over it already... The amount of drama is too much, real people adapt the the death of family members, they move on. But Ano Hana is like a show featuring schizophrenics who are so shaken up by the death of a friend that they have delusions about her. Ano Hana is an oasis for hopeless idealists that think that friendship and
love can last beyond death. When people die, they are no longer in our lives.
The Story (7/10)
I give the story an C, because it contains too much unrealistic emotional responses. It is basically an existentialist story about 5 teens that are unable to take responsibility for actions or feelings they had towards Menma. They are all, traumatized (believe it or not), by the death of a friend in grade school. Now this schizophrenic main character, Jintan, can some how see this Menma and now he tries to fulfill the needs of this delusions. There will be people defending that Menma is not a delusion, that she actually has a physical body, since she needs to eat and can move things. My response to that claim would be: those moments are implied to be caused by Menma and all five friends that are alive are schizophrenics that are traumatized by the death of Menma, therefore they are all delusional. The story is way too idealistic. It is an interesting story sure, but filled with emotions that are just confusing and out of place. In other words, it felt too contrived. This device used by the writers of Ano Hana is something the English majors call BS.
The art is good. It is unique the quality of the art is good too. The backgrounds are very colorful and detailed. This category and the sound category contain the least amount of bull sh**.
The music is very nice, and the use of music in parts of the anime is very nicely done. I would like to point out how artistic it is to start playing the ending theme before the episode is actually over.
Horrible characters. Can't relate to any of them, maybe except for the father of Menma. I think the characters are so shallow because they stopped being friends after the death of Menma. Wait what? Did I hear that correctly? The great group of friends stops being friends after one friend dies? I thought friends were suppose to share the burden, clearly something they did not do or else they wouldn't be so traumatized. Therefore they are all really crappy people. Their problems and personality are very shallow, pitiful, and not worth empathizing with. I feel completely disconnected from the plot and the emotional appeal the writers try to accomplish, because these characters are so stupid.
To be honest, despite the mediocre plot and the characters, it was quite fun watching them fail at every single attempt to reach peace with the death of Menma. I feel happy because I am not a emotional train wreck like these 5 friends. This anime is mediocre overall but it is still enjoyable to watch these pitiful people struggle with their stupid shallow problems.
Ano Hana isn't a masterpiece by a long shot but it was still worth watching. I feel like every single anime about idealistic friendship, attempt at a deeper meaning through BS, and unique art is getting all the support. And I end this review with this quote. “The Masses are Asses” - For Children Learning How to Rhyme
I begin this review with informing you.
If you want the full effect of this show then don't read anything about it. I just recommend to watch it as blind as you can, as long as you aware of its genres.
It's not just because every review contains somewhat spoilers but I speak out of experience. I wish I wouldn't have known anything about this before I watched it, then it would have been even better. So this is my final warning, just go ahead and watch it, ignore all other information.
Now that that is out of the way, I will start by making a bold claim.
are only 2 kind of anime.
Type 1 - This type is about telling you a compelling story, with cliffhangers, plot twists and and interesting setting or theme.
This is all about to make you think.
Type 2 - This type on the other hand is all about making you feel a certain way. It's not that Type1 cannot make you feel, it's just that Type 2 disregards the plot more than type1 and focuses more on manipulating your emotions.
This is all about to make you feel.
Of course you could argue there are Type 3s that are a mixture of both, or then there are weird ones that are all about art. But those could usually be categorized in one of the 2 more than the other.
So what is AnoHana?
Type2 it's that simple.
AnoHana isn't about telling you this interesting story that keeps you hooked and craving for more. It's about making you feel. It is entertainment for the heart not for the brain.
So the right mindset to watch it would be: Turn off your brain as much as you can, and embrace the feelings that will overcome you. If you focus to much on details you will find yourself in a spot where you cannot appreciate what this show is about.
!!! Warning - Some Spoilers contained !!!
AnoHana was directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai, who is also responsible for Toradora! and Railgun. But also directed Ano Natsu de Matteru and Honey and Clover 2.
You can see a pattern here. He likes SoL. And drama.
And he is really good in this.
Besides Nagai, Mari Okada was responsible for the Script of AnoHana.
She also worked on Toradora!, and wrote the script on Black Rock Shooter, Gosick, Sakurasou and True Tears. (as well as many more).
You can see a pattern here as well, she loves drama and romance.
With this background information we can take a look at the
AnoHana takes place at the end of Summer in an idyllic small town in midst of Mountains and surrounds a group of Teenagers who used to be best friends in their childhood. Though a tragic event happened, in which one of their friends died, which led to the disband of the group.
The Story revolves around how Meiko Honma returns as a ghost to bring these friends together and get her wish granted.
The premise sounds already heartwarming and is maybe not something you never have seen before in some way or the other but still gripping enough to make you interested.
Through out the course of only 11 episodes we see the maincharacter Jinta Yadomi, who is the only one who can see "Menma" ghost try to come in contact with his old childhood friend again and get back on track with his life, as well as seek redemption for the burden he imposed on himself regarding Menmas death.
11 Episodes though is far enough, and 10 would have been enough as well.
The story does not drag on and is fast enough/things happen on a steady pace, that you never get bored.
The story is not particularly complex, which is good, since it can focus completely on the plot and the characters. The viewer doesn't need to know much in advance, nor is it 100% necessary to pay attention at all times.
Though AnoHana is farm from being plausible. There are so many things that are never answered or looked into with great detail it fills the plot with so many holes, if it was a ship it would sink the moment it enters the water.
But as I said, this show is not about a great, well thought out plot. But about emotions.
If you disregard all the supernatural things that never get any explanation then you will have much more fun watching it than nagging on every occasion something doesn't make sense.
At least the ending is solid and we get a satisfying, sad but yet still happy ending.
Overall the Story is just cute, nothing too heavy. It's about themes like, friendship, love, redemption and dealing with the death of a loved one.
It boils down to 6 characters that matter in the show, and a handful of sidecharacters that are at least mentionable.
Yadomi, Jinta (Jin-tan), is the male maincharacter, he skips school for quite some time and lives alone with his father. He is the only one who can see Menma and first thinks of her as a mere hallucination. He is stressed, not only did he lose his childhood friend he could never tell his true feelings, but also his mother due to an illness.
Since he is the maincharacter, we'll find out the most about him compared to other characters in the show. Not only do we have the biggest insight on his past and the way he lives, but also on his thoughts and emotions. Obviously he grows the most as a character comes from accepting Menma as real, to confessing to her and finally in a struggle to let her go, lets her go.
He is by far one of the most likable characters in the show, though not the most likable character I've ever seen in such a show. At least he feels somewhat new and original and I have trouble fitting him into a stereotypical archtype without thinking about it too much. If I had to, he would be the antisocial "emo" teenager.
Honma, Meiko (Menma), is the second most important character. Even though the story revolved around her, Jin is still the protagonist and we get the most insight on him.
Menma is still like a child even though she (supposedly) has grown (but still looks like a loli). Her attitude is that of a curious happy go lucky girl with very playful character traits. She is pushy and somewhat clumsy. Compared to Jin she is much easier to identify as stereotypical character as him, but that's mostly because you are supposed to feel sorry for her.
I personally enjoy characters like her, and wish I'd have a ghost like her being around me, she is just too cute, both in her appearance and in her attitude.
It's hard to tell if she grows as a character since her mindset is so simple at times. Unlike Jin who turns from an antisocial emo to a strong, independent male.
Her change comes more from what happens to her, rather what she becomes.
Anjou, Naruko (Anaru), is almost as important in the show as Menma, though the story doesn't revolve around her. Besides Jin she gets the most attention and undergoes the most changes. She starts of as being your typical tsundere, but is a bit more than that. She is in love with Jin and always thought as Menma, not only has her friend, but also as a rival.
She grows in terms of confessing to Jin, forgiving herself and accepting Menma as the "winner". She learns to stay true to herself and becomes less easily influenced by those around her. Similar to Jin she learns to become less dependent.
She was more likable than I first thought she'd be and I found it kinda tragic that she didn't "win". But it wasn't so much a romance as it was a drama.
Tetsudo Hisakawa (Poppo), is the comic relief of the show show, but turns later to become a bit more than that, though I kinda found his motives too attached and not well fleshed out. They were tagged on way to late in the series and thus never truly making him a really serious character like the others were.
But that said he was good comic relief and a very likable character. You kinda feel sorry for him being the "forever alone" guy of the group, but they handled it well and so did he.
He doesn't go through a lot of transformation but was a very important character in bringing everyone together again, also he was a true friend to Jin.
Atsumu Matsuyuki (Yukiatsu), I personally couldn't stand him. Right from the start he is introduced as Jins childhood rival/friend who has turned to a real dick. It is revealed later on, that he didn't really overcome Menmas death either and also was jealous of the bond between Jin and Menma. Though not the most likable character, he is important and is the direct counterweight to Jin, which was very important for the story.
Unlike Poppos resolution, his wasn't as cheap but also not really founded in the end. They gave him enough screentime though, yet I had the feeling they didn't really know what to do with him in the end. I found it hard to see him as anything but a counterweight.
Chiriko Tsurumi (Tsuruko), the forgotten character. No really she has not only the least amount of screentime, also her backstory is explained the least. I can't really say if I liked her or not, but I feel sorry for her being so underrepresented in the show.
Irene Honma, the crazy mother of Menma, who also got her salvation in the end. Not much to say here.
Atsushi Yadomi, Jins father who is like the coolest dude ever. He is calm and lets his son work out his own way without leaving him behind. He wins the award for best dad 2011.
Everyone else isn't really that mentionable.
Overall AnoHana has a good, l likable cast with fleshed out characters and interesting interactions.
The entire cross romance thing felt like attached drama though. Especially since some of it wasn't really mentioned before ep10.
AnoHana uses a mixture of warm but soft colors, emphasis realism over stylizing things and is in tradition with similar shows like ToraDora or Sakuraso no Pet na Kanojou. It didn't use any crazy techniques or ugly 3DCG that was out of place. It was overall very clean looking and had simple but somewhat realist animation.
Despite being "just" a Slice of Life, Drama, AnoHana actually had some really well animated scenes. But sometimes you also got some "quality". I can only remember one occasion where it actually was unintentionally funny, when Poppos eyes looked cross-eyed and everything around him was super serious. Despite that, it is neither amazingly animated nor bad. Above average.
Backgrounds were good looking but not stunning. I cannot remember any amazingly beautiful drawn backgrounds but it was always fitting and looked well made.
I mean, it's "just" a SoL, don't expect some crazy action scenes with stunning backgrounds and beautiful light effects. Well done is all you'll get here.
Talking about character designs is more interesting, because those were done by Masayoshi Tanaka, who also did the character designs for Ano Natsu de Matteru, Highschool of the Dead, Toradora! and others.
I personally don't really like his style. His characters Hair always looks like one piece of cotton, rather than hair. It's way more puffy that it could be, and also he likes to use all sorts of colors for his hair, instead of sticking to more realistic ones.
That aside his style is at least rememberable and you'll see the similarities in his other works (especially Ano Natsu).
I do give credit for Menma though. She was darn cute.
Again. AnoHana is not about winning awards for amazing animation, it's a cute story with cute visuals which are somewhat realistic. So don't go in and expect to be blow away.
When it comes to voiceactors AnoHana had some famous names like Haruka Tomatsu (Asuna/SAO, Shizuku/Tonari), Ai Kayano (Inori/GuiltyCrown, Shiina/Sakurasou), Takahiro Sakurai (Suzaku/Code Geass, Makishima/PsychoPass), Miyu Irino(Makoto/DenpaOnna, Kiritsugu/FateZero).
So needless to say the voice acting is great as for most modern shows done but big studios such as A1 pictures.
The opening was pretty cute, but I personally skipped it (mostly out of time issues) since I wanted to see the show. I watched it 3/11 times and maybe a 4th time considering the song was in the last ep at the end.
The ending was also good but inferior to the opening in my opinion. Both were fitting to the show though. Not the best but good ones at least.
The ost is a mixture of Piano pieces, acoustic songs, sometimes mixed with hip-hop beats (don't misunderstand that, with hip hop beats I mean 4/4 with the snare on the 3).
It wasn't special or anything but fitting for a SoL and was well used in dramatic scenes. Overall it was calm and melancholic, like the show itself. I think it's hard to fuck up soundtracks in well made anime nowadays.
On MAL AnoHana is one of the top anime, and also THE top anime under A1 pictures.
Not my personal favorite of A1 pictures (that would be Shinsekai Yori) but I can understand why.
The show itself wasn't anything new or special. But it was really well executed and deserves to be one of the best anime of A1 pictures. Yet I think it is overrated.
It gets compared to Angel Beats a lot, and I know Angel Beats has a lot of Problems as well and they are both tearjerkers. But if I had to pick one, I'd go with Angel Beats offering more than AnoHana.
So AnoHana stands among all the sad, romance/drama/SoL of the history of anime, but where?
It is one of the best, yes. Tatsuyuki knows how to make a good SoL, and so AnoHana was one of his successions. It will be remembered and watched by many to come and will make many people cry, it's just that good. But not the best...
I enjoyed it greatly and will treasure it, but it is not as good as people say it is, at least for me. I know the problems and I am not afraid of pointing them out if I need. I just ignored them because I can enjoy both, a great story and a great emotions.
Now to the Scores:
Story 7/10 (good)
Premise 2 (intriguing)
Pacing 2 (through out interesting)
Complexity 1 (Simple but sufficient)
Plausibility 0 (none)
Conclusion 2 (manly tears)
Anohana is a story of a close group of friends that loses one of their members in an accident when they were young. After this incident, the group disbands and becomes distant. However, one of the characters, Yadomi Jinta, is still able to see the ghost of the dead friend, Menma, and has the duty of granting Menma’s wish which she had wanted before she passed away in order for her to rest in peace. When Jinta claims to the rest of his friends that he can still see Menma and wishes to grant her wish together, they do not believe him and thinks he’s
insane. However, as the story progresses, the situation begins to change.
The story of Anohana is beautiful and exceptionally well told considering it only has a short 11 episodes. A key theme of this anime would be tragedy and guilt. After Menma passes away, all the main characters carry heavy burdens on their backs for the rest of their lives as they each have something they are guilty of, whether it is jealousy in love or the inability to help and not being courageous enough. However, even if all the characters do have negative attributes, the story progresses to show that each of the characters are trying their very best to try to make up for what they did or still think. Overall, Anohana has a fluent progression in plot and does not waste any potential development.
Anohana has one of the most relaxing and pleasing art styles to watch of all time. Although not intricate, the scenes are extremely close to reality and you get the feeling that you have been to the places in the anime before. Personally, I really like the art even though it did not stand out, it certainly did not fall short in this aspect.
I really, really, really like the ending of Anohana, through all 11 episodes, I don’t think I skipped it once. I still listen to it almost every time I get on the car and honestly think it might be my favourite soundtrack for any anime. The opening music, however, was quite bland and never really caught my attention.
I didn’t really fall for or become overly attached to any one of the characters in Anohana, but maybe that’s because I just didn’t get to spend enough time with them. Despite this, all of the characters in this anime are very realistic and relatable. For example, our main character Jinta is a slacker in school and plays games all day. He is stuck in his past due to the fact that Menma is still with him and wants to be with her forever. However, he also wants to grant Menma’s wish so that he can move onto the future and make a life for himself. This can be considered a representation of our life decisions and what we choose to do, for the better or for the worse.
Anohana is an extremely sad story but at the same time very enjoyable. This anime is a must watch for all out there that are into drama and want to be emotionally moved. It has become an unforgettable experience for me and surely will be for you too.
Ano Hina has a charming premise and interesting first few episodes. A lot of times in the later of the series there are tear-jerking moments. However I was a little disappointed with how it played out in the end. Of course, I stuck with it until the end because there was something sweet about it.
There are plenty of issues surrounding the death of a childhood friend that can be dealt with in a dramatic, interesting way. However, the series relies mostly on petty high school love triangles. "I have a crush on him he has a crush on her! Waah!" This wasn't set up like
a typical high-school drama show...why did it end up trying to be one? Especially since it had presented itself with such a promising first few episodes. I did, however, stick to it for certain reasons.
I liked Menma enough to want to see her have a happy ending. Anaru was the best character for me, the only one who showed some semblance of development. Her character was the only one with any sort of depth, and the only one I got attached too. The other characters are mostly forgettable, particularly Yukiatsu and Tsuruko. Popo is enjoyable but he has so little involvement in aspects of the story he seems misused. Menma, is of course, an ultra-cute, joyful loligirl, but you kind of know what her fate will be from the first episode.
Now on to the last episode: hated the first half and thoroughly enjoyed the second half. Yeah, I got teary. Overall, not overly depressing and perhaps maybe a little uplifting. It's started as story about dealing with loss, growing up, and moving on. While is maintained that to a degree, it later focused more on love and relationships. Without going into spoiler territory, I'll settle at an overall opinion of average for the final chapter.
Also, there's another thing I don't want to spoil, but it's a plot hole that made me want to bang my head on a table. We know Jintan can see Menma from day one. However, there's something about how she is able to communicate in a later episode that made me think, "Well why the hell didn't you do that from the beginning!!" I mean, I know lolis can be airheads, but seriously!
All in all, it drew me in during the beginning. The drama got lackluster later in the series, but kept me watching because I wanted to see Menma's wish fulfilled. The last few episodes, with the exception of 10 which was a little better than the others, bumped the series down to just "okay" when it possibly could have been a very good and heartfelt story.
bonus points: I really love the ED, wherein hundreds of white flowers burst into color.
In youth, we tend to over-exaggerate, over-analyse, and over-experience any event. That ice cream we ate for the first time as a child will never quite taste that good again; even as teenagers and later adults, we chase after these childhood fantasies, never quite giving up on finding that metaphorical "fountain of youth." What's the most likely thing, then, to happen if one were to experience childhood trauma? Perhaps insanity in later life, a cold heart, apathy, denial, or maybe all of the above? What exactly does happen? Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai explores this phenomenon that happens when
we simply can't let go of the past, because in all of us, there exists a child that yearns for the good ol' days.
When you experience something earth-shattering (that's awful) isn't the first thing you want to do is forget about it? To bury it with something, anything to get rid of those horrid memories? Don't you just want to curl up in a ball and forget reality for maybe, ever? Years have passed since a tragic accident happened between what used to be five really close friends. How do they interact? How will they react to one another if they become forced in close proximity? Isn't something so terrible it's hard to speak of it without bringing up memories supposed to be left buried? Yadomi and the gang struggle to make peace with their past, all the while finding out who they are and what they mean to each other in the present.
I was shocked, more like flabbergasted, when the series laid out. It opened up faster than expected and completely caught me off guard. Where I thought there was a continuity, it turned out to be a broken link in the old rusted chain of the past. Maybe there weren't many plot twists; maybe the story got a little repetitive; maybe it was just a little too short. However, the anime moves fast, and you have to keep up. It really was beautiful story-telling; the truth is a dark, dark secret many are willing to risk their lives to keep hidden. Many times, it's to protect people you love or to have the burden of it on yourself. Yadomi and the gang have to learn: is it worth it to keep your true emotions hidden? Or are you actually hurting those around you for your own individualistic needs? This anime delves deeper than simple human or friendship or even love relationships. It answers questions much deeper that pervade the subconscious.
Interestingly enough, many a time the art wasn't gloomy. In fact, it was almost like a juxtaposition of light and dark: when Yadomi was happy, sometimes the colors flitted about between midnight and sunshine. However, the majority of the time, the colors stayed neutral; but there were key moments where light had an interesting role in keeping up the story.... The characters were drawn normal, skinny, not too flashy and not to dull either. The animation wasn't disappointing in the least. I didn't see many flaws; however, nothing really jumped out at me. However, I do want to mention the facial expressions. They were accurate and went anywhere between lighthearted laughter to deadly serious in seconds. Each character had their moments, and what fantastic moments they were.
The score is high, not because of the OP and ED, but because of the voice acting. My goodness, I have never seen such raw emotion in a voice before. The pain is almost tangible; you can literally almost empathize with every fiber of the being, even if you weren't there and this isn't your life. It was beautiful, really, to hear the sounds of human emotion, of raw pain, pleasure, or sadness, to creep into the voices of each character. Normally, the voice acting is pretty sub-par, but that's because nothing compares to the depth at which these morals and lessons pierce through one's fragile childhood heart. The OP is upbeat, a little slow; the ED is sad and depressed, almost like a love song to a deceased wife or husband. It's not like I didn't like them, it's that I thought they were pretty plain, considering the weight this anime carries.
Character: a perfect 10/10
People have blasted this anime because of how "static" or "inflexible" these characters are; how they don't change throughout the anime, and how each of them is surprisingly bland. Who in their right mind would drastically, completely change because of a trauma? I know it sounds wrong to judge others so harshly, but the reason people go into depression or turn to alcohol or drugs when they experience such trauma isn't because they changed as a person, but because they want to get out of the past. But it haunts them, day in and day out, never ceasing to be erased from the curse and blessing that is the human memory. Yadomi exhibits this through his attachment issues; Anjou through jealously; Hisakawa, through belongingness; Atsuma, through clinging to a hopeless past; Tsurumi through learning to let go; and Homna Meiko? You're going to have to find out.
This fantastic anime takes average kids, high schoolers, and really brings out basic qualities of a person that can't be changed from the past. Interestingly, it does so with accuracy and gusto, with plenty drama in between. The character score is a perfect 10/10 because they followed the human condition with such perfection I tend to never see. Maybe this is my opinion; maybe you are supposed to change after a series of events happen. I personally have experienced trauma; maybe not in this sort of way nor in the magnitude, but it has happened. And you don't change. That's simple and plain. You slowly turn into a shell of yourself if you don't let your emotions out from time to time. Externally, you may lose friends, become antisocial, or turn to other forms of relieving yourself. But inside, you stay who you inherently are, reliving that experience for the rest of your life, afraid to change because change is what made said event happen in the first place. So coming from personal experience, these characters really nailed that topic. Hard.
Overall, I was more than astounded at what this had to offer. Originally recommended by friends, I only agreed to watch it because it was barely 11 episodes. Trust me, you won't be disappointed in the least. There was enough drama to keep you riveted in your seat, enough emotions to keep your head spinning, and even some metaphysical references that keep the story interesting as a whole. I loved every juicy bit of this wonderful show; it took the worst out of people, and could turn it around so quickly to show the best of humanity. So if you know where to look, hide and seek is a really easy game to win....
At first AnoHana didn't catch my attention at all. I thought it was a plotless anime about a group of friends who spend their summer with each other. When I ran out of ongoing anime I could look forward to during my week, I decided to try this one. I realized that I had completely underestimated this show.
About the story:
Like I mentioned before, I thought that there was no real plot to this anime. The reason might be that the information on the website I visited to watch the anime wasn't complete. Well, I encountered an anime that made me tear up every single episode.
I like how the show describes various possibilitys on how different kind of people react to the loss of their dear friend and which impact it has on them, even after a few years.
Every character had their own way to handle Menma's death, but in the end it is shown that none of them has been able to be at peace with themselves. They are only able to do that once all of them have revealed their feelings regarding Menma's death.
I apologize for those vague statements, but the rules say that I am not allowed to write spoilers, which makes the rating of the story pretty hard.
About the art:
The art itself isn't really that outstanding. However, it accompanies the plot really well. Every place in this anime becomes familiar during the show and we can relate them to certain events.
Especially the group's 'secret base' in the forest is a constant reminder of old times and gives off a feeling of safety and home.
The character's personalities are outlined by their individual character design.
The artwork is pretty colorful, which supports the overall theme of summer and gives off a comfortable feeling.
This one is probably the one thing, one can praise the most. I don't know about the background music, since I don't remember it. Well, that probably means that it mixed in so well with the rest of the anime that I didn't realize it individually.
However, what I want to praise is the opening and especially the ending theme.
The opening song 'Aoi Shiori' makes one start the episode with a relaxed, maybe abit nostalgic feeling, which -in my eyes- is a really important thing for this anime.
I am pretty sure that it was the ending theme, which made me tear up at the ending of every episode. It starts playing during the last few sentences and makes the whole thing a lot more sentimental. I also think that it was a really good choice to make the female main cast sing it.
The seiyuu cast in this anime show did a really great job. They transmitted the feelings of their characters really well. I have to admit that I didn't know most of them, excluding Takahiro Sakurai. The fact that one of my favorite seiyuu voiced the anime's male hottie probably got it a few extra points.
Because the story is about a group of friends, there isn't such a wide palette of characters. However, that was made up by the big character development.
Well, the next part is going to get hard again, since I don't want to spoil anyone, so I want to apologize beforehand.
Menma died when she was a child, so even though she looks like she has become older, she has maintained the pure and innocent character of a child.
She does her best to make her childhood friends become close again.
I think that they did a really good job giving her that kind of personality. Her appearance was probably chosen to be that of a teenager, because she is a love interest. Since it's a show with a serious plot and just as many ecchi moments as needed with a male teenage protagonist, a prepubescent love interest would have been totally misplaced.
Jinta has become a shut-in because of Menma's death and the way his friends changed since then. He is the kind of teenager, who is angry at the world.
He wants to grant Menma's wish because he thinks that it is his fault that she died. However, he often doubts his decisions, because he often comes to the conclusion that his childhood friends won't help him.
In my eyes he represents teenagers who feel abandoned by their friends.
Anaru has always had a one-sided love for Jinta, which made her become jealous of Menma. She can't hate her, though, because Menma is her friend and has always been nice to her.
She is heavily influenced by her female classmates. She wants to be part of a group, so she adapts herself. She has an inner conflict, because she likes Jinta, who is an outsider, but does not want to be one herself.
She represents teenager, who make themselves fit into a group, even if that means that they won't be themselves anymore.
Yukiatsu is handsome, smart and charming to his classmates.
He suffers because of his one-sided love for Menma and treats Jinta in a bad way, because he is jealous of him.
I like the fact that despite the characteristics mentioned above, he is not perfect. As he said himself: ''I'm hot and I'm smart, but unfortunately I'm lacking a bit in the strength department''.
He represents the misjudged teenager, who is idolized or envied by others.
Tsuruko is a quiet, smart girl. She seems to be pretty apathetic to the things that happen arround her, which is proved wrong later during the series.
She represents the misjudged teenager, who seems think of him/herself as superior.
Poppo seems to be the only one from the group who hasn't changed. He is the first who believes that Jinta can see Menma and is pretty desperate to help her. the reason is mentioned later in the series and would be considered a spoiler.
He represtent the kind of teenager, who acts like a happy person around others even though he doesn't feel happy.
Well, so in the end all kinds of problems that teenagers can face are represented by this set of characters. That's why everyone who watches this series can be sure to find a character whom he/she can identify him/herself with.
Because of everything mentioned above i think of AnoHana as a really enjoyable anime and I would recommend it at any time.