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Anohana, Detailed Review About the Flower We Saw That Day, and Following Movie
Everything to Know About Anohana
If you think you have seen everything there is in the romantic comedy section of anime, you should have this amazing series in your collection. Astonishing animation, intriguing and heart touching story with characters that complement each other to a near perfect level, Anohana is an anime that everyone should watch and enjoy.
Before you go any further! This is your SPOILER WARNNING since I will be speaking about my love for this series and its qualities, holding no restraint to essential plot points. You have been warned.
The story follows six friends who have grown apart with time and Menma, one of the six who had passed away in a terrible accident, who is trying to get them to reunite once more so they can have fun like they used to. At first glance this plot seems generic but the twists and the decisions made by the characters make it a new and great change to the otherwise accepted formula.
The feelings and relationships go deep, making any viewer wish he could learn more from the cast and be able to hug them and let them know everything will be alright. The moments are true and feel natural, allowing the flow of conversation to ebb easily and give way for change from lighthearted topics to more mature content.
One thing to note is how well the characters are portrayed and how they are separated from any other stereotype in certain ways. They are all special and feel like childhood friends to the viewer too with their sincerity and how human they feel. The characters are:
A lovable and somewhat childish love interest and main character, Menma for short is cheerful girl attempting to reunite her old friends. Unaware that she is dead at first, she appears to Jinta, another main character that she loves dearly. She can be very energetic and filled with passion but will cry often, especially for others who she cannot help or connect with any longer.
Even though she can hear, feel and see others, the same cannot be said for them and the only one she can truly speak to is Jinta. She tries her best to stay positive and help out either way and at one point gets to speak to others through her diary, scribbling little notes filled with her love. I have to say I truly felt for her. It was hard seeing her go through the realization that she no longer could live out dreams she had or be able to share precious moments with her family and friends. She is a strong girl who cares deeply for others and is most happy when her friends are happy.
Naruko Anjou (Anaru):
A distant yet lovable woman who is only trying to fit in after losing her close cluster of friends, Anaru used to be envious of Menma and how close she was to Jinta when they were children and could not go a day without thinking of her after she was gone. She has always loved Jinta and wished to understand him and how he cared for Menma so much. Although she attempts to be cold and stay away from the group, she will at times let her wishes strive out and be completely honest with everyone.
I especially identified with Anaru since most people have felt what she did, I included, when it comes to looking up to a person and trying to be like them and only falling short. She works at a video game store and is a gamer herself, having a rather large collection. Her first real connection with Jinta after a long time without speaking was playing a game while trying to capture a certain monster, allowing her to remember how much fun she used to have with him and her friends. Cute, easily persuaded but strong at heart, it was great to see her interact and grow with the others as they helped Jinta and Menma figure out what her final wish was.
Jinta Yadomi (Jintan):
The main character focused on the most with which the story begins, he thinks Menma is a byproduct of his stress at first, only to realize she is actually there and needs his help. Strong and always ready to stand up for his friends while having severe anxiety, he tries to grow and reconnect with others but falls short at times seeing he has changed so much and neglected to be a part of their world.
Despite the fact that he was in the same school as Anaru he stopped going and stayed at home becoming a "hikikomori". He wants to make Menma happy but realizes that if he makes her wish come true that she will disappear. Caring and a total sweetheart, this man deserves a medal for going through so much and trying to reintegrate society after all of it. He depends on his friends and is not afraid to admit so and will do anything for them.
Atsumu Matsuyuki (Yukiatsu):
The one in the circle that tried to grow into his studies and forget the past the most but could not leave it behind no matter how hard he tried. He is popular and many girls in his school will stop in awe when he walks by. He does not pay attention to many people and is usually only with Tsuruko. He feels guilty for Menma's death and cannot let go of her memory.
He also felt like Jinta's shadow and loved Menma dearly, always trying to let her know this. He suffers the most from knowing she is around them but cannot see her or talk to her and only wishes to be with her. I felt extremely bad for this character but not filled with pity. It was more empathy than anything else and I loved how realistic he was. He was not perfect and he knew that but it did not keep him from working hard and going forwards. Extremely intelligent and laid back, he relates to Anaru as they have both have unrequited love but have not been able to let go.
Chiriko Tsurimi (Tsuruko):
The lovable and intelligent counter part of Yukiatsu, she has grown and become the mature level headed person of the group. She seems too analytical and serious at first but she is filled with love and care for her friends. She also has unrequited love for Yukiatsu and always has her eyes on him but never lets on too much of herself. She finds it hard to believe that Menma is back and only aids at first because she thinks it will benefit Yukiatsu and his mental health.
Many think that she is his girlfriend but his heart is still set in Menma. She works especially hard to keep her ranking in the class and tries to maintain herself far away from everything. She also speaks her thoughts when it comes to her friends and what she thinks of them and what they are up to, especially with Anaru and how much she lets herself change accordingly to others. She tries to stay realistic in every situation and will never wish for anything that she knows cannot happen.
This character absolutely blew me away because it did not feel like she was concealing herself or her feelings and that you could actually understand and see how she felt at all times. Characters could not grasp what she was thinking about because they thought she was not capable of those sorts of emotions because of cold and serious demeanor. She is sweet and likes to express those things that she cannot through words with her art and her paintings.
Tetsudo Hisakawa (Poppo):
One of the most lovable and carefree ones of the bunch, Poppo dropped school entirely and went off to travel the world taking any jobs available and living to the fullest. He is the first to believe Jinta when he told him that Menma was back and is always willing to help others.
Much controversy surrounds his character since he saw Menma as she died but could do nothing to help her because he was young and weak. He wanted to help and feels ridden with guilt whenever Menma is mentioned and wishes he could apologize to her for not being able to help. He lives in the shack the group used to share when young when he is not travelling and tries to keep the group together and happy after reunited.
Funny but eccentric, Poppo reminds me of a strange friend I had myself and I could not love him more for it. He is conscious of what he is and only wishes to better himself through the years. He looks up to Jinta and his conviction to help Menma out in fulfilling her wish.
The setting for the anime was also divine as the places where based on actual locations and the art was detailed and impressive, standing any test of time for sure. I absolutely adored the feeling to the series as it let you flow with the characters, stand in the shoes for a moment and see where they were coming from and then give you the big picture. The voice acting was also superb allowing the cast to feel real and alive, sharing many quotes and ideas all throughout that left me thinking for quite some time.
The series did not try to be anything it was not. It did not try to carry out separate plots or develop massive plot points. It all surrounded the childhood friends and Menma's return to them, the main goal being to fulfill her wish, having a whole different adventure while doing so.
I have to say the tears shed during the experience were quite a lot as well as this anime knows how to let you open up and feel what the characters feel. The story of Menma and how much she cared for her friends will always be strong and vibrant, bringing in many viewers thinking they are in for a short romantic story, only to leave with so much more.
One of the most tender moments of the series has to be when Menma went back home to her family expecting to be held in their arms and enjoy the life she used to have. It did not feel dramatic, it did not scale too quickly, it just was what it was, delivering a perfect performance in which the mother followed the routine she had laid out to grieve for her daughter while her husband and son did nothing as they knew they could not mend her broken heart. It was at this point during my viewing experience that I really broke down and understood what I was in for. Strong and filled with emotion even though there were not many words shared, this scene was powerful and true to its very core.
This did not make the anime somber or too sad since at the end you feel fulfilled as well. Menma got to reunite her friends and enjoyed her time with them as she did so, leaving a final and loving message to each of them. From the beginning all the way to the end, this anime was unique and perfect storytelling, letting you know that people ache and feel broken but continue going on with their lives and making the best out of it. The friends do not give up in their futures and only needed a small nudge from Menma into the right direction to know what they were missing and being able to be friends again. I wish there was more to this series but it does not bother me that there isn't.
The movie that follows was filled with reminiscences and closure and it was perfect, letting me know that everything was ok and the Little Busters, the group the friends had formed, was going to be ok. The romance and the connections may be for the viewer to decide and for once I am glad it is that way since this story has a different ending for everyone. I recommend this series to anyone that wants something true and emotion filled, giving room for tears and joy in the same places. I think anyone could enjoy this but it is really up to the viewer and how much they want to open up to a story like this.
Article by: Steven Gutiérrez