Anohana: A touching tearjerker

Posted on June 13, 2013

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anohana (1)

Actually, I have watched this anime quite a long time ago, but I feel compelled to write a short review for this one, for the sake of those people who might be missing this gem. If you’re a masochist who is frantically searching for a show that will make you tear up with its heart-wrenching drama (and I admit, I’m like this sometimes), then Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, or simply Anohana, should be on your to-watch list.

Plot: 8/10

The story focuses on Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi, an out-of-school youth who is accompanied by a ghost only he can see; his friend Meiko “Menma” Honma who died in a young age. Retaining her childishness, Menma aids Jintan in his gradual reconciliation with their other friends, estranged after Menma’s untimely death, where everyone confronts their own inner demons for the sake of Menma finally resting in peace. The plot highlights the relationships between these friends, collectively known as the Super Peace Busters; the conflicts, hidden grudges, hidden feelings, personal interests, and ultimately, love and compassion for one another.

Being an anime of only 11 episodes, one might suspect whether Anohana can sufficiently portray and explain everything in a satisfying manner. Despite the apparent constraint, Anohana was able to do both quite well. The pacing is perfect, as the main character Jintan, with the help of Menma, deals with his estranged friends one by one. The encounters were pretty realistic and natural (except, of course, the existence of a ghost, but you know what I’m trying to say), making it easy to relate to the characters. The story begins in a mellow manner, steadily picking up momentum before culminating into a torrent of confessions and emotions in the last few episodes. I believe this is a good strategy for a drama anime, and Anohana executed this quite well.

Perhaps some low points on the anime would include the seemingly excessive number of crying scenes before the climax at the end of the anime. While it is understandable that emotional clashes are present in the course of the show, the creators could have been more discrete in triggering the waterworks in the characters, as it tends to dilute the emotions building up on the viewers, replacing it with frustration instead; after all, watching characters cry almost all the time can be a stressful experience. This leads to a number of scenes in the show that feel forced in my face, as if telling me to cry right now, but I can’t, since there was still an insufficient emotional link between the characters and myself. This made watching Anohana a pretty bumpy ride.

Still, Anohana accomplished many things despite being a short anime; a good pacing, room for satisfactory character interactions, and a pleasant sense of closure at the end of the show. Good job on this one.

Character Setup: 10/10

A crucial element of any drama anime would be the characters themselves; how they interact with one another, their backgrounds, as well as how they develop in the course of the anime. And in my opinion, Anohana nailed this one. Anohana has created a cast of characters with the right balance of conflict and harmony; conflict for generating tension in the show, and harmony to make their friendship believable. The complex love polygon between the characters and how it manifests throughout the show is a big plus as well; one could really feel the emotions bottled inside the characters as they interact with one another. The characters also had sufficient backgrounds, given the fact that the anime had numerous flashbacks of their childhood, which has everything to do with the dilemma they’re all in. It’s also noteworthy how personal interests come into light in the show, as characters struggle to reconcile what they want with their love for Menma. It’s a beautiful fireworks display of emotions; something any drama anime should have.

Art: 10/10

I love Anohana’s art. The characters have depth, which is balanced by relaxing backgrounds. The eyes are expressive, and the animation is pretty smooth. The colors are rich and the lighting reinforces the life in the anime. Well done.

Sound: 10/10

Music in Anohana is amazing, most notably the opening (Aoi Shiori – Galileo Galilei) and ending (Secret Base: Ten Years After version) themes. Both songs convey a sense of mixed sadness and happiness, which is exactly the emotional theme of Anohana. Simply captivating.

Replayable? Yes.

I believe it is. Anohana still retains its tearjerking qualities even after you finish the whole thing. In fact, its heartwarming ending still haunts me to this day, and I think about it with fondness. I might just re-watch Anohana soon.

Overall: 9/10

Anohana, simply put, is a great drama for all ages. The emotions this show can give you is something definitely worth experiencing. I can’t guarantee the waterworks for everyone, but I’m quite certain even the coldest of hearts will warm up to Anohana and its memorable and relatable cast of characters (unless you’re really not human). To hardcore drama fans out there, or even for those who just want to test their nerve (by trying not to cry or something), this is the show for you.

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Posted in: Anime