Based off of 3 viewing of the show
AnoHana focuses on a group of six former friends, but mainly their “leader” Yadomi Jinta (Jintan as he is referred to in the show). One day Jintan is going about his normal life and then is faced with Menma. Taken aback by this, he tries to ignore her existence before ultimately trying to grant the wish she has. Menma died ten years prior, but came back as a ghost (that only Jintan can see) due to lingering regret in the form of her wish that she wants granted. However, Menma doesn’t know what her wish is, forcing Jintan to gather his old friends together to grant the wish.
Throughout the series, you see several themes of grieving, regret, forgiveness, and redemption (among others) in all six characters and even the side characters (like Menma’s family or Jintan’s father). Every character is given a side story that contributes to the main story and comes together in a way that fits the story well for what it is. Subtle hints are dropped in from place to place that are easily missed the first time you watch, but catching them alludes to the grander tale (Poppo’s story is evident of this). The show has a few flaws in its story that some may or may not have a problem over looking. Menma’s story and actions are not strong and are used more as a plot device instead of as character development. The ending (before the epilogue) won’t appeal to everyone outside the Japanese culture.
The run of the show was 11 episodes that worked surprisingly well for the story. It never seemed to drag or rush and kept you wanting more until the final minutes of the show. And for those wanting the more, the epilogue satisfies this to the point where all questions are answered.
There is a difference between realism and fluidness in animation, yet this show manages to merge both in every episode. Motions match emotion and add an extra level of depth to the story. It also focuses on details outside of movement; where some anime will have the characters where the same thing each episode, every character in AnoHana (except Menma) never wear the same outfit (aside from uniforms). Quality is consistent throughout the each episode; the opening and ending look the same as the show itself. The colors of the show tend to be pale, but the show feels very lively. The world is beautiful animated in a satisfying fashion.
At its core, AnoHana is a drama and is conveyed as such sound-wise. The background music draws out the situation enough to make you feel how the show wants you to feel. The intro and outro music fit the theme the show creates (and the actual ending and epilogue). The outro is usually played during the final moments of each episode before switching to credits. The voice actors knocked this out of the park. You could here the emotion in their voices and special attention was paid to speech patterns and voice inflictions (voice braking, cracking, etc.) made by each characters. The cast got so into it that it was rumored they went out for drinks after the final episode was taped. One can only hope that much dedication is put into the dub if one is to ever come out. The sound was the best part about this show and truly tied everything together.
The characters in the series work for how they are portrayed. The development among each character is done and paced very well over the 11 episode span. You see the group as kids and 10 years later and all the changes and regressions that came with it. Each character has some secret revealed at the end and (while some are more guessable than others) changes the amount of depth each character has.
Though they have depth, some do also fit standard anime stereotypes all too common. However the biggest problem with the series is Menma. She has little characters progression and is used as a plot device instead of the star character that she is meant to be. Parts of her character also come off as not thought out.
Jinta "Jintan" Yadomi- The group’s leader 10 years ago. He becomes a N.E.E.T. after the death of his mother and Menma
Meiko "Menma" Honma- The friend that died, but is back as a ghost. She’s still childish, but a very selfless person
Naruko "Anaru" Anjō- Seemingly a tsundere, but is REALLY emotional. She has an obvious crush on Jintan
Atsumu "Yukiatsu" Matsuyuki- Level headed on every topic except Menma, where he is (for the lack of a better word) obsessed with her.
Chiriko "Tsuruko" Tsurumi- also level headed, but is colder towards people; also straight-forward.
Tetsudō "Poppo" Hisakawa- The super care-free dropout who is likely to go with something rather than question.
Concept, Creativity, and Originality- 7
The conceptual themes in this show are nothing new, but try to present them in a new way. You can draw similarities to other shows that may do these themes better. A highlight of the show is how Menma is integrated throughout; at the very beginning you cannot tell if she is dead or alive and the rest of the time she feels part of each conversation.
The show is really good, but not the best. For all the moments that make you sad and get you caught up in what is going on you can find a few things to take you out of the experience. The show has a masterful control over the emotions it portrays and is guaranteed to make you sad (only the tough can get away without crying, but will still really feel sad). And for the people who are trying to get someone to watch an anime, start with this.
overall score: 6.5/10
overall score: 8/10
overall score: 8.5/10
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