Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai - The Flower We Saw That Day (2011)
Signed up the 22/05/2017
Friendship is beautiful. It is even more so when one can grow up and mature alongside their best friends. However, a group of children have that very delight taken away from them when their friend Menma meets an untimely demise. After their death, they all slowly end up going their separate ways, each unable to truly overcome the trauma that they have endured. Enter our protagonist: Yadomi Jinta, a high school recluse who does not go to school and spends his days playing videogames and watching TV instead. One hot summer day, his childhood friend, Menma, appears before him, but he brushes aside her presence as a mere hallucination, at least at first. He soon becomes convinced that the entity that has appeared before him is the ghost of his friend Menma, who he believes is unable to pass over to Heaven before she has a certain wish granted. The group of friends that grew apart as a result of her death end up banding together once again to find a way to allow Menma to truly rest in peace.
As a story driven by the relationship each character once had with the deceased Menma, and to a lesser degree, driven by the characters' changing relationships with each other, AnoHana doesn't fail to give the viewers a taste of each character's personality. Each individual character has obviously grown and changed from the time when they were kids, and each character's outlook on life can somehow be attributed to the trauma they suffered as a result of Menma's death. Characters develop, regress, grow and change as the story progresses and to see it done this well given only 11 episodes is amazing. However, the show probably would've been a lot better with 22 episodes instead of 11, as it does feel like not each character got enough time to air their dirty laundry.
Produced by A-1 Pictures, AnoHana does not disappoint at all with animation and quite frankly, overachieves given the nature of the plot and characters. However, I'm not complaining. Characters are beautiful and backgrounds are incredibly detailed. I honestly have no complaints whatsoever in this department.
AnoHana is the kind of anime you watch and remember forever - it has that effect. With an interesting premise and a good set of characters, as well as a satisfying ending with much needed closure, it is an anime worth watching if you're into Slice of Life titles. One thing I had a major problem with is the lack of answers to a simple question: "WHY?". But overall, amazing show and it could possibly draw some tears, so be prepared.
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