We can’t change our past and trying to forget it will only hurt us even more. Instead of running from the past what we can do is learn from it and better ourselves as a person.
Anohana is an anime series directed by A-1 Pictures. It is an original series written by Mari Okada and was released in 2011. This anime offers a “different” animation works aimed at a more mature audience. Unlike other anime that takes itself slowly to move the plot, Anohana is quite a short and well-paced anime with only eleven episodes in it. The story follows Jintan and his friends in fulfilling a request from the spirit of their late friend, Menma.
The story goes like this:
In the past Jintan, Menma, Tsuruko, Anaru, Yukiatsu, and Poppo are all best friends and they have a group called “Peace Buster”. Sadly, due to one reason and another, an accident costs Menma her life. Her death makes the relationship of the other five crumbles and fades as they grow older. This accident has a profound impact on their personalities, especially Jintan’s, who is originally the leader of the group.
Jintan is now a high school student but always shuts himself out at home. Depressed, he lacks any reason to live and is still looking for a “place” in society. One day, the spirit of Menma appears in front of him. Menma has a final request she needs to fulfill so that she can go to heaven. This motivates Jintan to get back in touch with his friends—the Peace Buster—and perhaps, finally, mourn Menma properly.
Anohana has good writing. Although the core of the story is not as complex as other anime, its simplicity actually makes it easy to digest and directly touches the audience’s feelings, which is probably the main advantage of this anime in particular. It doesn’t have an over-the-top plot twist, most of the characters are not annoying, the story moves at the right pace and everything in it seems about right.
Drama plays a big part in this anime. The main part that drives the plot is the relationship drama between Jintan and the other five friends. Menma’s death does crumble their friendship but the fact that the leader decides to be a shut-in “loser” only worsens the situation. Jintan is the role model of the group and when the role model is gone, so is the reason for them to stay friends. This anime explores the hidden feelings that the members have between each other, which deepens their “friendship” as a result.
Anohana is, above all, a story about mourning. It talks about acceptance—how the death of a loved one can radically change a group of people and individuals, and how we can’t forever live in the past. The anime delivers the points really well and it is refreshing that a narrative doesn’t have to be “dark” and “depressing” in tone to tell a serious topic such as accepting the death of a loved one.
Anohana’s pace is also something worth praising. Each episode glides along efficiently all while rolling out a large number of events. With “only” eleven episodes, Anohana is bound to end rather quickly, which it does so without being too rushed. In addition, it succeeds very well with its mixture of light atmosphere, serious tone, and scenes with rich emotions. Anohana is an anime that can make someone feel very emotional.
But just like any other shows, this is not a perfect anime. There are some plot holes and annoying characters, but once you are invested in it perhaps you can let them slide—again, there is no perfect work. Addressing the flaws is okay as long as we avoid being too nitpicky. With all that in mind, I will give Anohana 7-8/10 depending on my mood (seven when I’m being nitpicky and eight when I’m being generous).
Now if you’ll excuse me, I want to water some flowers in my backyard.