Ano Hana FIN

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Don’t stop, Jinta — let us know how you really feel.

Beautiful animation, a solid soundtrack, and a premise full of heart propelled Ano Hana out of the gates from the very start. But like fireworks, Ano Hana’s brilliance quickly faded into the night. The first half of the episodes graced us with the following stories (this is, however, not an exhaustive list — it’s merely what I want to highlight):

• Jinta has been a hikikomori ever since both his mother and childhood friend passed away years ago. Jinta’s father has since taken a hands-off approach to his son’s lingering trauma. Jinta’s relationship with his friends are strained. As each day passes, it becomes increasingly harder and harder to attend school.

• Anjou went through a radical change in her appearance ever since Menma died. Her hair color has changed and she no longer dons a pair of glasses. Worst of all, an unfortunate encounter outside a love hotel has the entire school spreading tawdry tales behind Anjou’s back. She also loves Jinta, but it is unrequited. She feels as though Jinta abandoned her after Menma’s death.

• Yukiatsu harbors a deep and dark inferiority complex to his former friend Jinta. Even though they have broken off all contact, Yukiatsu continues to strive in a one-sided competition against Jinta. His jealousy of Jinta is so strong, it manifests in a need to cross-dress as his former friend Menma. Unbeknownst to him, Yukiatsu’s closest friend Tsuruko is in love with him.

Tsuruko and Poppo ably played supporting roles in these episodes. Tsuruko acted as a vituperative catalyst for both Yukiatsu and Anjou. Poppo, on the other hand, provided levity to a story that could sometimes bog itself down in a miasma of despair. Unfortunately, as the series continued, these stories all became subservient to the thinnest character in the entire story: Menma.

As far as we know, Menma was a cheerful girl who died young. Even after death, however, she remained upbeat and positive. She was a bit protective of her mother, but other than that, Menma’s character was as one-dimensional as they come despite the fact that everyone’s problems revolved around her. Did Yukiatsu’s cross-dressing ever truly vex Menma? She wanted everyone in the gang to get along but like Jinta, Menma seemed blissfully unaware how she’s the source of Yukiatsu’s resentment and Anjou’s sadness. It’s rather strange how little Menma had to confront in the anime despite the fact that she was the source of the conflict in the story.

Despite these issues, Menma quickly became the focus of the anime — the focus of Jinta’s love and Yukiatsu’s subsequent jealousy, the focus of Anjou’s jealousy and, somehow, even Poppo’s guilt. Indeed, the one friend in the group who had little to say all series long suddenly sobbed as hard as the rest of them. It is as if the creators decided that everyone should suffer and contrived a woefully underdeveloped guilt for Poppo.

Anyway, as the anime shifted gradually toward Menma and the Frankensteinian love polygon that followed, so many deserving plot threads simply disappeared. Jinta’s awkward relationship with his father quietly resolved itself when the two visited his mother’s grave. Even worse, Jinta’s uneasiness in re-attending school was simply forgotten.

Jinta’s abject insensitivity to his friends’ troubles was never even criticized, addressed, or resolved. Early in the finale, Jinta finally learns of the pain both Yukiatsu and Anjou carry in their hearts. He had been oblivious to their troubles in a mindless pursuit of Menma’s final wish, but nothing ever comes of this. In the end, Yukiatsu even puts an arm across Jinta’s shoulders as if everything is okay now. As for Anjou’s unrequited love for him, we, again, get an empty gesture in the ending montage.

Finally, it is curious how Menma’s death and Jinta’s mother’s death were portrayed in the anime. Early on, the anime told us how difficult it was for the younger Jinta to cope with his mother’s illness. He refused to talk to his mother at the hospital, running away literally and figuratively. This story, like many other stories in the anime, then never received its moment of catharsis. Jinta ended up shedding more tears over the death of his childhood friend Menma than his own mother’s. Jinta never fully came to term with how his mother’s death affected him, but we definitely know how he felt about Menma. It’s thus not hard to feel as though his mother’s death was simply a plot device for Menma’s longheld promise.

Anjou’s dramatic change in appearance was never even an issue in the anime, apparently. Tsuruko makes a couple sharp remarks here and there but the anime really thought it wasn’t worth devoting any time to. This is a girl who feels compelled to wear fake eyelashes, but this was only brought up for cheap laughs in the finale. Similarly, aside from a couple of eye-rolling moments to milk a contrived sense of heroism out of Jinta, Anjou love hotel rumors were also quickly swept under the rug.

Finally, Yukiatsu is a character simmering with rage all season long. He has always felt inferior to Jinta. Even now, as he attends the top school in the neighborhood, Yukiatsu continues to harbor a deep grudge toward his hikikomori friend. His coveting ran so deep that he even cross-dressed as Menma so that he can feel as though he possesses her and Jinta doesn’t. After this shocking revelation, however, the anime broached the topic only to make a few lame cross-dressing jokes. It’s as if Yukiatsu was healthy all along as his rage suddenly disappeared in the final episode for a conveniently saccharine reunion of old buddies.

In the end, everything the anime built up quickly crumbled away. To put it bluntly, Ano Hana wussed out. It crafted a plethora of compelling stories, but refused to give these stories their due. It is afraid to take chances and engage its characters’ humanity seriously. The interpersonal relationships in the anime are thus cheap caricatures of reality so that we can tie a neat, little bow at the end of the anime.

TL;DR:


Ano Hana in a nutshell
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52 thoughts on “Ano Hana FIN

  1. thearbee

    And yet, people cry over this and say out loud “BEST ANIME EVER”.

    What ending did you want to happen before watching this?

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      It’s hard to say I wanted any particular ending. I just wanted Ano Hana to finish the job it started. Instead, it became another “our nakama~” story with a one-dimensional loli at the center.

      Reply
      1. thearbee

        Myself, I wanted the ending to be something dark bittersweet in a way that:
        1. The entire group actually fights with Jinta. Thus leading to the group splitting up once and for all and realizing that the promise of a childhood friend filled very little. (Yukiatsu being the one who started the fight and actually standing up to Jinta.)
        2. Menma actually being a mental psychosis to reflect Jinta’s childhood fantasies of growing old with her and marrying her, at the cost of his sanity. Only him actually growing up and realizing how reintroducing the group to Menma actually drove the group to shreds instead of healing them would actually make the paranoia end. The Menma psychosis also causes Jinta to be more alienated with the group, finally insane and obsessed.
        3. Jinta/Tsuruko calling Anjou a whore from that particular event which leads to a serious fight. Anjou leaves the group and starts finding someone new.
        4. Poppo actually reveals that Menma was murdered by someone by hitting her which leads to falling to the river and drowning. And he knew who the murder was, but Poppo would end up killed if the killer finds out about it, who is still in town.

        Or maybe go to the Lovely Bones path and end all with Menma telling the audience that they live a long and happy life.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          For a while, I thought it would be kinda twisted if Menma committed suicide just to get Jinta to cry. Like man, that would actually surprise me, but of course, Ano Hana wouldn’t be that daring.

        2. thearbee

          Maybe Menma did commit suicide out of some hidden demons. Yet due to time and people actually growing up, they forgot that Menma actually have such flaws and hidden demons that they thought that she was the best person EVER. I think that is why Jinta sees her as a perfectly innocent little loli girl, maybe he didn’t know how really twisted Menma was. Maybe it’s his ideal vision of Menma. But I doubt in-show moes can be deep, interesting, and actually realistic after seeing the newer anime shows.

          I actually thought AnoHana would be that one daring anime that I would actually like with the complexity and how well they can handle the bittersweetness. *shrug* but boy I feel disappointed.

        3. E Minor Post author

          Maybe. Maybe Menma is more complex than she lets on, that she has worries like everyone else. That she sees her former group of friends agonizing over her and she feels guilty about it. But if this was truly the case, Ano Hana did a really good job hiding it. Again, I think most of Ano Hana’s audience will feel all fuzzy from the ending and overlook its glaring deficiencies.

        4. thearbee

          Yeah, the “I wanna see Jinta cry” thing might not be something Menma wants to do to disappear to “heaven”, but what she does to stay on earth with him. And the ending was merely just the club (aside from Poppo and Jinta) screaming in fake unison (just creaming, no heart. No soul), possible to get rid of the Menma psychosis in Jinta and get on with their lives. There are a million ways to make Ano Hana interesting, aside from fixing time constraints (I know a few good anime that are less than 12 episodes and still are enjoyable) and character perspectives.

          Yet all these maybes, mights, and theories won’t fill the void of a disappointing “WE LOVE YOU DEAD LOLI” ending.

        5. E Minor Post author

          I know a few good anime that are less than 12 episodes and still are enjoyable

          Certainly. All I’m saying is that Ano Hana bit off more than it could chew and assuming it doesn’t want to just cut characters from the plot, it could double its length. But yes, if Ano Hana wanted to stay merely eleven episodes long, it needed more judicious editing and tweaking.

          Yet all these maybes, mights, and theories won’t fill the void of a disappointing “WE LOVE YOU DEAD LOLI” ending.

          Oh well, it’s over. I’m eagerly awaiting the following season. People (the people I usually give notice to, anyway) are hyping Usagi Drop something hard.

    2. Anonymous

      you people are horrible. don’t you have something better to do than hate on something that isn’t even real. are your lives that boring and pathetic. that you need to hate on something to keep the boredom away, and come up with realy disturbed endings just because you think thats how life is/ well get a clue the point of anime and cartoons and other stuff that is not part of the real world is to give us some hope that hey maybe endings do happen like that at some point no matter who you are. im truly mental and i can still see that and am not wasting my time criticizing something that may or may not be real. next time you watch an anime try and learn a lesson from it rather than criticizing it for not being realistic enouph! its not sposed to be Bakas!! on the bright side good luck with that new suggestion for an outlook on life thng;)

      Reply
  2. misaki

    I thought this was a decent ending. Poppo’s outburst was sudden and unexpected (and contrived..), but I thought it was a lot more realistic than Tsuruko’s role in the entire anime. He basically watched Menma die, and that kind of guilt could last a lifetime. It explains, perhaps cheaply, why Poppo could be so devoted to fulfilling Menma’s wish.

    I felt that the group crying scene (where Poppo comes out with his secret… and it isn’t coming out of the closet) was really dumb. It was way over the top and… really dumb. I just thought it was dumb. Gosh.

    On Jintan’s response to his friends’ troubles: I’m sure they could make a second season or stretch this one out, but with no Menma, it ain’t AnoHana! This ending had to be uplifting after all that drama. Expecting an empathetic Jintan during the ending song? Not going to happen.

    Of course, Menma hasn’t really been a very interesting character. Ever. Maybe they could remake AnoHana with Mikoto in Menma’s place. I would watch that.

    tl;dr I thought AnoHana was a pretty good show and I liked Poppo in this episode but I agree that Menma might as well have been a cardboard cutout.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      It explains, perhaps cheaply, why Poppo could be so devoted to fulfilling Menma’s wish.

      Hey, I wasn’t complaining about its credibility. I just think it’s stupid to leave such a revelation til the very last episode and devote about two minutes to whole ordeal just so that Poppo could cry with everyone else.

      but with no Menma, it ain’t AnoHana!

      Yeah, it’d be better!

      This ending had to be uplifting after all that drama.

      No one is necessarily disagreeing with this. I’m quibbling with the fact that many of the issues in the show were just swept under the rug. Let’s make room for a tidy ending. Line up, everyone, and say how much they love the loli!

      Reply
      1. misaki

        I just think it’s stupid to leave such a revelation til the very last episode and devote about two minutes to whole ordeal just so that Poppo could cry with everyone else.

        Yeah, well… it was the last shocking thing they had, so I guess they had to leave it until the end? I don’t know. I liked it more this way, though I wish there could have been some hints.

        No one is necessarily disagreeing with this. I’m quibbling with the fact that many of the issues in the show were just swept under the rug. Let’s make room for a tidy ending. Line up, everyone, and say how much they love the loli!

        As an anti-Angel Beats guy, I must say that I love this method much more than a sloppy conclusion to the issues in the show (though of course, a clean conclusion is always preferred!). Angel Beats inserted completely random drama in all over the place and it became a huge mess. What goes on after you find out about who God is? You insert some stupid flashback and heart donation drama blah blah I hate Angel Beats.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          I never saw more than ten minutes of Angel Beats so I can’t say how it compares to Ano Hana. I’ll just use this analogy: Ano Hana teased us in with some tasty appetizers, making us think that the main courses are gonna be amazing. Then instead delivering as we expected, it plopped a single-tiered chocolate cake in front of us and then told us that the dinner was over. I wouldn’t mind having cake for dessert, but damn it, I’m hungry.

  3. tomphile

    I’m actually glad that this ended and I wouldn’t dare wish for another season. There just wouldn’t be any point. Now that everyone’s moved on with their lives, the only problems I can foresee in the future are those of a slice of life show. And to move the series in that direction isn’t something I would necessarily want to see. There’s something to be said for simply leaving a good work as it is without messing with it any further. You don’t want to ruin a good thing.

    Reply
  4. wanderer

    It’s going to be awhile before I fully process what I think of the series. It’s the only anime this season that’s felt worth criticizing, and it clearly had a higher caliber of thought put into it than the norm, but in the end conceptual issues dragged it down. It’s like your gif: the faceplant is the funny part, but the fall began several steps further back.

    I don’t think the conceptual issues are solvable in such a short runtime without making it into something very different. A smarter Menma with more personality ruins a good chunk of the existing plot (would you believe a ghost on par with Anjou or Tsuroko if she said she didn’t know what her wish was?). Character development is difficult to pull off with such a short runtime because when it’s that quick it’s hard to distinguish from poor characterization (it’s easiest when done as a brief epilogue)…etc., etc., etc…

    The only real fix I could see working without losing the same overall flavor is cutting the scope a bit further, down to basically Jinta, Menma, Anjou, and Poppo (cutting Yukiatsu and Tsuroko entirely).

    Not really defending the choices made so much as putting a flag down here as “this concept seemed very promising but isn’t a actually good route to go with an 11 episode series”.

    That said: it’s been a delight the past few months to have a show that felt worth criticizing, which is a regrettably rare occurrence.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I agree with your idea to cut Yukiatsu and Tsuruko, especially the latter as her potential was woefully misused. Another way to fix the anime was to simply double the length of the anime. I don’t think this would change the overall flavor of the anime much at all. In fact, the anime felt kinda rushed at the end; more time would simply allow the elements of the anime to properly simmer. Had the anime taken care of all the interesting story elements it raised, the current ending wouldn’t be so poorly received.

      I see what you mean when you say that a smarter Menma would have raised other issues, but those problems aren’t insurmountable. Like many dramas, Ano Hana relies on withholding information. Why did Menma call everyone to the hideout that day? What is Menma’s final wish? Well, a smarter Menma might be perplexed herself regarding her own existence. How would she know what her final wish was?

      (Just so we’re on the same page, we agree that her final wish wasn’t to get Jinta to cry, right? Cause he cried three episodes ago. Obviously, her wish was both that and to repair the group of friends.)

      The point I’m trying to make is that we can always tweak smaller problems as long as we fix the bigger one and there was no bigger problems in Ano Hana than (1) Menma’s lack of depth and (2) raising more conflicts than the writers were willing to resolve.

      Reply
      1. a bystander

        I think, more than anything, that Menma’s wish was for Jinta to deal with his feelings and stop hiding. The whole crying thing was just an easy way for her to understand it. In the end, though, she got more than she bargained for with EVERYONE having something to confront. Seriously, this almost felt like The Breakfast Club at one point.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          What did Jinta realize in this episode that he hadn’t in the last two episodes?

        2. a bystander

          He finally apologized to Menma — in passing, but still… I do believe she started to disappear an episode or two ago, when she was looking at her hand.

        3. E Minor Post author

          Well, we can agree to disagree. I still think getting the old gang back together was the true nail in her coffin.

      2. wanderer

        In re: the real wish, the devil’s advocate argument is that AnoHana never explicitly established that Menma would go to heaven immediately after getting her wish granted. Moreover, once Jinta cries there’s only a brief delay before Menma (a) starts fading and (b) starts asking for a bit more time.

        (2) is pretty bad and is actually a bit worse than you think it is, b/c you don’t seem to have been watching the weekly previews over at anohana.jp. Those previews tended to include dialogue not in the actual show and fuel for some of the theories.

        About (1): I’ll have to agree to disagree a bit, though it’s a question of emphasis. The way AnoHana’s written makes (1) into *the* problem, but it’s only *the* problem b/c of how the other 5 busters get written vis-a-vis Menma; make some modest tweaks to the rest of the busters and it wouldn’t be *the* problem. Give them a bit more self-awareness and (1) wouldn’t be anywhere near as severe.

        On the other hand, I’ll just reiterate that having a deeper Menma ruins a lot of the existing plot, and although the issues can get fixed the overall tone would change a lot. Her cohabitation with Jinta is another problem area: b/c he’s a hikikomori she kinda has to live in his house to interact with him as often as she does—it’s not like he goes anywhere else, right?—but with a more-mature Menma the cohabitation risks getting a bit, uh, weird. That, too, could be fixed, but should illustrate the general notion that a more-mature Menma requires a *lot* of changes.

        After sleeping on it there’s one last thing: the revelations in the finale really muddle the “Jinta, do you like Menma?” scene’s significance, and introduce a certain sploppy retrocausality into the plot.

        After the finale we know that the busters already knew that Menma had called them “that day” b/c she needed to make Jinta cry, but didn’t know how. In the present day, “reenactment” is a perfect way to make Jinta cry: it forces him to confront the mistake he made that day, and there’s a good chance if he does that he’ll cry; as a bonus Yukiatsu and Anjou can finally settle some issues they want settled.

        So far so good. But the original event? Now it makes a lot less sense, doesn’t it? Without the wish it’s a perfectly natural scene: Yukiatsu and Anjou both want the Jinta-Menma situation forced, they force it, but doing so leads to unexpected consequences and everyone feeling guilty ever since. No issues with that. But, now that we know Menma’s goal “that day” was to make Jinta cry, it’s a bit harder to see how that goal jibes with what Yukiatsu and Anjou decided to do. You can kinda handwave it away—Menma’s stupid enough to go along with their plan, or the thinking was Jinta would make her cry, then start crying himself, etc.—but it’s nowhere near as natural a scenario as it once was, no?

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Moreover, once Jinta cries there’s only a brief delay before Menma (a) starts fading and (b) starts asking for a bit more time.

          Jinta sobbed in episode 8 and this was the whole reason why Menma remembered her promise to his mother. She did not start fading then, unless you then stipulate that she had to directly make him cry or other silly reasons that would really add nothing to our understanding to the show. Either way, I think it’s more elegant overall to think she started to fade once her friends started to bury their differences.

          Personally, I would not have buried those differences all at once and thus unconvincingly in the final episode. It’s just too sudden for me that Yukiatsu would led his years long grudge go, for instance. Ano Hana could have done this: each member of the Super Busters gradually resolve their differences as the series continued, with Menma’s strength sapping gradually as the episodes air. Maybe she’s afraid to tell Jinta so she hides it. Whatever’s the case, I would have liked that better than what we got, i.e. “I promised to make Jinta cry.”

          Those previews tended to include dialogue not in the actual show and fuel for some of the theories.

          Well, I can only judge what I see before me.

          but with a more-mature Menma the cohabitation risks getting a bit, uh, weird.

          It would be weird and would force Ano Hana to address the issue. But the original situation is already weird in that the anime assumes it’s normal. Honestly, Jinta being a hikikomori should have been a bigger deal in the anime, but like everything else, it got swept under the rug as soon as the anime shifted its attention to Menma. What do you suppose the characters talk about after they’ve had the chance to think it over?

          “Hm, so… where was Menma staying this entire time, Jinta? Oh, she was sleeping right next to you?”

          Yes, a mature Menma would require a lot of changes, but considering how the original anime turned out, I’m not exactly opposed to this. If they want to keep the romance, it’s only necessary to make Menma a stronger character. Either that or just don’t include the romance at all and focus on the healing of the group. Either case, there are changes.

          make Jinta cry

          Ugh, I just hate this entire development. Like Menma’s death, I don’t think it was necessary to know all the details. Given that the writers couldn’t really come up with anything interesting other than “make Jinta cry,” they should have just left it untouched to leave a bit of mystery hanging in the air.

        2. wanderer

          Last thoughts on the wish: it’s certainly more elegant if it’s for her friends to stay friends, but the way “make Jinta cry” for a wish wish jibes with the rest of what happens makes me think that’s her actual wish. It also seems like an earlier draft had to have had Menma more-explicitly dying to make Jinta cry, with that wish (and some of Menma’s scenes) making sense as echoes of that original concept. Oh well.

          In re your other question: hopefully the characters are all such good friends by the epilogue that they have the discretion not to inquire too deeply into how, precisely, Jinta and Menma spent their time together; that said, it would make great material for a tongue-in-cheek OVA.

        3. j

          Late to the discussion, but: I think Menma’s final wish was to get Jinta to cry. What delayed her departure seems to be the fact that she didn’t realise that this was her wish until episode 11. If you look at the scene in which she breaks the news to Jinta, she says that her wish has already been granted – the point is that she’s finally realised this, since she’s finally remembered that promise she made.

          Also, the start of episode 10 (where Menma’s looking contemplatively at one hand, which does seem a little transparent…) suggests that it was indeed the crying of ep 8 that was the key.

          Finally, it seems implausible that Menma’s final wish was for the Busters to get back together… simply because they only fell apart after she died.

          On a more general note, though, I really liked this post; you bring together a lot of the problems that Ano Hana had. What rang most false to me in the finale was the easy resolution of Yukiatsu’s issues…

        4. E Minor Post author

          That’s a convoluted mechanic for a wish. You have to make Jinta cry, but it has to be direct and also, you have to realize that this is your wish. Maybe the writers’ intent was to make her wish solely about Jinta, but I’d still like to think she was hanging around to make sure her friends got back together, since she carved it into the wooden beam and all. It’s at least one thing she does to keep the friends together versus driving them apart.

  5. Fyrea

    I haven’t seen the episode yet, but from this review I’m dreading it. Well eggs, chicken and baskets…

    Reply
      1. Fyrea

        Well, Anohana has left me with something akin to a bad taste in my mouth. Slated as the best anime of 2011 it has left me sorely disappointed.
        I think anime should stick away from slice of life situations, most of the issues they deal with end up being crudely portrayed and tends to be a wrap itself up as a mess.
        I was under the impression I would look back, rewatch this anime and recommend it. Sadly, this is not the case anymore.
        FFS!

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Slated as the best anime of 2011 it has left me sorely disappointed.

          Well, the year’s young and there’s always a sleeper hit out there.

  6. qwerty

    So after all that weekly AnoHana coverage, I’m curious, what grade would you give the show as a whole?

    Reply
  7. Ryan R

    Interesting take.

    I tend to like neat and tidy endings unless sequels are already in the planning stages (and I doubt that a sequel would work for this show).

    The being said, I will say that some character actions felt awfully forced, and hard to swallow (Yukiatsu suddenly acting all buddy-buddy with Jinta, to use one glaring example).

    My main issue with this finale was how emotionally overwrought everything was. This anime simply tries too hard to make the viewer cry. In fairness, that seems to work with some viewers, but it just leaves me feeling cold.

    The thing is if I can tell that a show is trying to make me cry, I probably won’t, because that self-awareness takes me out of narrative immersion. It’s kind of like noticing the strings on a puppet, or the people working behind the set of a play.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I tend to like neat and tidy endings unless sequels are already in the planning stages (and I doubt that a sequel would work for this show).

      The neatness of the ending doesn’t bug me. It’s the feeling that the anime abandoned everything to achieve a tidy ending before it was ready.

      My main issue with this finale was how emotionally overwrought everything was. This anime simply tries too hard to make the viewer cry. In fairness, that seems to work with some viewers, but it just leaves me feeling cold.

      In other words, over the top. The anime went too far and I agree. I mentioned Poppo as a criticism because I just didn’t feel he added to the scene organically. Instead of being yet another member of the gang who felt guilty over Menma’s death, it was like “Okay Poppo, you gotta cry too or this won’t be emotional enough!”

      The thing is if I can tell that a show is trying to make me cry, I probably won’t, because that self-awareness takes me out of narrative immersion. It’s kind of like noticing the strings on a puppet, or the people working behind the set of a play.

      I don’t think we are very far apart on our assessment of the show. I would use words like contrived; you accuse it of taking you out of narrative immersion. Either way, Ano Hana disappointed.

      Reply
      1. Ryan R

        Yeah, contrived and over the top are probably more straightforward ways of putting it, lol.

        I think our assessments of the show are similar. And yes, the ending did feel rushed.

        Reply
  8. idiffer

    i agree with everything said above…that being said, i have my own theory, following which everything makes sense. all you need to do is change the name of the anime to
    “we still don’t know the name of the flower we smoked that day”.
    cause i cannot take ano hana seriously anymore, no matter how hard it tried to present itself as such.

    Reply
  9. crzy

    I think the major problem was that they just simply didn’t have enough time to go through those interesting backstories and such decided to ditch them halfway through. With 11 more episodes I get the feeling we would have learned a lot more about Poppo and Tsuruko.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Knowing that they had time constraints, I don’t understand why they bothered bringing up Poppo’s “story” at all. Then again, some people did like it so what can I say…

      Reply
  10. thoughtcannon

    Heheh I told ya Poppo was having some issues. I vaguely guessed at since each character to an extent felt in someway responsible for Menma’s death. (I think I can’t remember whether Tsuruko did or not) Poppo was one character they never really elaborated on. Granted it does shed a different light on his eagerness to go along any idea that made Menma alive again, such Jinta possibly becoming schizoid and then Menma actually being a ghost. Perhaps there is more to Poppo but because he was sort of background we never paid much attention to him.

    I didn’t disagree with this episode trying to throw a pity party for all the characters because it wouldn’t have really made sense to have the characters not work things out as a group. Say if Tsuruko and Yukiatsu came to terms with each other an episode or two ago what would be the point to continue having them in the story from that point? I think that Tsuruko and especially Poppo should have been given some more elaboration on their particular misgivings but overall I couldn’t really see this working out in anything but a huge group catharsis moment. However not everyone had to bawl like a baby. Freaking Poppo looked like he was testifying in church. LORD FORGIVE ME MENMA! With so many intermingling issues and perhaps even bad blood between them all I think it was necessary to have a “shove everyone in the closet and don’t let them out till they have worked out their issues” moment.

    AnoHana started out pulling the proper emotional strings and holding back on the drama. It twigged my nostalgia of my days following high school, falling out of touch with many good friends. It freaking hit me with Pokemon nostalgia too. As the series went though it forgot about being low-key and nostalgic, it became increasingly difficult to avoid falling into the pits of melodrama.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Poppo having issues isn’t really a problem. It’s just the timing of it.

      Say if Tsuruko and Yukiatsu came to terms with each other an episode or two ago what would be the point to continue having them in the story from that point?

      It’s up to the writers to figure out a way to keep the two in the story in an interesting way. Don’t you think there’s something corny and forced about the entire group suddenly healing at the same time?

      Reply
      1. thoughtcannon

        I initially did but then I thought back to some of my high school relationships. I had two rather large groups of friends and when there was some tension among the group it could be felt throughout. The best way for us was to just lay it out on the table with everyone there instead of solving problems in and among ourselves. When a group is as tight knit as I think the Super Peace Busters having a huge breakdown or resolution must be done as a group. I think it should have been executed better though. Not everyone has to bawl and cry in that situation. The important part is that the group as a whole is informed of the emotional turmoil or problems. In my opinion it was the execution that failed and turned everyone into sobbing ninny’s rather than the concept of group resolution.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Right — everyone can get their problems out in the open at the same time, but I just doubt everything’s resolved at the same time. Some might have residual feelings, maybe others have arrived at the meeting with most of their issues worked out. Ano Hana didn’t really dive into the complexities or intricacies of friendship or healing. It started down this road at the start, but ditched most of it for whatever reason.

  11. inushinde

    The entire thing ended up weighed down by everyone’s focus on having Menma move on. While I liked that everyone admitted they were all selfish in their desire to have her appeased, the ending really wasn’t played out well.
    It started out fantastic and ended up… not so fantastic very quickly. While I’d disagree that the shift in focus to Menma ultimately led it to flounder, the fact that they completely neglected every other important part of the story to do so reeked of laziness.

    Overall, I thought it was a decent watch, aside from that overwrought last episode.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      While I’d disagree that the shift in focus to Menma ultimately led it to flounder

      Considering how Menma’s character shaped up early on in the series, we knew she wasn’t going to be a complex, well-developed character. As such, there was no way the anime couldn’t fail as soon as Jinta admitted his love for her. Focusing on Menma isn’t a death knell in a vacuum, but it is if Menma was just a little kid. And since most of us admit that she acts and behaves like a little kid, frame the struggles of the group in this light: all their problems revolved around someone with the emotional maturity of a child. It’s just ridiculous.

      Reply
  12. Space Kadet

    Honestly, perhaps you guys, who watch quite a bit of anime, don’t realize how rare it is for a TV show to have a, more or less, ‘soul’ (not ‘heart’ because it tries to be deeper than that.). Sure some parts didn’t quite work out, and the love triangles were overplayed, but honestly these characters were the closest to real humans I’ve seen any TV show portray in recent memory. Each character was weighed by guilt, and even when we didn’t know why, it was hinted at with an almost real mimic of human empathy.

    By the 4th(ish) episode I could just tell Poppo was hiding something, but he felt too guilty to talk about it. Once Poppo explains his guilt related to Menma, I honestly could understand why he wasn’t as forth coming with his explanation.

    I personally see Menma as simply a device used to allow exploration into how death effects a group and also the guilt that goes with it. If you look at it that way, the show becomes much more insightful. Each character is stricken with a common type of post death guilt and while together it feels a tad contrived (I mean god, so many fraking love triangles), the narrative works better with the group aspect. I mean what if the show had been about these characters but Menma visited them individually, I don’t think it would have worked as well.

    Also I didn’t get the feeling that a lot of the issues had been resolved. Yeah sure the ending shows that they are friends forever and stuff, but to me Jintan’s relationship to with his father still wasn’t fixed and Yukiatsu didn’t seem to have gotten over his jealousy of Jintan. I mean it shows in the same credit sequence that has the happy ending that these characters still haven’t fully forgiven each other and fully changed. So the ending to me simply says ‘they are trying to repair their lives and lost friendships’ which I find as a solid realistic ending.

    Maybe I’m full of crap, but perhaps as someone who is a relative outsider when it comes to anime, my opinion holds a unique perspective. Honestly though, I’m not even sure why I was compelled to write this XD

    Reply
    1. alsozara

      Maybe it would be were it actually a review.

      I thought the second half didn’t live up to the first half, though I didn’t find it quite as disappointing as you seem to have, E Minor. The ending was definitely the nadir though.

      Also, please continue your writing, E Minor, it’s a much needed breath of fresh air in the anime blogosphere.

      Reply
      1. E Minor Post author

        Also, please continue your writing, E Minor, it’s a much needed breath of fresh air in the anime blogosphere.

        So. Much. Pressure. But seriously, thanks.

        Reply
  13. John

    It is a huge relief to find a review with the same complaints I have. I felt like I might have just “missed” this show and was too critical of it, what with everyone buzzing about it being the “saddest thing ever”.

    Reply

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