AnoHana Episode One: To be Haunted by the Past
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
I do not know why I did this to myself…but, I guess we are here now, so lets talk about it.
It has been quite a while since my last time watching “AnoHana: The Flowers We Saw That Day,” for mostly good reason. Mainly, that its really sad. Now, I know that to anyone whose even remotely familiar with the show that is not a particularly revolutionary piece of information. However, given the year that has unfolded, I felt like being sad is just sort of an inevitability at this point.
It also just so happens that because Crunchyroll’s manga reader DOESN’T WORK AT ALL I can’t read “Inside Mari” as I initially planned. Putting that aside though, lets talk about “AnoHana” episode one.
For those who are totally unfamiliar, The story focuses on Jinta Yadomi, a high school kid whose memory of his dead friend Menma has somehow manifested her back to life. Now, he must reunite his old friend group, who drifted apart after her death, and grant her wish, whatever that may be.
The series eleven episode run time leaves absolutely no room for filler, even during the first episode. As the episode begins, the series shows Jinta’s reaction to seeing Menma for the first time. Rather than an immediate overreaction, Jinta begins to feel the weight of Menma’s presence slowly overtime, until he eventually collapses from summer heat and stress. After he wakes up, and the idea that his delusion of Menma is, in fact, quite real, Jinta begins to question why she is here in the first place.
The two also spend the episode meeting their old friend group, and it becomes apparent just how much everyone has changed from when they were kids. This upsets not only Menma, who is sad to see that her friends are no longer together, but also Jinta who, because of Menma, must now confront his own personal failures.
After Jinta tells Menma to leave her alone, she then goes to her family’s house, at which point the show also gives a look into the life of her family, who seem to have also grown distant in the time since her passing. Her brother seems not to care for their mom’s sentimentality.
On top of all of that, the show saves time to make something immediately clear from the beginning. The Menma that appears before Jinta is not just some figment of his imagination, as evidenced by the fact that after the scene shown above, Menma responds to herself by saying that she does know that she is dead, beginning to cry immediately afterwards.
The Friends That Once Were
Another thing that is immediately obvious is that their friends also have not forgotten about the past. As the episode comes to close, the perspective changes from Jinta to the others, each in fairly quick succession, showing them living out their lives, but not quite content with the present. Whether it was seeing Jinta once again or just having it on their mind anyway, the fact that they just sort of left each other after Menma’s passing is still bothering them.
is clueless during all of this, yes, but as I mentioned before, the series make sure lay out the fact that she knows she is dead and that she is their for some reason. The most interesting part about her character is that she has seemingly appeared out of nowhere, and seems to only have knowledge of the time before she died, which makes it a lot harder for Jinta to communicate with her.
The first episode hits pretty hard, but also does a lot of groundwork for setting up other important plot points later on. The eleven episode run time may seem like it might not leave a lot of room for the series to fully unpack itself, but episode one confirms just how much can be accomplished in a 20 minute run time.
There is definitely a long road ahead when it comes to this series. I’m not kidding when I say I legitimately started to cry near the end of the first episode, and I honestly do not remember a lot about the series since it has been about 4 or so years since I last watched it. Also, is there anything specifically you folks want out of this re-watch? Let me know in the comments below.
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