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It has become increasingly evident that I seem to have forgotten just how good this show really is. One thing that I love about going and revisiting shows in general is just how subtlety there is to be found in the writing that I did not notice the first time, and there is definitely a lot of truth to that when it comes to “AnoHana.” The series is not only emotionally compelling, it most obvious strength, but is also incredible good at laying the groundwork for its big payoffs. With that being said, lets talk a little more about “AnoHana” episode three.
Jintan Goes to School
Though it was not particularly surprising, Jintan as a person does care a lot about the opinions of others, specifically his childhood friends, which, as I discussed in my last episode review, appears to be a defining characteristic of the whole group.
Even more specifically, he still cares deeply for Anjo, and so per asking, Jintan attempts to go back to school after having been absent for nearly a third of the year. However, after making it halfway there, meeting Anjo and her “friends,” and getting insulted, he decides to leave.
More than anything, this scene in particular feels symbolic of Jintan’s uncertainty about the future, and unwillingness to move on without resolving Menma’s wish first.
However, it also shows that Jintan still isn’t willing to be honest about his feelings towards Anjo, which also might have something to do with Menma, and specifically what he said to her before she died. “Who would like and ugly girl like that?” A thought never completed, a life not continued, feelings not resolved.
Aside from the all of the other “really sad shit,” to put it analytically, It never occured to me just how much emotional tension is created through the moments Menma has to herself.
Specifically in this episode, there is a scene where, before Jintan comes home from school, Menma prays to his late mother. Now, its already been established how Menma reflects on her own death and the obvious pain of her family, but it is even more heart wrenching seeing Menma talk about how she and Jintan’s mom are dead Juxtaposed against her attempts to stay positive about the situation.
Its smaller moments like these that really add to the show’s already unrelenting subject matter and make it that much more engaging.
A gathering of friends…enemies…lovers? There is clearly still a lot of animosity among the group even when Poppo invites everyone out to an end of summer barbeque in Menma’s honor. Still, there is a surprising amount of resolution that comes in just the last third of the episode.
Anjo admits to Tsurumi that she has been following the influence of others the whole time, and that she did feel like she lived in the shadow of Menma when they were younger. This prompts Tsurumi to ask “what am I supposed to say to that? Do you want me to be proud of you?” to which Anjo then responds “I was hoping you would yell at me.” The two appear to make-up, at which point Matsuyuki shows up with more food.
Matsuyuki then reveals before the end of the episode that he too can see Menma. This kind of a bombshell is a great place to end on, at least from an episodic standpoint, as it clearly drives further interest in the series.
As I mentioned also in the last post, “Anohana” appears to have a lot of setup episodes, but within those setup episodes are important moments for the characters, as well as smaller, but still emotional powerful moments, such as those with Menma by herself. All of these serve to make the bigger reveals hit that much harder, as the smaller moments work well in giving more information about Menma and the rest of the group.
How do you all feel about this episode? Let me know in the comments below.
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