Anohana Episode Five: The Breakdown
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As I discussed in my last post about “Anohana,” grieving is a process that people all do differently, and can take various forms. However, there is a difference between grieving and having a totally unhealthy sense of guilty about something that ultimately was nowhere close to being your fault. In this episode, we see the results of the ladder has on Yukiatsu and his sense of identity, as well as some of the fallout from that. With that being said, let us look at “Anohana” episode 5.
The Curtains Drawn
With the help of Tsuruko, the group of friends manages to catch up to the mystery second Menma, only to discover that the Menma Yukiatsu has been seeing is actually himself. There is definitely a lot of metaphor in this scene, so I think its worth explaining.
Throughout the first four episodes, the show subtlety hints at Yukiatsu inability to get over the past by showing him standing at his closet holding the the dress that looks like Menma, as well as his strong reactions to anyone even mentioning her name. The fact that he bought a dress just to look like her show just how much he literally and figuratively has invested his identity in himself, all over a sense of guilt that has very little connection with reality.
This extreme sense of guilt lead him to feeling alone, without any sense of identity for himself, and now, being exposed to the people he once saw as friends, he is unsure of what to do. It is certainly hard to bounce back from something that traumatic, but not impossible.
While Yukiatsu is figuring out what to do with himself, the rest of the group is not that much better off. Jintan and Menma are also feeling unsure about the future. After discovering Yukiatsu’s secret, the group goes home. Jintan can tell that Yukiatsu’s identity crisis has affected her in a big way, and so tries to cheer her up by going to get her favorite Ramen. However, Jintan’s act of kindness only serves as a shallow defense for his confusion about what to do next.
Anjo also is not doing much better, as she is slowly beginning to realize just how fake her current friends really are. After being forced into Karaoke the next day, she is clearly upset, but that does not stop one of the guys at this get-together. The unnamed guy attempts to take her to a love hotel, but realizes that Anjo definitely does not feel the same way, and so attempts to force her into “putting out.” It is only when Yukiatsu shows up and makes it seem as though there are more people coming that the random guy leaves.
Yukiatsu and Anjo take the train home together, at which point they discuss the events of the previous night. What’s most interesting about this scene is just how much Yukiatsu has seemingly recovered from his identity being exposed. Now, this could certainly be a front, but as is show previously in the episode, as well as during the train scene, Yukiatsu has come to accept his identity as a “cross-dresser,” even preferring it.
It is also in this scene that Anjo seemingly admits her feelings for Jintan. However, the wording used here is interesting, because when she says “he grabs my attention” in the context of the scene, it sounds much more like pity rather than a true feeling of love. It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere else.
Ultimately, the events of the series seem to be affecting Menma the most, rather than anyone else. This is because, as much as she wants her wish granted, Menma is having to witness the grieving that is caused by her presence, or in most cases lack of presence, among her friends.
This is most evident in the final scene of the episode, where Poppo comes over for dinner, only to try calling out to Menma and get her to appear, not knowing that Menma is sitting right next to Jintan, crying about how bad she feels that she is putting everyone through this.
There is a lot left to get through, as there are still six episodes to go, but there is certainly a disproportionate amount of drama left to go. As was evident in this episode, there are still so many problems left for these characters to resolve, and it is clear to see that resolving them will not be easy. At the center of it all will be Menma, it will take a toll on all of them.
How did you all feel about this episode? Let me know in the comments below.
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