AnoHana Episode 11: In the End, They Found Her
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In the moments when I really did not need to be sad, I ended a series known for being one of the saddest. Absolutely brilliant. I started my re-watch of “AnoHana” just a few short months ago, and now it has finally come to a close. What began as a poll on Twitter has ended with me reflecting and reconsidering a lot of my feelings in the past few months. With that being said, let’s close the book on “AnoHana” by talking about episode 11.
True Feelings Revealed
The episode begins with the group having a late night meeting after the fireworks failed to send Menma to heaven. Both Tsuruko and Yadomi suggest that maybe the rocket was not Menma’s real wish afterall. However, it is Anjo that tells them their feelings are the ones blocking her path to heaven, and all of them begin talking about how they really feel.
Anjo only wanted Menma to go to Heaven so she could be with Yadomi. Yukiatsu did not actually want Menma to go to Heaven because, as he admits, he is still very much in love with her. Tsuruko admits that she is jealous of Anjo and knows that Yukiatsu would simply use her as a replacement after Menma is gone, and Poppo feels guilty because he saw what happened to Menma on the day. Yadomi, meanwhile, reveals that he was happy to be the only one who could see Menma, but that it is time to do the right thing, and say goodbye to her properly.
A lot of the elements of the story seem to match up with a lot of people’s actually grieving process, as well as the five stages of grief described by psychologists: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. All of the characters start at denial in the beginning, but then slowly transition through the process at different rates as the series. Additionally, everyone outside of Yadomi seems to spend a much longer time in denial because they cannot see her, which makes sense. Most people would rather forget than deal with their emotions.
After they finish dumping out their hearts to each other, they agree it is not fair to keep Menma their because of their own selfishness. Yadomi then rushes home to get Menma, only to find her lying on the floor, slowly becoming transparent. Once regaining a bit of her strength, Menma tells Yadomi about her promise to her mom, that she would find a way to make him cry, which is why she had everyone gather at the club house that day, and why Yukiatsu asked Yadomi about his feelings for her. Not having much time left, Yadomi rushes her to clubroom, only for her to disappear as they arrive.
This kind of build up to the final moment in the series is honestly some best I have seen in any slice of life or drama. Because the others still cannot see her, it mirrors the moments in the series before, where Yadomi is looking for Menma but cannot find her. Despite the fact that his friends now know about and believe in Menma’s ghost, he still feels alone in those few minutes. Now though, even he has lost sight of Menma, which is probably even scarier, because he has yet to say a proper goodbye.
The Final Goodbye
After running through the forest looking for Menma, they come across a tree with notes addressed to each of them from Menma, with each saying something Menma liked about them, and Yadomi’s saying I love you. They scream out to her, saying “Are you ready?” signaling her goodbye. Before she goes, she reveals herself to all of them, saying “You…found me.”
The framing of the whole scene as a final game of hide and seek is a really good writing technique, as it highlights not only the events of the story as they happened, but the past that each of them was stuck in and unwilling to let go off until this moment. Of course, I don’t think I need to say it, but I will regardless: The final scene of AnoHana was so incredibly powerful. For as sappy and heartfelt as the show can feel at some points, it remains one of the hardest hitting dramas in all of anime, and it is not an exaggeration to say that I was on the brink of tears multiple times while watching it.
If you did watch the series along with me, I hope it sparked something in you as well. It was a nice trip down memory lane despite the fact that I did not actually remember most of the series. It still was probably a bad idea given just how much my mental health is suffering right now, but hey, what can you do?
How did you all feel about this episode? Let me know in the comments below.
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