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Some of my readers might remember that I spent most of late last year during quarantine with one of the most famous, or infamous depending on one’s perspective, dramas in all of anime: AnoHana. I genuinely enjoyed my rewatch of the series and although I do not think it to be as good as I did before, that is not the same as saying it is bad, far from it. My last post focused on anime that inspires hope or at least warmer feelings than in most of AnoHana. Given just how heavy the series is, it is not a show one can just pick up and enjoy at any time, as I discuss in this article. I hope you enjoy it!
Welcome back, tourists
These last few months have been something of a journey for me, in more ways than one. While navigating classes and trying to keep my head above water, I decided to rewatch what is probably one of the saddest anime of all time, “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai,” better known as just “AnoHana.”
A bold claim, I know, as there are some pretty compelling entries, like “Your Lie in April,” “A Silent Voice,” and even some shows that are not intentionally appealing to drama conventions like “Samurai Flamenco.” However, aside from coming out before all of these, “AnoHana” strikes a certain cord that it feels as though most can relate to right now.
The story of “AnoHana” begins with a disheveled Yadomi waking up to find the ghost of his childhood friend sleeping next to him. Due to having removed himself from his own daily life, such as going to school, work, etc, Yadomi assumes he is having some kind of tired delusion. But, as he will soon come to realize, Menma has come back in a grown-up form so that Yadomi can grant her wish.
In a time like now, where everything that was once thought stable has ruptured, where people are facing down a deadly pandemic and massive political shifts, it is good to have a show that serves as a reminder of the preciousness and fragility of life.
Additionally, “Anohana” also depicts the effect that trauma from the loss of a loved one can have on the mental health of those around them, as we see nearly all of the characters affected by Menma’s loss in some way or another, even after nearly a decade without her.
Aside from its scarily relevant-to-today message, the series is also just phenomenally written. Its attention to detail when it comes to the arcs of each character is impressive, and it shows in how that care plays out in the most dramatic scenes.
A good example of this comes from about halfway through the series, when, after collapsing during work, the character of Anjo admits to Yadomi that she was happy when Menma died as a kid because she liked him a lot and that he should stop bringing up Menma because she is not real. It is an extremely honest moment that builds on both Anjo’s still unrequited love of Yadomi and her ugly jealousy of the late Menma.
Admittedly, though, it is hard to recommend anyone watch anything with that level of emotionality during a time like now. I can say personally that it was not easy rewatching a show with “AnoHana’s” level of emotional power.
So, I will say this. Whether it is a year from now, five, or even 10, this is a series that is absolutely worth watching for the first time. It is probably worth revisiting if you have seen the series already like myself. I wanted to end on something a bit more profound, but I think the most important thing to take away is this: it is okay to cry.
How do you all feel about AnoHana? Let me know in the comments below. Also, Animated Observations is currently running a survey to gather opinions on the content we put out here, so if you have a few minutes and are willing to help out, it would be greatly appreciated.
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If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!