Tag Archives: AnoHana

Why Everyone Should Watch AnoHana…at Some Point

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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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. 

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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.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Special shoutout to Jenn for continuing to support the blog, much appreciated.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

AnoHana Episode 11: In the End, They Found Her

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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.

The Mission

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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.

Conclusion

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.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

AnoHana Episode 10: The End is Not the End

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It is hard to see those you love the most leave, or do you even half to? What makes this episode so much more interesting is the realization from the group that Menma is leaving, and that fulfilling her wish means giving up there chance to be with her again, even for all of the emotional damage it has caused thus far. Lets talk about AnoHana episode 10.

Preparation

As the day of the Fireworks launch approaches, everyone seems to be preparing, physically, mentally, emotionally. At the beginning of the episode, Yadomi and Menma both says “its tomorrow,” with Yadomi holding a piece of mail, and Menma praying to Yadomi’s mother’s shrine. Meanwhile, Yukiatsu realizes there is so bitterness between himself and Tsurumi after she tells his crossdressing secret to a couple of girls at there school. Anjo is still sulking because, as she mentions to Tsurumi near the end of the episode, it feels like the gap between herself and Jintan will never be together, and are only as close as they are now because of Menma’s return. Poppo is, well, sad and confused, as he confesses to Yadomi while making decorations that he felt as though back then that all he ever did was watch the others.

The whole situation is clearly a high stress one, and for good reason. As most of them realized just a couple episode ago, Menma is very much real, and now just as soon as her presence has been made known, they will have to all say goodbye.

The Gang is All Here

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In an attempt to celebrate one final time before Menma’s sendoff to Heaven, the group throw’s a party for her at their secret base, with Menma even helping prepare for her own party. Poppo in particular wants to make sure that her last memory of the group before they leave is a happy one. Everyone arrives, Tsurumi with snacks and Anjo and Yukiatsu with drinks. The past will soon be in the past.

Except, not. Yukiatsu, in an attempt to bring some “entertainment,” suggest reenacting what happened the day Menma died. Anjo, immediately afterwards, asks Yadomi if he likes Menma. In a show of hesitant honesty, Yadomi says yes, but then attempts to run away, at which point they tell him not to. The whole ordeal leaves him flustered, and Menma crying.

The whole thing is undoubtedly an act of cruetly on Yukiatsu’s part, but it does reveal that not much has changed in the years since Menma’s death. Yadomi is still unwilling to admit his feelings confidently, Anjo is still hopelessly in love with him, and the girl who drowned in a river is still needlessly caught in the crossfire. Instead of a resolution, time is needless repeating itself, and the inevitability of it all there is a sort of cruel tension between everyone.

Love is like…Fireworks

Night shifted to day, and soon the end was upon them, at least that is what they assumed. The group met in the evening, as the sun was setting and day shifted to night once more. None of them were really ready to send Menma to heaven, and yet, they still put on the decoration, still set up the rocket. One of them was not ready at all. As the Rocket was finally set up and ready to launch, Poppo offered to let Yadomi say the final words, and yet, nothing. The fuse was lit, the fireworks flew into the sky. Menma was still there.

They say that reincarnation can only happen after all earthly attachments have been let go of. However, Menma was still there after the rocket launched. Who or what specifically she is still attached to seems pretty obvious, but there is still a lot of room for interpretation. Regardless, We will end the series next time.


How did you feel about this episode? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

AnoHana Episode Nine: The Past They Cannot Leave Behind

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

One thing that I have talked about endlessly during this re-watch is the idea that, in the aftermath of tragedy, it can become extremely difficult to move on, at least emotionally. I do not think I need to cite a Harvard, peer reviewed study for this one, cause its something that, statistically, a lot of us have probably gone through. The way it feels like our hearts are contracting in on themselves, the unwanted lubrication of our eyes, the way it feels like we just gained 200 pounds, all of which is conveniently located on our shoulders. Episode Nine serves as a reminder of that very feelings, but also seems to imply a sort of destiny that cannot be avoided between Yadomi and Menma. So, let’s talk about it.

The Realization

It has now become obvious to the others, after seeing a notebook and a bowl of food floating around them, that the “cruel joke” Yadomi has been playing is definitely not a joke. The six of them meet at Yadomi’s house, only for everyone to still be freaked out, even after seeing the truth. Anjo and Tsurumi are visibly frightened, and Yukiatsu and Poppo are nervous. The four of them leave Yadomi’s house in disbelief.

“C’mon, Yukiatsu, don’t be such a negative nelly” he says, knowing full well that he is talking to a fictional character. Sadly, though, it is kind of justified. As I talked about last week, it feels like one of those situations that could have been very easily resolved through Yadomi just revealing to everyone else that she is real way earlier, something that Poppo points out immediately after the group leaves.

Again, however, I will make the argument that its not really the point. In fact, as this episode goes on to imply, the reunification of Yadomi and Menma appears to be some act of fate.

Unite and Self-Conquer

After Yukiatsu literally gets on his hands and knees, begging Menma’s father to let them build the fireworks, their plan to send Menma to heaven is able to move forward. Of course, its not hard to see that all of this has not quite settled in for them yet. In particular, Anjo seems to have come to the conclusion that Yadomi’s motivation to save Menma means that her feelings towards him will never get through.

Much like everyone else, the realization of Menma being with them for real has taken a silent toll, one that brings her to tears while working on the fireworks. Yukiatsu, understanding that pain, goes to help her. A wandering Tsurumi find the two discussing plans of dating, while she bends and breaks in the background.

Yadomi, meanwhile, is oblivious. He singlemindedness has caused him to only focus on Menma, and his admittedly justified anger at his friends has locked his emotions on the

The Girl Who Will Soon Disappear

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The series very purposefully leads with the idea that once Menma’s wish has been granted, it is likely that she will disappear for good. This invokes the idea that the group will both literally and figuratively be laying her to rest, and thus allowing her to move on. It has already been shown how this is affecting the others, but Yadomi in particular does not seem to be able to let her go.

After getting home from work and seeing Menma is not there, he goes running, running so much he does not even know why. He eventually reaches the bridge, only to see her down by the river, a sight that immediately triggers his memories from long ago. Yadomi tries to catch a fish, tries to protect Menma, to keep her from leaving. Menma just seems angry…


Listen, I know this wasn’t a good idea, but there’s only two more episodes left, so might as well finish it out, right? If you’ve been following along with me, what has your experience been revisiting the series? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

AnoHana Episode Eight: Refraction

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Oh, how interesting it can get. The curtains have been drawn, and the stage has been set. Each actor has been put into position. I honestly kind of forgot how dramatic the reveal of Menma to the rest of the group actually was, and what is crazy is that during this very episode I began to wonder why Menma does not just reveal herself to the rest of the group, but, over the course of this episode, it became pretty clear. With that being said, lets look at AnoHana episode eight.

Last-Ditch Efforts

In a final attempt to get the permission they need for the fireworks, the group goes to Menma’s house once more, to try and convince her mother. However, the sight of all of Menma’s friends together without her causes a mental breakdown, at which point they leave. While hanging out at the nearby temple, everyone else tries to convince Yadomi to give up on Menma’s wish. Yadomi, clearly frustrated with everyone’s dismissive attitudes, commits to getting the money on his own.

Yukiatsu has quite often been the closest thing this show has to a protagonist, with Tsurumi acting as his sidekick, and that seems to be no less true here. Still himself bothered by Menma’s loss to a great extent, he criticizes Yadomi for focusing on the past too much, projecting his own feelings a great deal. While Anjo is afraid to say it most of the time, even she seems more willing to try and stop Yadomi, especially in

The Breakroom.

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What is so interesting about “AnoHana” from a character and drama standpoint is just how much the motivations of each person shine through in their actions. Yukiatsu, for example, is clearly much more motivated by a desire to not think about Menma’s passing, whereas Anjo seemingly acts more out of conern for her friend. However, it is clearer still that both motivations are present in the rest of the group. There is part of Yukiatsu that cares for Yadomi, and there is part of Anjo that would rather just be done with the whole thing.

After collapsing from exhaustion at the game store, Anjo finally confronts Yadomi herself about Menma’s wish, telling him that it is time to stop. She also reveals to him that she was happy the day that Menma died because it was obvious just how much Yadomi likes Menma.

There is, to some extent, an argument here about the selfishness of Yadomi’s behavior, but I would argue that, at least before Menma reappeared, Yadomi was the least affected by Menma. That is not to say that he was not affected, only that his feelings of guilt and sadness were weaker than the others. The part of the scene that strikes the hardest is when the two finish arguing, at which point Anjo says “you’re really gonna leave like this?” to which Yadomi simply walks out and greets the next customer.

Revelation

It is near the end of the episode where Yadomi is once again confronted by the rest of the group at the hideout. Yukiatsu, tired of it all, almost beats him up for continuing to bring up Menma. However, just before he follows through, Menma shows up, proving her own existence by writing in her journal and pushing it to the ground.

Why things escalated to this point when Menma could have just proved herself like that before is certainly a worthwhile question here, but it is also one with a relatively simple answer: She didn’t know. As far as Menma was concerned up until this point, They were all getting along and genuinely wanted to help her with her wish, but since that clearly was not the case, she had to make herself known.

Conclusion

I picked a really bad time to start rewatching this show, like a really bad time. Emotions are riding high right now with almost everything, and being locked inside my house most of the time has certainly not helped my mental health. But, I intend to see this through to the end, if for no other reason than to maybe feel something again. Anyways, thanks for joining me this week.


How did you all feel about this episode? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

AnoHana Episode Seven: Determination

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Throughout the course of the the series thus far, Yadomi has continually defined himself as someone puts others above himself, even sometimes to his own detriment. He seems to greatly share this characteristic with Menma, which is why it made so much sense that he was angry at her in the last episode. Today, I’ll be talking about how that sense of selflessness and righteousness are leading him to go even farther.

The Journal

After looking through the journal they got from Menma’s mother, the group remembers an important mission they had when they were kids: To send a letter to god wishing for Yadomi’s mom to get better. The plan, at least from their perspective was simple: Launch a firework into the sky with the letter. However, it was not so. The group then decides to move forward with getting together the firework, only for them to find out that the cheapest firework would cost about 200000 Yen (about 2,000 U.S.).

Yadomi, in his endless determination, decides to get a part time job, which serves both as a way to earn money for the fireworks, and as an excuse for avoiding Menma, since he does not want her finding out for fear that she will get mad. For everyone else, however, there is less enthusiasm. While Menma is all too real to Yadomi, the inability to see her casts a large cloud of doubt on the rest.

Despite Yukiatsu and Tsurumi remembering some important information about Menma’s wish, they choose to keep it secret, because Menma did not want Yadomi to know when they were going to meet up. What impact the absense of this information will have is hard to say, but it does speak to Yukiatsu’s somewhat jealous nature, whether or not it is actually a good idea.

Part-Timer

In his quest to help realize what seems to be Menma’s true wish, Yadomi works day and night, picking up not only one but two part time jobs to quickly realize his goal, working both at the game store where Anjo works and on a construction site with Poppo.

While I could address the romantic dynamic between Yadomi and Anjo, I honestly don’t know if its worth going over in detail. After all, it is clear the two have feelings for each other, but it does not appear likely that anything between them will happen, at within the events of the anime. Their dynamic is cute, however, and does add some needed moments of levity in-between the massive moments of tension brought on by the rest of the group’s disconnection.

It is also interesting to note how willing Anjo was to voice her opinion on Menma while they were alone, which implies both a level of comfort between the two but also a very obvious distance from his problems, a contrast which only further serves to layer the feeling of uncomfortability that blankets most of the series.

Poppo, on the other hand, seems more genuinely concerned for his well-being and more understanding of his visions of Menma than most of the group. This likely comes from his outsider status which is cemented early on, when he is first introduced literally living on the outskirts of town.

Menma and Yadomi’s Mother

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One last thing I want to talk about this week is just how much I absolutely love the use of foreshadowing in “AnoHana.” From very early on, the show establishes a connection between Menma and Yadomi’s mom. The first point of connection, most apparently, is their deaths. The two are the only characters in the show that are dead, and are both remembered fondly by their respectively family.

However, after Menma sees how her mother prays for her, she begins to do the same for Yadomi’s mom, talking with her while Yadomi is not home. Whether or not this felt obvious, connections like these help strengthen reveals later on by giving them some level of sense, even for a show as strange as “AnoHana.”

Conclusion

There is still so much drama left ahead, even within the last four episodes. Still, there was a lot revealed in just this episode, including how willing Yadomi is to go the distance for this “hallucination.” Whether or not Menma is real is not the point, but rather the willingness to resolve these feeling that were likely weighing him, and everyone else down. Next week will continue on with episode eight, so be sure to tune in!


AnoHana Episode Six: Remembrance…

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

And so the puzzle begins to come together, a clear image arises as new pieces enter the picture, and soon there will be a much clearer picture. “Anohana” episode six reveals a number of key plot points, without actually saying anything out loud, and, as is likely to follow in the episodes to come, Menma will have to deal with her own guilt about over leaving those who remember her. With that being said, let us get started.

Going to School and the Aftermath

When faced with the wishes of the spirit of a dead friend, it becomes hard to go against them. As such, Jintan once again attempts to return to school, with the hope that this might actually still be what her wish was. At the same time, everyone at the school becomes aware of the fact that Anjo (supposedly) went to a love hotel. Despite the fact that Jintan has only been to school once in the last few months, Anjo becomes the talk of the town. This makes Anjo incredibly anxious, to the point where she even begins crying at her desk, and when Yadomi notices the fact that she is crying for help in her notebook, he takes action to bring attention to himself.

Part of what makes this scene both somewhat funny as well as endearing is the legitimate expectation from Yadomi that he would be the center of attention as the kid whose never in class. This speaks both to his self-aware nature as well as identity as a recluse, an identity that is slowly changing, marked by the fact that the last time he went to school he did not even get in the door.

However, this scene also serves to highlight to other important traits about Yadomi. The first, of course, is his devotion to his dead friend and wanting to see her wish realized. The second, as contradictory as it may seem, is one that is as exclusive to Yadomi, but is nonetheless important: selfishness. As he as said from the beginning of the series, part of Yadomi wishes Menma would just disappear, so that he does not have to deal with seeing Menma continual, as she both literally and figuratively haunts him.

The Mom

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After dealing with Anjo’s school problems, she, Yadomi and Poppo decide it best to visit Menma’s parents. For a moment, at least, Yadomi hesistates, anticipating Menma’s anger at having visited her family without her knowledge, but ultimately they go anyway. The three meet with Menma’s mom, at which point she gives them Menma’s diary, making one wonder if that is where they should have gone in the first place.

Though, it makes sense, considering the situation. Again, Yadomi hesitates, and despite the fact that they could have simply read through Menma’s diary right there, and potentially found out her wish, he leaves and forces Poppo to wait.

At the same time as this is all happening, Tsurumi and Yukiatsu take the train home together, when Yukiatsu informs Tsurumi of the others’ plan to visit Menma’s house. It is at this point, while remembering the events that day, that sad, unfortunate day, that they remembered it was Menma who called the group together, to tell them about something.

Yukiatsu very clearly resents Yadomi for bringing up Menma’s memory at all, and while his obsession with dressing up with her being revealed to everyone does not seem to phase him, he is still extremely angry about the whole ordeal. The two prep school students would much rather see all of this just go away, but more and more they realize that is not going to happen.

Menma’s Character

Near the tail end of the episode, Yadomi tries to casually reveal to Menma that the gang went to go see her mom, which, as he anticipated, Menma gets extremely upset about. Though, he in turn responds with anger, not because anything she did wrong in particular, but rather because of her self-sacrificial nature. Even in death, Menma would rather her mother forget her than have her memory bring her anymore suffering.

Yadomi eventually storms out, unable to deal with the explosion of emotions, hesitating. One girl, the source of so much pain, is the key the ending it all.

Conclusion

Realizations have certainly been made. The super peace busters are going to have to be quite literal in their name, as shattering the peace with the newfound information they have come across is the only way they can finally help put their dear friend to rest.


How do you all feel about this episode? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Anohana Episode Five: The Breakdown

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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.

Distance

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.

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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.

Menma’s Wish

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.

Conclusion

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.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

AnoHana Episode Four: A Truth Revealed

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

So, remember last time when I said I mostly do not remember the series? Yeah, this episode is the one that really stuck with me, Mostly for its big reveal, but also because of the moments that lead up to it. I talked last week about how AnoHana has a lot of smaller moments that make its bigger moments feel that much more powerful, and this episode is another prime example of that. With that being said, lets get into it.

Yukiatsu’s Spell of Doubt

As the crew search for the Menma, Jintan and Anjo reflect on the fact that Jintan liked, and seemingly still likes her. This causes Anjo, who also still seemingly has a crush on Jintan, to have some mixed feelings. After a little while the crew go back to the barbeque only to find Yukiatsu cooking food. He then uses the opportunity to say that the Menma he saw wishes the group would stop obsessing over her and just move on. Jintan, knowing this isn’t true, tries to convince the group otherwise, but just ends up leaving.

The most powerful thing about this scene is just how powerless Jintan is. He knows that he has no way to prove Menma’s existence, and so its still just his word versus Yukiatsu’s, despite Menma literally being right in front of them saying otherwise.

Tsurumi’s Redemption

Tsurumi up until this point has been rather cold, except for eventually making up with Anjo in the episode prior. She also seems like the most calm of the group even when confronted with the idea that Menma’s spirit might still be out there, haunting the group. However, it has also been evident that her suspicion of Yukiatsu has been growing with each episode, which is why it makes sense that she finally helps uncover his secret.

Using Jintan and the rest of the group as bait, Tsurumi manages to lore the supposed second Menma out of hiding by having everyone meet up at the hideout once again. After another night of waiting for Menma’s spirit to appear once again, they finally manage to find her running through the woods. After catching up with the supposed second Menma, they catch her only to find out

Yukiatsu’s Secret.

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Projection (Noun): the presentation or promotion of someone or something in a particular way, the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions to another person.

Humans do not really have a lot of tools to help ourselves through emotional and mental pain, so the tools people do have are used quite often.

It takes a lot of repressed pain and suffering to go out dressed as your dead friend pretending like your not affected by her passing at all. It was definitely weird to repeatedly see Menma’s clothes in Yukiatsu’s closet up until this point, but when it was revealed for the first time that he was dressing up as Menma himself, my mind nearly collapsed from sadness. Certainly people will cope in there own ways, but it became obvious after this episode that some people confuse healing with release.

Conclusion

Next episode brings the fallout of this discovery, with all of Yukiatsu’s stored away pain to the forefront. It becomes obvious in hindsight just how much projecting and repressing he was doing while the others were trying to confront the loss of their friend, and while it may be strange reveal, it certainly makes sense considering Yukiatsu’s character.


How do you all feel about episode four? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

AnoHana Episode Three: A Turning Point

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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.

Menma’s Strength

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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.

The Barbeque

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.

Conclusion

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.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!