Ano Hana Episode 3
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, a.k.a. “We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day”, shortened “AnoHana”, is a weekly anime television series started in April 2011. This is an original series, the latest in the Fuji TV Noitamina time-slot. Ten years after the death of a childhood friend, Menma, everyone seems to have moved on with their lives, except Jinta. When Menma’s ghost suddenly appears, Jinta must confront both his past and present life.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
ep. tl;dr review: More indecision and angst from Jinta and friends as they all gather for the first time in years; Sure, it’s an overwrought drama, but it’s done *well*.
Episode Summary: His conscience bothering him after promising Naruko he would return to school, Jinta attempts to go to class, only to turn around halfway after being teased. Instead, he visits Tetsudou, who claims to have seen Menma. The next day, Tetsudou throws a “Menma Search Party” and barbeque, and invites all of the old group together. Much to Jinta’s surprise, Chiriko shows up, which leads to some awkward moments with Naruko; but even more surprising is when Atsumu makes an appearance, and also claims to have seen Menma.
My Impressions: Uh, hooray for painfully overwrought dramas that are designed to elicit tears? Well, if it is a painfully overwrought drama that is done really well…then yes.
Far too often a show (anime or not) takes the tearjerker route and ends up just being all fake and corny, playing on the emotions so heavily that it just becomes tiresome. Gratefully, Ano Hana seems to be avoiding that fate, moderating how much it pulls on the heartstrings just enough to manage to feel real and honest.
One of the trends that I have started to notice in many shows that I like, both currently and in the past, is the sense of how real the characters are. You could pull out just about everyone in this show, plop them down in real life, and not bat an eye — compared to so many shows where the characters are nothing more than overplayed stereotypes that are picked out from the casting closet of anime cliches. It’s pretty easy to imagine a Jinta as a fellow classmate, or Naruko as the insecure girl next door, much in the same way you could imagine meeting the real-world cast of Hourou Musuko, or Hanasaku Iroha, or Haibane Renmei, or Toradora, for example.
And it is the characters themselves that continue to be the draw in Ano Hana, with Menma the Ghost nothing more than a plot device to get them all together to face their own shortcomings. Each of the five estranged former friends are suffering under their own version of survivor’s guilt, each one suffering with their own major flaws they must come to understand and overcome. Jinta’s deep psychological wound is only the most obvious, but it has also become clear that Naruko certainly is a bundle of anxieties as well. We haven’t seen much of Chiriko and Atsumu yet, but Chiriko’s icy exterior is definitely masking her true feelings, and Atsumu is coming of as creepy as fuck (I fear that the predictions in other blogs of his crossdressing and the sudden appearance of a “ghost” make sense, and inwardly cringe at what may revealed in the next episode). So far the only one that seems immune to their own bouts of heavy navel-gazing is the man-child Tetsudou/Poppo, unless you consider being stuck in a perpetual childhood of irresponsibility the fault itself. In any case, now that the “gang” has been reunited, it’s time to let the fireworks begin, both physically and metaphorically.
- My earlier reviews: Episode 1 (June 2nd) and Episode 2 (September 9th)
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- If you like this, then you might also like: Clannad (or so other people say), but I think I would recommend Colorful the Movie.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “Ahhhh but seeing how cozy and lovely it’s been so far, there’s also a high chance that Ano Hana is exactly what we thought it was at face value. A lovely, dramatized, slice-of-life with excellent characters and strong emotional content. Which I’m fine with too! Still, I’ve heard rumblings from others that Ano Hana lacks a certain something that can bring it to the next level.” – Sekijitsu
- “It’s been a long, long while since I watched a series that made me teary-eyed on such a consistent basis as Anohana. It’s got the most amazing cast of characters that consistently try to develop each other. These people feel real and the acting is absolutely amazing. I mean, even Hourou Musuko needed a number of episodes to get going!” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “It’s always a funny surprise to see a plot device be acknowledged by the show, considering that Jinta remarks to Menma that using wishes as motivation is starting to feel like an excuse. It doesn’t really matter though, as the reason is not so clear cut this time around. Besides, Poppo’s the real plot driver here.” – Random Curiosity
- “This episode worked surprisingly well on hinting at some of the very human flaws and mistakes we tend to make in our lifetimes…Sometimes we just don’t understand the weight of the things we choose to do and the things we choose not to do. AnoHana continues to give its characters multiple layers to them and it’s fascinating to watch. ” – Hachimitsu Anime Blog
- “Episode one and the first half of episode two were just so great. The drama felt real, the characters felt real, everything just felt so real. I seriously thought it was setting up to be an incredible tear jerker, but the last episode and a half is beginning to prove me wrong. I really hope the drama kicks back in.” – Starlight Promise
ROUND THREE RESULTS FOR SPRING 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round Three: Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland, Hanasaku Iroha, Ano Hana
Thumbs-down for Round Three: Moshidora
Coming up next (in this order): Tiger and Bunny, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Nichijou, Yondemasuyo Azazel-san, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, X-Men, Blue Exorcist, Kaiji Season 2, Hyouge Mono