Ano Hana Episode 9
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.
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Very Quick Episode Summary: Menma makes her presence known to everyone through physical actions. The group finally receives the go-ahead to construct their memorial firework, but there is still tension between various individuals. Atsumu is angrily jealous that only Jinta can see Menma (still), and Naruko feels inadequate in comparison. And as Jinta confronts the idea of putting Menma’s ghost “at peace”, he confesses he doesn’t want her to leave.
My Impressions: I’m back after a few weeks away from reviews. And now, on with the show!
Okay, I will admit that I was royally pissed at the latest turn of events. My understanding was that the ambiguity of Menma’s existence was integral to the whole story itself — the fact that *only* Jinta could see and sense her while he did his best to get everyone else to go along with his ideas without an substantive proof was important to the whole narrative. Up until now, every instance of Menma’s “interference” or existence to anyone else other than Jinta could be explained away somehow and clearly unprovable. Until now.
The very end of the last episode and the beginning of this episode puts that question to rest as she clearly goes all poltergeist on the group. Jinta remains the only one who can “fully” see and and hear her — but now she’s moving around objects, writing, and even cooking (badly) for crissakes. In my mind, one of the pillars that had supported the entire series had been knocked out.
But then, as this episode progressed, I realized that I had it all wrong. The whole “is she real/isn’t she real” question had actually been holding back development of the series, and the characters themselves until now. With *that* out of the way, suddenly some of the underlying tensions within the group suddenly came rushing to the forefront. Atsumu’s continuing jealousy of Jinta jumps back into high gear. Similarly, Naruko’s feelings of inadequacy (in comparison to Menma) are amplified. And let’s not forget Chiriko, pining after Atsumu while he hits upon Naruko.
With the question of Menma’s existence out of the way, the other problems between the characters are finally allowed to rise from a slow simmer to a full boil. It’s not like these problems were not evident in earlier episodes, but they were so fully overshadowed by the ‘Menma question’ that they were not allowed to be resolved in any way whatsoever.
And then there’s Jinta — finally admitting to himself that he has become dependent on Memna and cannot bear the thought of her leaving. All this time he’s been working to let her spirit move on, but even as he has been working towards that goal he finds the idea of her leaving unthinkable. Not so much because he doesn’t want to help Menma, but because he cannot imagine himself moving forward past this roadblock that has defined the last decade of his life. And that, ultimately, was the real conflict that needs to be resolved in this series in the first place.
- My earlier reviews:
- Info resources:
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “Ah, it’s almost a shame that there are just two episodes left, but that’s the strength of a good Noitamina-series: they’re short, but really, really sweet. This episode was the calm before the storm: preparing everything for that finale, and it’s promising to become an awesome one that is going to involve every single character significantly.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “Her “final wish” , which I suspect hasn’t been revealed yet, itself might actually be kind of unimportant. Rather, what is important is how Menma and the rest of the group get on genuinely good terms with each other before they part ways. The wish itself may play a role in how they come to terms with their feelings, and once they feel they can let Menma go with no regrets, I feel the series will finally come to a true conclusion.” – Emory Anime Club
- “I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels Menma’s sudden pseudo-corporeal status feels a bit odd. I harped on this last week, so I’m not going to do fall on the sword about it again this week, but Menma’s “reveal” to everyone in their group really throws a wrench into the tone of the story. It’s a credit to the quality of the other characters, Yukiatsu and Anaru particularly, that the story hasn’t been completely overshadowed by Menma’s in-your-face radness.” – Rabbit Poets