In an unexpected twist, it turns out that Menma’s wish was to make Jinta cry. I didn’t see that one coming. What a mean bully! (she’s so cute though, so we’ll forgive her!)
This last episode wasn’t quite as strong as the previous one, but that’s a difficult standard to match. It was a good conclusion, which managed to wrap everything up nicely. My only quibble is that it was a bit too head-on. For a series which has been strong at the interactions and gradual growth of relationships between characters, this episode wasn’t the most subtle. There was also a bit too much wailing and bawling for me. Still, overall a superb episode.
Most of the crying did pay off, as all of the characters managed to reconcile and become friends once again. One of the parts I enjoyed most was observing the renewed friendship between Jinta and Yukiatsu. Yukiatsu confessed his jealousy of Jinta, Jinta confessed his wanting to keep Menma to himself, and Yukiatsu called Jinta the leader once again. It’s somewhat surprising in retrospect that Yukiatsu managed to be both a crazy crossdresser and one of the most sympathetic characters.
The creators also did a nice job of brining the high tension down a few times during the episode. Jinta commenting on Anaru’s double eyelash was so out of place I couldn’t help but laugh, and I found what turned out to be Menma’s wish hilarious. The wish was a great fit though, and tied everything together: Menma, Jinta’s mother, and Jinta’s own growth. I suppose it could also explain why Menma could only speak with Jinta, although I don’t think any explanation is necessary. Menma’s cards were also quite touching, especially the one for Jinta.
Ano Hana ended up being a worthy successor for Hourou Musuko’s noitaminA timeslot. It’s been one of my favorite show of the season, along with Hyouge Mono. Next season the timeslot will be hosting shows from Bones and Production IG, so I have high hopes.