Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower we Saw that Day, or Ano Hana) begins with Jinta, a hikikimori and soon-to-be high school drop out, meeting the ghost of the girl he loved as a child, Menma. In a fit of youthful passion, he told her she was ugly and ran off, and she died before he could meet her again. Menma’s return leads Jinta both to reunite with his other childhood friends in their efforts to grant Menma’s wish so that she can be reincarnated, and to confront their own pasts.
Ano Hana’s greatest strength lies in its impeccable characterizations and emotionally charged script. All of the characters are both sympathetic and deeply flawed. Each of them gets their chance in the spotlight and makes strides towards overcoming their weaknesses, although no one fully resolves all their problems by the end of the story. The side characters also have a chance to shine, particularly Menma’s family. The story is quite emotional, with many tearjerk moments. Expect to cry multiple times while watching Ano Hana.
For me at least, part of the appeal of Ano Hana is the nostalgia factor. As high schoolers, Menma’s friends have a chance to return to their secret clubhouse and to trade Pokemon. I had my own trip down memory lane and returned to the secret clubhouses of my past. Mine was inside a pine tree, so I wasn’t quite as spoiled. (Back in my day, we walked ten miles to school through the snow everyday and it was uphill both ways… but I digress.) It makes for an interesting setup to see high schoolers interacting with their friend who hasn’t grown up and is still a child.
I don’t particularly have anything negative to say about Ano Hana: it perhaps didn’t have the most ambitious plot, but its superb execution and characters more than make up for this, and the simple story becomes one of its strengths, with only eleven episodes to spare. Ano Hana, for me, was the highlight of the season, and it comes highly recommended.
- Plot / Script – 9 / 10 – Moving, emotional script.
- Characters – 10/ 10 – Consistent and believable characters with depth and multiple facets, memorable interactions between them.
- Production – 9 / 10 – Above average, enabled me to become engrossed in the story but did not overshadow it.
- Overall – A-
Recommendations – Asatte no Houkou, Welcome to the NHK, Haibane Renmei
13 thoughts on “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai Review — A-”
Great review. I think you hit many of the points right on the head. The characters, story and production of Ano Hana are all remarkably well done.
My only criticism comes in the production, specifically the interaction between Memna’s ghost and the rest of the cast. For the most part, it is clear Memna isn’t real and many of her actions are either performed through Jinta or can be attributed to the wind, nature, etc. This remains consistent up until ghost Memna began writing in the diary. The screenplay suggested ghost Memna was actually doing it herself and I couldn’t find anything else in the story that indicated otherwise.
If I interpreted that scene correctly and Memna actually wrote in the diary herself, it completely changes the entire series. We go from a very moving psychological story about overcoming traumatic loss to a science fiction ghost story.
If ghost Memna is really a part of Jinta’s subconscious, then they should have left it that way. Maybe I’m just confused, but at times I don’t think the producers did a good enough job of conveying the fact that Memna doesn’t exist.
Other than that, bravo! It’s refreshing to see an anime tackle a serious topic and do it so tastefully. Personally, I wished the director pushed the edge a little more with Jinta in terms of his (lack of) mental stability. Though he come across as sympathetic, there are times when a more convincing Jinta could have evoked a more emotional response from the viewers.
I can see what you’re saying, the transition of Menma going from seeming like a figment of Jinta’s imagination to someone who can write things the others can see was a bit abrupt. I think that Menma actually did exist: I kind of just accepted this and didn’t think too much about it.
I agreed, this has a non-ambitious plot which made me love it because its simple but emotional storyline blended well together. And although it lacks budget in terms of the design, it certainly filled that spot with well-executed story and interesting characters. Overall, Ano Hana didn’t disappoint me and I’m very satisfied with how it turned out.
my favorite anime of the year, definitely!
I just found this site today out boredom and have to say this is quite an interesting blog! Although I’m not a blogger myself, I love to read other people’s opinions, such as psgels, emory anime club, and etc. even if I completely disagree with their opinions (somtimes). As reviews are completely subjective to each individual’s tastes, it can be only so objective. I usually just wish for consistency in their opinions. Somehow most of the ratings you gave is pretty much the same as mine! For example, I love Code Geass (and do not think of it as a train wreck) because of Lelouch’s intricate strategies and even the relationship between Lelouch and C.C. ALSO, the main character isn’t as retarded and naive as characters from Gundam and Guilty Crown *cough* And I dislike Death Note (and Suzaku), for the same reason as you. Bottom line…I think there are similarities in our tastes for anime, but I am absolutely not sure why you would give this anime such a high rating??? To me, this is the one of the MOST over-rated animes ever and I watched this 3 times in order to view this as objective as possible. Each time it ended with boredom and the scenarios presented are just too unrealistic, GIVEN that the premise was the anime was trying to be as realistic as possible, not like sci-fi, etc. The relationships didn’t even feel as genuine as Spice and Wolf. Definitely C+ at its best…Furthermore, WHY this over Steins Gate??? I was so disappointed when you didn’t give Steins Gate over an A- rating…even though it’s one of my favorite anime…lol, and I couldn’t analyze your thought process since your Steins Gate review was relatively short compared to others…D: I strongly urge you to rewatch Steins Gate and perhaps re-review it? I dropped that anime at least 3 times in the beginning but everything was worth it in the end, and the plot twists were just as good as Code Geass. lol…apology for a long post as im really bored right now XP
Welcome, glad to have you!
The ending of AnoHana was pretty awful, I won’t try to defend that. I did like the rest of the series though. Just a matter of differing tastes, I suppose, everyone has some differences of opinion. I used to always read psgels too, and the fact that I disagreed with him so often helped convince me to start blogging. 🙂
Stein’s Gate was great, but the main reason I gave it a lower rating was the middle episodes when Okabe adds each of the girls to his harem. I started to lose interest there. The end and beginning were certainly A-/A material though. The plot twists were excellent, as you say, but somehow they just didn’t leave me jumping up and down in excitement like Code Geass did.
I grew up a fan of The Little Rascals shorts, the Fat Albert and The Get Along Gang cartoons which were shows with a large ensemble cast of kids in a club and the interaction among various character types (the charismatic leader, a spirited girl, a nerd, a resident troublemaker, etc) was fun and identifiable. Ano Hana was a wonderful twist on the concept with the mix of tragedy, humor, and warmth in a reunion of a club of friends…minus one.