Category Archives: Ano Hana

Ano Hana 06 — Booty Calls and Nosebleeds

This was another emotional episode of Ano Hana. Everyone is having difficulties and working to overcome them. Anjou is facing rumors at school that she’s a prostitute, Jinta works up to courage to go to school, only to defend Anjou and run away, and Menma is worried about her mother. Poppo seems lonely, Tsurumi faces jealousy at school because of her relationship with Matsuyuki, and Matsuyuki is still trying to get over the past. I particularly enjoy how Ano Hana presents all these issues at once: we don’t have one episode focusing on Anjou, one on Tsurumi, etc., but all their problems are intertwed. Jinta, in overcoming his own fear of school helps Anjou face the rumors

My favorite scene in this episode was when Menma was crying and telling Jinta not to see her mom, and then Jinta got a nosebleed. It just seemed like a perfect release for all that built-up steam. It was anti-climatic and completely unexpected, and served to show the turbulence and uncertainty behind both Jinta and Menma’s feelings. Menma is yelling at Jinta, but then she immediately forgets about it and starts stuffing him with tissues when his nose starts bleeding. It also serves as a reminder that she’s still a child. And Jinta likewise goes from angry at Menma, to surprised his nose is bleeding, to blushing and running away when she jumps on top of him. The return of his nosebleed when he saw Anjou again was a nice touch too.

Ano Hana 05 — As Tears Go By

Lots of crying this episode. I wouldn’t say it was over the top though, they were certainly appropriate times to cry, aside from Menma’s fit at the end.  She’s a little kid though so we can forgive her. Matsuyuki’s tears were tears of MANLINESS that only someone wearing a dress can shed, so that’s all good. And Anaru almost got raped so getting teary-eyed is ok.

I really liked how they dealt with Matsuyuki’s cross-dressing in this episode. In most other shows everyone would be making fun of the guy who cross-dressed. But aside from the intial shock, his friends are actually really supportive. Anaru calls him a cross-dresser and runs away from him, but you can tell her heart isn’t in it. And Matsuyuki’s relationship with Jinta has actually improved from revealing his hobby. This is really the reaction that makes the most sense, and it’s nice to have such reasonable and accepting characters.

As for Anaru, she really needs to ditch those “friends” of hers. Talk about bitches. I didn’t think anyone played the “maybe we shouldn’t be friends with you” game after elementary school. Tsurumi’s observation about both Anaru and Matsuyuki needing to change clothes was spot on. I’m really looking forward to the episodes featuring Tsurumi. Hopefully they’ll let her become something more than just the smart person. Same thing goes for Hisakawa except without being smart.

The extra segment from the past was not what I was expecting. A love quadrangle among eight year olds. I have difficulty imagining children of that age falling in love, much less feeling the same way more than five years later. Perhaps this is more reflective of me than the anime. But regardless, the future flashbacks are going to need more temporal variety. I feel that they need to look at more than the day of Menma’s death to fully flesh out the characters’ past relationships.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai 04 — Crossdressing

Another excellent episode of Ano Hana. I appreciate series that mange to intersperse serious moments with comedy, and this show is doing quite well at it. The first meeting at the clubhouse was a good example of this: as everyone is searching for Menma and there’s tension over whether they believe each other or not, Menma is also searching for herself and disappointed not to find her. The way the show handled Jinta’s seeing ghosts was excellent as well: usually in this situation the person who sees the ghost would try to make everyone else believe it’s real, but here, Jinta is much more reasonable and instead doubts whether Menma exists himself.

Both Tsurumi and Matsuyuki, who had been sidelined up to this point, begin to develop and become strong characters in this episode. The best description of Tsurumi is probably Hisakawa’s “mysterious girl”, although you can tell that she is worried about Matsuyuki. She didn’t seem too concerned about Jinta seeing ghosts, but now that I think about it, that’s probably because of Matsuyuki’s hobby. The only part that she didn’t believe from his story was that Menma made the cookies, not that he saw Menma.

Crossdressers tend to be overused in anime, but Matsuyuki is one of the few portrayals (along with the characters of Hourou Musuko) that I can actually buy. The thing is that Matsuyuki isn’t a crossdresser in general, he is Menma. He has (I presume) a longing for Menma, not a desire to wear female clothes. That kind of desire is much more compelling than a desire to go to a girl’s school or the far more common lack of any reason whatsoever.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai 03 — Ghost Hunt

In this episode, everyone meets up for a barbecue to search for Menma’s ghost (including Menma).

We had some nice development between Jinta and Menma as Jinta tries to go to school to make Menma happy. Menma has disocvered the secret to get Jinta to do anything for her, by musing that maybe it was her wish. Let’s see how long he lets her keep that one up. Menma also tries to make food for him, proving that ghosts can interact with the physical world. And what’s up with the multiple Menmas?

The scene where Jinta attempted to go to school was probably the high point of the episode for me. Anjou’s friends really are jerks, and this part made Tsurumi’s criticisms seem much more valid. I can even kind of sympathize with Jinta running away too (well, I wouldn’t run away, I would probably punch them in the face, but still, the same general feeling is behind it).

I like Tsurumi so far, but I’m fairly certain the creators are holding a lot back about her for later. The same is true of Matsuyuki, and it seems that the next episode will be dedicated to him. He seems to be hiding something in his closet, and I really hope it’s not what I think it is. If Matsuyuki used to be in love with Menma and is hiding her old clothes in his closet, I’m going to be annoyed.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai 02 — Nokemon

So far, Ano Hana is my favorite show of the spring season. I think it’s something everyone can relate to— growing up and changing. The friends you once had as a child you grow apart from. The audacity of trying to bring your childhood friends back together makes for some interesting chemistry.

I really like the characters for both Anjou and Hisakawa. Hisakawa is just plain awesome, quitting school to fulfill his dream of traveling the world, believing in the ghost stories of his friend he hasn’t seen since they were children, and asking a girl to play Pokemon with him.

Anjou is leading a double life, which I really appreciate if the creators can pull it off convincingly. On one side, she hangs out with the “slutty girls” as Tsurumi calls them. But then she also works at a video game store, carefully organizes everything she owns in bins, has a crush on a guy who doesn’t go to school, and is happy to spend an afternoon playing Pokemon.  I think most people have multiple “personalities” of sorts to fit the occasion (at least I do) but most stories will simplify people into having a single face.  Anjou’s also a tsundere of sorts, but to an extent that’s believable in an actual person— getting mad at Jinta for not going to school and generally being an idiot, and turning bright red when they brush elbows. So she isn’t a Taiga or Louise, but has her moments.

The Nokemon certainly brought back some memories as well. It makes me feel old when she said that the Gold version was ancient. I had Blue and then Yellow, and was beginning to grow  out of it find other interests as Silver was coming out…