Studio: A-1 Pictures
Publisher: Media Factory
Genre: Drama, Romance, Supernatural, Tragedy
Release: S1 (2011), Movie (2013)
Ask any anime fan to recommend you a tear-jerking piece, and Ano Hana would almost always be mentioned. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, which translates to “We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day”, pretty much lives up to its hype of making people cry via tons of feels. That, and it also has one of the longest titles I’ve come across. Here’s the gist!
Plot: Jinta Yadomi, a reclusive high school student on the verge of dropping out, starts hallucinating his dead childhood friend Menma and considers it a mental ailment due to stress and the summer heat. Unable to ignore her any longer, he decides to humor his ‘stress’. On the first episode, they would incidentally meet their other childhood friends who’ve already gone their separate ways Anaru, Yukiatsu, Tsuruko and Poppo while walking around town. Jintan tells Menma how they have drifted apart and changed after the years, and are now indifferent with each other.
Menma claims she appeared because she wants a wish to be granted, but doesn’t have any idea what it is– only that the five of them must be present for it to be fulfilled. Jintan, remembering his childhood memories having no closure at all, decides to bring back their group together and make Menma’s wish come true.
Their group as children, the so-called Super Peace Busters, were loaded with fun, games and adventures just like any other bunch of youngsters full of life and enthusiasm. But those days came to an end after the tragedy that befell Menma– a terrible accident caused by the group, or so they believe. After that they stopped hanging out in their ‘secret base’, and eventually went on with their lives separately.
Seeing the Super Peace Busters confident and mature in their present age makes you think they’ve moved on, but it’s quite the opposite. Each character’s undisclosed feelings, thoughts and guilt would slowly surface as the story progresses. Just mentioning Menma’s name to any of them would already trigger an awkward stutter which would indicate that the event years ago still haunts them in their sleep. Blame games and self-loathing would usually follow.
And now that an older Menma has appeared, we ask: what is Menma’s wish and how will they be able to fulfill it? Is her spirit really there in the first place, or is it just Jintan’s delusion? They don’t know it, but time has stopped for them ever since. How will they be able to overcome their subconscious self-hatred and continue their lives without regret?
Watching Ano Hana made me a bit nostalgic about my own childhood, as I somehow can relate (except for the someone dying part of course). There were seven of us in our little village, always hanging out in the afternoon and playing games. Similar to the Super Peace Busters, we also had a secret base. It was fun while it lasted. Then time flew by, we grew up and we almost never see each other anymore, even though we’re just houses apart. Life goes on, eh? Anyway! If you’re feeling less human lately and want some feels to soften you down, then this is a recommend!