Anime of Tomorrow
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (last thoughts)
Final impression – stretched 7/10
Spring 2011 (Alternate titles – Ano Hana – We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day)
Jinta, a high school dropout, is being visited by the ghost of his childhood friend, Menma. At first, all of Jinta and Menma’s childhood friends think he’s just still obsessing over losing her all those years ago. But little by little, they realize that Jinta’s loss was their loss, too. As they finally begin to come to grips with the reality of their traumatic childhood, the friendships they left behind several years ago are renewed. But through all of this camaraderie and healing, Menma remains invisible to everyone but Jinta. It’s not understood why he’s the only one who can see her, but it is clear that the reason she has returned is because she has some unfinished business that needs to be taken care of.
For me, Ano Hana just has a feeling of having way too much content that doesn’t move the plot forward. Admittedly, that feeling is probably unavoidable because it’s necessary to develop the characters and their backstories to make their actions and opinions understandable. But unavoidable or not, the fact remains that Ano Hana leaves the impression of being artificially lengthened, which is weird because it’s short to begin with. This feeling is especially strong as the anime concludes because everyone starts spilling all their pent up emotions in the space of only a few episodes. But again, this is another facet that feels naturally understandable and unavoidable, so I feel a little bad complaining about it. All things considered, while the ending is certainly heartwarming, it’s predictable and anticlimactic.