AnoHana – 03 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 29 Apr 2011 – A step backwards and a few forward for Jinta week, as he can’t quite make it to school, but is at least out in the world, talking to people besides Menma. Most importantly, the entire crew is reunited thanks to a proactive Poppo, who organizes a barbeque with the theme of searching for Menma, the ghost of whom he saw while taking a piss. It’s inevitable that among these six friends, people will start picking favorites. But we’re having a hard time, as they’re all really complex and full of subtle emotions and mannerisms.

We will say we’re leaning towards Anaru as our early favorite. Her tiny smile when she spots Jinta in his school uniform is great, but she can’t quite fight off her “friends” whose taunting scares Jinta off. This frustrated us to no end, as did Jinta’s turning tail when he saw Anaru on the way to the barbeque. While that latter attempt fails, it exhibited that he’s still a little uncomfortable interacting with other people. His walk to school muttering to himself is another example.

But baudy Poppo, who won’t take no for an answer and has a nice backpacker zen vibe going on, isn’t the only architect of the reunion. It’s Menma. Either spotting her ghost or having her occupy their thoughts, she’s the key. We’re glad the group is (tentatively) back together again and can talk to each other casually, especially with so few episodes to work with. The series is still moving at a good pace, and yet isn’t feeling rushed.

Rating: 8