AnoHana – 01 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 15 April 2011 – With yet another gorgeous, well-made series with a immediately appealing cast, this is shaping up to be a great Spring 2011 season. The only glaring flaw in Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai so far is that it has that obnoxiously long title…and everyone has an ordinary name and a nickname we need to remember. Everything else is solid.

“Jintan” used to be the “leader” of his group of six friends. Then one of them – “Menma”, a frail-looking girl with silver hair – died. With that hole in their collective hearts, they drifted apart. Now high school age, Jintan is a shut-in with social anxiety, and the only one who sees the “ghost” of Menma. He’s having trouble growing up, especially when she’s always whining and hanging off him.

The reason for his trauma is, he felt he wounded her deeply the last time he saw her, and never got the chance to apologize. She was also someone he was in love with, so her loss is something he hasn’t been able to recover from. His friends, while more mature on the surface, nevertheless still share his grief of losing Menma, in their own way.

These six characters are pretty diverse, and even though they’ve just been introduced, I’m already rooting for Jintan to re-unite the group. You want to hope their dormant friendships could weather the storm of – well, life – and all gain strength from the reunion. It doesn’t seem right that they’re apart and cool towards one another right now. And it certainly isn’t what Menma would have wanted.

Rating: 9 (Superior)