AnoHana 8

Everyone feels their share of guilt over Menma’s death, from the surviving Peace Busters to her mother. It seemed, in the beginning, that all her friends had gotten over her and moved on except Jinta. But one by one, we learn that everyone has unresolved guilt and pain within them; Jinta, being haunted by Menma, brought them back together and brought those emotions back to the surface. So the question now is, what to do with them?

Anjou is distressed by how hard Jinta is working, or punishing himself, for Menma’s sake. She also confesses to him that she was glad and relieved when he said he didn’t like Menma way back then at the secret base, and never got over her guilt for feeling that. She lays it all out for Jinta, but all he can do is walk away; no matter what anyone says, he can’t forget about someone who he can still see, hear, and touch. You can’t help but feel bad for Anjou either, though.

When everyone visits Menma’s mother, she accuses them of only wanting to have fun, and curses them for being allowed to grow up and live out their lives while Menma can’t. She’s haunted by her daughter’s memory, but not her person, so she has even fewer answers – and hence more despair – than anyone else. It outlines the “competition” (for lack of a better word) between Menma’s friends’ pain and that of the woman who gave birth to her. She may see exuberance and life in Menma’s grown friends, but she doesn’t know what we know about what they feel beneath their exteriors.

When Jinta goes to apologize to Anjou, everyone else is there, and a sort of invervention occurs, with only Poppo on his side. Just as Yukiatsu is about to slug him, Menma makes her presence known to everyone for the first time by writing in her diary and dropping it. This is a huge development, though it may not assuage the skeptics among Jinta’s friends. But it’s clear one thing Menma wishes above all is for everyone to be friends and not fight.

One other character I’ve neglected until now is the force of Jinta’s dad: this guy lost his beautiful wife, but he carries on, in a way Jinta hasn’t figured out how to do. He’s also the best kind of dad; one who isn’t as concerned with his son following the rules as much as following his heart and his own path in life. Rating: 4

Advertisements

AnoHana 3

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 I’m having a hard time, as they’re all really complex and full of subtle emotions and mannerisms.

I will say I’m leaning towards Anaru as my 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 me 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. I’m glad the group is back together again and can talk to each other casually, especially when there are only eight episodes left. The series is still moving at a good pace, and yet isn’t feeling rushed. Rating: 4