The Story of Ano Hana
Ten years ago, Meiko “Menma” Honma, died in an accident. Her childhood friends have all since drifted apart from the group they once were. In fact, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi (aka Jintan) has stopped going to school and become a freaking recluse. One day, something pretty odd happens—Menma shows up in his house. She shows up as if she never died as if she’s been aging just like the rest of them throughout the years, and she says that she can’t go away until she has a wish granted.
She doesn’t know what that wish is. Jintan ends up getting everyone together again (not exactly intentionally) and after he finally gets them to believe she’s there, they have to figure out what her wish is so they can grant it. And send her on to have some peace.
Oh, I’m crying already. Have been since the first paragraph of this section. Just so y’all know.
The Characters Ano Hana
I think this may be one of my all-time favorite anime casts. You take this group of teenagers who used to be BFFs until one accident happened and ruined everything. You think, “Okay, it’s been ten years, and they were so small when it happened that they’re probably over it”. Then they show up on the screen and you see how much Menma’s death completely screwed every single one of them up.
You’ve got Jintan, who, as I said, turned into a recluse. He doesn’t leave the house to do anything until he’s finally convinced that he has to make money for helping with Menma’s wish, so he goes out and gets a part-time job. You’ve got Anaru, who seems more or less all right, but she gets angry with Jintan for being a recluse, and I can’t say her other issue without spoiling stuff from later episodes. You have Poppo, who hides his sorrow by acting like he never grew up. Yukiatsu…well. I’m not spoiling that one. Tsuruko spends half her time trying to handle Yukiatsu. It’s not a pretty picture, but it is tremendously heartbreaking.
The only exception? Menma. She may be dead (and know it) but she’s so…happy. She loves that she can be around her friends again. She loves watching them try to grant her wish. She loves how they’re all coming together for her and she just freaking LOVES every single one of them.
It was beautiful watching all of these people join up for the sake of their lost friend. One of the most beautiful things I’ll ever see.
This is the most heart-wrenching anime I have ever seen. Or will ever see. I used to think nothing could ever be worse than AIR, which made me cry like a baby in the final episode. Heck, I still can’t think of that series without automatically going “Misuzuuuuuuuuuuuu”.
Then…Ano Hana happened. I cried in every single freaking episode. I spent the last episode so enveloped in tears I can’t even tell you. I went clicking through the episodes to get screenshots and when I got to the last one I ended up watching it over again and crying just as hard as the first time. I could barely see through my tears, both times. A friend told me she went through half a brand new box of tissues when she watched the finale.
Whenever we’re addressing how sad something is, we ask about it on “a scale of one to Ano Hana”.
I am unable to listen to this song without crying. It’s even worse when I try singing along to it.
The conclusion is…freaking watch Ano Hana. If you like things that break your heart, go watch it. It was by FAR the best anime of spring. Granted, it wasn’t exciting. If you’re looking for the typical kind of enjoyable (you know, the stuff that ends up on Adult Swim), Ano Hana is not what you want.
In my opinion, though, Ano Hana is exactly what everyone should want. It’s beautiful, the characters are precious, the music is really freaking pretty (all of it) and I can’t…fathom someone not enjoying it.
And the ending might well destroy you the way it destroyed me. You might end up being haunted by the line “I love you like I want to marry you”…I know I am.
My rating for Ano Hana
10/10. Go watch it as soon as you are done reading this review.
|Reviewed by||Arianna sterling|