Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day) or for short AnoHana (That flower over there) is anime which saved this year’s spring season of anime not only on noitaminA but on all Japan’s TVs anime blocks. It gave me the hope that there are people who can still make great new and original animations. It was produced by A-1 Pictures and directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai.
The gang (lower right corner photo): Tsuruko, Yukiatsu, Menma, Jintan, Anaru, Poppo.
The plot introduces Yadomi “Jintan” Jinta and his childhood friends (Honma “Menma” Meiko, Anjō “Anaru” Naruko, Matsuyuki “Yukiatsu” Atsumu, Tsurumi “Tsuruko” Chiriko, and Hisakawa “Poppo” Tetsudō) now attending different high schools who try to fulfil Menma’s wish. Of course as always there are some complications. First, Menma is a ghost and only Jintan is able to see her. Second, she really doesn’t remember what her wish was. Third, who would believe you that you see ghost of a deceased friend? Fourth and last, Jintan became a hikikomori (a person who has withdrawn from society) due to Menma dying during one of their plays, Anaru (boy I love her nickname) joined the same high school as Jintan, Yukiatsu and Tsuruko are attending an elite high school and Poppo is nowhere to be found. Their group known as “Super Peace Busters” fell apart just like it can be observed in real-life how people sever their contacts after graduating from school. Although the plot is not very complex it is not shallow and stupid. Characters are full-blooded, different from one another and are devoid of unnaturalness. I enjoyed watching interactions between them. Each of the friends carry heavy burden of which we eventually learn. I won’t spoil you the show but there are some great scenes in it which I re-watched many times and I’m planning to watch the whole show once more in a marathon.
Spy vision ON!
Voice actors have done their jobs magnificently. In long time I haven’t heard so much emotion in speech. Each of them played role allowing the portrayal of characters to be full-blooded. Many of them are very young but some already made great appearance in other animations like Jintan’s VA Irino Miyu who played Haku in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, or Haraku Tomatsu (Anaru) as Ringo in Air Gear: Kuro no Hane to Nemuri no Mori. I think powerful drama shows like AnoHana allow voice actors to improve their skills or if they already have the experience to display those to the audition delight. Animation is of top quality and by that I mean it is comparable to that of movies. Some scenes have even better animation e.g. launching the rocket. But there are examples of using cheap still frames. There are two music pieces. Aoi Shiori (Blue Bookmark) by Galileo Galilei for the opening sequence and Secret Base ~Kimi ga Kureta Mono~ (10 years after Ver.) (The Thing you Gave Me) for the ending sequence. In addition, the ending was performed by the three voice actress playing the role of Menma, Anaru and Tsuruko and it is a cover of Zone song. The opening song is nice and cheerful. The ending fits perfectly for each episode ending and can’t imagine any other music piece but this.
This show as I mentioned before saved the spring season of new anime. AnoHana is only eleven episodes long. But for being a short anime it achieved success that some other shows aren’t able to. AnoHana is a great drama and tearjerker; it almost made me cry which is very hard to do. It sometimes contains more sadness than the whole Wolf’s Rain series (but it is not concentrated in the last few episodes). Of course there are some comedic scenes to balance out the drama ones. AnoHana demonstrates the idea of friendship and love in a way that’s somehow original not pompous and not too dramatic and sad. Even watching the finale I wasn’t sure how it will end. Will it be a happy ending or not? One word: bittersweet. This word describes not only the ending but the whole show as such. I can gladly recommend AnoHana for watching.
These are not the flowers you're looking for
Final Score: 8.5/10