The spring season’s anime offerings were promising, but none as promising as AnoHana. The first episode was possibly one of the strongest ones I’ve seen in a while and the premise itself was simple but fascinating. A young girl named Menma passes away due to an unfortunate accident. Ten years later, she appeears in front of her childhood friend Jinta as an older version of herself. It seems she wants him to grant her wish but she doesn’t exactly remember what it is.
Even before the show aired, the promotional art and teasers pulled me in. I just knew it had to be good, and I was right. By the time it started airing, AnoHana rose to expectations. The story and the characters have a universal appeal. It’s easy to relate to and the characters themselves represent personalities that many of us are familiar with, almost as if they’ve been lifted directly from the pages of your teenage life.
The show did well enough to portray these characters and the emotions they go through. The vivid animation adds a lot to the drama, it really pays off when a heavily dramatic scene comes up.
I have one major qualm about it though. The second half isn’t as powerful as the first half. Most of the build up doesn’t quite pay off and many of the side characters are later ignored in favor of developing Menma and Jinta’s relationship. It’s just a shame that AnoHana slowly stepped away from the chance of challenging it’s viewers and opted to dawdle on a painfully awkward romance. I enjoy romance but neither Jinta or Menma are as engaging as the rest of the cast. Jinta stops giving a damn about his friends and his descent from leader to a social recluse isn’t expounded on. Menma on the other hand, has the mentality of a seven year old girl and her personality stays that way right up until the very end. She does grow, but the changes are so minimal you can hardly appreciate it.
Another thing that bothers me about the second half is the heavy handed execution. The show lost it’s subtlety and that inevitably led to some forced drama. I won’t deny that this is probably just a personal preference but this really made me enjoy AnoHana less. I don’t need to be persistently hammered by sad moments.
That doesn’t stop me from recommending it though. I know I already said this in my last post, but AnoHana can appeal to a wide range of people and there are a lot of genuinely heart wrenching and touching moments that can keep you hooked.
Overall score: 7.83/10