Jinta Yadomi is peacefully living as a recluse, spending his days away from school and playing video games at home instead. One hot summer day, his childhood friend, Meiko “Menma” Honma, appears and pesters him to grant a forgotten wish. He pays her no mind, which annoys her, but he doesn’t really care. After all, Menma already died years ago.
At first, Jinta thinks that he is merely hallucinating due to the summer heat, but he is later on convinced that what he sees truly is the ghost of Menma. Jinta and his group of childhood friends grew apart after her untimely death, but they are drawn together once more as they try to lay Menma’s spirit to rest. Re-living their pain and guilt, will they be able to find the strength to help not only Menma move on—but themselves as well?
At this point, I think everyone has seen Anohana on the top of the sad anime starter pack lists. I will start with this, tragedies aren’t my thing. Tragedies happening because of a certain goal? Sure. But an anime all about the death of a single person or about a person who is inevitably about to die? No, Thank You.
Yet, Anohana came so highly recommended, especially when it was by a close buddy of mine, I felt I should at least try it.
Anime’s like this are character driven more than anything. So, I think it is safe to say for someone to feel connected to this anime, to actually produce the tears that was kept in mind while creating it, one needs good characters. Characters the audience can connect to and they might not understand them, but can empathize with.
For a series that’s definitely dependent on its characters, Anohana lacked character development to a huge degree. By the time we made some progress even with one of the characters, their actions and sometimes disgusting behavior had already left a bitter taste in my mouth. The main character- Menma- the person around whom the story revolves, can be excused from this, since she might be roaming around in the body of an adult(a thing that is never explained) but mentally she never got the chance to grow up.
It doesn’t excuse the other characters and their significant failure at learning to grow up. I could sum up all the characters in one word- sad. They are gloomy, and have stopped living since the day Menma died, coupled with a few character traits to set them apart. Honestly, if it weren’t for those one or two traits, they would all have been the same person at their core, incredibly sad people.
It was only at the end, that I managed to feel something, and the last episode actually made me cry but it was more because of the act of parting from your loved ones than any actual empathy for the characters.
Anohana does have a beautiful sound track and animation though, but anything other than that wasn’t really enjoyable for me. There is the issue of too many plot holes too.
Maybe it’s the type of story that suits other people, people who are more sympathetic than me, but Anohana just wasn’t for me and if it wasn’t for the last episode, I would have absolutely hated it.