Do you enjoy emotional anime where characters have to overcome the trials that life throws at them, ultimately becoming better people from the experience?
Then don’t watch this.
AnoHana (of which the full title seems to have no relevance to the story) starts off promisingly enough – we are introduced to two characters, Jinta and Menma, the latter of which turns out to be a girl who passed away ten years prior and is visible only to Jinta due to some supernatural phenomenon. The story follows them as Jinta meets up with his old friends who have all suffered to some extent as a result of Menma’s death.
In its presentation of the main cast and typical slice-of-lifeness, AnoHana is enjoyable enough.
However, shortly after the full cast has been introduced, everything turns sharply downhill. Rather than telling a story of a group of friends overcoming past trauma (the death of Menma), we get what should have been titled “Crying: The Animation.”
While characters crying on screen is not necessarily the main problem, the issue is that everything going on for them is completely unrelatable – unless you happened to lose a friend as a child and not be able to get over it for ten years for some reason. Two of the characters even say that their feelings for Menma (when they 5-7 years old, mind you) have not changed, even though they are now in high school. What. It’s quite baffling why they would even care so much about her in the first place seeing that it was shown that she was nothing but an airhead. While the story seems like it should focus on the characters who are alive, the majority of the anime is spent trying to prove Menma’s current existence and fulfill her wish – a wish that is unknown to all of the characters, including Menma, thus leading into many irrelevant tasks that accomplish nothing of value. Without spoiling it, the wish turns out to be the cheesiest thing I have ever seen.
The characters themselves are thoroughly uninteresting, and a lot of the time are downright irritating to watch. Rather than moving on, the characters whine and cry about their problems, and even by the end none of them have really changed significantly.
Visually, the anime is fine, with distinct main characters, good use of color, and nice backgrounds. Animation was not amazing (although it doesn’t really need to be), but definitely good.
All in all, the greatest flaw in AnoHana is how completely unrelatable the death of Menma was to them. If the anime was in two parts, the first showing their childhood and the death of Menma, and the second showing them ten years later in high school, their situation would not only be more understandable, but also not so drawn out. However, since it’s more focused on crying over an event that is merely referenced, the show fails to incite the emotional reaction that seems appropriate for the situation.
This is quite possibly the least enjoyable anime I have ever watched. I may sound like a broken record with how much I have complained about the excessive crying, but it isn’t emotional, it is aggravating.
Story – 2
Animation – 7
Sound – 5
Characters – 2
Enjoyment – 1
Overall – 2
If you want an emotional anime where you have a good chance of actually feeling and understanding what the protagonist is going through, check out Clannad After Story (you’ll need to watch the first season beforehand though).