Perhaps it’s pre-mature to review a series when it only has one episode airing, however with my current state, I feel the deep urge to free some mental space in order to focus on my upcoming final exams. So, I’ll vent out and make use of this excessive newfound excitement.
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bolutachi wa Mada Shiranai or simply Ano Hana is potentially heart-warming, enticing, and captivating series. It tells the story about the six childhood friends named Jintan, Menma, Anaku, Yukiatsu, Tsuruko, and Poppo. After the death of Menma, the remaining five started to drift away. However before her death, she asked Jintan to fulfill her wish—a wish that she didn’t get the chance to say when she was still living.
Being the closest and the most affected by Menma’s death, Jintan shut and completely detached his self from the world. Now in his adolescence, one summer day, Menma’s ghost appeared next to him, not in her child form, but in her teenage appearance. After all the emotional suffering that he experienced, Jintan deemed Menma’s sudden emergence as his summer beast, and the embodiment of his accumulated stress and trauma. The story continues as Jintan tries to find a way how to fulfill Menma’s sole wish and re-establish his relationship with his friends.
Unlike other anime in this season, Ano Hana has simple art style. The characters’ profiles somewhat miss a few details, and the color rather lacks dimension. However, the eyes are well-drawn and are particularly expressive. I also like the fact that we can see how the characters had physically grown-up from children to young adults. Evidently, their faces, hair style, clothing, and body sizes changed. The background—such as the houses, buildings, rails, etc. is neat and well constructed too. In addition, the music is enjoying and suits rightly to the mood. It has cool OP and ED songs— I mainly love the OP song “Aoi Shiori「青い栞」” by Galileo Galilei because I’m such a sucker for alternative rock embedded with metaphors.
On the other hand, the lack of high quality character design has been easily offset by the interesting plotline and sensible characters. The first episode introduced the characters pretty well. They all have their own unique set of emotions and mannerisms. So far, I can see that Jintan is the most emotional-driven character as we are viewing the story through his lens. However, that doesn’t mean that the other characters will play only as wallpapers since the series focuses on re-building ties and friendship. Also, I expect loads of character development because the conflicts seemed to be well-substantiated. As for Menma, she has the potential to be annoying. All I can say to that is, give her a break she’s already dead. Entertainment is not only brought by pleasure, but also by displeasure.
Overall, I believe Ano Hana is an extremely promising series. I can see this in the likes of Toradora and Air less the harem.