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I absolutely refuse to spoil Anohana [1]: this is an anime that viewers should come to fresh. Even though I’ll be linking to the Wikipedia page for my own reference, I recommend that you don’t click on the link until after you’ve seen Anohana yourself.

Anohana is about a group of childhood friends who disintegrated when one of them died. Ten years later the ghost of an inexplicably older looking Menma returns to have a wish fulfilled.

That really is as much as I want to say about the plot of Anohana.

The key to this series is that the main characters really felt like real people to me.

Most of who are teenagers who, each in their own way, simply haven’t dealt with the death of a dear friend when they were five or six.

This sets up an intimate, character based, story that peels back the facades built to cover the grief. Over the course of the 11 episodes the characters are forced to face their issues, and their former friends, in order to grant Menma’s wish.

One aspect of Anohana that I adored is that it really is possible to write believable teenagers without being tacky or tasteless. This series confronted real issues such as hikikimoris, high school bitchiness, as well as some fairly creepy topics, all without resorting to cheap shots or fanservice.

This is really good writing that kept a tight focus on the characters, and made you want to care for pretty much the entire cast on some level [2].

This meant that I was sufficiently invested in the characters that the finale hit me like an emotional sledgehammer.

I haven’t really been this affected by a final episode since Reki’s World – Prayer – Epilogue, and for pretty much the same reasons.

The only real negatives are the lack of a Blu-Ray edition and the minimal extras on the local release – no clean opening, and only a clean version of the first episode ending.

Overall Anohana is a beautiful story and one that I’ll be going to buy my own copy of today [3]. Thoroughly recommended.

I’ll finish off with the really sweet ending credits.

[1] For reference the full name is Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, which literally translates to We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day. I’m not surprised that Hanabee simply went with Anohana on the cover of the local release. 🙂

[2] Given the Jerkass Facades running through Anohana, getting the viewer to care for all of them is a really neat piece of writing.

[3] I was watching a review copy provided by Hanabee, see the Site Disclaimer for the handling of review copies.