How would you react if you lost someone you loved? Would you be able to move on? Would you blame yourself? Lock yourself away? Maybe you’d find yourself stuck in a single moment of time.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day explores that question. It is a tragic, beautiful series that explores the psychological effects of loss. If you haven’t seen it, then I’d recommend you go check it out before reading this review.
There won’t be any spoilers, mind you. I just really love this series and I think you should watch it. It only takes about a day to binge anyways.
Plot: Fulfill My Wish
Did you want to laugh and feel good? Well, you will! But beware: it’ll make you cry afterward.
In their youth, a group of six kids ran around doing what kids do. They were led by Jinta Yadomi, AKA Jintan. Right behind him were his friends Naruko “Anaru” Anjo, Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki, Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi, Tetsudo “Poppo” Hisakawa, and the girl he loved: Meiko Honma, known as Menma. They were the best of friends, completely inseparable.
Until Menma died in a tragic accident.
The group became divided over time, eventually breaking off contact altogether. Jintan dropped out of school, becoming a shaggy shut-in living with his father. His life became still and unmoving. His natural leadership and charisma vanished. He seemed to give up on living, blaming himself for Menma’s death.
Then, during a particularly hot summer, Jintan is joined by the ghost of Menma, whom only he could see. This ghost pressures him, telling him that he needs to grant her wish if she wants to go to heaven. Thus, Jintan is forced to break out of his shell, reunite his group of friends, and send his dead crush into the next life.
I have practically no issues with the plot! Each character is unique, likable (except for Yukiatsu, fuck that guy) and has a perfect, smooth character arc. The pacing is phenomenal, always moving while still giving each scene the time they need to have a maxiumum impact.
And oh boy, do they have an impact!
Plus, this series has something that so few shows these days have: an actual conclusive, open-ended and satisfying ending! Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that it made me cry like a bitch. But to be fair: this wasn’t the first time this show did that.
Visuals: Smooth, Colorful, and Heart Breaking
Holy fucking shit this show is gorgeous! It is easily one of the best looking series I’ve ever seen! Everything, from the character designs to the backgrounds to the movement itself, is downright flawless!
Each character has a completely unique and memorable design. They perfectly show off what the character is all about without a single word. Take one look at Jintan, and you can think ‘depressed shut-in’. One look at Yukiatsu gives you an ‘honor student’. Plus, they look fantastic in motion, as each character is light on details, which makes it easier to animate with a unique style.
There’s also a surprising amount of actual animation in this show! In most TV anime, even of the seasonal variety, they cut as many corners as possible. Lip flaps, simple walk cycles that make the characters look like they’re bouncing up and down, and extreme wide shots are common shortcuts used in anime.
None of them are used in Anohana. Each shot is lovingly crafted and animated with movie-level quality. There are only eleven episodes, but they are all downright gorgeous!
Much like the music that accompanies them. Each track is quiet and melancholic, even in the more frenetic scenes of the show. The series is also smart enough to know that not every scene needs music, so there are plenty of scenes with quiet but powerful impacts.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It is a perfect series that blends fantastic characters and story with gorgeous art and animation. If you want a series that will make you laugh and then cry within the span of five minutes, this is the perfect pick!
In case it wasn’t obvious already, I’d highly recommend Anohana. It is a diamond in the rough by every sense of the phrase! It is a gorgeous piece of art that you need to watch!