It’s easy to see why Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is one of the most valuable properties held by Fuji Media Holdings. It’s a heartwarming tale of a group of childhood friends who experienced loss. Aired in 2011 and created by artist collective Super Peace Busters, Anohana has multiple other adaptations. Including a light novel series, a manga, a game, a live action television series, and even a movie that grossed the equivalent of over 10 million US Dollars and was the 14th highest grossing anime film in Japan in 2013!
The story begins with recluse Jinta Yadomi, nicknamed “Jintan”. Something strange is happening to Jintan, his childhood friend, Menma, is hanging around his house with him. The problem? She’s been dead for 5 years! At first Jintan believes this to be a hallucination. But, this hallucination won’t go away. He tries to figure out how to get Menma away and the two come to believe that she has one last wish and can’t pass on until that wish is fulfilled. So, Juntan gathers up all his friends from 5 years ago when Menma was still alive, after Menma’s passing the group had drifted apart, and tries to get their help to fulfill Menma’s last wish. What follows is an eleven episode quest by Jintan and his friends set out on to fulfill Menma’s last wish, whatever it may be.
There are 6 main characters in Anohana. All six of these characters began as childhood friends. The group consisted of Jintan, Menma, Anaru, Yukiatsu, Tsuruku, and Poppo.There’s Jintan who’s already been mentioned. Originally the de facto leader of the 6 childhood friends, he quickly fell into video games and began living his life as a recluse after the group split. Naruko Anjo, also called “Anaru” fell in with the “popular” crowd. She changed entirely who she was in the few years since the group split and does not associate with anyone from it. Meiko Honma or Menma was one of the glues that held the childhood group together. She is kind, caring, and always smiling, even though she knows she has passed. Atsumu Matsuyuku or Yukiatsu moved on from the group and joined an elite school along with Tsuruku and is secretly dislikes Jintan and is still haunted by Menma’s passing. Chiriko Tsurumi, also known as Tsuruku was always the quiet type. Stern and intelligent. She still hangs out with Yukiatsu after the childhood friend group split and attends an elite high school with him. Tetsudo Hisakawa, nicknamed Poppo, years after the friend group split up, dropped out of school and travels the world taking various part time jobs, he lives in the old group’s secret base. His personality is fun and worldly and he secretly blames himself for Menma’s passing. A few side characters include Jintan’s father who has a very carefree attitude and lets Jintan skip school and do whatever he wants, Menma’s family who still bear the memories of Menma and her mother in particular mourns her often.
What Anohana is ultimately about is rekindling friendship and dealing with loss. The group lost a dear friend when they were children and the mental scars from the tragic event still impact each and every one of them. By fulfilling Menma’s last wish they reach a sort of peace and closure. In the process they come closer together as friends. After Menma’s passing they all drifted apart and did their own thing. They all changed a lot and it’s surprising that they all were able to become close again after so long.
Overall, I’d give Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day a 9/10. It’s a great anime with enjoyable characters. The story is touching and is bound to bring tears to your eyes (especially the ending). The animation is excellent and works great. If you’re looking for an anime that’s touching and heartwarming. This is the anime for you. Couldn’t recommend it more.