17 April 2011

First Impression: Ano Hana

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai or better known as Ano Hana is the other anime that is featured in noitaminA time slot for Spring 2011. This is also one of the anime I most look forward to because it is produced by A-1 Pictures studio. The other one is Blue Exorcist. This is the second anime from A-1 Pictures that made it to the noitaminA slot after their first attempt with Fractale.

In term of the story, it kinda reminds me of Fractale which in a way is not good at all. We all know how over-ambitious Fractale was in term of how deep it was trying to achieve. Thankfully, Ano Hana do not take place in another system/era/dimension but here on earth so it will rule out that over-ambitious shit. This one is much simpler and it won't need much over-the-top explanation with stuff that will only confused us further.

To put it in a less complicated way, Ano Hana is about a dead girl named Menma who haunts Jinta's life during this one summer (they did not specified when). Menma was one of the Super Peace Busters members from Jinta childhood. There are four other members, Popo, Anaru, Yukiatsu and Tsuruko. On one unfortunate day, Menma dead (possibly drowning) and Jinta basically took it the hardest as their group drifted apart. His grades plummeted and he didn't even go to school anymore. He is pretty much an anti-social nowadays. Maybe it is worth noting that (a) everyone in the group kinda can tell that Jinta likes Menma. Anaru and Yukiatsu were jealous so it was obvious that there were love-triangle going on. (b) Menma has a wish an in order to grant her wish, these six friends have to be together again. (c) It also has to do with Jinta's remorse of not being able to apologize to Menma. I can see how this will progress into one great drama if it's done right.

Needless to say, the arts and animation is fucking marvelous. Once again A-1 Pictures has exceeded my expectation. I just love their love for details. If you are familiar with their works before you know exactly what I mean. The background and character designs are flawless.

The background music that accompany certain scenes are appropriate and liven up the mood for that said scene. The OP sounds good but it will need time to get the feel of it. But I really want to talk about the ED. When I first heard it I thought "wait a minute, why does this song sounds so familiar?" so I searched my anime song library and found that the same song Secret Base ~ Kimi ga Kureta Mono ~ was once used by other anime. That anime is Kyou no Go no Ni. I remembered because I have always like the song.

Though I am not familiar with the cast (except for Haruka Tomatsu, whom I know from Kannagi), I think they all are great at what they do. I can still hear Yukiatsu's mumbling Menma's name at the end of the episode. I guess it is fair to say that I am immediately attracted to him even when I saw him for the first time as an envious child.

Well, what can I say. Ano Hana tore at my heart. In fact I am still teary eyed as I write this post. It just hit so close to home I guess. I have friends like that in my childhood that I met every weekend or during school holidays. We were gang ho about everything and pretty much conquered the hill near my grandma's house. It consists of larger group with age varying from 9 to 12 years old. We pretended that we were cops or sometimes the robbers, we built cardboard houses, we had our own leader, just like Super Peace Busters. Life was blissful back then since we knew not where our paths will lead us. But then, one of us was killed by wild dogs when he went up the hill by himself and since then the hill was off limits to us and thus we drifted apart. Ano Hana made me missed the good times that we shared on that hill playing without worries. It also makes me want to meet those old friend of mine who I know not where they are anymore since my grandma moved away and so did most of them. Even the hill is long gone now.

Whether it's because noitaminA, or A-1 Pictures, or the story, or the similar experience, I can honestly say that this is the best debut I have ever seen in a very long time. The story might be simple but it is still so engaging. The premise is solid and most important of all it delivers real emotions which possibly is the selling point of Ano Hana. It reaches out and touches my heart. To say that I am mightily impressed is an understatement.

This show is fucking brilliant.

no, she wasn't giving him a blowjob. This is not Asterotte's Toy

art & animation 10/10
story 10/10
characters 10/10
sound 10/10
enjoyment 10/10
overall 10/10

p/s: this is the longest first impression post I have ever wrote ^__^


Wow, to connect with the story that deeply... My heartstrings have been tugged ;_;

Menma was a little too cutesy to me, but I love what they did with this first episode. A lot of people say it's overly melodramatic, but there's some nice subtle moments as well.

The dramas this season have more than exceeded my expectations, anyway. I can't wait for the next episode!

Wow, we chose the same screenshots XD !

Although mine is yet to be posted...

I am not usually so acceptable for characters like Menma but maybe because the way it was written, she doesn't annoy me (yet). The fact that they make her aware that she's dead might be part of the reasons. Having said that, since she comes back as her matured self, she should be aware what she did to the poor horny Jinta.

I must admit that the show for this season ain't bad at all except for the obvious shit like Dog Days and Asterotte's Toy (I haven't seen half of the anime that have been released though).

@trzr, were you referring to the blowjob screenshot? That seems to be the favorite XD

I like this one too!

I totally get where you're coming from. The reason this show resonates with me so much is that I went through the same thing as well, albeit in a more advanced age. It was a year after highschool ended and I lost a great friend through a drink and driving incident. Sort of torn my old highschool group apart and it's still a bit awkward nowadays.

Some people say it's too melodramatic but fuck them for not being able to engross themselves into a good story. These things do happen in real life (maybe not the lumbering ghost thing) and it makes it that much more emotional for people who went through the same themes.

I'm sorry for your lost, Bass. Losing a friend in an accident is hard, even more so when we feel like we are partly to blame for the said incident. If only one of us went up the hill with him that day...

Most people go through life pretty easily without knowing any hardship, as I am sure many kids are these days. They definitely won't appreciate stuff like this because they can't relate to them and is not open-minded enough to simply enjoy the story.

Both the images actually...

If only Menma's character was less similar to Nessa's and her backstory didn't remind me so much of Zettai Shonen + (live action) Bridge to Terabitha, then I would probably be congratulating this series as another great addition to the noitaminA time slot. It has great drama potential, but I only hope it doesn't waste the wonderful premise with sub-par characters. Overall, AnoHana has emotions pulsing through it and if handled well, it will blossom beautifully.

copy-pasted >.^

*only read the good things* XD

I agree with you Klux, this anime is wery promising. I loved first episode and looking forward next one.

But still I will wait with final judge. Maybe the story will be boring tearjerker in the end.

yeah things can changed. Just look at Fractale but the full mark is only based on my first impression. It is a good indicator whether the show can sustain it's momentum or lost out at the end

Something similar happened to me. I was with my friends and one of them got killed in a traffic accident while we were together...which was really part of the end of my childhood, and I completely broke off with one of my living friends as a result of that. Its realistic, and its traumatic....its like the heart of the group was gone and so it just broke apart...

I also had a ill-fated crush just like Jin-tao's. That's why shows like this or Little Busters connect with me at a personal level.

You won't know what you will be missing until they are gone. There is no truer words than that.

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