One anime I decided to watch on a whim when scrolling through Crunchyroll was Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. The cover looked enticing enough and a story being told in eleven episodes was appealing. Going in with no expectations I was blown away. As many anime that I have watched (and continue to watch) I never thought an eleven episode series, Anohana would easily become a personal favorite.
The series is captivating for the simplicity of the story. Six childhood friends form a group known as the Super Peace Busters with the childhood fantasy of bringing peace to the planet. Right away I saw the nostalgia of my childhood before the internet. Just like the Super Peace Busters me and my friends would use our imaginations and play similar games to them.
However, one of the members Meiko “Menma” Honma tragically dies in an accident. The event causes the Super Peace Busters to disband. The central protagonist of the story and leader of the Super Peace Busters, Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi becomes a NEET (Not in Employment Education or Training). Spending his days mindlessly playing video games. One summer Menma appears before him. Quickly finding out Menma is a ghost and that only Jintan can interact with her. Menma explains that she doesn’t know why she hasn’t moved onto the afterlife and enlists Jintan to help her.
As the series continues flashbacks are used to contrast the dynamic of the Super Peace Busters from when they were kids to the present. One of the strongest conflicts is from Jintain and Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki. Jintan and Yukiatsu are both shaped to be understandable and likable characters from the conflict. Using it to further explore and develop both.
The best part of Anohana comes from the ending. The last two episodes had me on the edge of my seat. Without giving away spoilers the final reveal of Menma’s purpose as a ghost fits perfectly into the story. The ending is both satisfying and emotionally fulfilling.
While I did enjoy the deliberate slow pace to introduce and then develop the Super Peace Busters I could understand a criticism of the series being too slow. Anohana also uses very familiar troupes of the anime genre that a viewer could find overused from the medium. The supernatural aspect of Menma being a ghost is played with loosely. Nevertheless I highly recommend Anohana to both new and old fans of anime.