For a lot of people, this year has seen a lot of divided opinions on new anime’s, AnoHana being one of them. Some argue it’s too melodramatic, that it does nothing to build up a complex and deep understanding of the main characters, while others laud it as a near-masterpiece of heart-pulling drama only rivaled by visual novel makers KEY.
I disagree with both of those statements: AnoHana very carefully balances itself from being too melodramatic, but at times that can be very shaky to balance, but the fact is that there are moments of melodrama: I think episode 11 definitely qualifies as that, even if we saw that ending coming from a mile away. Yet AnoHana tries, but does not accomplish, to tell a story about disillusioned friends brought together by a deceased friend with the forget-me-not flower and her honest, but simple wish. It almost feels as if the show was saying “Hey, this is only the beginning!”. We did get a bit of background into Jinta, Menma, Anaru and Yukiatsu – but at times it felt rushed and unappealing. For others, like Poppo and Tsuruko – they hardly got any development at all, the former having about 8 minutes of development on the last episode.
Yet despite all of that, i think AnoHana deserves credit that despite the shortcomings, it tried to do the impossible and obviously fail. It tried when other series would just give up and throw you some random deus ex machina or completely out of nowhere conclusion. AnoHana braved that one-cour path, despite the victims/casualities (Angel Beats! a prime example) and sought to bring a simple, yet emotional finale and that is exactly what it did.
Animation – 9/10: Simplistic, yet hard not to notice. A-1 Pictures has had some highs and lows this year, but AnoHana ranks as their best work yet: Detail was sharp, background art was lively and hardly any re-used scenes.
Story – 8/10: Not the most original and definitely suffered the one-cour curse, it manages to brave that destined path of failure to conjure up a satisfying, emotional and somewhat predictable ending. That’s what i like about AnoHana: it just didn’t give up.
Characters – 8/10: Some characters like Poppo and Tsuruko hardly got any meaningful character development, but for the rest of the cast it was plenty especially for just 11 episodes. Jinta in particular was a very memorable character that you can relate to.
Music: – 8/10: Simple, yet un-noticed for a while but when the time comes – the music knows how to work. OP/ED themes were fitting.
Enjoyment – 9/10: From start to finish, AnoHana was a wonderful series that knew its limitations but trudged through determined to make a final and powerful impact on the viewer. While it didn’t get that far, i was completely anticipating each episode.