Day 05: Anime You’re Ashamed You Enjoyed
Haven’t done one of these in a while…
Generally, there’s really not much anime to admit I’m ashamed of. I admit, though, I do watch bad anime for laughs and to say, “Yeah, I watched that. Let’s talk about how crappy this is!” But this particular anime is different. Despite it’s really cute looks and it’s deep meaning, a lot of people didn’t seem to really like Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. or better known as Ano Hana.
What is this anime about?
According to MAL:
Jinta Yadomi and his group of childhood friends have become estranged after a tragic accident split them apart. Now in their high school years, a sudden surprise forces each of them to confront their guilt over what happened that day and come to terms with the ghosts of their pasts.
It sounds interesting and ripe with human drama, right? Well, yes and no. But because of spoilers, it’s going to be under the cut.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, there’s a lot of problems with Ano Hana. One of the problems, and that’s probably one of the biggest reasons, the drama is laid on way too thick. Granted, the anime itself is only 11 episodes long so they can’t really waste any time in terms of the plot, climax and conclusion but because of how thick the drama is.
It’s hard to get attached to any characters already because the only two characters that we actually get to know better are Menma (or Meiko) and Jinta. Apparently, Jinta loved Menma even before she died but ever since then, he became a serious shut-in.
Certainly, I can see how people can get annoyed by it.
Because it’s hard to get to know them, it’s also hard to understand why they, the survivors and even Menma herself, act the way they do. Only one set of characters makes sense in the grand scheme of things and that’s Menma’s parents. But of course they would make sense – their precious daughter had died and I believe that her mother left her home country and start a family – only for her daughter to die. That will mess anyone up. And for the fact that she can’t get over it, she ignores her other child who is still very much alive.
But the other characters’ actions didn’t really make sense. Perhaps for Jinta and perhaps for some of the more subdued character, Chiriko, it’d make sense for how they would react but everyone else just seemed way over the top.
Especially Atsumu and the revelation that he goes as far as to dress up as Menma because he kept a torch for her as well. The fact that Menma chose Jinta to see her, rather than Atsumu, threw in some extra conflict that seemed really stupid.
For one thing, he acted like he didn’t believe in ghosts and then after the revelation, it seemed that he was just like, “Yeah, so that’s a thing.” And it’s responded with, “Okay, it’s cool.” And they avoid talking about it.
And how did Chiriko even find out? They never showed it but only made it seemed that she always knew and Atsumu was also surprised that she even knew.
There seemed to be an underlying darkness in Menma’s words that she wanted to bring Jinta to the other side along with her so she wouldn’t be so lonely. They don’t really explore that aspect and it seemed they played it off as something as cute and adorable and so cute.
One of the characters, Tetsudou, suddenly reveals that he saw Menma die and because of that, he actually ended up living in the clubhouse. What about his parents? Where did they go? Why didn’t they care about their son living in a clubhouse by himself?
And then there’s one of the biggest questions fans had of the show was: How did Menma die? They implied many times that she drowned (as shown by her floating shoe multiple times throughout the series) and it’s implied that Tetsudou saw her and didn’t do anything – thus causing her death. It comes out of nowhere and it just adds even more drama.
The ending of the anime, though, is extremely gut wrenching for me because, not only did the group finally gets to see Menma again – but she’s able to cross over and they’re finally able to move on. People can see how this is really not that big of a deal (not to mention, again, Atsumu dressed up as Menma).
So, I can see how this anime could deter people away. And yet, there’s something about it that charms me and it doesn’t push me away. If it were any other anime, it could have definitely deterred me. I really did enjoy the characters and their reasons for why they have such a strong sense of survivor’s guilt. Maybe the movie will detail the characters further and maybe we’ll get a deeper feeling for them.
And yet, I’m ashamed. Well, I think the word is ashamed is something too strong to say because I really do like a lot of things that Ano Hana does right. Granted, there’s a lot of cheap drama and cheap tactics to make us, the viewer, feel bad for the characters even if they’re buttholes to them – there’s just a certain charm to this show that makes me like it.
I can’t put my finger on it but I think we all have anime like that. I say that and yet…