Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day – An Honest Review

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai is a charming slice of life drama with supernatural elements. Although the plot is overall sad, about a group of friends fallen apart by the death of one of their members, it is also hopeful in that it shows the past can be overcome.

Anime Aired: April 2011, Episodes: 11 + Recap Movie

Studio: A-1 Pictures

My Score: 7/10. I feel as though I’m not going to do this anime justice. It’s a wonderful memorable story, but its not my first choice, nor is it in any way flawless. *Sigh* Here we gooo.

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is the story of a group of teenage friends, Jinta, Meiko, Naruko, Tetsudou, Atsumu, and Chiriko and the tragedy that struck them when Meiko fell to her death one day when they were children playing around. 

One day, several years later, Meiko appears before Jinta, as a ghost (ooOOooOO! so-spooky-not-really) to grand him one wish, but of course she forgot what that wish was (what a trope!).  

Synopsis: HERE Some spoilers below, although there’s really nothing major here, sorry guys.

So Jintas all like “why the F you here? Why am I literally the only one who can see you?” and Meikos like “I don’t know! but I’m so kawaii and do cute silly things hehe!”. Not really how it went but something like that. 

So the group of friends is no longer friends, and they’ve gone their separate ways, but deep down they’re all still dealing with the loss of Meiko *gasp!* (Big revelation but not really) and nobody talks to each other because of the huge stick up their a$’s about who blames who for what (expect Tetsudou, he’s just a big cuddly teddybear). Everyone here is sus, but one is an imposter *coughatsumucough* but not really the villain I guess? Its the way in which everyone deals with the loss that’s unique.

And then everyone is so damn butt-hurt that Meiko appears to Jinta and no-one else. Its the denial of her continuing to exist that so interesting here, because in reality we’re all skeptics of the supernatural like that. (Quick story time!) Like one day my mom was walking down the street and a butterfly kept following her and she swore to God it was my deceased grandmother that was the butterfly looking after her. When she told me this I was like “rrreeeeaaallllllyyy????” I was skeptic of course, but who really knows what the butterfly was? (End of story). 

I realize this review is going nowhere, so let’s just rip into each of the characters shall we?

Jinta: The main protagonist, the once alpha male turned emo slacker. Not only did his best friend die, but his mother died as well, so we’re obligated to feel bad for him (not actually sarcasm this time, it is tragic, and he doesn’t deserve how the other characters treat him). With Meiko’s help he tries and fails several times to get his friends back together, and overall puts in the most effort to make Meiko happy. I was however completely unsurprised when SPOILER…… the death of his mother is related to the wish Meiko was to grant him, which I thought the wish was kinda f@cked up (Meiko go make my son cry eh eh eh eheh) END OF SPOILER. Meanwhile while Naruko’s practically throwing herself down at Jinta, he’s like “naw, I’m only interested in dead girls” or something like that, and the whole time he’s more concerned about making Meiko pass along than reconnecting with her. I thought he could’ve been stronger.

Meiko: The ghost girl, who literally like a 7 year old, but taller! (OOOooo she grew a few inches since she was a wee child). Can’t take her seriously at all, she’s really there to look cute, and has amnesia, so she ain’t helping Jinta much, but she tries in her own way to be noticed, like making his mom’s dumplings or writing on a notepad. Meiko has a secret crush on Jinta (most girls here do apparently). Her voice is also annoying, but we feel bad for her because she forgets her reason for being there. SPOILER it’s interesting that she becomes of the title of this anime, though I don’t know the type of flower it is. END OF SPOILER. Its also interesting that her family is really the only other that’s introduced to us besides Jinta’s, where he has a supportive dad and she has a crazed mum, but don’t we all. 

Naruko: The waifu material; bombshell gorgeous, video game otaku and geek,, girl of any guys dreams. Also a major simp for Jinta, like… she’s wanted to romp with him since they were kids. But again, Jinta was like “Nah, younger looking girls are cuter”, although he said the opposite to Meiko when they were kids and that led her to run out and then that accident happened and well… yea the blame game began. There’s not much else going for her character here, besides picking up a toxic group of friends and almost getting r@ped, just to be rescued by Atsumu the d@uche, which I guess broke the trope of her love-interest rescuing her, Jinta. I liked seeing her grow to return to her old friends and get away from the nasty ones, because I feel like many of us struggle with maintaining our group of friends. Naruko, Meiko, and Tetsudou are honestly the best supporting characters for Jinta, as they try to understand his feelings. 

Tetsudou: The teddy bear of the group. Having come back from traveling the world (or something like that) he comes to Jinta with open arms like their friendship never fell apart. Although a little awkward at times, he kept the spirit of the group up and tried to make the most sense of Meiko coming back, even if it wasn’t believable. I felt a little sorry for him when he decided to make his home from their childhood base, but then it became their headquarters again so that’s cool I guess.

Atsumu *regurgitates*: The c@ck and academically-obsessed member of the group, this guy almost made me hate the anime, just because of how he’s handled Meiko’s death, and I don’t mean SPOILER how he decided to get a copy of Meiko’s getup and wig and dress like her but END OF SPOILER how he tries to trick and belittle Jinta and the idea of Meiko still being around, just because he envies Jinta because the both of them had a crush on her, which is super petty. What ticked me off more was when he tried hitting on Naruko not once, but twice, probably to try to make Jinta jealous. I’m happy she flat out rejected him, because her resolve for being with Jinta was pretty firm from the start.

Chiriko: The scholarly, smarty pants of the group. Her character is literally only there to stand next to Atsumu and look smart and say smart things that might possibly move the plot along. There’s really nothing more to her character, except that she has a crush on Atsumu and literally keeps him held together, even though he probably doesn’t think much of it, because he can’t get over his loss.

So while one of later scenes SPOILER is sad and they all literally start crying, I just kinda laughed, maybe I’m a terrible person, but I’m glad Jinta reestablished himself as the leader and told everybody what they needed to hear, that Meiko wants them to be friends again despite their shortcomings and romance can’t blossom until their situation is resolved, unlike what they wanted to hear, that Meiko is alive and well and their selfish wishes are gonna come true just like a fairytale. END OF SPOILER.

There’s a couple more topics I’d like to briefly talk about. 


One is about video games. I love video games, and in particular there are several Nintendo easter eggs throughout the anime. For example, on the right here in (episode 2 I think?) Jinta, Tetsudou, and Naruko go to Naruko’s house to play what looks like a carbon copy of the Game Boy Advance SP, in which the group plays a game together what sounds exactly like Pokémon

I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic seeing this scene, and I was craving for more scenes like it. One other scene that I chuckled at was when Jinta went to the store Naruko works at, asking about a version of the game they were playing together the other day (a knockoff of Pokémon Gold Version I think).

Unfortunately, besides scenes from the past and occasionally Jinta playing his portable game device by himself, the idea of friends reconnecting with video games isn’t explored further. I felt like this was such a missed opportunity for character development and bonding beyond what we already knew about and saw with these characters. Nonetheless I was glad at the nod of 90’s video game nostalgia.

The last topic I wanted to cover here is about the romance. Because, well, there is none. 

I enjoy a good romance, and coming into this anime I was expecting even a little bit of it, however, that’s not what I got, nor should I have expected it. This story is a drama about a group of friends overcoming the loss of their friend.

So when they introduced not one, but two love-triangles, I was expecting there to be a little something. Nothing ecchi, no kiss, I’m not even sure if there was a hug somewhere in there. But that’s not what this story was about. But when they introduced Naruko and her pursuit for happiness with Jinta, I was like “SSSHHHIIIIIIIIIIPPPP!!! SsSsSHhHhHIiIiIiIPpPpP??!!?”… nope. Well, maybe, you see love can’t blossom when everyone is still getting over the loss of their best friend, and I guess I could see how some characters feel they’ve been selfish with their desires to be with other characters, even though they’re hurting inside. 

I was just really hoping to see characters like Jinta and Naruko finally get together, and perhaps they did, but it doesn’t happen until beyond the final credits. I suppose the studio felt that adding more to the story would take away from what was really important about it. But hear me out.

What if, and I mean what if… there was a second season? Now that they helped their friend Meiko pass along, they can spend 12 episodes reconnecting and developing their friendships/relationships beyond what little the anime showed, I’m sure they have enough material to work with! However… then it wouldn’t be Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day; it would just be another romance/slice of life, and there’s plenty of those already. 

I enjoyed the story this anime had to offer and the feels it made me feel. I was just expecting a little more from it. 

If you’ve read through all of this nonsense, I applaud you kindly. Thank you 🙂

By: TheShyOtaku

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