Objection! – Anohana

Laevatein: Greetings everyone, my name is Laevatein!

Kaushik: I’m Kaushik.

Laevatein: And we’re here to cover AnoHana!  Now, AnoHana is an original anime from last year.

Kaushik: It’s been pretty controversial in the community.  A lot of people didn’t like it, like Laevatein here.

The actual title is way long. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai.... You can see why we shorten it to Anohana

Laevatein: Yeah, I had personal problems with it.  So uh, what did you like about it?

Kaushik: Well, starting from the easiest segments… I thought the music was pretty good: the opening and ending themes, specifically.  Of course, the ending theme is an older song redone for this show, but I thought it captured the tone and feeling of the series well.

Laevatein: Mm, I found myself liking the ending as well.  I didn’t like the opening as much as the ending song, though.

Kaushik: Mm, well, I could see that. I thought it was the weaker of the two as well.  As for the art and animation… they were alright. Nothing amazing, but I didn’t have any problems with them.  You?

Laevatein: Yeah, I felt the same way.  The art style kind of reminded me of… To Aru Majutsu no Index, I think?  Might just be because one of the characters.

Kaushik: Hm… It might be done by the same studio? I honestly don’t know.  The art style is definitely familiar though.  Not very unique, though I wouldn’t count that against it.

Maybe you've seen the art style before?

Laevatein:  Yeah, I don’t factor art in my opinion of a series too heavily.

Kaushik: Neither do I, but that seemed the easiest to start with. Now for the contentious bit: plot and characters.

Laevatein: Oh boy.

Kaushik: Yeah, here we go.  Um, plot first I guess?

Laevatein: Sure.  By the way, we’re entering spoiler territory!

Kaushik: So in a nutshell, it’s about a group of teenagers who saw a friend die as they were kids.  Now the friend is back, as a ghost, and their repressed memories from the incident are all coming back.  I think a lot of people, looking at just the summary, were pretty interested in the show.  I think that’s one of the biggest reasons it was such a controversial series.

Laevatein: Mm.

Kaushik: I mean, you watched it to, so you were interested at first.  Where did your interest fall apart?

Laevatein: Oh, well, I actually liked the plot at first.

Kaushik: Mm, I think most people did.

Laevatein: It was a really somber look at people who buried grief.

Kaushik: Yeah.

Laevatein: And that was pretty great.

Kaushik: I think it was interesting to see how each character responded and dealt with the grief in their own way, however bizarre that may be.

Laevatein: Yeah, but then around halfway through, I noticed the show shifted to melodrama and rolled with that.

Kaushik: Is there any particular moment you’d think that? Or was it more of a general feeling?

Laevatein: How about all that crying by the end?

That infamous crying

Kaushik: Well, that’s not halfway, but I kind of get your point.  I’ll be honest, at first I was sad, but then it kept going, and going, and going.  I don’t think the whole show was ruined by that one moment though, and I think the very ending was well-done.

Laevatein: Mm, well, I guess everything started converging on one point, that being Menma.

Kaushik: Well, the series was always about her.

Laevatein: Of course.

Kaushik: In fact I think they kind of diverged a lot in the middle.

Laevatein: But the characters felt a bit more independent to me

Kaushik: Yeah, I understand that, but I think the point of the show is that, while they were independent now, there was all this repressed grief that they never really let out until they all realized Menma was there.  And then everything came out.  They were just kids when the accident happened, after all, and besides Jintan, who dealt with the grief most overtly, the rest of them had repressed it until they realized again that Menma was there, and it all came out.  I thought it was kind of interesting that Jinta dealt with the ending the best, because he was really the only one that went through a lot of grief directly after the accident.  Perhaps for too long, but I think that made it easier for him near the end.

Laevatein: Well, what annoyed me was the message they were sending. It seemed to me that the characters couldn’t get over their personal problems until Menma came around and by extent, they couldn’t deal with their repressed grief until a supernatural element showed up.

Kaushik: I guess we have slightly different interpretations there.  The way I saw it was that until Menma came, they were all leading relatively normal lives (besides the slight thing Yukiatsu did in his spare time).  I think knowing she was around again was what allowed them to move on.  Er, you’re right that they couldn’t deal with it until she did show up.  But I don’t think they even knew how badly they were scarred until they knew she was around again.  They didn’t think about it as much… with the exception of Jintan, of course.

Laevatein : Mm, but whether they knew that or not, their scars were still there, and it was clear that, while they were leading normal lives, their emotions, and I guess their psyches in general, were screwed up.

Yukiatsu had his own way to deal with some of these issues...

Kaushik: Yeah, it was.

Laevatein: And then it took Menma to help them out.

Kaushik: And you don’t like that they needed something supernatural to get over that?

Laevatein: Mm, I think it might’ve been a bit more interesting if she turned out to be an illusion the entire time.

Kaushik: That Jinta was hallucinating, maybe?  Yeah, that could’ve been interesting too, I think, that maybe their guilt over the incident manifested itself in a hallucination.  Honestly, I think a lot of people were thinking that watching the show.

Laevatein: Mm, myself included.

Kaushik: I didn’t have a problem with how they took the show, but I guess the problem you had is.  It didn’t go as you expected, and you felt like the direction the show took was worse than what you thought it would’ve been.  I understand that maybe you think the supernatural element didn’t really fit the show.  I guess in a way it kind of dehumanizes the show?  Makes it harder to relate to.

Laevatein: Mm, that’s part of it, but couple that with all the melodrama and we’ve got a show that I didn’t wind up liking.

Kaushik: It just pushed the fact that she’s a ghost too much into your face?

Laevatein: Yeah.

Kaushik: Well, I guess we had different interpretations of the plot.

Laevatein: What’s worse is that they didn’t really do anything with it till halfway through.

Kaushik: Yeah, I thought they diverged a lot in the beginning.  I suppose it makes sense in hindsight in order to hightlight their current relationships and issues, but it felt like a lot of filler at the time.

Laevatein: Anyway, so I guess it boils down to expecting different things, and getting different things.  How about the characters?

The characters... That's Menma in the middle, the small one.

Kaushik: Well, I liked them for the most part.  They all had their own issues, and different ways to deal with their grief.  It was interesting to see the characters that may have been the most collected in their normal lives were the ones grieving the most, particularly Yukiatsu and Poppo.

Laevatein: I suppose, but near the end they all felt like shades of the same archetype, since the two remaining girls had grief over unrequited love, and Menma.

Kaushik: Yeah, but Anaru and Tsuruko both handled their issues quite differently.  Which I think were due to their personalities.  After all Anaru did end up confessing, and as I recall, Tsuruko didn’t?

Laevatein: They did?  I didn’t catch that: they all tried to sweep their feelings under the rug.

Kaushik: Mmhmm.  I guess at the end of the day I appreciated that the characters ended up all being fairly deep and got a lot of development.  I do agree with you to an extent: that they all got the same kind of development at the end.  But I think a lot of that is the fact that they all had the same issue, so it would all resolve the same way at the end.

Laevatein: Yeah, I guess it might be a pacing problem.  I also didn’t appreciate the simultaneous crying session, but that’s just me.

Kaushik: Yeah I think it went on too long too.  But yeah, I agree with you, there were some pacing issues. I think when all was said and done it worked out, but it could’ve been more.

Laevatein: Mm, a lot more, in my case.

Kaushik: Yeah.

Laevatein: Anyway, let’s wrap this up.  One last question: what do you think of AnoNatsu, the currently airing show by the same director?

Ano Natsu de Matteru. Currently airing and just a bit different than Anohana

Kaushik: I like it.  Um, you can tell it’s.  Pretty similar to Onegai Teacher/Twins, more Teacher than anything else.  And of course the art is pretty much the same as Anohana.  But I think it’s developing to its own show.  It’s more romance-oriented rather than drama.  In my opinion it’s better than Anohana

Laevatein: Yeah, I like it a bit more.

Kaushik: Though I preferred Anohana’s characters at the end of the day, but Anonatsu isn’t over yet so we’ll see.

Laevatein: Yeah, we’ll see.  I like how they use comedy to break up the serious aspects. It paces the show better.

Kaushik: Anonatsu did that as well, though it lost that at the end, which I think is one of the big differences between the two for you.

Laevatein: Yeah.  But despite some similar romance situations, I like how it doesn’t rely on tons of melodrama.

Kaushik:  The latest events kind of do, but you’re right, it’s nowhere near the same.

Laevatein: Yeah.

Kaushik: I think once both are done, I’ll prefer AnoNatsu.

Laevatein:  I guess the same for me.  Anyway, I guess that’s a wrap!

Kaushik: Yep.

Laevatein: I hope you all enjoy this.  Later, everyone!

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Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

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