“Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day” is an eleven part anime originally aired in 2011. It follows a group of six childhood friends in their teenage years, after they drifted apart over ten years ago. The group separated after losing their friend Menma in an accident by local river. The story begins when a few members of the group decide to tease the main character (and self proclaimed leader of the group) Jintan, in their hand-built den in the woods, by insisting he is in love with Menma. He outright denies this claim regardless of it being true and storms out of the den, little does he realise this begins a chain of events which leads to Menma’s death. (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler, it’s revealed in the first episode)
We rejoin the group ten years later, and Jintan is now a recluse living at home and refusing to go to school. He often blames himself for Menma’s death, as do the other members of the group. The story is an incredible insight into how people cope with the death of a loved one at a young age in their own way. It explores the group’s friendship ties, and their true feelings towards each other and their feelings ultimately, towards Menma.
Jintan is haunted by the ghost of Menma, whom only he can see. She explains that she can’t pass over to the other side until her wish has been granted. Though the story begins when Menma can’t recall her wish, so it becomes Jintan’s responsibility to discover and fulfil it. Will Jintan be able to convince the others that he can see Menma? Will he be able to fulfil her wish and help her pass over? Will the rest of the group forgive Jintan?
While the anime is incredible, it is only enhanced further by it’s soundtrack. The opening title is “Aoi Shiori” (青い栞 Blue Bookmark) by Galileo Galilei, while the closing track (above) is one I’ve featured on my blog in the past (Which can be found here) called Secret Base (～君がくれたもの～) by Zone. My favourite Japanese rock band SCANDAL have also covered this track which you can listen to below.
Now for those that know me, you will know I’m about as emotionless as Chandler Bing from Friends, when it comes to things that should upset me. Apparently the last thing I cried at was when Bambi’s mother was shot, however I was 4 years old at the time, so this doesn’t count. However this anime, my word, upsetting doesn’t cover it. I’ll tell you now, I was a blubbering mess by the final episode, and I challenge anyone to watch it and hold back the tears. Check out the preview below to give you a rough idea of what to expect.
Please give this anime a try, after all it is only eleven episodes long. Let me know in the comments what you thought too!