Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai (Episode 1)

Another new anime with an absurdly long title. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない, lit. “We still don’t know the name of the flower we saw that day”) or Anohana for short, is an anime series airing at Fuji TV on its noitaminA block at around 1:15 in the morning. The series is directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai, the person who also directed the second season of Honey and Clover and Toradora.

Episode 1 entitled, “Super Peace Busters,” opens with our protagonist Jinta playing videogames at home while being distracted by a girl with a silver hair in a way that I’m sure every boy out there would totally nosebleed. This scene depicts how the girl is attached to Jinta she even calls him with a pet name Jintan, which also shows how Jinta is pestered with her around but seems to ignore it. There was a point where he considers her as an embodiment of his stress, proving how debilitating it is just to be with her, plus the sexual urges the comes with it. The girl’s name isn’t revealed until a flashback from years ago in which she was called Menma. Menma is portrayed as a typical “airhead” girl with cute mannerisms and speech, while Jinta is portrayed as a typical “pessimistic-protagonist-who-detached-himself-to-the-world-due-to-a-tragic-circumstance-that-happened-in-the-past” kind of character. It was revealed that both of them are childhood friends, along with four others, they called themselves the “Super Peace Busters.” Jinta was the de-facto leader of the group, an optimistic kid with a bright outlook in life, which contrasts his current attitude. And as the time went by, triggered by a certain event, the group broke up and went on their separate ways. It was implied that the “event” was Menma’s death which dealed a terrible loss for everyone. Jinta’s relationship with his friends changed. He secluded himself away from everybody and interacts with them only when necessary, a hikikomori. With the spirit of Menma (he’s the only one who can see her) accompanying and pestering him, he aims to help her make her wish come true which she doesn’t remember, the possible twist for the series. The only thing that she remembers is that everyone must be present for it to come true.

As a pilot episode, we are given the general feel of the series, with each of the characters being introduced one by one highlighting their relationship with the protagonist. A slow-paced melancholic drama mixed with a sprinkle of fantasy, this series is promising and should be watched out for. But I doubt that it would hit big-time like the other animes in its genre like Kanon and Clannad. The background art is very good, which sets the mood for the scenes, though the character animation would be considered sub-par in comparison to other titles. The plot seems very typical, though it may keep you hooked in some ways or another. There’s a bit of fanservice (Anaru!), but it’s not ecchi or anything even for its late-night telecast. If this continues on, I think it can be a quite good watch this season, I better keep an eye on this series.