Friday, April 29, 2011

FIRST LOOK: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai

Here's a show I never saw coming.
Is Menma a hallucination brought in part by raging teenage hormones? A manifestation of guilty feelings left over from childhood and the tragedy that follows? Or simply a convenient device that serves the plot as well as viewer preferences of watching an energetic slip-of-a-girl and her innocent ways of torment? Perhaps, it's a little of everything.

The title's a mouthful. In English, it means "We still don't know the name of the flower we saw that day." Let's just call it AnoHana, for brevity. The story revolves around six childhood friends who grow apart after one of them, Menma, dies in a tragic accident. One summer, former leader Jinta, now a shut-in, starts seeing Menma's "ghost" who asks him to fulfill her wish. In order to do this, Jinta has to go and find the rest of the group and reunite them.

Along with C - The Money of Soul and Possibility of ControlAnoHana is one of two shows airing this season in the noitaminA time-slot, which ought to say something about its quality. It's produced by A-1 Pictures, whose works vary in style and tone, though not in sentiment and thematic elements, from the light-hearted SO.RA.NO.WO.TOto this season's action-oriented fantasy shounen series, Ao no Exorcist. Ultimately, AnoHana is about growing up and how the sheer unexpectedness of circumstances, and the shock that follows, can shape and define people. It's also an examination of feelings, old and new, and how and where one goes from here.

Production-wise, AnoHana is not by any means excellent but still very good. There's the cuteness factor in the design of the characters, with the roundness of lines shown in Occult Academy, albeit with more finesse, at least for the first three episodes. And here's to hoping they keep it up and not downgrade the art to save on budget costs. The voice acting is also great, with my favorite "voice" being Tsuruko's. I also like her character's look best and totally ship her with Yukiatsu. :) There's a hint of romance but it's not the focus of the show. Just how I like it. And best of all, AnoHana features what is probably the prettiest, cutest ED theme song out of all this season's offerings. The song is performed by the show's female voice actresses themselves. LIKE.

In conclusion, I like this show and I'm following it.