Saturday, June 25, 2011

[Ended] Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai: Friends, Forever

As a huge fan of stories that evokes strong emotions, this, may well be my holy grail. 

For starters, I want to say I have not seen any anime series that is so emotionally charged since the ending scenes of Angel Beats!. In fact, throughout the course of this shorter-than-normal short anime season (only 11 episodes), I think Ano Hana has brought more tears into my eye than any anime I've ever seen, including the two series of Clannad combine.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai is a tale about love and friendship; the love that is so strong, it manifests itself long after the death of the person, and the friendship that is so tightly bounded it overtook the obstacles to bring friends separated by hate and regret for many years back together. It is so powerful that you literally would have to have a heart cold as stone to not wet your eyes throughout the course of the series.

The story tracks 6 childhood friends one who die in an accident when all of them were young. One day, she came back as a ghost but only one of them can see her. Slowly, with the help of the ghost, they start to gather once more to find out that even they thought they have grown up to a different person, they really haven't changed, especially those feelings they have towards each other buried deep within their hearts even before that fateful day.

Early on, everything looked simple. It's a simple wish of a dead friend's ghost to reunite her friends. But when new clues start to accumulate, we slowly come to realization that the relationships between these friends are not nearly as innocent as we once thought. Piece by piece, the story builds a highly emotionally charged puzzle, all to be ignited it in the final moments. The process of developing the plot is surprisingly simple, yet extremely effective. There isn't really any complex problem to solve nor would the clues play hide and seek with you, even the art is in the relatively simple style. But when the final moment arrived, the explosion of emotion is so intense, I could not stop tears from flooding out of my eye.

Although the story maintains a heavy-hearted tone throughout the series, it still manages to lighten up from time to time. Not only it strongly contrasts the emotionally charged moments, it also shows that deep down below those the complex issues, they still are just as innocent as they once were.

Even though this is only the fourth series to end in this season, I can already tell you none of the other series that is ending this month would have nearly profound impact as Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai does, therefore, I'm awarding it:

Anime of the Season for Spring 2011 Season

I noticed from my poll that the consensus for the best short season series from this season is Deadman Wonderland. Yes, Deadman Wonderland is indeed a good series, but it doesn't even come close what Ano Hana when it comes to producing powerful emotions. Thus in my opinion Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai wins the award hands down.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 100 (Intense)
Comedy: 97 (Perfect moments)
Action: N/A
Art/Animation: 99 (Simple yet effective)
Sound/Music: 98 (Also simple yet effective)
Character: 100 (Great)
Plot: 100 (Sentimental)
Ending: 100 (Ends perfectly)

Re-watch value: 80 - Maybe re-ride the emotional rollercoaster

Overall: 100 - Simple and Emotional

Recommendation: I have not awarded any anime a perfect overall score ever since Dennou Coil back in 2007, Angel Beats! and Madoka Magica came pretty close, but never got there. But this, is such a great piece of work that I wouldn't even have to think twice before handing it a perfect overall score. A word of caution, I am a huge fan of sentimental stories, sadder the story makes me, more I actually like it. But for those who isn't quite fond of getting in touch of your negative side of emotions, this may not be nearly as a satisfying experience. You have to appreciate strong emotions in order to fully appreciate this story.


Reik said...

Its been a while since i last commented here but i check you page daily and only now i got sometime to type this. As i finished watching AnoHana i was pretty much as you .... crying my eyes out... and then when i was done crying i thought "Oooh evil cat's review is gonna be gooood!!" and it was haha! keep the good work !!

The Evil Cat said...

Thank you for the support :)

DamonSalvatore said...

omg.. this kind of review makes me want to stay away from this anime.. i still remember the effects of AIR which is very sad.. i guess im not going through that again.. sory ano hana for being such a coward.. =.=

The Evil Cat said...

Noooooo, how could you pass up on the anime of the season?!! I think it has potential to become anime of the year. Going through emotions like this only make you stronger. Fight! Fight! Fight!