Stephanie Reviews Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Show: Anohana— Genre: Comedy-Drama, Romance— Episodes: 11

Anohana: The flower we saw that day, in Japan known as あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。 Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai., literally translated to  “We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day.” is an 11 episode series that ran in Japan in 2011. There was a film released in 2013, and a second film will come out in 2015.

Left to right, that’s Poppo, Jintan, Anaru, Atsumu, and Tsuruko.  

There are 6 main characters, who span a variety of personalities. The story is told from the perspective of Jinta Yadomi, also called Jintan. He was the leader of a group of childhood friends who called themselves the Super Peace Busters. Meiko Honma, who everyone refers to as Menma, is the ghost of a little girl who was friends with the group but died in an accident. She moves the plot along, nudging Jinta out of the house and trying to reunite the group. We also have Naruko Anjo, aka Anaru, who’s a popular and pretty girl, and struggles with her image as shallow and vapid. Atsumu Matsuyuki has grown to hate Jinta, as he blames him for Menma’s death. He is athletic and popular and bears a weird secret. Chiriko Tsurumi, aka Tsuruko, is the introvert of the group. She and Atsumu are close friends, and have a complicated relationship. Lastly we have my personal favorite, Tetsudo Hisakawa, who everyone calls Poppo. He’s hilarious. A drop-out, he actually sets up in their old Super Peace Busters base and works part time jobs to save up money to travel.

Here’s Jintan, leading the Super Peace Busters through the woods when they’re children, back when everything was beautiful.

The bare bones of the story are simple– Menma is the ghost of a little girl who died tragically, and she needs to have her wish fulfilled to move on to the next world. It’s up to our main character, Jintan, who is the only one who can see Menma’s ghost, to convince their other childhood friends to help fulfill Menma’s wish. Only, Menma doesn’t remember what her wish is, because she’s a ghost, and therefore has to follow ghost rules to figure it out. Watching Jinta try to convince everyone he’s not crazy is entertaining in and of itself, but that’s not the heart of the show. The real charm of this show lies in rekindling friendships they all once thought was damaged beyond repair and seeing the different kinds of people they’re growing up to be.

There are a lot of feelings.

This show  is unexpectedly touching. I found myself tearing up from time to time (read: a lot of the time). I couldn’t pick out a character to relate to, but I still felt connected to them by the end of the series. The writing does a good job imparting the themes of friendship and trust without shoving it down the audience’s throat, and there are a few plot twists I did not see coming. All told, I enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to.

I give it 7 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. I’d watch it again, and I recommend it to anyone who would like to experience major feels. I’m looking forward to the second movie next year 🙂

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime. 

Stephanie Reviews Glasslip

Show: Glasslip— Genre: Romance, Slice of Life, Supernatural — Episodes: 13

Welcome back!
This week I watched Glasslip, a 13 episode romp through an unusual clump of teenage angst. It ran weekly from July to September 2014. Unlike most anime I’ve seen, Glasslip started as a television show and has since been adapted into a manga series and light novel. We begin with 18-year-old high school student Fukami Toko, who wants to be an artist, and has an affinity for drawing the chickens her high school keeps around. Her parents own an art studio where they blow glass, and she is learning the family craft in her spare-time.

Toko is making a thing.

Toko is making a thing.

She’s a pretty normal girl, except for the fact that occasionally when she sees sparkly things, she sees into what she’s pretty sure is the future.

space eyes future time!

We’ll get back to that in a minute. Okikura Kakeru (say that five times fast!) is the new transfer student who takes an interest in Toko. She first sees him out of the corner of her eye and immediately thinks of Michelangelo’s famous statue of David, so weirdly the nickname sticks with Kakeru. He is shrouded in mystery for a few episodes, but it turns out he also has the ability to see (well, hear) into the future. His mother is a world-class pianist, and whenever he hears her music, he hears something from what he’s convinced is the future.

our main characters with their school’s chickens

We follow Toko and Kakeru as they try to figure out their psychic gift. They unlock clues bit by bit over the series, teasing out hints here and there and spending an exceptional amount of unsupervised time together. When they do spend time with friends, Toko and Kakeru hang out with a tight-knit band of friends that Toko has been close to for years. They fall into tropes as you might expect; there’s Shirosaki Hiro, a nice, considerate dude whose grandfather owns a cafe. Next we have Nagamiya Sachi, a sickly, soft spoken, super smart chick. Yanagi Takayama is a really pretty and also kind-of-shallow part-time model, and finally Imi Yukinari, a nice enough guy who is an athlete tortured by a sports injury.

The gang.

So much angst ensues.

Characters fall in and out of love with one another; very little schoolwork gets done. They all have to decide what they’re doing after high school. Glasslip was altogether unremarkable, except for the paranormal aspect of it. I actually really enjoyed that bit, although other reviews I’ve read saw that as a detriment. That said, I did keep coming back for more. It was enjoyable enough, but forgettable in the vast sea of available content. You can watch it here → http://www.crunchyroll.com/glasslip

I give Glasslip 6 out of 10 Golden Tanukis. I recommend it if you have a lot of time on your hands, and enjoy the heart-pounding terror of watching high school students give their confessions of love to one another.

Thanks for reading! Until next week, here are some gratuitous chickens.

Stephanie is a UF alumnus who enjoys baking, reading, cats, and the internet. Also anime. OK mostly anime.