Even for Ano Hana standards, this episode was amazing. I mean, how much can you stuff into an episode anyway? This episode went from heart-wrenching scene to heart-wrenching scene, and it just kept going! Each time showing new things about the cast, sharp dialogue and a huge heap of sincerity.
First there was Menma’s mother who actually lashed out at the group as a whole, then Yukiatsu forced Jinta to just go on on his own, Anjou confessed the feelings she had when she was younger, Jinta had a great scene together with his father, then Menma’s brother came along and as a desert Menma finally had the guts to make her presence known to the others. Heck, every single part here would have made for an amazing episode, but this episode found a way to put them all in the same episode. Now THAT’s how you take advantage of Noitamina!
I always found it a bit of a plothole that Menma didn’t just make stuff float in front of the group. Still, this episode showed that she can probably only bump into stuff, and probably thought that that wouldn’t be enough to convince people of her existence (she’s good at running away and all).
In any case though, this episode was also really good for one of the biggest strengths of this series: the way in which it puts so much meaning into its dialogue. The script in this series is masterfully written, in order to get as much out of the characters as possible. The characters here are both big liars, and surprisingly true to their feelings: they’re really able to express what they’re feeling, and this series does that in a way that I haven’t seen in a long, long while.
Rating: **** (Fantastic)