Posted by psgels on 23 June 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai




Moe in Noitamina. It was a risk. Especially after how Fractale screwed up so badly, seeing A-1 try again in a timeslot whose audience has always been at older audiences with the same teenagers that anime is filled with… I definitely had some doubts right before this series started. And then Ano Hana aired and turned out one of the best written shows of the season.

Ever heard of the phrase “short but sweet”? This is the key to the best Noitamina-series out there: most of them can only be eleven or twelve episodes long, so they really need to know how to use their time, and this series is a brilliant example of how this timeslot should be used. It leaves no moment wasted, it never drags, and it’s always developing its characters, delivering heavy drama, and moving back and forth between showing new things about its characters and fleshing them out.

The show follows six teenagers as they deal with their pasts. All six of them end up as well rounded characters, with their strenghts and flaws: one is an airhead, another is an asshole, another is socially awkward. This series juggles all of them together brilliantly. The acting is excellent and this show is even able to breathe life into the side characters of this series.

Now, this is the kind of series where the characters write the plot. If you like series that have a complex storyline, you don’t need to go for this series: this is just a coming of age drama, but it’s amongst the best I’ve seen. It is very dramatic though: this series really pushes to get as much drama into 11 episodes as possible without making itself shallow: all of the drama here is meaningful and brings out the best of the characters, but if you like series with more restrained and composed acting, you might want to look elsewhere.

If you are looking for an emotional roller coaster however: watch this. Few series can boast to be this well laid out, especially when so small. Everything fits just perfectly. I’m not a fan of moe, but this show is so good that it immediately won me over.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Brilliant at juggling around its drama, never leaves a moment wasted, although the drama can get a little heavy-handed for some.
Characters: 10/10 – A complete tear-jerker; wonderfully rounded characters that play off each other amazingly.
Production-Values: 9/10 – No still frames, no recycled scenes, fluid animation, detailed art, excellent soundtrack. An overall job really well done in every aspect.
Setting: 9/10 – A soothing village back in a forest. Down to earth.

Suggestions:
Asatte no Houkou
Clannad After Story
True Tears

50 Responses

  1. Avatar Wandering Bunny says:

    That scoring… I am disappoint.
    I still regard ths series as the most overrated piece of BS this season.

    • Avatar Hades says:

      Thank God I’m not the only one that thinks this is highly overrated, I found the drama to be way too forced. i can’t believe this has the same score as LoGH. Unnaceptable.

      Usagi Drop and Penguindrum are great, not this ¬¬

      • Avatar Exactly says:

        Yeah; it’s ridiculous that this has the same score as LoGH. I personally regard LoGH as one of the best animes ever, and while fully taking the fact that the two animes are from completely different genres, I am still unable to accept that they have the same score. Like what?! Psgels, you just —

        I usually regard your opinion very highly but I really have to disagreed with you on this account. Ano Hana is a piece of overrated BS.

  2. Avatar fuckwanderingbunny says:

    well fuck you wandering bunny

  3. Avatar Hogart says:

    A surprisingly solid show. Probably not for those who can’t stand forced drama, but even I managed to consistently enjoy it, and I’m a crusty old fart who generally hates forced drama with a passion.

    It’s not a feel-good healing anime. The cast members tend to be both likable and repugnant. A lot of viewers seemed to just give up and latch onto their favorite character mid-way, even if they were just as reprehensible as the others.

    AnoHana does fall into the “no one asks the most basic questions” trap, but at least does a good job portraying the fears and spite that go into consciously leaving those questions unasked, so it doesn’t feel as trite or tiresome as it easily could have.

  4. Avatar m says:

    There are a lot of ways that a teen melodrama can fail miserably, and I think this show really deserves some praise for avoiding them. I suspect that it benefited from them first deciding on the story then building the characters in such a way as to tell it. The characters will do some really outrageous things, but before they do them the show will have deflated the obvious criticisms; whether an action is ridiculous or not, it will fit the character when the event happens.

    It’s a lot like an animated take on a Japanese television drama, only not terrible. I can really see how this would appeal to a broader audience, and since that is supposed to be part of the Nointamina mission, I’d say it’s a good example. I wouldn’t always want to watch this kind of show, but I think a good take away from its financial success might be for future original Noitamina series to (1) write a scenario that when you read it afterward, makes sense (2) express characters’ feelings through body language (3) focus on human problems that a general audience can relate to.

  5. Avatar garfield15 says:

    Show was solid, but I think a >90 score is very kind for this show

  6. Avatar Jsl273 says:

    Yeah, I agree it’s a very generous score. I think the lack of really good series this season led to it.

  7. Avatar EXM says:

    Well, in terms of anime, I can’t really think of anything that has put me through as much of a ride as this one. The storytelling was definitely heavy-handed at times, but in terms of presentation, it was flawlessly executed, so I think it deserved higher than 90 for sure.

  8. Avatar Aikun2012 says:

    Definitely deserved a 90+ score. The characters were well developed and well defined. I don’t see how anyone could NOT like this!! The emotions were masterfully flowing in a minuet of sweet perfection and sophistication. Each scene had this sense of human empathy and care, what more could you ask for in a modern drama??? I say either a 92.5 or a 95.0… It totally reminds me of Toradora and Clannad Afterstory (those were masterpieces by the way).

  9. Avatar Joshua says:

    I would have given Anohana a 95. This is hands down the best anime of the season. Heck, it might even be the best we’ll get this year.
    Every single character is flawed in their own ways and this is one of the few shows where I actually like all of them. The animation is consistently good and love the soundtrack to bits too. Bravo Bravo!

  10. Avatar Tarsio says:

    I really love this anime. It’s impossible not to cry. See Jintan running to find Menma in the end, I thought my heart would stop.

  11. Avatar ShyBlue says:

    I just noticed something about this show, which really stuck out kinda badly in the last episode for me. The script is kinda…cheesy and…melodramatic, isn’t it? It’s usually the VAs that do an amazing job and make it stick out less but…I don’t know, I love Anohana, but the last episode kinda…eh. :/ I would have given it an 85 or so.

  12. Avatar Alec says:

    @wandering bunny: I agree it’s somewhat overrated, but it’s definitely not BS.

    You know what? screw the talk about overrated, it’s definitely not heading anywhere

  13. Avatar Denizen says:

    I’d give it a 9/10, if even only barely. It had a certain something that really made it stand out from other shows of its kind, that really drew you in and appreciate the characters as realistic people.

    It was simple but so well done, it deserves most of the merit it gets.

  14. Avatar Nutcase says:

    Definitely one of the best animes this season. This series could have derailed at any single moment due to its short length but A-1 made sure it never jumped the track.

    However, I have been constantly bothered by the ridiculous love hexagon or whatever it was that involved most if not all of the main characters. Is it really possible for the kids in age 7 or 8 to develop such serious romantic crushes on each other that they can only be described as being in love sick at such an early age? In that sense, I think this anime was built upon a really weak and unconvincing premise. In addition, the series could have really used one or two more episodes because even by the end, Poppo and Tsuruko still felt underdeveloped.

  15. Avatar Arisu says:

    This anime is sure to be one of the best of the year, the best of the season. I wish that it didn’t have to end. I hope that there will be a movie in the future. XD

    As for the score I think Ano Hana is fully deserving of it.

  16. Avatar MoonPig says:

    Albeit an anime in the good books, I feel this show has been overrated. I disliked Menma (boring)…actually I disliked all of the characters save for Anjou. I never cried, felt emotional or related to it but that just goes down to personal callousness. However, in all, I can see why people would like this that’s why I’d score this 80

  17. Avatar tomphile says:

    I agree with Moonpig, this show might be overrated a little bit. While it’s good, it’s nowhere near as good as something like Clannad.

    Nevertheless, it was solid and I don’t think it could have ended in a better way at the moment. It was paced just right. It wasn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but I think that this is going to be a show that anybody can watch without leaving their chair.

  18. Avatar Impsndcnma says:

    Count me in as someone who wouldn’t rate it as high. It’s easily the best show of the season it’s more like an 85. I never cried while watching it and while I’ll miss the characters I don’t have that feeling of sorry that it’s over that I get with the very best shows. I’d still recommended it to anyone who enjoys the medium it’s just not a top-tier title.

  19. Avatar RUSERIOUS says:

    What clannad? nahh give me a break for a show that have lots of episodes vs a mere 11 episodes.. haha I’ll just laugh at that, to be precise I didn’t liked Clannad wherein a girl that will be put on a spotlight at a certain episodes will became only a side character on the main storyline feels like kinda stupid… It’s like a disposable items ~_~… Anohana focuses the spotlight not just around Jinta and Menma but the whole group and they have done it splendidly on a mere “11 episodes” not 40+ *sigh*

    Hands down for the high score it really deserved it, full of emotions and development… Never have a comment on the Production Quality since they did it nicely…

    Best of the season if not best of this year…

  20. Avatar mulligan says:

    We need more series like this one. It doesn’t have to be a tearjerker, or a heartstring-strummer, but series that tell a well thought-out, honest message. Moe, fan-service, whatever – if you have to put them in, fine put them in. Ratings, sponsorships, DVD sales are what ultimately fuels the industry at the end of the day, we get that. But genuine, conscientious scriptwriting like this will always steal the show, and win a much longer-lasting fanbase.

    I hope the industry is paying attention to their audiences. Thanks for all your reviews on this show btw psgels.

  21. Avatar Pandadog says:

    Wandering Bunny and Fuckyouwanderingbunny are the same person? you witty person.

  22. Avatar Dale says:

    Let’s see.. Again, people here are arguing about the score, as is with every other thing that is scored be it games, movies, tv series and other stuff… Personally I wouldn’t care for the score, except that it leads to vague comparisons to other series. (Actually it’s gotten to a point that I rarely look at the score when reading reviews especially aggregated scores like in RT or metacritic).

    What’s more important in this review is the content and I pretty much agree with it. This season, few shows have managed to be this emotional. Some of it feels forced but despite that, it’s still effective. Perhaps the one real and somewhat dealbreaking flaw in this series is the realism. It isn’t realistic at all and I wager some of the viewers will hate it for that. But I for one love that they just threw logic and realism out the window the same way Tokyo Magnitude 8 did.. It’s more imaginative and creative that way..

  23. Avatar Frost says:

    Agree with the overrated comments… In fact I dropped this on ep 4 lol cant stand the main girl… annoying as hell, and Im tired of “retard” types… Steins;Gate already gives me my weekly dose of retard girl with Mayuri

    Ill try to pick it up eventually but there is no way this is worth 92,5… Kuragehime was way better and didnt even get 90 /I am disappoint

  24. Avatar Jo says:

    This rating is worth it.
    End of story.

  25. Avatar fedek says:

    I find the series, really overrated.

    But is a excellent series, probably deserves a 8/10.

    Good review psgels. I agree with you.

    But I simply can`t rate slice of life more than 8.
    For slice of life, i have a real life.

  26. Avatar Topspin says:

    If people can rate whinging melodramas like Clannad, Madoka, or Angel Beats so highly, then there’s no reason this should be any lower.

    It may be overly dramatic, it may feature “dumb kids”, but that’s anime drama for you.

    Bottom line is that it’s still a solid drama, uses it’s time well, and people who like that sort of show should truly enjoy it.

    It’s good enough so that even people who don’t, like me, can still truly enjoy it.

    Which is more than I can say for the vast majority of anime drama.

  27. Avatar Son Gohan says:

    I would rate AnoHana as a 85/100. It’s a very good show but it lacks something to be called a masterpiece. I felt that many times the author tried too hard to make us cry. Particularly in the last episode I thought that the scene where everyone was crying and shouting and pouring their hearts out was a bit unrealistic.
    Still the best show of the season. Not the best of the year though, I still think that Madoka is superior.

  28. Avatar Hades says:

    @fedek

    Totally agrre with you specially at the part:

    “But I simply can`t rate slice of life more than 8.
    For slice of life, i have a real life. ” Spot on

  29. Avatar Taara535 says:

    @Son Gohan. Madoka was certainly more original (what other series has made fighting magical monsters in a superhero show like being a GI in the Vietnam War?!)

    Still, I think AnoHana was a bit better executed, and that alone deserves tons of praise. I am very surprised at all of the negative comments here. If you like slice of life, this was a masterpiece.

    And guess what, if you don’t like slice of life shows, don’t watch them and then complain about a good review from a reviewer who openly says he likes slice of life.

  30. Avatar VyseLegend says:

    It was a decent show. But really not great in any way. I had a hard time feeling sympathy for any of the characters because of the magical premise of the whole action of the show, and because of how conceited and hypersentimental and spoiled they all appear to be.

    I would give the show a 7 I guess. Its just not something I’m going to recommend because it has no real real theme or message other than ‘don’t act as conceited as the spoiled characters in this show.’

  31. Avatar astrocurrent says:

    I think it is kind of amusing that you rate Ano Hana over H&C.

    Ano Hana is a decent show. It aims at empathy, to make one cry. And it succeeded. Applaud for that.

  32. Avatar Ishimaru says:

    Ano Hana was a brilliant show, but I don’t think it trumps H&C for me. I love it for the same reasons I love H&C, but damn was H&C good.

  33. Avatar Airi says:

    To be honest….when I read the description during the Spring line-up I purposefully ignored this one. I went out of my way to avoid it. That’s because….It was at the start of my last semester of High School. I just graduated last week. Right now..everything is changing. My friends are going away. My whole lifestyle has begun to change.

    And that’s why I watched the whole thing today. Because I needed to face that side of myself.

    I just finished watching the last one no less than 5 minutes ago and, let me say, I was bawling like a baby. I didn’t see those tears coming. I thought I could handle it but I couldn’t. What a great anime.

    So, thank you. Thank you for finally convincing me to grow up a little bit more today.

  34. Avatar Hunter-Wolf says:

    Brilliant show, i don’t understand how can anyone not like it unless they really have a dead heart or no taste in anime .. seriously.

    And Menma isn’t dumb .. she is a kid .. a 6 years old mind in the body of an 11-13 years old girl/ghost .. kindhearted .. maybe .. naive .. maybe .. but she is far from dumb .. it’s quite obvious.

    As for the score .. well .. i prefer the (Horrible/Bad/Good/Very Good/Excellent) rating system .. and without doubt AnoHana is one of the EXCELLENT shows out there in both the drama category and anime in general .. the music and songs are chosen to fit perfectly with the themes .. the animation is excellent for a Drama show and character designs and color palettes are lively and vibrant .. story is very well paced and has a strong impacting climax .. characters have depth and the show gives every one of them a chance to shine … .. oh .. and no disgusting fan-service, no pointless nudity, no dick jokes or boob groping or panty shots, no dumb cardboard characters … what’s not to like !!!!!

    And to all those going on with the (ewww, i have a classy taste this show is so overrated, it is way below my class, it’s for the tasteless brainless masses), (I didn’t feel anything, i didn’t cry, i’m a manly man) … thanks for nothing XD

    • Avatar Hades says:

      Ah ok, so the series you love is the best thing ever made and everyone who disagree with that have bad taste on anime huh. That’s basically what you’re saying here… really, grow up kid.

  35. Avatar MoonPig says:

    @Hunter-Wolf
    Clearly you have missed the general consensus of the comments stating that it was a good show definitely above the 80 mark. Can’t you tell the difference between being objective and subjective? BTW No one at all said that this show was “below” their class or was “for the tasteless brainless masses” so thank you for making such a banal statement.

    Oh, a shout out to the blogger – thanks for all the great reviews you’ve been doing!

  36. Avatar Tc says:

    I believe this show was simply fantastic. I was able to relate with each and every character, feeling their joy, anger, anguish, jeleousy, feeling their emotions on a level as if it was one of real life. for that alone it is one of the best of this season. He rated it perfectly and gave you examples of WHY he rated it where he did. Please reread the entire post before you fast forward to the score and then say it doesn’t deserve it.

  37. Avatar RaZ says:

    You know, i see alot of comments of people having negative comments of “the characters” pouring there hearts out in the last ep. Everyone seems to forget that, they’ve been holding the burden of somone they all love died, and blamed themselves for it. if thats not enough to get someone emotion al to that level, good chance your a lifeless rock.

  38. Avatar Tiggerknowsbest says:

    ah i just knew you would have liked it as much as i did psgels, definetely the rating it deserved.

    Every character in this show should be an example for any slice of life series to come. Anohana took the time to completely discover each and every character (poppo could have had a bit more time cause he was hilarious).

    definitely the standout series of the season for me.

  39. Avatar Tiggerknowsbest says:

    ah i just knew you would have liked it as much as i did psgels, definetely the rating it deserved.

    Every character in this show should be an example for any slice of life series to come. Anohana took the time to completely discover each and every character (poppo could have had a bit more time cause he was hilarious).

    definitely the standout series of the season for me.

  40. Avatar AKI says:

    I would have rated it higher. Manly tears, man, manly tears. Honey and Clover did not make me cry, Ano Hana did.

  41. Avatar mds says:

    I agreed that this is a fantastic show..with exceptional characters,but let me get to the point…a “9” in setting? Is the setting explored that much? This is a series about the characters,right? Psgels,I think you should be more objective about this.

  42. Avatar charizardpal says:

    Madoka had a better ending but started lame. Anohana started well but had a lame ending.

  43. Avatar summerberries says:

    I am okay with it, but it is not that awesome.
    Too much unnecessary drama specially when someone died ages ago. The story doesn’t need a lot of thinking but just stirring your emotion. Unrealistic overly emotional. For heart wrencher lovers.

    Too much attention on Menma. They made Menma sounds like a living goddess. The most perfect girl that no one can compare. Menma personality also annoys me, acting all cute and innocence -> the usual anime cliche. It may sound mean, but I didn’t cry. I was looking forward for the girl to go heaven

  44. Avatar rly? says:

    In my opinion, this series is definitely overrated. It’s a great, pleasant story to watch. However, following the standards set by your other reviews, this one should not have been rated above 90/100. Not that it wasn’t good enough, it’s just that some better series have received lower ratings. Maybe you really have enjoyed it that much, but for me it feels a bit unfair to the other ones.

  45. Avatar zzzdrama says:

    Idk why there are so many positive reviews of this. Personally, I felt like all of story could have been compressed to one or two episodes and gotten pretty much everything covered.

    SPOILER ALERT*****
    Did they REALLY have to show the same scene of menma’s shoe or whatever a zillion times over? And instead of feeding the same scenes over and over again like in the clubhouse and having them all sit around, showing it again and again and again really got on my nerves. They should have given us more background instead of just repeating things over and over again -_- Like WHY is menma really this amazing person that everyone loves still after years?? BACKGROUND PLEASE.<<
    Maybe if they actually didn't keep repeating the same scenes over and over again and gave us enough background to actually like menma, I might change my mind about this anime, but as of now, this is one of my least favorite animes of all time.
    Also, having menma be a ghost that only the main character can see and who can somehow move objects and write in a diary is really…….let's just say that part irked me a lot as well.
    In addition, the emotional part was so forced IMO that I was just like "….seriously??" after like the 20 millionth time seeing them cry -_- I know "conventional" drama has a lot of the elements Ano Hana has, and seeing that a very large proportion of the population love watching drama, that is probably why there are so many people who love it. I personally do not like this kind of drama, but to each their own. The storyline and characters sucked, and since that is pretty much what I look for in an anime, I personally rate it a 2/10 just for the okay animation. And no, I am not some "heartless fiend" or w/e, I am somewhat of a crybaby when it comes to some drama, but when it comes to this kind of forced drama…I was honestly laughing early-midway into the anime -_-

  46. Avatar Jedman says:

    I enjoyed this show, it was well made and has good character development. But the over the top drama and crying put me off, made it so I couldn’t get emotionally as into the show as I would have liked myself.

    It’ like there trying so hard to make it emotional that it becomes annoying. it’s too try hard.

    Some of it was very over the top and forced, if it was a bit more subtle I think it would have been much better for it.

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