Posted 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

Posted on with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



And it’s finally the time of the season again to review the large batch of series ending. The first one is Ano Hana, and really: I don’t expect any of the other series in the next few weeks to come even close to this one. There is just no way. This episode was completely amazing and it pretty much cemented this series as my favourite series of 2011 so far.

the creators really wanted this to end with a tear-jerker, and BY GOD, they succeeded! It’s not the kind of episode that tries to be as sad as possible, but god dammit it was emotional. Just about every character unleashed the final bits of his or her development. Every character got the chance to vent his or her lungs and confess about his or her problems. Everything came together magnificently. I cried more at this episode than at any other episode of this show so far.

This show… this show really knew how to save the best for last. Menma’s wish is so simple, yet brilliant. It ties everything about Jinta together. It wasn’t something epic, but just a small detail about one of the friends she grew up with. Or Poppo, who finally revealed that… he actually saw what happened in that river. It was clear that he had a secret, and this episode made such a wonderful use of that. THIS is how you build up plot twist and make them hit as hard as possible!

The ending also was just bittersweet. Sure, it still remains unclear why Menma was a ghost, or why everyone was able to see her at the final time, but really: who cares. Ghosts just work that way, and it didn’t go against anything that this series built up for. It was truly excellent as the emotional climax of this series.

There’s just one overused cliche in this episode: Menma’s airheadedness, or “I like everyone as friends”. This is a bad twist because anime often use it to sneak their way around having to seriously develop romance. Can we really fault Anohana for that, though? With Menma, she just feels like a kid who just isn’t bothered with romance, even though everyone around her is. In terms of that, she was a great character. It’s perhaps not exactly realistic, but even then it has some of the most natural characters of the season, aside from perhaps Showa Monogatari that nobody watches.

Overall, A-1: we couldn’t have asked for a better apology for Togainu no Chi and Fractale. I love these people, and this is the second time they produced something of classic material, after Birdy the Mighty. Not since Asatte no Houkou have I watched a teenaged drama without anything else that I liked this much (and with Asatte no Houkou only half the cast was actually teenager). Just about everything fits here and nothing feels wasted or out of place. This really was a wonderful watch.
Rating: **** (Fantastic)

Posted on 17 June 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



What a wonderful penultimate episode. Everything is just culminating to that final climax of this series. Once again, this episode was just full of emotions and it continued to push its characters forward.

It was clear that the fireworks arc was going to be an anti-climax: there was no way in which that really would be Menma’s wish, but damn: this episode nearly made me believe that ti was. The build-up to the eventual launch was really quite sad, especially with Jintan not wanting her to go away. Yet at the same time, his personality would never have made him actually stop the launch. Beyond that though, everyone was somehow deeply emotionally involved in the launch. The climax, now that Menma didn’t disappear, is looking out to be amazing.

Overall, I’m going to wait until next week before claiming whether or not this was my favourite show of the year. This season also has a lot of series that go past 13 episodes for once, so I also can’t say yet whether it’s going to be the best series of the season. But what I can say is that it has the best eleven episodes of the past season. It left no moment wasted, it always sought to give more depth to its characters and the characters always made sure for hard-hitting and confronting drama. It’s exactly the kind of story that belongs in Noitamina.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 10 June 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



Ah, it’s almost a shame that there are just two episodes left, but that’s the strength of a good Noitamina-series: they’re short, but really, really sweet. This episode was the calm before the storm: preparing everything for that finale, and it’s promising to become an awesome one that is going to involve every single character significantly.

I really liked how both Jinta and Poppo nearly broke their character. Unlike Yukiatsu who isn’t afraid to show his personal feelings or Naruko who is terrible at hiding them, both of them have been quite good at dodging these things. This time, even that composure broke. Especially Jinta, who right now is the one threatening to screw everything up.

As to the “big plothole” of this series, I think that it has a lot to do with this. While it remains questionable why Menma waited so long on announcing her presence, it is clear now why Jinta didn’t push her to do that: it’s pretty much as Yukiatsu said; Jinta wants to stay with Menma and wants to have her for himself, while at the same time he still has parts of the attention whore that he was when he was younger.

Meanwhile, Tsuruko also finally showed some new things of herself. She really is going to be a big mystery for that ending as well: she’s the most composed member of the cast so she really had relatively few scenes to show her character off compared to the more unstable characters, but with Yukiatsu getting stranger and stranger (he’s also hitting on Naruko now? Is this because he’s interested in her or because he just wants to take everything away from Jinta?) we finally get to see that she too has at least a crush. Her character was invaluable to the series, though. It showed that the cast wasn’t entirely made up out of people with issues. It was exactly what the cast needed here for variety.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 3 June 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



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)

Posted on 27 May 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



This probably is the moe-est show that I’ve ever considered as my favourite of a season. I mean, I have enjoyed teenaged drama romances before and all, but not to the point where they were done this well in such a short time. More than any other series this season, this series really nails the feelings of its lead characters and it continues to push their relationships forward. This episode was slightly special, though: for once it focused especially on Jinta and Menma.

Instead, I can only see this episode as a build-up red herring. That’s nothing bad, by the way. Some of my favourite stories use these red herrings. Rather than pointless, I love it when done well, they are excellent in fleshing out the characters and story, and the same pretty much happened here: the whole rocket story has nothing to do with Menma’s wish and all, but this episode really stressed the bond and the memories that the main characters made with each other.

By the way, it’s great that Noitamina has been pretty much consistently amazing for the past five seasons here: for the past five seasons and eight series since the timeslot turned into an hour long, there pretty much has been an amazingly well written series on, with the best still being Spring 2010. 2010 was overall a mediocre year, but THAT was the best season that Noitamina ever had). Heck, pretty much the only mistake during this period was Fractale. As for Anohana, I’d probably put it somewhere in the bottom of the top 8 of my favourite Noitamina series. Where exactly entirely depends on the ending.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 20 May 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



I absolutely love how this show delves into the minds of its characters. This episode yet again had me teared up, and again it’s not just because of one character, but a whole bunch of them. I mean, most series pick one or two characters do develop each episode: this show does this with nearly every character for nearly every episode. Even Yukiatsu and Chiriko, who had a relatively small role in this episode, were great. I especially love how honest Yukiatsu has become.

The real meat of the episode though was about Jinta finally going to school, Naruko suffering through endless gossips about what happened in the previous episode and Menma only worrying about others. With all these, this show has a nice habit of not just showing characters, but it also keeps showing characters telling how they feel about other characters. Whether right or wrong, it’s actually a great way to flesh them out by showing how they seem in the eyes of someone else.

As for Menma, this episode could have given a really big hint as to why Menma is staying behind as a ghost. Running away is a huge concept of this series. The most apparent is of course Jinta, but the rest of the cast also tends to have this. Menma keeps avoiding talking about herself. I mean, did Jinta ever apologize for what he said to her, right before she died? It’s of course not going to be this simple, but I do think that something in that direction is her wish.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 13 May 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



That was yet again amazing. Again, every character played a major role in this episode and nobody was left out. This series really never fails to pull at my heartstrings.

I love how the creators actually made Yukiatsu work as a character despite his cross-dressing antics. The way he composes himself right after his little break down makes him much more than just another insane character, and this series brilliantly combined these crazy plot twists with the down to earth setting here. I also loved how he acknowledged how cliche it was that he saved Naruko from being taken advantage to, even though the way in which he did it wasn’t cliched at all.

And heck, this episode did touch upon a very important issue in this series: why did Menma appear in front of Jinta? I mean, okay she was in love with him and all, but it probably isn’t this shallow: throughout the series we kept seeing how she wanted to be together with everyone; her crush on Jinta seems completely gone now.

By the way, I really have to say that, leaving the episodes she wrote of Simoun and Red Garden aside, that this is the best original screenplay that Mari Okada has written so far. There is just so much emotion put into it and everything is just so incredibly balanced. And that while she’s working on two other series this season as well!
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 6 May 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



What makes an amazing 11~13-episoded series is completely different from what makes an amazing 24~26 episoded series. The latter has time to build up and flesh out characters. The former however doesn’t need that luxury, and needs to deliver right from the start. And Anohana did that wonderfully: all four episodes so far have delivered, and all have been amazing so far.

The strength of this episode was that it took the heart-wrenching formula and added even more to it: a completely weird plot twist. When Hana-Saku Iroha did this with its third episode, it lost part of its charm, but this episode retained the tension and the emotional connection, while it also showed how Jinta isn’t the only guy member of the cast who completely lost it.

The awesome thing about this episode was that just about every character shined: Matsuyuki for insulting himself, Jintan for having the guts to actually try and talk to him, Chiriko for getting tired of him, Menma for consistently encouraging Jinta, Tetsudo for joining her and trying to keep the group together and Naruko for still trying to get Jinta to go out more. These characters all have their flaws, but this show always makes them play with these flaws.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 29 April 2011 with categories: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai



It’s been a long, long while since I watched a series that made me teary-eyed on such a consistent basis as Anohana. It’s got the most amazing cast of characters that consistently try to develop each other. These people feel real and the acting is absolutely amazing. I mean, even Hourou Musuko needed a number of episodes to get going!

Anohana is really about growing up: some of the characters here already have, while Jinta refuses to do so and Poppo just doesn’t care. The same goes with the rest of the cast, and this friction between the ones who have grown up and the ones who didn’t is amazing to watch, especially with such detailed characterization. These characters just keep telling more about themselves and becoming more rounded and versatile. This was an especially good episode for Tsurumi.

Three episodes in, and I only managed to spot one cliche: the dead mother. It’s a bit unnerving that BOTH Noitamina series this season have the dead mother syndrome, but Anohana even makes good use of that one. Living in a dysfunctional family had a massive impact on Jinta and probably even strengthened his trauma, let alone seeing him first lose his mother and then one of his best friends. The thing remains though that the easiest way for a character to have a dysfunctional family is hardly ever used: we hardly ever get to see people with divorced parents. Out of the top of my head, I can only think of two that did that: Noein and Kuragehime. Oh, and Hana-Saku Iroha.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 06:10 PM)
    @Mario: But for a movie like this White ribbon was much much better.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 06:09 PM)
    @Mario: While I didn’t like it as much as you probably did, I feel I got more than enough out of Neighbourhood sounds, I liked the behind close doors feel to it, the way it made the viewer very much an observer with its kind of voyeuristic approach and I didn’t feel some of the stranger scenes in the second half took away from anything, they were interesting. The ending caught me off guard.
  • Rey
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 02:56 AM)
    Can someone send a request shiz to make a movie about the Sonata of Darkness of Melody? It would be pretty interesting…
  • k-off
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:49 AM)
    Langrisser certainly makes me appreciate Fates a little bit more, this is the video game equivalent of The Asylum’s rip-off movies.
  • Bam
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:23 AM)
    @Hellfire: lol I do too. This had good lyrics as well, but the line in Hellfire which says “he made the devil so much stronger than a man!” hits really hard.
  • SuperMario
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:12 AM)
    @Bam: yes, This performance was a gem, but truthfully any version would be more faithful than the Disney one. I still prefer Hellfire though :)
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:26 AM)
    What do you think?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:25 AM)
    I met a French art student in a bar tonight, and after getting into Hugo and Notre-Dame de Paris, he suggested a more faithful French theater production of it. He believed that this is a much better portrayal of the conflicted priestly character of Frollo, and specifically offered this Hellfire-esque song sang by the talented Daniel Lavoie as evidence:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5St9zF849o
  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 08:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: haha. If this film indeed was made I’ll be the first one on the line to watch it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:32 AM)
    @Mario: This made me laugh far more than it should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kno3xDw27bY

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 04

Episode four comes out swinging with tons of action, resolves its internal tensions and looks forwards to its second arc with hopeful optimism. There are no brakes on the Hayajiro, especially when the Kabane launches a surprise offensive and interrupts the cliffhanger that was going nowhere fast thanks to Kurusu’s intervention. I was worried that […]

Bungou Stray Dogs – 05

Bungou Stray Dogs once again goes sidetrack this week, which means that this episode is a filler one and doesn’t advance the plot at all. The main rivalry between the Armed Detective Agency and Port Mafia; which I originally thought to be 4, 5-episodes arc, seems to stretch out until the end of this season, […]

Joker Game – 05

One of the things I wished for joker game to show me was that the spies of D-agency were not superhuman demi-gods who can handle anything. This episode nearly accomplishes that as one of the spies of D-agency is found out and captured. However it falters in that the spy was purposefully sold out and […]

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 05

So Subaru has started his first repeat of this arc and at least this time he’s quick to come to terms with it. Though it is nice to see that he hasn’t shrugged off the progress he made getting wiped out without warning. But this time at least he’s at least making a plan and […]

Kiznaiver – 04

There are certain advantages to keeping your plot in the dark when storytelling. In the beginning stages when your audience is most attentive, if you manage to present questions they are interested in seeing answered then it provides a reason for the viewer to keep watching. However this tactic only continues to work as long […]

Flying witch – 04

Flying witch again delivers strong material this week and I actually think this is their best episode so far. Mostly because the 2 parts are well connected this week, and our new character Inuka is so natural and fit in like a glove, in addition they have an absurd and whimsical story to boost. I […]

Mayoiga – 05

We now back to the status quo on Mayoiga this week, as the group who left the village decided to come back, and the cliffhanger happened last week was never explained probably. I will say this upfront: this is not a good episode. We don’t learn much after it ends. We have even longer conversations […]

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 03

                There are no brakes on the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress train even when it goes for a pit stop to pick up some water and say a prayer for the dead. While my fellow writers firmly believe that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri will disintegrate into a trainwreck […]

Bungou Stray Dogs – 04

Bungou Stray Dogs sure never get tired to showcase more new characters every week, and judging from the OP I’m certain that there are more to come. This week there are 3 more new faces and each of them is over the top in their own ways, but that turns out to be for good […]

Latest Reviews

Schwarzesmarken – 65/100

Schwarzesmarken is a strange title in that it has a setting with fantastic potential yet the story is dampened by a rushed pacing and Missing characterisation. Despite this there are signs of a greater story under the hood and at times that story can shine despite haphazard adaption. The Stasi make for a great villain […]

Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 85/100

In the large reservoir of anime it is surprising just how few titles focus on the concept of time travel. There are of course titles which feature time travel but few that make it the core focus. So here we have Boku Machi or ERASED, a tale about a mangaka time traveling to his childhood […]

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]