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.|