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)

Star Crossed Anime Blog

11 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

O Maidens in Your Savage Season – 02 [Es Ee Ecks]

To someone on the outside looking in, the anime medium, or what it has become now, comprises of some incredibly good seasonal shows that never become truly great; behind these, we have a slew of solid ones followed by a sea of mediocrity. And all this covers a fifty feet deep pile of crap that […]

Kanata no Astra – 02 [Wilderness]

Welcome to the first week of Kanata no Astra, aka Astra Lost in Space in English localization. The double-length premiere remains a flawed but decent introduction for me, and this sophomore further underlines the strengths, as well as the potential weaknesses of this show going forward. For instance, many of the anime’s changes baffled me. […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 15 [Mount Natagumo]

Another week, the start of another arc in Kimetsu no Yaiba. This week our trio start to grow, we meet some new villains and some old characters make a return. Hope your not afraid of spiders, cause we have whole host to get through. Lets go! As far as production goes, I think this was […]

Fire Force – 2 [The Heart of a Fire Soldier]

Welcome to Fire Force! I’m your infernal host for the season (and hopefully many more), Amun. Fire Force kicks off as the highly anticipated sophomore work of Atsushi Ohkubo (known for Soul Eater). The most pressing concern I’ve heard so far is the show couldn’t possibly maintain the level of quality from the first episodes […]

Dr.STONE – 2 [King of the Stone World]

Hello everyone, it’s your friendly neighborhood Lenlo here. Ready for another season? Well you better be, cause this might be my favorite season of the year. Starting of course with Dr.Stone, a series I have followed since its first few chapters. So that said, open up your textbooks and let’s dive in! Starting off, production. […]

Serial Experiments Lain – 10/11 [Love/Infornography] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to a 2 parter for Serial Experiments Lain! Apologies for missing last week. Between end of season reviews, first impressions and a boxing match, I was a bit busy. But we are back on track with some Lain weirdness, so lets dive right in! Starting off, I once again was forced […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 14 [The House with the Wisteria Family Crest]

Welcome to another week of Kimetsu no Yaiba. This week we take a break as our trio get to know each other, have some dinner and meet best sister Nezuko. Let’s get into it! Right off the bat, I am rather split on this episode. Both in terms of production/animation and the actual narrative of […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 13 [Something More Important Than Life]

Another week, another episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba, though not a great one. Zenitsu gets less annoying, and the fights are fun, but the pacing is off and the narrative is questionable. That said, let’s get into some details and jump in! Starting off, like always, production. Animation wise, Yaiba was fine. The rotating room […]

Mix – 12/13 [Aren’t You Taking Him Lightly?/Because We’re Brothers]

I missed last week’s post due to a temporary Hearthstone addiction, so here’s a doubleheader for you. These episodes stepped away from the show’s recent focus on romance and character building, opting to broaden the cast in preparation for the East Tokyo summer tournament. Episode 13 actually covers the opening innings of Meisei’s first game, […]

Latest Reviews

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Anime Review – 87/100

Upon finishing this series, the only question on my mind was how many animators did Bones sacrifice on ONE’s altar to achieve this. Following their prior season, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 continues Bones adaptation of webcomic and manga author ONE’s 4th work, Mob Psycho 100. ONE has also authored the critically acclaimed One Punch […]