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Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai Review

June 26, 2011 By: Nopy Category: Anime

I started watching Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (aka Ano Hana, or We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That  Day) thinking it would be one of those anime that tries to be deep but doesn’t know what it’s doing. Well, I was wrong, the anime isn’t deep, but the writers and directors did know what they were doing.

For those who aren’t familiar with the title, here’s the plot summary from MyAnimeList:

A group of childhood friends drifts apart after one of them, Meiko “Menma” Honma, dies in an accident. Years later, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, has become withdrawn and lives as a recluse. An older Meiko appears to him, and says that she must have a wish granted, though she does not know what it is.

Ano Hana is a simple story of regret and understanding. There are few moments where we will find a character not regretting what they did or didn’t do in the past, and the others judging them based on that. What sets Ano Hana apart from other anime is that it’s very easy to relate to the characters. How many people can say that there isn’t a moment in their past that they wish they could go back to and say the words they wanted or take a step forward? How many people can say they don’t think about how others view them, or that they don’t judge others? These are the issues that all of the characters face.

I was impressed that Ano Hana was able to present the personal obstacles that each character faces and have them overcome them within 11 episodes. The relationships between the characters was also very realistic. It’s known that men are generally in consensus with regards to what makes a woman attractive, while what’s attractive in men will differ from woman to woman. Ano Hana managed to work this principle into the group and create a believable love chart (a welcome change from the usual harem anime love chart).

The one thing I thought Ano Hana could have improved with the characters was to give Poppo’s story some more thought. One of Jinta and Menma’s childhood friends, he acts like a laid-back, funny guy throughout the anime. There are few indications that he has any regrets or internal conflict, so I was surprised to see him break down in the last episode for a reason that was explained in a minute. It’s like Poppo was just an afterthought for the writers, and they decided to just put together something in the last episode so that he wouldn’t be left out.

One of the great things about Ano Hana is that there are no wasted scenes or episodes. There is no filler beach episode or fanservice in general. Every scene serves to further the tension between the characters, reveal something new about the relationships, or show a new detail from the past. I could find no fault with the directing.

The animation-style wasn’t to my liking, but the backgrounds were beautifully done. Quality-wise, the only glaring detail that really bothered me were the invisible glasses. Other than that and a few disproportionate hands, there wasn’t much to criticize.

As for the music, I just have to say that I absolutely love the ending song “Secret Base ~Kimi ga Kureta mono~”. This song actually precedes the anime and there are several versions of it. The version in the anime is sung by the female cast, but I actually prefer the version sung by Scandal.


All in all, I thought Ano Hana was a great human drama that shows how friends can help each other overcome their fears and insecurities. A few details, notably Poppo’s character development, are in need of improvement, which stops it short of being perfect. It is well-executed though, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good drama to watch.

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21 Comments to “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai Review”

  1. Im really picky with drama anime, when there are just a few details that displease me too much, I can’t enjoy it anymore.

    Luckily Ano Hi Mita Hana…such a long title… never failed to deliver.
    I liked the setting with the broken bonds between the childhood friends.
    At first I was a bit sceptical about the length of just 11 episodes, but it turned out as long enough, without pacing issues. It was good that this anime was that consistent in terms of storytelling.

    I agree that Poppo appeared a bit to laid back before the end, I mean he probably made the worst experience with Menma, but he developed into a funny dude at least on the surface.
    The love interests were quite amusing, no love for Anjou and Tsurumi XD
    I guess in terms of characters I liked Anjou the most ‘tsun tsun*.

    The ending scene was very touching and gave me goosebumps, overall it was a great anime for me ^_^

  2. I think this series could have been better, its already very good but i dont know, there was something that annoyed me, like no a lot of tsurumi action! haha she deserves the gong for the best character no doubt about it.

    the ending was kinda like ‘oh come on get on with it’ ^^” when they were all screaming there heads off but it somewhat fitted in. hey still a great ending.

  3. Great review.

    An emotional intelligent drama series. Even though it had some weak spots in it’s armor design, they were barely noticeable to me, since it was exciting to watch.

    Seems like nearly almost every episode I had to reach for tissue and I rarely cry; and that goes for anime as well. Guess is this made me lighten up…

  4. @Fabienne:
    I was a bit worried the series would be too short and rush the ending too, but it all turned out well. Anjou was definitely the most tsun character, but I liked everyone else as well. They all brought a little something to complete the story.

    @Fabrice Requin:
    I found the part where they were all crying to be a bit cheesy, like they were trying to get the audience to cry along with the characters. The way they ended it with a funny scene worked wonders though.

    Everything from start to finish was well-planned. I guess the few details that could have made it better stood out for me because I’ve seen so many of these types of shows already.

  5. While you could say that every scene is utilized in a way that it accomplishes something of worth, you could also say that some of the scenes are wasted with crying and little else. I’m partial to a good story, but sometimes the crying in this anime killed it.

    Hate to sound like a downer but, drowning everything in tears is not going to cut it. They could have done the same thing by just depicting the scene in a different way.

    Nevertheless, I loved this anime to bits and I’m glad it left off on a good note.

  6. @tomphile:
    I actually didn’t mind the crying until the last episode when everyone was in tears. That was the only time I thought they went overboard.

  7. I still have 4 more episodes to go but I’m really liking this series. The characters are believable which makes it easy to relate to them and look forward to what will they do next.

  8. Yeah, they’ve done a great job for being a 11 episode series. Having a couple episode more maybe could have improved a little the ending though…

  9. Ahh…I should probably pick this up. I’ve read a lot of good comments about it but I just haven’t got around watching this. From your review here, it seems like AnoHana is an anime I’d watch.

  10. This is one of the shows that I passed on after some consideration. Given the things people have been saying here and there about it makes me regret doing so. If I have the time I think I will watch it in the future.

  11. @Xine:
    If you’ve liked it so far, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the last four episodes.

    I think 1 or 2 more might have been good, but more than that might make it drag on instead of improving it.

    You should see at least the first two episodes. I know a few people didn’t like it because they weren’t into the way the drama was presented, but that should give you an idea of what to expect.

    Well, it’s not very long so I’m sure you could finish it all in one afternoon if you really wanted to.

  12. I’ve heard so many good things about this series. It seems like quite a tearjerker. Anyway, wonderful review. I’d love to pick up a real drama that details the emotions of regret. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make time for it. And fortunately, the animation style is to my liking, so that’s even better.

  13. @Yi:
    Ano Hana is definitely the right anime if you’re looking for drama, every episode is jam packed with it.

  14. This is totally a series that want to watch, but since I can’t stand waiting for the next episode, I’ll probably only start watching once the entire series is done… much like what I did with Tora Dora. (it’s the same people that made this one, right?)

    I’m truly looking forward to it. Thanks for the review. :D

  15. @Radiant:
    The series is actually done, there’s only 11 episodes. I’m not sure if it’s by the same people that did Toradora, but it had close to the same level of drama.

  16. I agreed with almost every detail that you mentioned, but I think I’m satisfied with Poppo’s character. He matured and poured out the emotion at the right time and that made him memorable.

    Also, if there’s something that I didn’t quite like in this anime it’s the over-emphasis of jealousy. Don’t get me wrong I think over-emphasizing is part of drama, but I wish some scene was used for something else. Nonetheless, overall this is a heart-warming and enticing anime.

  17. @abscissa:
    I think Poppo’s ending performance was great, but I just would’ve liked some more lead up to that point.

  18. The synopsis of this series reminds me a bit of The Stellar Six of Gingacho, although that manga series doesn’t have the tragic edge that this series has. It’s considerably more upbeat but still a good read. I’d recommend it but Tokyopop left it incomplete and I have no idea if it will be rescued. Anyway I’ve added this series to my “To Watch” list on anime-planet.

  19. @lovelyduckie:
    I haven’t heard of that manga before, I’ll have to look it up.

  20. I do agree Poppo should have gotten more backstory, and I think a couple more episodes would have done this show good. Instead of 11, I think 13 would have been great. It felt a bit early to end it and from the beginning I had hoped it was going to be a longer series. The theme and moral story presented were to my liking and I enjoyed every episode, watching it weekly was torture, always kept wondering what will happen next. I think I gave this a 9/10, highly enjoyable though a teary eyed mess at times XD

  21. @Persocom:
    13 episodes would have been a good number, just to expand a bit on some of the characters’ backgrounds. It was a bit nerve wracking having to wait a week to find out what happens next, but that’s just a testament to how good it was.


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