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 Years later, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, has become withdrawn and lives as a recluse.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.