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When someone close to you dies—be it a friend, a classmate, a significant other, or a family member—it strikes a chord. Things change. Close friends drift apart. Some move on, and some stay firmly rooted in the past.Such is the case with Jinta "Jintan" Yadomi, a high school-aged Hikikomori. After the death of Meiko "Menma" Honma, Jintan and their four other friends—Naruko "Anaru" Anjo, Atsumu "Yukiatsu" Matsuyuki, Chiriko "Tsuruko" Tsurumi, and Tetsudo "Poppo" Hisakawa—begin to lose touch with each other and move on with their lives. Five years later, Menma's ghost pays him a visit, asking him to help her fulfill a wish. Just what that wish is, she doesn't completely remember, but getting the old gang back together is a start.Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. ("We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day."), also known as AnoHana for short, is a Spring 2011Anime First series shown on Noitamina and produced by A-1 Pictures. It has been licensed for North American release by NIS America in July 2012. There's also a movie of the same name licensed by Aniplex USA which retells the story one year later, which premiered on August 2013.Viewers in the US may watch this show legally on Hulu or Crunchyroll.
Broken Ace: Yukiatsu looks perfect, smart, hot and all, but he's got massive issues.
All Love Is Unrequited/Love Dodecahedron: Tsuruko has a crush on Yukiatsu, but he is obsessed with Menma and later considers Anaru to be his Replacement Love Interest. Anaru is in love with Jintan, but the latter is also obsessed with Menma. Menma does like Jintan back, but due to her being deceased, she cannot be with him. The only one among the gang who doesn't seem to be part of the romantic loop is Poppo, but being The Big Guy, it is likely that he will get the short end of the stick. In the end, Jintan/Anaru and Yukiatsu/Tsuruko are given a Maybe Ever After. This may change with the release of the upcoming movie.
Animation Bump: Menma's movements rocket up to rotoscope-smooth at the end of Episode 10.
Armor-Piercing Question: Satoshi Honma is able to drive home to his mother how much she has become so absorbed in her grief for losing Menma that she has been failing to pay attention to him simply by asking one of these.
Satoshi: I grew three whole centimeters this year Mom, did you know that?
Bishounen: Yukiatsu. He's not shy about mentioning this himself.
By the Eyes of the Blind: Only Jintan can see or hear Menma. Which pretty much scares the hell out Anaru and Tsuruko once the others discover that she is indeed real and can only see things floating whenever she grabs something. Before Menma goes to Heaven, everyone can see her.
Catchphrase: Jinta's dad divides all the world's aspects into cute and not cute.
Childhood Friend Romance: Jintan and Menma have mutual feelings for each other, but Jintan was never able to confess to her. Anaru and Yukiatsu have unrequited lingering feelings for Jintan and Menma respectively. Yukiatsu lampshades their unrequited positions in Episodes 5 and 9. Tsuruko also has feelings for Yukiatsu.
Poppo's definitely been keeping himself company at the clubhouse.
Two words: Man Juice.
Deadpan Snarker: Yukiatsu can be quite the snarker when he's in a lighthearted mood.
Death by Newbery Medal: Menma's death actually occurs before the current storyline, but it plays out all the same.
Deconstructed Trope: The concept of Purity Sue is smashed to pieces here. Not only was Menma ridiculously pure and innocent (and kinda ditzy) because she died as a child and thus got mentally/emotionally stuck as a little girl forever, but it's made brutally clear how much pressure that kind of character would put on her friends:. Tsuruko and Anaru remember Menma fondly but are also jealous and resentful of her because she (unintentionally) left an insanely high standard for them to meet when she kicked it; Jintan and Yukiatsu are very screwed up due to still loving her for a long time after her death, with Jintan unable to function in social situations and Yukiatsu cultivating an unhealthy obsession; and Poppo constantly has to put on a happy face in order to interact with others due to his guilt after not being able to save her life.
Does Not Like Shoes: Menma doesn't wear them, though she did when she was alive. It may be an example of Jacob Marley Apparel, considering she's shown to have lost her shoes when she drowned and she's wearing the same dress from back then.
Dysfunction Junction: The death of Menma has far-reaching psychological repercussions for the main cast, but some of the underlying problems were there even before she died and the Busters disbanded.
Earn Your Happy Ending: After much angst and tribulation in which the group vent their anger and express their true feelings to one another, they are finally able to overcome the psychological traumas each one of them acquired after Menma's death, and Menma's ghost is able to say one last tearful goodbye to all of them. Jintan stopped being a hikkikomori for good and started attending school regularly, and it's implied that he and Anaru will end up together as a couple eventually. It is also implied that Tsuruko and Yukiatsu are dating. Meanwhile, Poppo also has gone back to school (although he did not quit working at the construction site).
Enjo Kosai: Anaru's friends set up a group date with older men in Episode 5. When Anaru looks like she wants to back out early, one of the men walks her out and tries taking her to a love hotel. Thankfully Yukiatsu noticed her beforehand.
Evil Phone: Not evil, but in Episode 8, Menma tries making phone calls to the gang to get them to believe in her. Seeing as only Jintan can perceive her, the most they hear is a vague scraping.
Expy: Menma, especially as a child, looks exactly like Flonne. The fact that their dress is almost identical makes it even more apparent. Their airheadedness is almost on the same level and though Menma is not as fanatical a love freak as Flonne, she would definitely go out of her way to make it so everyone would get along.
Fighting the Lancer: It never escalates to an all-out brawl, but Jintan and Yukiatsu's relationship is constantly on-edge for the majority of the series, with Yukiatsu even strangling Jintan at one point.
Gratuitous English: Poppo peppers his speech with a few phrases every now and then, which should be of no surprise, considering that he's a traveler.
Green-Eyed Monster: Anaru and Yukiatsu have had their share of this when it comes to Jintan and Menma. Even Tsuruko has a bit of a moment when she eavesdrops on Yukiatsu comforting Anaru in Episode 9. In Episode 11, Tsuruko admits that the person that she's always been jealous of is Anaru for being his Replacement Love Interest and the person who understood Yukiatsu the most.
One of Tsuruko's female classmates acts this way towards her because of how close the former is to Yukiatsu, yet aren't dating.
A shopkeeper mistakes Tsuruko for Yukiatsu's girlfriend. Her reaction is silent but strong nonetheless. Apparently their classmates also assume they're an item too, and Yukiatsu does little to dispel the misconception.
Anaru also says this about Jintan when her friends tease her about dating him. Jintan's response was to walk home.
Heroes Want Redheads: Inverted. It is the redheaded Anaru who has feelings for Jintan. Whether they stays inverted or gets played straight on Jintan's part remains to be seen, though they are both currently in UST territory. The ending hints that eventually get together. Yukiatsu, however, plays the trope straight as he asks Anaru out and has a few Ship Tease moments with her, but nothing ever comes to fruition between them.
Jacob Marley Apparel: Menma's appearance doesn't display signs of her death, but she's wearing the same outfit she drowned in (although it's larger, since her ghost looks older and is taller than she was at death) and wears no shoes (which were washed away by the river).
Jerkass: In his first modern-day appearance Yukiatsu has the gall to mock Jintan for not getting into a good high school and for mourning Menma. Then, in Episode 4, he tries to manipulate everyone into not working toward Menma's wish.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: His haughtiness gets broken in Episode 5 after everyone finds out that he's crossdressing as Menma and he breaks down, blaming himself for Menma's death. In the same episode, he later rescues Anaru when she gets sexually harassed by a guy intending to take her to a love hotel.
Last Name Basis: Some members of the group have stopped using their nicknames or given names with each other on the few occasions they meet. As the group is getting closer again, this might be reversed, however. For example, Poppo calls some attention to Anaru referring to him as "Jintan" when the latter isn't around in Episode 7 and Yukiatsu calls attention to her almost saying "Jintan" but changing to "Yadomi" in Episode 9. By Episode 11, everyone has gone back to referring to each other by their respective nicknames.
One Head Taller: Menma is much smaller than all the rest of the Super Peace Busters, allowing this to be invoked with any of them, though it's usually with Jintan. Averted with each implied Official Couple, who are roughly the same heights as each other.
Pair the Spares: During their childhood, Tsuruko saw this as probable scenario between Yukiatsu and Anaru after Jintan and Menma would get together. Five years later, Yukiatsu himself started to see it as a good solution. It probably didn't end this way, though.
Palette Swap: Discussed. Menma wonders if Yukiatsu had really seen another apparition of her. And if so, would that make that apparition the "Menluigi" to her "Menmario", and if its possible she was wearing "second-player colors".
Reincarnation: The name of the anime is about this. Jintan's mother told Menma about how a person can be reincarnated as another creature (such as a cat or a flower) after they die, and this becomes Menma's objective after she remembers her original wish. She wants to be reincarnated so she can be in the same world where her friends are.
Replacement Love Interest: In Episode 9, Anaru admits that she thought Jintan would like her best after Menma died, but he didn't, and Tsuruko loves Yukiatsu and believes that he will never feel the way because he sees Anaru as his "back-up".
The Runaway: Anaru stays out at the clubhouse in Episode 6, fearing reprisal from her mother should she go home. She returns to her house and gets her anticipated chewing-out and decides to make her stay at the clubhouse a bit more permanent until Episode 9.
Rule of Symbolism: The name of the flower they saw that day? Forget-me-nots. They adorn the OP and ED, and pop up frequently in the anime. It also makes Jintan's words about fulfilling the wishes of those flowers all the more meaningful.
Scary Shiny Glasses: Tsuruko gets them momentarily to intimidate Anaru away from the subject in Episode 9 when the latter comments that she never expected to hear Tsuruko talking about cute things.
Second Love: Hinted at in the ending with Tsuruko for Yukiatsu and Anaru for Jintan.
Ship Tease: As children, Jintan and Menma had feelings for each other with Anaru crushing on the former and Yukiatsu crushing on the latter, and Tsuruko crushing on Yukiatsu. In the present, Jintan and Anaru share a bit of UST while Yukiatsu and Tsuruko are usually seen together and are twice mistaken for a couple. Yukiatsu also attempts to pull the Pair the Spares route with Anaru by asking her out, and Poppo has declared a slight interest in Tsuruko too, which would make Love Dodecahedron complete.
Survivor Guilt: All of the main cast are lamenting and blaming themselves to some extent over the death of Menma, due to actions that occurred on the day of her death. Jintan and Menma had crushes on each other but both denied it. Tsuruko told Menma about Jintan's feelings, and then Yukiatsu and Anaru attempted to make Jintan confess his feelings about Menma in order to express their own feelings to the two, but Jintan ran off in denial. Yukiatsu then awkwardly confessed to Menma, but she runs after Jintan, before falling into a river and drowning, which was witnessed by Poppo.
You'd think that someone would suggest that Jinta should see a therapist, being a shut-in who obsesses over a friend who died back when he was little and all.
In general, just looking at the Super Peace Busters and Mrs. Honma is enough to make you ask yourself "Dude, where are the grief counselors?"
This is weird by Anglo standards, but not by Japanese ones. Japan has more sex therapists than it does counselors and psychologists - psych problems and mental illnesses are still taboo in Japan, doubly so for conditions that bring shame upon the family like being a shut-in. The same goes to Mrs. Honma.
Tragic Keepsake: Yukiatsu's keepsake is a pin just like the one he offered to Menma when he confessed. Tsuruko seems to have the actual one. At the end of the series Tsuruko is shown wearing the new hairpin that Yukiatsu had, heavily implying that they are now dating and he gave it to her as a gift.
Triple Shifter: Jintan works both during the day at the store with Anaru and at night as a construction worker. And this he does in order to save up the money for the fireworks. The lagging school work issue is justified though, considering he was a Hikikomori to begin with.
Tsundere: Anaru. Jintan tsuns back at her quite a bit, as well.