Ano Hana, episode 11: We still didn’t know the name…

Of the flower we saw that day, because everyone was crying and wailing and stabbing each other in the back like Machiavellian assholes.

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ORZ

Sigh. Sigh. SIGH! Let’s talk about the good stuff first. Tour de force voice acting. Haruka Tomatsu especially as Anaru – I heard dramatic tones from her that I’ve never heard her do before. Takayuki Kondou and Saori Hayama also go to town as Poppo and Tsuruko. Great stuff. This was the kind of movie/show/episode that actors love to do because melodramas make the award voters go weak at the knees. It’s also the kind of melodrama that I’m used to seeing in Korean melodramas where the story just piles it on, doesn’t show a single drop of restraint in painting everyone as utterly incapable of not being a gigantic possessive asshole in order to kick up the drama and deliver the tears. These guys were friends? No, fuck that. They weren’t friends. Enemies don’t have this kind of jealousy in their relationships.

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Poor Poppo, just couldn't stand everyone else's jackassery

Thank goodness for Poppo not being a Menma-sexual. Unfortunately, his revelation that he saw Menma’s death just came way, way, way too late. Romantic jealousy? Bah. Who gives a shit about something we’ve seen a million times before. But Poppo’s guilt at watching his friend die? What a great plot opportunity wasted. I mean, what exactly happen? Did he have a chance to warn Menma? Did he see her the moment she hit the water? Could he have helped her or was she just a floating body by the time he arrived? Was he the one that alerted the authorities about Menma? It’s a shame the show spent 30 seconds glossing over the most interesting admission of guilt and gave us a whole season’s worth of humdrum jealousy.

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Smile for the camera, aaand go back to crying

The sudden turn on a dime from everyone crying to everyone laughing about Anaru’s double eyelash couldn’t have been more abrupt and unbelievable. You can’t spend 90% of the season showcasing the sniping, the jealousy, the resentment between this band of enemies, and then at the last minute do a double take and change everyone to be all hunky dory friends. What possible reason do we have for believing these kids were friends to begin with? Because we saw 5 minutes of them playing around? Because they inscribed something into a wall? Please. The show just spent too much time characterizing these people as resenting and hating each other, to expect me to believe that they’re friendly now is impossible.

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All she needed to do was kick him in the balls

Those that speculated that Menma’s wish actually had to do with Jin-tan’s mom’s wish were right on the money.

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Uh, marry me?

Oh now, everyone can see Menma, because if not, how can they all deliver their own personal emotionally manipulative goodbyes?

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False advertising

Ano Hana. Ano Hana. Ano Hana. It’s a hard show to judge. It was a very good show. Most will like it. Many will love it. And except for a few missteps along the way, I was digging it throughout. The ending… is technically fine. They actually wrapped up the loose ends and brought everything full circle. But the way they brought it full circle left a bad taste in my mouth. I have a weird incomplete feeling about it. I wasn’t frustrated with the content in the ending, so much as the over the top melodrama just seemed unnecessary. What began as a feeling like a subtle, realistic story about friends drifting apart because of a tragic event, became more and more outrageous as the show went along.

Ah, at least on the plus side they didn’t give us some wack Menma resurrection ending like in Angel Beats.