Monday, July 16, 2012

Anime review: "The Flower We Saw That Day"

Sometime around last weekend I finished watching "The Flower We Saw That Day" (or "Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai"). I really don't know how I missed noticing this anime before, nor do I really remember how I found it - I am usually more organized about this things. Before watching, I had a vague impression of being something similar to "Hachimitsu to Clover".

So, "The Flower We Saw That Day" is a story about a formal group of friends, told mainly from the story of Yadomi Jinta (or Jintan for friends). When they were little, Jintan, Anaru, Jukiatsu, Tsuruko, Poppo and Menma were best friends, a group called "Super Peace Busters". But after an accident where Menma lost her life made the group grow apart. But life got even worse for Jintan: soon after he lost her mother due to illness, which turned him into hikikomori, not going to school and rarely leaving his house. But one hot day of summer, looking as she would look if she was alive, Menma appears in his house visible only to him, and asks him to fulfill her wish. A wish that will need him to reform the former group - which will not prove easy...

In basis, this anime is a melodramatic story about group of young people, mixed with daily life and romance categories. So yes, it is pretty much similar to "Hachimitsu to Clover", probably the top-most reference in such type of anime. I was hooked up from the first episode, which is very dynamic and strange at first. One difference is that it is a bit more focused on male audience - or maybe it would be better to say that it is less focused on women audience - making this a seinen anime. The second difference is much more important - it involves super-natural element, character of Menma. Anime plays pretty well with this concept - is it really Menma's ghost that only Jintan can see, or is it just his stress, as he tends to believe. I really like this this game, so I was very disappointed when they revealed the truth around the middle of the show. There is a lot of drama and revelations, which are mostly not easily predictable.

Anime jumps regularly between the present and the past, a time of childhood of "Super Peace Busters". All characters are pretty well developed, the main six and few supportive. I really like when they invest in making characters wear different sets of clothes!! Also, it is obvious that they have a life out of scope of plot - they have part-time jobs, hobbies...  

Animation is pretty good and detailed, and I once again compliment of design of characters, and especially their clothes. Voices were also good, but I can't say I remembered much of OP and ED songs. There are 11 episodes, which is perfect - they would probably become over-dramatic if they stretched it to more episodes. This way episodes stay very intense. Also, ending is left somewhat undecided, which makes you wish for another episode telling what happened after - but I don't think there is a room for sequel.

"The Flower We Saw That Day" is an anime for the fans of "Hachimitsu to Clover" or for those who liked "Clannad" or "Ef - a Tale of Memories" and now want something more serious. It has a nice plot, interesting and deep characters, a bit of supernatural and tragedy. It is not the best in genre, but I don't think it will disappoint anybody who is a fan of such anime - at the contrary!

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