When you think about the definitive anime that invoke emotion, tons come to my mind. I got out of my anime hiatus due to one such anime, so it’s a pretty personal experience for me. I love anime that make you feel something, even if it’s sad and it hurts. There’s just something about a happy ending that follows an angst fest that is so good, and so rare at the same time. This is why Anohana often tops the list of many weebs for ‘anime that make you cry the most’.
It makes sense because Anohana, or Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, is a genuinely good anime. It’s considered a classic for a reason. The show has a near cult following thanks to its depressing, yet uplifting, story and characters that everyone can relate to, despite its paranormal subject matter. Anohana is almost universally beloved, which I can’t say for a lot of anime I’ve watched. Usually, it’s always a little biased, but no, Anohana is just that good.
You’d think it’s bound to be overrated, considering how hyped it is across the internet. But this is one of the few times that I think it matters. Anohana was unlike any anime that came out at the time, with a focus on forgotten bonds and coming together. These are situations that lead to painful realizations and hurtful reminiscing, but it’s like having a good cry. In the end, it helps you feel lighter and makes you believe in a future free of that hurt.
So, this anime by Studio A-1 pictures is one of the best works they’ve put out. It’s got critical acclaim, accolades out the wazoo, and has made the toughest people bawl at its ending. But is it a show that still holds up, when faced with more emotional anime that came after it? I think so. And here’s why I think you should give it a chance as well!
The Premise: Friends That Drifted Apart, Brought Back By The Ghost Of Their Past
In a small town in idyllic Saitama, there existed the Super Peace Busters: a group of 6 best friends that were shaken to their core when one of their own died tragically in an accident. This rift left them drifting apart, each becoming a completely different person than what they started as.
Meet Jinta Yadomi, a hikikomori or social recluse, who used to be the charismatic leader of the childhood group. He’s wasting away until one summer, the ghost of Meiko Honma aka Menma comes back into his life and tells him that she can’t move on until her wish is granted. But it’s a wish she can’t remember. And it’s this that forces the rest of the Super Peace Busters to be once again reunited.
Menma was one of their most precious people, so maybe Jinta is onto something with gathering the band back together. However, will it lead to answers, or rip open old wounds that were better left untouched?
The Breakdown: A Story That Will Reduce You To Tears!
Okay, so it’s no secret: Anohana is flat-out gorgeous. Its story is a tearjerker in the best way possible. And grief is one of those topics that can either be treated with nuance and care or used as a shock factor to add edge to an anime. Thankfully, Anohana happens to be the former.
Experiencing death at such a young age is such a complicated emotion. You’re too young to consider what it entails, yet old enough to understand it’s something permanent. And when it’s the loss of a precious friend, it’s so much more visceral. Anohana takes a look at that pain and regret and gives it a face, in the form of Menma.
Menma is all the emotions the Super Peace Busters left unresolved in their childhood. And it’s something they have to face now, as grownups. To showcase that with the delicacy it deserves, no wonder Anohana is so highly rated.
The Verdict: Watch It For All the Feels!
Listen, Anohana is the perfect show to bring you back to the core of what anime stood for, which is stories that move you. Stories are so viscerally relatable, that they ache and hurt but eventually help you heal.
It’s a masterpiece that deserves a chance. Just keep a box of tissues nearby!