Anime Review: Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Details: Also known as Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. First aired in 2011. Eleven episode with each episode at around twenty-five minutes long. You can find more information at https://myanimelist.net/anime/9989/Ano_Hi_Mita_Hana_no_Namae_wo_Bokutachi_wa_Mada_Shiranai

When I read that Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day was adapted into a live action drama, I was not surprised. Despite being an anime, Anohana is an emotional drama with a story you’d expect to see in other Asian live action dramas.

Anohana is about a group of children who are close friends. One of the children passes away and the trauma from that death splinters the group and they mostly separate from each other. Fast forward to the present and the kids are now teenagers. One of the teenagers has become a recluse when one day, the deceased friend shows up in his house seemingly as a ghost. Now the recluse must gather his old friends together as they try to figure out the nature of their returned friend as well as overcome the pain and issues they’ve suffered since that friend died.

I don’t like live action Asian dramas. I don’t like soap operas. There’s just something about the low productions values and cheesy plot lines that turn me off. However, take those melodramatic plot lines and put them into an animated format and I’m on board. I think it has something to do with how animation makes situations more believable because of their inherently unrealistic nature. You’re not looking at a real thing. You’re looking at what is often times an artistically drawn picture. In the case of this show, I think it definitely benefited from being an anime instead of a live action drama. This is true even though the story is exactly the kind of story you’d find in Asian dramas.

Expect to find a lot of standard drama/soap opera tropes. There are love triangles which turn into love quadrilaterals which turn into love pentagons. There are lots of crying and people being emo. As contrived as all of these standard drama plot beats are, the core story is still about this ghost and how each of the characters are trying to resolve their issues with each other because of it. This primary focus kept me interested. It’s a predictable story, but by the end of the show, I was still moved and I was satisfied.

Overall, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is an emotional drama that any fan of Korean/Japanese/Chinese dramas will be able to enjoy. It’s a short, sweet tale about childhood friends who lose touch, but recover their friendships due to this miraculous return of their friend. I was okay for most of it, but I was definitely moved by the ending despite how predictable it was.

Score: 7/10

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