AnoHana ep 04 – Imagine Breaker

TSURUKO! F— YEAH! COMING IN TO SAVE THE MOTHERF—ING DAY YEAH! TSURUKO! F— YEAH! YUKIATSU YOUR DAY IS THROUGH, NOW YOU HAVE TO ANSWER TO TSURUKO! F— YEAH! What an episode. It turns out that the theories of many last week have been proven true. Yukiatsu was up to no good but in an exceptionally creepy way. The course of events has brought most of the old group closer together, with Tsuruko opening up a bit more and leading several scenes herself. Jinta and Naruko also have their moments, as do Menma and Poppo. But with the final reveal in this episode one has to wonder how things could possibly be patched up with Yukiatsu after he’s become the kind of person he is today.

Things pick up just where the left off with the creepy and snide remarks from Yukiatsu, and a suspicious look from Tsuruko after Jinta runs off to join the others. This is just the start of a great performance by Tsuruko, the kind of sharp sense and low tolerance for bs that led me to declare for Tsuruko as MAI WAIFU of the Season. Though her long, straight hair and glasses don’t hurt either. Back to the episode, there’s another short but significant moment between Jinta and Naruko as they look around the hillside for Menma, giving the two characters a moment for developing their relationship in the middle of an episode that focuses mostly on Tsuruko and Yukiatsu. She asks Jinta about whether he was trying to go to school the other day and seems content despite his denial that it was because of his promise to her. Then Naruko slips on the dirt slope and this triggers not one, but two memories of past events. First and most immediate is when Jinta grabs her hand to keep her from falling and then is quite upset due to his memories of Menma’s fall. He holds her tightly, too tightly, afterwards and when the they both realize what’s going on she asks the same question she did years ago, about whether he really loved Menma. Though dramatic timing ensures that he doesn’t have to answer and eventually everyone returns to the clubhouse where Yukiatsu tells them that Menma wants them not to make such a fuss. Despite Menma’s objections.

YES! More tsundere X tsundere!

I guess Jinta’s dad’s catchphrase has spread.

I have to wonder whether Jinta couldn’t reach Menma back then or if he just wishes that he was close enough to grab her hand like he did here.


There it is, again. Moving past this get close-ask about Menma-sulk away pattern seems to be coming up a lot. It’ll probably be one of the defining challenges of their story.

Massive, 100-gallon cast iron pot calling the kettle black.

Yukiatsu manages to kill the spirit of excitement and camaraderie that night and even with Menma backing Jinta up, things end on something of a downer. Jinta and Naruko are on their own and feeling down but fortunately for everyone Tsuruko is taking charge. She’s been questioning Yukiatsu’s description of Menma and putting pieces of information together and heads to Jinta’s house directly to try and find out more. She sets Jinta up to wait by a shrine, drawing Naruko’s attention as they pass by the McDonald’s knockoff. She seems to know exactly when Yukiatsu will come by, it seems more than coincidence, and Jinta is set waiting alone to question Yukiatsu about what Menma looks like. When he tells him that (the real) Menma says that Yukiatsu’s is a fake the latter gets really angry and starts belittling Jinta as well. But it’s further information for Tsuruko to analyze.


Frustrated with his old friend, rolling around on his bed hugging a pillow while thinking about him. Cue the fanfics and doujinshi (and paging comrade Chronolynx.)

Tsuruko’s drawing of Menma as she sits down to think about things. Perhaps she’s using drawing as an exercise to remember details, or maybe she has Menma on the brain like everyone else. Not bad for a quick sketch too. Artistic talent: one of the many wonderful sides of Tsuruko.


I think this reflection thing is becoming a visual theme for Naruko. Maybe because she’s become the most fashion/appearance conscious?

Looking over her drink, eyes narrowed in a piercing, analytical stare that shows the gears turning, hair parted over the shoulder. BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!

That evening everyone except Yukiatsu meets up at the clubhouse again. Yukiatsu has been sufficiently provoked by the earlier meeting with Jinta and all is going according to keikaku for Tsuruko. Though the rest seem unaware of the depth of her plan. She seems to use a subtle touch with Naruko when she says that she didn’t have to come, allowing Naruko to retain her false indifference by saying that she had nothing to do anyway. One illusion at a time, Tsuruko. She bring everyone mugs, the ones seen in the OP, and when they share a drink Menma is so happy at Poppo’s words that she jumps on his back. It’s another example of her limited ability to affect the physical world but it also provides the pretext for Poppo to go outside to pee and then see ‘Menma.’ This Menma starts running away but when Poppo describes the ribbon Tsuruko decides to end the charade and calls Yukiatsu on his bs then and there. He runs away and only Jinta immediately picks up the trail when Menma spots Yukiatsu, and these two are the ones that find him after he falls and loses his wig.

Yeah, so the crossdressing is confirmed. Hello, viewers. Look at your AnoHana. Now back a season to Hourou Musuko. Now to AnoHana, now back to Hourou Musuko. AnoHana is a different show from Hourou Musuko. But if Yukiatsu starts wearing lady’s clothing AnoHana could look like Hourou Musuko. Look down, now up, you’re in a forest with the Hourou Musuko themes your AnoHana could develop. What’s on your screen? It’s a boy with brown hair wearing a dress. Look again. noitaminA is now on a three-series crossdressing streak (Kuragehime, Hourou Musuko, and AnoHana.) Anything is possible when you watch the programming block with the best anime series.

Tsuruko with her hair tied back is fine too.

Definitely her ‘just as planned’ moment but she has a sad look in her eyes too. I know it’s been hinted at before, but please Tsuruko, don’t pine over a loser creep like Yukiatsu.

Finish him!

THE SHAME, THE SHAME!!! But what is that x mark on his arm? Please tell me that’s some scratch from falling and not some emo cut mark.

Final Thoughts: – Timing has been a big thing in this series with Menma and Tsuruko. Menma has seemed to say something or spot something at just the right time, like when she saw Yukiatsu in the forest this episode. Her timing comes off as unintentional and in fitting with her more childish, less planned nature, but the way it plays out makes it seem like a plan or perhaps fate. Tsuruko on the other hand is all about the deliberate planning. This was summed up best when she visited Jinta’s and was talking about recipes. She had said that you can cook anything as long as you have a recipe and follow it…so long as you don’t trip up over something weird. These lines speak to her methodical nature but also acknowledges the emotional factors that can complicate things. I have to wonder if she planned out her course through to her elite school and perhaps beyond, and maybe getting together with Yukiatsu, until the emotional baggage from Menma’s death derailed part of her plan.

- I’ve been enjoying the consistent style that each character has in the way they dress. Jinta always in t-shirts with kanji such as his volcano one, Poppo always with a different Hawaiian patterned shirt, and Naruko’s varying but consistently modern fashion. It’s only a minor thing but varying the characters clothing is something too few series do, and keeping the clothing consistent with a certain style gives a greater sense of personality to the characters. It’s just one more thing that gives them real personality.

- I still wonder how things can be repaired between Yukiatsu and the others after all this. Unless he really breaks down and becomes humble about things, which would fly in the face of the arrogance that he’s showed up to this point. Perhaps he will be shamed and/or Tsuruko-slapped out of it but he seems to have the deepest running issues of the bunch. Jinta stopped going to school but I’d say it’s on another level when Yukiatsu feels a compulsive need to dress up as Menma to compete with Jinta.

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  1. Posted May 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    c’mon, yukiatsu just wanted to be a real little girl for once

  2. Posted May 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Yukiatsu is approaching Kaifun levels of douche, but the thing about him is that we are shown his failure and weakness in stark terms. He becomes too much of a joke I think, with this necrophiliac perversion on top of the cross-dressing.

    I almost thought of him as a villain, but he’s already quite thwarted this early. He’ll probably just be assimilated by the friendship love fest, but not before some more drama.

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Having Yukiatsu as a villain would be satisfying but probably wouldn’t go along with the kind of story that this is. Plus, Menma probably wouldn’t let things get too antagonistic since she seems to have reappeared for the sole purpose of getting everyone back to being friends again. I just don’t think someone as nice as her would let everyone come down too hard on Yukiatsu despite his Kaifun tendencies.

  3. ectholion
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    interesting point of view, but don’t think Yukiatsu was dressing up as menma to confuse the others. I say this because when he was in his room, he opened up the closet and said to his “menma” come let us show you to them. Also he freaked out on Jinta only after he said the phrase “my menma”. I think that he dresses up like menma and talks in the mirror to himself/her. I dont think he has a fetish for cross dressing. He didnt just start doing the cross dressing thing hes been doing it for a while i would think and its his way of keeping menma to himself and when he thought that Jinta was seeing menma he felt threatened because he really does believe Jinta is talking menma away from him in some way. When Tsuruko called him out, It forced him out of his delusion. Its one thing to cross dress its another to dress as a dead friend/loved one.

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Having Menma to himself is an interesting angle. Though I’m still of the belief at present that Yukiatsu has two motives that kind of blend into one. To obsessively keep her memory alive and to mess with Jinta and assert his (in his mind) superiority over Jinta. It’s certainly not a normal case of cross-dressing but I don’t think the two motives are exclusive.

      • ectholion
        Posted May 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        I also have a feeling that were gonna get a TsurukoXYukiatsu ending. Poppo is a goofy side character and will probably end up alone, i mean he’s peeing with lolis. Oh and for the record “In the name of kurako, I REJECT this notion that Yukiatsu is a crossdresser!!!!! He is simply damaged goods, and his actions do not reflect any desire to be seen as fenimine or any love for women’s fashion.” :(

  4. Lectro Volpi
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    That “X” was from his cosplay as Kenshin (got hyped with the remake) but failed to do it properly. Jintan was Hokage last episode after all.

    From the preview it does not look like someone’s going to die.

    “Menma is a ghost” is on the winning track.

    Ha! you can clearly see the Pepsi thing… advertisement!

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Menma being a ghost has always what I’ve felt was the truth of things, though I’ve entertained ideas about her being a true delusion. But somehow none of those arguments really ever felt as satisfying to me given the evidence.

      Pepsi, and Sukkiri Orange, and Nat-chan orange drink. I wonder if all three are Pepsi brand products in Japan?

  5. Posted May 8, 2011 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I have to admit I saw it coming when Yukiatsu was dressed as Menma! But still like almost every episode we are left with question adding to the excitement of watching the next episode!!

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Indeed, the timing of the reveals is great for hooking you into the next episode. I was a little worried about the pacing in episode 03 but the way things played out in this episode after the setup in the previous one reassures me that this can be managed in only 11 episodes.

  6. Merq
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    MASTA CREEPA never disappoints with bringing the drama, that’s for sure. I’m interested to see how this will affect him and the group…esp Tsuruko.

    Oh and the scene with Naruko and Jinta. <3
    I'm on the Tsundere x Tsundere ship! SS JiRuko!

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      As much as I dislike Yukiatsu at this point, I have the strong feeling that Tsuruko is really into him and disappointed that he’s still so hung up on Menma…and on competing with Jinta.

      Tsundere X tsundere brofist.

  7. Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I knew something wasup with Yukiatsu, but I didn’t expect him to be a crossdresser.

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      His reaction to having his charade so thoroughly broken up ought to be interesting next episode.

  8. Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Hey EO, maybe we should all play a game of straws, or rock-paper scissors to try and decide once and for all, who gets to have Tsurarku as their waifu. Or, well, we can agree to share.

    Yukiatsu has some deep rooted problems, I get the feeling that it’s almost like he thinks that she only died to be be alone with him, as in, she left everyone just to be with him. The guy needs a psychologist, and he needs one really badly.

    Menma appears to be a ghost, I’d prefer that because I’d rather not sit through some deep look at Schizophrenia and child hood trauma or whatever else, or well maybe everyone is just a hallucination for our protagonist.

    Yukiatsu’s “I never acknowledged you” line must have been really harsh for poor Jinta, his past as their group leader is really the only shining star he has to look back on.

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      You spelled her name wrong. I win :P

      Yukiatsu seriously needs to seek professional help. But because 1) this is anime, and 2) Japan doesn’t exactly have a healthy attitude regarding seeking psychological care, he’ll likely have to find a way to deal with it through his friends or in some sort of deep introspection on his own.

      Menma shows all the signs of being a ghost. I’d actually be pretty disappointed in the show if it suddenly changes tack and goes the mental illness route.

  9. Posted May 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Yukiatsu is an S-grade crossdresser. No, really. He fooled all of them, except for the one who already knew what was up. Although the reason why he did and said such things to them is understandable, to some extent, he is sill an immense douchebag.

    Creepy crossdressers aside, ponytail Tsuruko is even more love than normal one.

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      In episode 03 he made a pretty convincing Menma ghost but when he started running in this episode he started looking more like an albino Bigfoot or something, lol. Though that was part of the show’s plan since they showed him running in previous episodes to hint to anyone in the audience that wasn’t already convinced by that point.

      It’s hard to decide, Tsuruko is lovely no matter what. <3

  10. Zorapup
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    As much of a creeper Yukiatsu was, I felt sorry for him at the end. I thought Jinta would grab him but the fact that Yukiatsu fell in a ditch with a light shining down while all his former friends looked upon him like an animal, really made me pity him a bit. So much pride crushed at that moment.

    Tsuruko has exceeded my expectations. I wonder if she gave her suggestion for the recipe outloud to test whether Jinta was listening, or if Menma really did make those muffins.

    For some reason I’m hoping for Tsuruko x Poppo. Yukiatsu really fell out of my book on this one -_-

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure I can exactly feel sorry for Yukiatsu at this point, but I see what you mean. It’s like finally having your enemy laid low before you and realizing how pathetic they were all along. Kind of disappointing more than sympathetic, but maybe that can change in time.

      Tsuruko is amazing, and I was wondering about the recipe too. She seems to read reactions pretty well. It was also just a great way to work into the conversation her sort of philosophy of life. Follow the directions, be methodical.

      Hmmm, Tsuruko X Poppo…could kind of work, I guess. Sort of like a Kati X Patrick thing. Though I’m not sure she’s into opposites attracting.

  11. JoeQ
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Congratulations on your excellent taste in women, EO.

    And yes, Tsuruko x Poppo FTW!

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I apply only the highest standards when declaring MAI WAIFU of the Season.

      Tsuruko X Poppo. As I wrote in the reply above, it could kind of work.

  12. Locke
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Yukiatsu’s douchebag level has risen. At the same time I feel bad for him, it’s obvious he has issues the size of craters. I really felt embarrassed for him when he was caught. It makes me speculate that perhaps he saw Menma’s death or knows more about it than we do seeing as how bad his reaction to it was.

    Tsuruko made this episode for me, however. She’s like the all-knowing puppeteer with a sharp tongue.

  13. Posted May 17, 2011 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    I can’t see how anyone could pick Naruko over Tsuruko after this episode. She’s got beauty, brains, biting wit, baking ability, boldness and bravery, and is a budding Bazille (the impressionist artist).

  14. kanoe
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    When I picked this series up it seemed kinda dull, then it started picking up, then this episode happens and I’m starting to kinda wonder… lol. I like the reference to Index, haha, that made me laugh quite a bit ;)

One Trackback

  • By Anime Review: Ano Hana Episode 4 | This Euphoria! on November 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    […] “Hello, viewers. Look at your AnoHana. Now back a season to Hourou Musuko. Now to AnoHana, now back to Hourou Musuko. AnoHana is a different show from Hourou Musuko. But if Yukiatsu starts wearing lady’s clothing AnoHana could look like Hourou Musuko. Look down, now up, you’re in a forest with the Hourou Musuko themes your AnoHana could develop. What’s on your screen? It’s a boy with brown hair wearing a dress. Look again. noitaminA is now on a three-series crossdressing streak (Kuragehime, Hourou Musuko, and AnoHana.) Anything is possible when you watch the programming block with the best anime series.” – THAT Anime Blog […]

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