Things have been really hectic for me lately and I apologize for the delays in blogging. Apartment hunting and then relocating have taken up a lot of time so I’ve made a post of these two episodes together. Episode 05′s post has actually been done since a few days after it aired, so the thoughts in it are my reactions from only having seen that episode. The same with episode 06. So if you’re behind, or just interested in my opinions on these two episodes even this long after they’ve aired, read below. Each episode has its own title as it would in a single post. Episode 07 post will be up soon too.
AnoHana episode 05 – The Dress Makes the Man
Yukiatsu’s trauma-induced self-trapification came to an abrupt end after Jinta tracked him down. All part of Tsuruko’s plan. But after the scuffle with Jinta, Yukiatsu returns to a fair deal of normalcy given the extent to which he failed to cope with Menma’s death. Giving him more screentime than in the past worked out well. It wasn’t a Yukiatsu-centered episode, but instead a balance between all the characters. Though Tsuruko still stole the spotlight for a moment with another one of her great lines, soon to be collected in “The Quotations of Chairwoman Tsuruko.”
Jinta catches up to Yukiatsu just like at the end of the last episode, then runs up to him while Tsuruko, Poppo, and Naruko stand above. When he tries talking to him Yukiatsu starts violently freaking out about Menma and who was to blame for her death, Yukiatsu thinking it rests with himself. Poppo moves to intervene when Yukiatsu is holding Jinta down by his throat, but once again Tsuruko reads the situation and knows that this is the only chance for Yukiatsu. So when Menma moves down the slope to them he’s able to convey a message of thanks for the hair clip Yukiatsu gave to Menma when he confessed to her ten years ago. It’s enough to snap Yukiatsu out of his angry state, but he certainly looked like he had a lot to handle all at once, psychologically.
Once more, something for the fan fiction writers…
Tsuruko again sees right through things and the expression on her face in this shot is perfect. You can tell how clearly she sees the decisive moment.
Menma being the key here, with a piece of information that Jinta couldn’t have known.
But he does leave with a passing shot at Tsuruko. Hopefully she doesn’t take it to heart, what she did was the only way to improve things.
Poppo starts acting a bit more assertive than he’s been when he questions whether Tsuruko knew all along what was going on with Yukiatsu, a trend that continues later in the episode. But for now the characters are mostly trying to figure out what just happened and what it means for them. Here there’s the flashback to Yukiatsu’s confession and the lost hair clip. And it turns out Tsuruko still has it while Yukiatsu has held onto the other one of the pair, or possibly a duplicate of the same type. Jinta and Menma also mull over the events of that evening at home with Jinta trying to act like he’s cooling towards Menma and Menma herself starting to develop the yearning to talk to the others that eventually comes out at the end of the episode.
Nice shot here. Also a bit obsessive that she would hold onto the hair clip for so many years.
This period of reflection in the episode featured lots of good shots actually. Menma in the moonlight was an effect I really liked. It gives the shots something of a cold, lonely, ethereal feel and is paired well with her character. It reminds me of how moonlight and other thin, white light was used with Rika in Honey and Clover.
I wasn’t expecting Naruko to be the first person Yukiatsu really starts to open up to but in the latter half of this episode they have a good bit of time together. They first see each other across the train station while Yukiatsu waits with Tsuruko and Naruko is with her friends on the way home from shopping. Naruko’s no-class friends then go to hang out with some equally scummy older guys for karaoke when one notices Naruko’s dour mood and uses it as an excuse to leave…to a love hotel. The creepy guy Naruko left with, as to be expected of some guy in his 20′s that tries to date high schoolers, isn’t taking no for an answer outside the hotel when Yukiatsu happens by. I’m very much liking how Yukiatsu has been lately. He’s seemed to recover fairly quickly and has a sense of humor about things, and he uses some of his wit here to get the guy to run off by pretending that Jinta and others are with him by calling them over. He and Naruko then ride home together and have one of the clearest and most honest conversations about Menma’s death and everyone’s feelings towards each other out of any of the characters. Yukiatsu seems very comfortable, in a self-deprecating sort of way, now that he’s been exposed and Naruko is able to talk to him very easily even when it comes to something personal like how she likes Jinta. The episode then has one last scene where Poppo stops by at Jinta’s house and asks about Menma. Specifically, he wants to be able to talk to her too and thinks that she might be stuck on Earth because she can’t achieve peace or enlightenment. He keeps asking around the house, calling for her, and Menma starts crying and getting very upset that she can’t talk with everyone. To the point where Jinta yells at Poppo for him to stop.
Once again, Tsuruko has the line of the episode.
More Naruko and reflections. I like this one best so far since one side of her face seems slightly angry at Yukiatsu and the side in the reflection appears more melancholic and worried.
Got to have a sense of humor.
Seems more like they’re stuck, in a sort of stasis and unable to move forward even if it looks like they have. And Yukiatsu out of all of them is the first one to state things as such.
Poppo seems fairly spiritual and this scene wasn’t the first time I’ve thought of him as a sort of Buddha-like figure. He’s concerned about Menma’s spirit, he seems happy with a life of travel even if he’s poor, and he seems a lot happier than the others. I’m not the most knowledgeable person on Buddhism but he seems to have some of those traits that are emphasized in some kinds of Buddhism, in particular the smiling or laughing beggar Buddha from China.
AnoHana episode 06 – Remembering and Forgetting
This episode had a fair amount of content but felt like it ended far too soon. When the last scene ended I had thought that there was still about 1/4 of the episode left to go. But it did do two big things for the story: having Jinta remember his promise to Naruko to return to school, and Menma’s conflicted emotions over seeing her friends and family again but also wanting to be forgotten because her memory pains her mother.
Jinta is up late one night doing his best Death Note impressions and thinking about Menma’s state and what fulfilling her wish means. The next day he tries one possibility, and honors his promise with Naruko, and goes back to school for the first time in the school year. But Naruko is the talk of the school, not the newly returned shut-in. Apparently somehow it got back to the school that she was seen at the love-hotel with the older guy and she’s been taken to the principal for it. Everyone is gossiping about her and saying that she’s slutty and all the rest of high school gossip when Jinta notices how silently upset she is. So he stands up the starts yelling for people to look at him, then awkwardly (still yelling) tries defending her by saying that she’d never take part in enjyou kousai (‘compensated dating’.) It wasn’t the smoothest way of going about it and Naruko grabs Jinta and leaves the room in the middle of it, but she’s very happy and grateful when they go outside to talk. Jinta is truly a bro.
I will take two potato chips…and eat them!
Menma rolling around on the floor is the new Victorique rolling around on the floor.
Awwww, good job Jinta.
Naruko is worried about her mom being told about what happened so she decides not to go home. So instead she starts moving into the old ‘secret base’/Poppo’s shack without asking him. While she’s cleaning up, Poppo suggests visiting Menma’s house to try and get some clues as to what her wish is. At first Jinta seems hesitant but then agrees to go while Menma isn’t around. They arrive and find Menma’s mom to let them in. She seems very happy to let them in and show them Menma’s room and belongings, but also quite sad when she thinks no one is looking at her. Menma’s room has been left empty and it’s a very eerie scene when the three friends walk into it. Her belongings are in boxes in the closet and they find her diary, which her mother allows them to borrow. Elsewhere, Tsuruko is asked to give a love letter to Yukiatsu on behalf of a classmate and things quickly go from normal to resentful when she coolly declines to do this for them. The two girls then start to act jealous of how much time Tsuruko gets to spend with Yukiatsu, just as he walks in himself. The girls obviously aren’t happy that he’s come to walk to the station with Tsuruko but they seem to matter little at this point. On the ride home it’s mentioned that Menma was the one who called everyone together the day she died, to get advice on something, but we’re left with just that for now.
There’s crumpled up tissues! Next to porn magazines! And she’s touching them! WITHOUT GLOVES!!!
Menma’s mother looking over her late daughter’s friends in her room. When she prayed at Menma’s memorial photo she seemed to have a little hint of a smile at the memory of her, but this time she seems very sullen. (As an aside, visually she reminds me of a much more sullen Hortance Cazellnu, Admiral Cazellnu’s wife from Legend of the Galactic Heroes.)
A really, really unsettling shot. The setting sun coming through the window and the shadows it casts around the edges of the room really make the image and set the atmosphere.
On a much less serious note, I continue to enjoy Yukiatsu’s scenes. Who’d have thought?
DAT TSURUKO LOOK! Pissed-off Tsuruko is love, too.
After the three that visited Menma’s walk back Naruko remarks about how much mothers must care for their children and gets so embarrassed by not going home to face her own mother that she decides to run home instead of stay at Poppo’s. Which leaves him and Jinta there and Jinta seems to have a recurrence of that grinding indecision that he did at the start of the episode. He seems to be afraid of what reading the diary will bring up, or that it would be insensitive to Menma, or both, and asks Poppo not to read it just yet. There’s then a short but important scene where Menma breaks down more than before, really showing how confused and upset and conflicted she is. Just as much as the other characters, it would seem. She starts crying and yelling at Jinta for visiting her house. She keeps saying that remembering her makes her mother sad and that she’d like to be forgotten, even a bit. Generally, ghosts or spirits that come back seem to know what they want. They have a purpose or a mission to fulfill. For a while it looked like Menma had this clear wish, but things have shown as the episodes have gone on, and very clearly here, that she doesn’t seem to have been able to really come to terms with her death and its impact either. And it’s at this point that Jinta breaks his calm and yells back at her. It’s a sad thing to want to be forgotten like that, for one. And Jinta also wants her to think about herself for once instead of constantly considering her impact on others only. And just then things end. As I mentioned, it felt like a shorter episode than most.
As with everyone else, it’s not like she could forget.
Jinta’s really getting some backbone lately.
Final Thoughts (combined for both episodes)
- It’s surprising how quickly Yukiatsu has come around after being exposed like that. I guess he just admitted defeat in that regard and moved on. But whatever happened, I now like him a lot more. His sense of humor is great and he can even make fun of himself. And he definitely has some meaningful insights to offer on the situation that the characters find themselves in.
- Menma’s stumbling, uncertainty, and eventual breakdown was interesting to see. As I wrote above, you usually don’t see ghost/spirit characters come back without some sense of certainty to what they want. At least the kinds of ghosts or spirits that interact with people normally and benevolently. She’s having to come to terms with the impact of her death just as much as the other characters.
- Poppo has been showing a more interesting side of himself too. Placing flowers in the old soda bottle vase that was around ten years ago and praying show him to be a lot more spiritual and thoughtful than his carefree attitude would suggest. He’s gotten the least attention of the characters in terms of contiguous screentime so I’d really like to see his viewpoint more.