Are there multiple Menma’s ghosting around? Jinta doesn’t seem to be the only one who can see her now. Poppo starts off the episode seeing her walking through the forest and that sets in motion a gathering that reveals a little more about her and her group of friends. Though it is ever so little since this episode moved fairly slowly. It remains to be seen whether that kind of pacing will ultimately serve the story or have been a wasted opportunity.
A lot of small things or half-measures happened this episode, moments or scenes that are hopefully form the setup that will let things take off in the next episode or two. I’m not coming down on the episode by talking about pacing like this, I just worry a little when a 1-cour show seems to move slowly for an episode. The first of the significant beginnings is at the start when Jinta is trying to honor his promise to Naruko to return to school. Menma is certainly key in motivating him to go but a run-in with Naruko’s friends sours the mood and kills what little resolve Jinta had worked up. Still, he seems like he’s at least getting on the right track and his yelling out at the park showed that he can’t let it go so easily even if it’s difficult for him.
One small step for a hikkikomori, one giant leap for hikkikomori-kind.
As if I wasn’t already onboard the Jinta X Naruko ship, now we have tsundere X tsundere. Ah, brings back memories of my favored tsundere X tsundere ship from the summer before last…
Not buying it. You can’t tsun tsun a tsundere, Jinta. She even has the twin tails, the mark of a high level tsunderess.
Mock it all you want, but like the East their love is BURNING RED! IT TELLS THEM TO KICK YOUR BITCH ASSES TO THE CURB!
THIS LINE. Almost the exact same words that Jinta blurted out ten years ago when she asked him if he liked Menma. Nice catch and realization on her part too.
Jinta can’t quite head back and face Menma after not going to school so he stops by Poppo’s place and find him chanting about space people or…something. But it’s then that Poppo tells him about seeing Menma, in the same form and dress that Jinta sees her in, and from this point Poppo takes the place of Jinta as the one providing the initiative in reuniting everyone. He emails Yukiatsu saying that he’s found Menma and hands out flyers to everyone else telling them to meet at the old clubhouse for a barbeque and reminiscing. While all this is going on Menma wanders around Jinta’s house exploring. At one point she comes to the family shrine where a picture of Jinta’s mother sits. This explains her absence and also gives new meaning to Jinta’s dad saying that he was “going to visit [Jinta's] mother” during the first episode. When Jinta returns home Menma has been baking like Jinta’s mother used to do, which triggers a flashback in him from shortly before his mother died. She seems to have died before Menma did, though this isn’t certain, but either way Jinta doesn’t react well to it and runs out of the hospital room.
It’s nice to see that Jinta doesn’t always have to be the driving force in reuniting everyone. I don’t think he could really handle that sort of responsibility and organization in his current state anyway.
It’s strange to think of a ghost as having character development but it’s really touching to see Menma interact with things in the living world and reflect on what they mean for her in her current form.
Another victim of Anime Parents Syndrome.
Poppo’s “Find Menma Association” gathering goes better than expected. Naruko ditches her loser friends to attend, Jinta gets guilted into going by Menma, and Tsuruko shows up too. Everyone has brought different things, not all of them food, but they end up with a decent meal and candles and fireworks on the side. There’s a nice moment of interaction between Tsuruko and Naruko when the former is lighting candles along the pathway up to the clubhouse. The lighting on the candles seems like the kind of quiet but thoughtful act that seems to fit Tsuruko. But she can be just as sharp and to-the-point as she was earlier when Naruko talks with her. Naruko explains her white dress and how it’s different from what her friends would wear but then admits to Tsuruko that she kind of wants to be scolded by her for being so easily influenced. Yukiatsu hasn’t shown up yet but the food and conversations go well. At one point Tsuruko asked Naruko if she believes this talk about Menma and when it’s shown that everyone in the group does Menma starts breaking out in tears. It’s another example of that sort of reaction and development that we’re getting from a ghost, a kind of entity one doesn’t usually associate with change. But after this we’re getting to see more sides of her than just the energetic messenger. Late to the party, Yukiatsu shows up with plenty of food for everyone, rather than their odd but tasty mix of sausages and kheer. And then he drops another piece of information that should lead up to next episode: he tells Jinta that he sees Menma too. Though who knows which ghost or delusion is more real or what. Yukiatsu is pretty creepy about Menma and earlier in the episode he’s out buying a hair tie with Tsuruko for someone he won’t name…
One of the two elite school characters, one of the two that I find most interesting too. Glad to be seeing more of her.
For as sharp-tongued as Tsuruko can be she seems to both see things crystal clear and have this romantic side to her. Lighting the way, perhaps for Menma’s ghost, was quite the sublime gesture.
She seems so touched and inspired by her old friends, so touching, so cute.
The ‘normal’ kind of ghost or delusion, or the ‘I’m creepy as hell’, dress-sniffing sort?
Final Thoughts: – Poppo taking the lead in things was good to see and hopefully hints at a more proactive role for the other members of the group as well. I’d love to see an episode where Yukiatsu or Naruko or Tsuruko take the lead in things.
- Menma’s interaction with Jinta’s mother’s memorial was an interesting scene, having the ghost contemplate the death of another like that. It reminded me of the scene in Lucky Star, the one serious and even sad scene in the whole comedy series, where Konata’s mother comes back as a ghost and takes a look at her family years later. Menma already commented on her own memorial shrine when she visited her home, but it’s another thing entirely for her to consider the death of others in her current state.
- If these events and Menma’s intervention are bringing Jinta and Naruko closer together, one has to think about the teary ending this may have as Jinta and Menma put their history to rest and move on; Jinta to Naruko and Menma to a final peace. I imagine a similar dynamic is in place with Yukiatsu and Tsuruko as well.
- What the hell was Poppo doing with that whole chant and dance thing?
- I wonder why Jinta, Poppo, and Yukiatsu are the only ones to have seen Menma so far? Though the smirk on Yukiatsu’s face could possibly suggest that he’s trolling, I want to believe him. But why not any of the girls so far?