OP Sequence

OP: 「青い栞」 (Aoi Shiori) by ガリレオ・ガリレイ (Galileo Galilei)
Watch the OP!: Download, Streaming ▼

「超平和バスターズ」 (Chou Heiwa Basutaazu)
“Super Peace Busters”

I want to say long names correlate with quality, but that wouldn’t really be true. Luckily, I can say Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai will most likely pave the way (wow that’s a mouthful).

The story centers around six childhood friends, one of which is Honma Meiko “Menma” (Kayano Ai), a childish girl who is slowly revealed to have died in a sudden unexplained event. The trauma changes the group forever, as the episode eventually details, and every member of the “Super Peace Busters” splits off into their own pathways in life. Yadomi Jinta “Jintan” (Irino Miyu) goes from hero to zero, and judging by some neighbors and his friends, it is deeply implied Meiko’s death is closely related to him, perhaps even indirectly caused. Anjo Naruko “Anaru” (Tomatsu Haruka) transformed from geeky to hot and popular, with subtle implications of feelings for Jinta, but simultaneous hatred for his decisions. Matsuyuki Atsumu “Yukiatsu” (Sakurai Takahiro) and Tsurumi Chiriko “Tsuruiko” (Hayami Saori) have stuck together, but differ in opinion over the matter of Meiko. Yukiatsu considerably has lingering feelings, and dare I say “liked” Meiko, as shown from his easily provoked anger (also jelly of Jinta since he was a kid), whereas Tsuruiko appears to have moved on, a fitting opposite. Using Meiko’s mysterious reappearance temporarily attributed to summertime stress, a plan is set into motion to grant her wish, bring the group back together, and perhaps finally allow Jinta to gain redemption. Despite calling her a hallucination, Meiko seems to bear physical influence in the environment, but I don’t think it will really matter if left unexplained. Hisakawa Tetsudo “Poppo” (Kondou Takayuki) is cheerful despite Meiko’s death, fitting of his bubbly personality, and it’s very likely that he will be the first ally Jinta gathers.

Since veteran screenwriter Okada Mari only seems to be as good as the director (Toradora, Fractale, Musuko, GOSICK, Hanasaku Iroha – this woman has exploded in popularity), I think the majority of the credit goes to Toradora director Nagai Tatsuyuki, who has apparently come to an extreme improvement over the years. It’s hard to describe just how fantastic the episode was done except to actually watch it play out, but it was packed with just the necessary amount of flashbacks and some really well conveyed emotion to grant the viewer a considerable understanding of these otherwise complete strangers. Every scene comes to life with expressively animated characters, and yet maintains a balance of delicacy with subtlety. The music, the narrative, and the screenplay are orchestrated together to create some spectacular somber scenes that effortlessly wrench out sentiment from this cold heart since Clannad ever could. Seriously, I was completely enthralled by the story’s building momentum of emotions that I lost track of time.

The show rivals Hanasaku Iroha (also a must-watch) in terms of an original character-driven story, but with a vague outline drawn and half the time-slot to do it. The premise is reminiscent of 20th Century Boys, which I marathoned but found a little mediocre, but that’s besides the point. It’s a shame that I haven’t seen such an engaging original anime right off the bat in a really long time, so I sincerely hope this doesn’t end up sucking. There’s a genuine lack of writers at this level in the anime industry, and I’m starting to think that’s a natural result of where the money actually lies (that’s a fault on viewers, mind you). Thankfully, the show is off to an amazing start, and with some small tearjerkers already, it’s a bit exciting to see just how dark this story could get. Equipped with solid animation by A-1 Pictures, a fitting voice cast, and an attractive soundtrack (OP/ED included), the whole package ends up blindingly perfect. With such a strong beginning, it feels like this may turn out to be one of the best shows of the year, if not an instant classic (really not an understatement, watch this show!).

This season is turning out to be amazing~

 

Divine: The most famous song of Sapporo’s all-female pop rock band, “secret base ~What You Gave Me~”, was covered as Kyou no 5 no 2’s ending theme as well, but suits Anohana much better. For those who have never heard of ZONE, I’ve included the PV for their song below, which was released in 2001. A lot of people know the lyrics, myself included.

Show ZONE – secret base ~Kimi ga Kureta Mono~ PV ▼

ED Sequence

ED: 「secret base 〜君がくれたもの〜 (10 years after Ver.)」 (Kimi ga Kureta Mono)
by 茅野愛衣, 戸松遥, 早見沙織 (Kayano Ai, Tomatsu Haruka, Hayami Saori)
Watch the ED!: Download, Streaming ▼

144 Comments

  1. A very good first episode. I especially like that it managed to portray Jintan as troubled / traumatized about Menma’s death without turning him into some sort of emo basket case. His more subdued, withdrawn personality was much appreciated. Menma’s interesting herself, although she’s giving me a Nessa from Fractale vibe a bit. Yet another show to add to my massive list of must-watch series this season. XD

    1. Well said. I actually took a liking to the main protagonist. He really does seem troubled like you said, but not enough to weird me out or make me look away, which I also thought was a good balance. It’s hard seeing him try to talk to anybody, and even with a ghost following him. I’m really looking forward to this anime. I haven’t looked forward to a new episode of an anime for some while now.

      MrBrownSound
  2. Well I liked it a lot too, but not that much. My main problem with it is how it seemed too forced on me, they were trying too hard to make it sad in my opinion. Like how the main character kept repeating lines like “… but that was the past.” I like those kind of sad/heartwarming story but I just felt weird watching this episode. Maybe it’s because for now I’m not attached to any of the characters.

    Rockmanshii
    1. I’m figuring he’s also repeating a lot of that stuff so much because he’s the most hung up on Menma’s death. He did more or less drop out of school, and is a borderline hikikomori as a result. In his case, I find it more believable that he’d obsess over it a bit more, and repeat stuff like that so much.

    2. coming from personal experience that shit does weigh on you. i was asked to send a simple email out to a childhood friend of mine who was deployed in iraq by his mother after his younger brother passed away. i kept putting it off and six months later he himself ended up dying from an IED.

      needless to say yeah, the main character resonates with me and i did end up tearing a bit from watching this. i wouldn’t say i’ve been impacted drastically like the main character has, my situation happened 7 years ago and for the most part i’ve made my peace. but i still think about how i couldn’t take 5 minutes out of my time to say wassup. i can’t even imagine how it would be to hurt someone you actually care about and being unable to apologize.

      RickyMack
  3. This has got to be the best show this season. I’m so glad I decided to watch this. By the time the ending song started playing, I felt really sad. Fantastic lyrics that seem to match exactly with the entire story. I don’t think I’ve seen a better first episode in a while.

    Menma is kinda implied to have drown, I think.

    1. How are Iroha and AnoHana cliche exactly .. pfft .. when we finally get some refreshing interesting slice-of-life away from all the crappy cheap “cliched” harems and moe stuff that infested anime these days .. some people still complain .. sigh … go watch something that isn’t cliche and leave us with out cliched slice-of-life shows .. if cliche was this good then i’d eat with eggs and ramen every morning XD

      Hunter-Wolf
  4. This is a great show, however the ‘peace busters’ part is strikingly familiar to jun maedas work, visual novel ‘little busters'(which also have a group of childhood friends :P), however i’ll let it slide since the first episode has turned out so promising.

    just when i thought clannad would remain lonely at the top in its genre, i see some contenders at last (iroha, ano mita hana).

    Dawn
    1. With various bits of foreshadowing, I’m tempted to suggest that the ending will be that
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Tsukiha
  5. I believe in Kiiragi, I’ll check this out later. I’m having quite a difficult time with real-life bugging me and this new season of anime that seems to be flooding of many quality series. I guess this is what it means to have 40+ series in a season.

  6. great start for the series, but damn, Yukiatsu is such a dick!
    hopefully Poppo can help Jintan or probably see Meiko next week or something, but i doubt it will be as easy as that…

    bullrogg
  7. That was an awesome first episode. I just hope it’s not setting the bar to high for future episodes to reach. A show that starts with a bang has to go on banging all the way..

    Nadavu
  8. Jintan needs a haircut
    Otherwise, great show!!!
    I told myself I am only going to actively follow 3 shows this season and it’s turning out much more difficult than I thought 🙁

    JCcap
  9. Didn’t see this coming. This season was full of stuff I expected to bomb horribly, but the majority of it is turning out to be pretty damn good. This show especially is off to an amazing start.

    Normally, I can pick out a character or 2 that I absolutely despise, but I kind of have to sympathize with everyone. I’m loving the lead male too. Dude was a freaking kid and as kids tend to do: he did something stupid. Unfortunately, what he did obviously somehow had drastic consequences, but I think it’s fair to say he’s been paying for his ‘crime’ for quite some time now. In a way, the whole world is against him. I’d be a dick too. The thing I like though, is that he’s a dick with a heart (don’t try to think about that image too much now…) even if that heart is locked away somewhere deep.

    BabyChooChoo
  10. If this ends up being a top of the season, I am fully prepared to gloat ‘CALLED IT’ (but not really). xD
    This was one of my most anticipated shows, so I’m glad it didn’t disappoint. I’ve had high expectations since I read the preview.

    Aisu
  11. This is just exactly what I need. A-1 did a good job in the animation here.

    I also find the OP animation sequence befitting of the song and very much loved it.

    PS: I thought Divine wrote this, I just cant imagine Kiiragi blogging slice of life dramas. Great post anyway.

    Nhelraios
  12. Every season I try to broaden my horizon with a show or two (or three of five) that aren’t your typical comedy or battle series. I am quite glad that I chose this one. Please don’t disappoint me orz

    Bossun
  13. “Except, this isn’t slice of life.
    Edit: You know what, never mind. The genre is too ridiculously broad. Screw it.”…….THANK YOU for going there! that needed to be said and put out there. slice of life “with non reality twist” just one of the “many” ways to do it. THATS HOW ITS GOTTA BE! other wise its all just daytime drama & soap operas.
    NICE strong first episode, got time shifts, love triangles, and GHOSTS!!! and they drop it all on ya in the first ep. NICE

    BROOKLYN otaku
  14. Best show this season because of the unique premise. I’m thinking Menma is a ghost but Jinta believes it’s his imagination. Understandable because he’s the only one that sees her. I’m totally psyched about what’s coming! Bring on the drama, misunderstandings and dark twists!

    conyo985
  15. The first episode of this hooked me faster and entertained me more than Hanasaku’s first episode did, though I think Hanasaku will still prove to be a better drama overall due to the fact that it’s 2 cour. Why do Noitamina shows have to be so friggin’ short?:(

    Smuglord
  16. Mmm.. It’s settled.

    I’m going to import me some Fusion ProGlide.

    (So SayaRei *ahem* Anjo.. has the hots for Jinta. But he’s such a basket case, she doesn’t want to ruin her public image. On that note, I must say, Jinta’s hallucination of Menma is fabulous. I wish I could recreate someone in such a lifelike manner!)

    1. I bought myself a Fusion Pro glide at walmart yesterday, completely out of the blue too. I didn’t need it lol.. then I remembered after I had paid for it that I saw a commercial for it somewhere.. XD It totally influenced my decision to purchase it subconsciously… XD

      Trystinia
  17. epic execution of the ED for this first episode! I feel so touched watching that part… hopefully our cute ghostly girl would get her wish (if it is getting everyone back to be friends again) granted 🙂
    this show is only one-cour, right?

    jrj
  18. This looks awesome, but I’m not going to watch this until it’s finished. I’d rather not have to inch along week by week with unresolved drama lingering the in the back of my mind 🙁

    anon
  19. I was already watching speechless the whole ep, and then the ED played.

    One of my favorite songs + This show = Perfection if it can keep the same emotional level throughout.

    Eternith
  20. This is quite an interesting series. Meiko looks like some kind of poltergeist (she can move objects) and since Jintan was likely to be the closest to her he is the only one who can see her.
    This is how I think it will go:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Luke
  21. Ano Hana (for short) was exceptionally great. I at first didn’t think much of this show until I tried it out one day. Oh god did this have so much Little Buster references. Then again I don’t mind. ^^
    I can already predict that there will be tears at the end of the series. Especially if you’re me. I’m soft towards these type of shows and I’m already hooked after the first episode!
    It was great: the lighting, the music, the character designs (since I enjoyed H.O.T.D, I’m not hating it as much as the rest) and the story as well! They are all great!

    I personally think this is one of the best first episodes I’ve seen in spring as of now.

    Other than that, keep up the good work man! I look forwardd to your future posts ;D

  22. This is just too good. Kiiragi, you are absolutely right about the directing – it’s impeccable. Heck, I already feel heartbroken a little and the show hasn’t even started yet. Let’s hope this goes well. After a rather pervy start, this episode still left me enthralled.

    asdfguy
  23. I really really enjoyed the first episode of this show, but I feel like it might be one of those that gets better as time goes on, so it didn’t grab me in quite the same way as Hanasaku Iroha. Still, this is one of my top shows, and I wholeheartedly agree that this season is shaping up to be amazing! Thanks for blogging this!

    innerchihiro
    1. Oh, and most interesting character for me so far is Naruko. I really like how seemingly shallow she is, but you can just tell how much is going on in that head of hers. She really reminds me of Kawashima Ami, except I actually like her more. 🙂

      innerchihiro
  24. i got depressed watching this one. the moment i saw naruko not noticing menma made me already realize that menma’s dead. DX it’s so sad given it’s only the first episode. i think i like this better than HanaIro. i even found myself close to tears with that scene in the honma residence. DX

    i’m loving all the characters especially naruko. XD tsuruko’s design is my type too. XD

    i look forward for more. the drama’s getting on me. and btw, A1-Pictures never ceases to amaze me. VERY GOOD EPISODE!!

    keiOnDaisuki
  25. Wow, and I thought Hanasaku Iroha would definitely be my top, until I watched this. It’s amazing how much emotion was in this episode, I was crying for the latter half and was totally immersed in the episode. It’s really sad..I can’t really expect a happy ending either, but probably a bittersweet ending with melancholy. Big, big step from Toradora, and I loved that show.

    Chocolate
  26. The part where Menma’s mom was saying that she was an airhead brought a tear in my eye. I’m intrigued for what this show has to offer, another show to watch and anticipate. Thanks for covering this show!

    skylaris
  27. Damn, one of the two of my wish has come true. Someone did picked up this show. Next is Ao no Exorcist.

    Can’t wait to watch this. Work sucks this past week. oh, and W00t for another version of Secret Base. Make me want to rewatch Kyou no Go no Ni again. Also I agree, seems like this season is overly fabolous <3

    briex
  28. Weird, but reading your recap alone brought me to tears. I suppose some of us here are attracted to this show because of the theme…Childhood friends that have moved on. It is a rather melancholy thing, those lost friendship………

    Sam
  29. This kinda reminds me of Fuko’s arc in clannad, where a soul came back to do something to bring happiness to people she cared for. Damn another tear jerker. Although the part about gathering the whole gang together kinda reminds me of Kyon bringing the SOS team together..

    SleepyOtaku
  30. Wow, incredible first episode. It felt extremely depressing even though next to nothing was known about the characters and it’s doing a great job conveying emotions. Looking forward to more!

    HenDarou
  31. That Menma girl is kind of annoying, but I grow fond of her in the end.
    I find it a little bit weird why that boy is so obsessing over her death, to the point of not continuing school and becoming an emo like that. I mean, it wasn’t his fault that she died.
    But either way, that’s a great start. I even feel a little blue in the end.
    Secretly hope for Menma to show up again 🙂

    KGFJ
    1. He’s not changing his life because he’s obsessed with her. It’s just the result of her death. They were young, and it was traumatic, trauma has profound effects on people. And it’s hinted that he may have had something to do with it. At the very least he’s guilty over calling her ugly the same day she died and not apologizing.

      Airon
  32. The anime industry seriously needs more writers like Okada Mari. Maeda Jun is another one that comes to mind, though barring Angel Beats, his writing career is so far still mostly confined to visual novels or anime adaptations of said novels.

    Besides Okada, credit must also be given to director Nagai Tatsuyuki for getting the mood right. He has certainly improved in arranging the emotions of the scenes since Honey & Clover 2 and Toradora. (Another series in his increasingly impressive series was deeply popular To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, though that’s less on the drama side. )

    Though this is no Key work, there seems to be a lot of Key-like tropes here:
    Kanon – Appearance of a poltergeist/astral projection (Ayu – Menma)
    Clannad – protagonist starts out as an estranged social outcast due to a traumatizing experience in the past. An encounter sets him on the road to redemption (Tomoya – Jinta)
    Little Busters – Super Peaceful Busters

    Once again, thank you for deciding to blog this, Takaii.

    Kinny Riddle
  33. I thought the opening was really lovely and captured the mood of the first episode so well. I’m a sucker for character development focused shows, so I’m glad that Hanasaku Iroha and AnoHana have both started off so strongly.

    The animation was also surprisingly fluid! Definitely a notch above the average.

    reminbee
      1. They gave Anaru Taiga’s deadly stares 😛 Yeah, I like that they’re making the animation similar to Toradora. Not sure if anyone noticed, but the smile Meima and Jinta give each other at the end of the opening is even similar to the smile Taiga and Ryuuji give each other at the end of the… 2nd Toradora! opening I think.

        dxb_blackwolf
  34. Im sure we all had people or friends who u have grown apart from because of sudden changes in each others life…Now that death has been added to this equation, moving on has made it easy for some and difficult for others. As for how she died i think she fell; since u can see Jinta make a epic dive attempt(flashbacks also show jinta’s dad telling him about her death) to save Menma but fails horribly…All in all love the first impression Kiiragi.

    G@iR3i
    1. I did as well.. I feel like it’s going to happen a lot during this series too. T_T But I welcome it and can’t wait to see how the story unfolds before my eyes
      It really hit me when Menma went over to her house. That was my breaking point.. T_T

      Trystinia
  35. Simply intriguing; I couldn’t take my eyes off the whole thirty minutes. I didn’t expect ANOTHER season to hit me as hard as Hanasaku Iroha and Denpa Onna to Seishun Otaka, but boy was I wrong. The is the greatest of the Spring Series for mr so far, besides the long name. I crave for more!!!

    Simple
  36. It’s great to watch character-driven animes every once in a while, and 2 in a season blow my mind. I feel like this show will be sadder than Hanasaku Iroha, but you never know. I think the girl with the glasses will be the last one to see Menma; it seems she’s moved on the most. It was so sad to see her brother say offering food to her was annoying, and her mother say Menma probably didn’t know she died. :[

    Kevin
  37. For the one series I’m looking forward the most this spring, I’m glad the first episode delivered. Granted, this is just the first episode and we all know how a badly delivered ending can ruin an entire series, but watching this first episode just raise my hope for this series even further.

    aiueo123
  38. I knew this anime is gonna be great! This anime caught my eyes when I saw the trailer. It reminds me of Tokyo Magnitude because of Menma. It got me teared up a bit too and it brings back my childhood memories. x] Love the OP and ED, the ED song is coming out on April 27th I read from somewhere.

    1OO
  39. Jeez, no wounder Jintan conjured up a hallucination of his long dead friend. All his old friends are a** holes. Well except for Tetsudo.

    They kinda take the premise of simply growing up and going to the extreme with it. I’m expecting ‘John Lennon’s Stand by me’ to play at some point.

    Snicket
  40. The anime seems similar to hanasaku( currently watching XD) as mentioned and seems like it has an immence amount to offer. Animations style reminds me of durarara do. I like it 😛

    rico
  41. In this season i am having anime to watch everyday ^^
    i am so happy with season , but sadly i am sure the next season won’t be as good 🙁 , i am used to anime seasons with only 2-3 animes in my watch list.
    Anyway this anime one of the top for me ^^

    Ahmy
  42. getting a little “Kanon” here…

    I found the ending extremely touching – and the great OST almost made me teary-eyed.
    But I just can’t feel bad for young men like Jintan or Yuichi: they do something cowardly, a bad accident happens to their friend/lover, they regret, became insane and form hallucinations… Sometimes I just want to yell at them: “well, sucks to be you! That’s what you get for being a jerk!”

    petit
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