「 トンネル」 (Tonneru)
“Tunnel”

House is probably the only other show I’ve ever seen this happen, where Wilson does pretty much the same thing Tsuruko did to Yukiatsu, and that’s knowing the other so well to the point where they’re controlling situations to “fix” them, because telling them directly would heed no change. There were multiple scenes like this throughout the episode that seem so damn sophisticated because they’re essentially higher tiers of character manipulation in writing. It’s these types of things that make me question why I should ever excuse poor writing when plot is supposed to be the main point of the show. But when you’re in an industry where fanservice is the main drive for sales, what can you expect? Blame the fans, but I think I’m repeating myself here.

It did come as a shock that Yukiatsu would also be the same as the others, in that thinking Menma’s death was also the fault of his own. However, it easily fits into the picture as the flashback is told, even if there’s the slight hilarity of the show possibly extending the flashback just a little bit further everytime it needs to delve into a new character. The development also finally nudged Menma to reveal her existence in a rather old-school style with secret dialogue that only she knows, and should put to rest all speculation of her entity, despite having sufficient evidence for a while now that she’s pretty much a ghost anyways. Stubborn people gonna be stubborn.

While Yukiatsu’s coping style was extreme, Tsuruko’s slowly starting to change my mind about who’s got the real issues. Like the disturbing fact that she went out of her way to find that hairclip, and then putting it on to compare to Menma, all the while holding a solid expression. There’s also her multiple drawings of Menma, which are pretty good considering the variety in style, but can also be a symptom of obsession. Actually, I think the drawing she did at school might actually be Yukiatsu, which would be weirder. She’s worse than Anjou in the obsession over Menma department, and worse than Yukiatsu in the deflecting apartment, as her cold words towards others contrasts her constant thoughts on Menma at home. Maybe this is just her weird and ultimately harmless way of coping. Or, the show saved the craziest for last.

I thought drama was gonna hit the storm, but Yukiatsu bounced back almost completely. Just simply shedded his deeds, quit cold turkey on obsession, and proceeded to save Anjou from a potential rapist. Pending transformation into a bro? The cool guy then starts intimidating Anjou, poking at her weaknesses, and eventually comes to a conclusion that they share the same problem, being “left behind” by their crushes because their crushes fell for each other. It’s a great scene that resonates the character manipulation I mentioned earlier, and forces Anjou to come to terms with the audience what she actually feels about our MC, a surprisingly mature response of, “I dunno if I love him, he’s just on my mind a lot.” Man, if we had those kind of characters all the time, shoujo would become nonexistant!

And so with the establishment of her entity, the question that follows is the purpose of her existence, a presumptiously much deeper issue, or at least I’m willing to hope so. Near the end was probably the first time Poppo made me extremely uncomfortable watching him continue on over Menma’s dialogue. Menma’s physical appearance in front of key emotional scenes finally conglomerated through her tears of frustration, and I’m finding it difficult to pinpoint exactly where things are going to go. The show charges forward strong, continuously keeping its pace and emotions in track, still pulling off what made the first episode so great, which is a damn near miracle these days.

 

Preview

92 Comments

  1. I felt that Tsuruko had another plan hatching as she stayed at the trainstation. The page flip to me felt like everything is falling into place. I found myself feeling the same with the frustation with Poppo going off. I know that your enthusiastic about Menma, but your words are like knives digging into her. It was horrible seeing Menma cry in front of Poppo and it left the episode on a sad note.

    Shadiic
  2. at least he can take it as a man. yukiatsu didnt mope and try to spite him. maybe he can still earn my forgiveness….

    anyways, the “all love is unrequited” trope is working beautifully here.

    amado
  3. Almost thought the scene in the beginning to be a confession that Yukiatsu was gay for Yadomi. (Glad it didn’t turn out that way though)

    And yeah, Poppo’s general ignorance over Menma’s breakdown was depressing to watch, though I’m glad AnoHana pulled at my emotions a lot more this episode.

    Soiyeruda
  4. It’s sad that anime law basically says that the person who has held a crush on someone for a long time will never win. In this case, it’s going to be Anjou(Anaru) who ends up disappointed. I guess you could also extend that to Yukiatsu as well given that he will never be able to get a hold of Menma. He has an even lower chance than Anjou does. But there’s always hope that an anime will come around and challenge the norms of storytelling. So, surprise me AnoHana.
    I think that if you liked this anime that you’ll find my anime blog interesting as well. I review a lot of anime and I would be deeply thankful to those of you who drop by and submit a comment. Thanks!
    Aniphiles Anime blog

  5. Yay finally proof for Menma not being a Jintan’s imagination ( before it could be also her physical influence on others/things, but it still wasn’t cert )
    AnoHana is one of rare series, which makes me changing, which pairing I support even after a few minutes. In this episode I was even into three pairings O_o

  6. There is so much going on this episode, my mind has taken a couple hour nap and I am still processing everything that went on. From Anaru’s obliviousness to the situation with the guy at the karaoke place to poor Poppo’s desperation to believe in something. I know we all have those moments, but I have to give it to Yukiatsu, taking being called a tranny like a man. Possibly the manliest thing a man in a dress can do. As for Tsuriko… the girl has issues, that’s for sure, but she has a better talent for hiding her crazy side.

    Great episode overall. I know Kiiragi was a little worried about it becoming predictable, but so far it’s done a good job at making me guess the second move ahead. Now, back to sleep.

  7. Really like how character driven this show is definitely my fav this season. Anjou is still a bit we willed. She should of punched that guy or stab him with a pen or something lol.

    cx
  8. So I what wrote last week was right was right one way or another.
    Amazed how Yukiatsu just went back to normal
    If that was me I’d probably be shunned for life
    Props to Yukiatsu.
    But Poppo he wants to see Menma badly and probably believes in her existence more than anyone else
    No questions asked

    IronicTales
  9. Great episode. I hope Anjou will ditch the ko-gals by next episode (although the bullying that ensues probably won’t be nice until Jinta gets in). I still want to see Menma eat something in front of someone else.

    xcswmboy
    1. That’ll be waaay too easy. Yet for some reason, writers tend to avoid the easy solution to make their stories more complicated. I’m not complaining though… this show is nice.

      Luxorcist
  10. Fantastic episode… definitely my favorite show so far this season. I really hope they can keep this up.

    Maybe someone’s mentioned this already, but doesn’t the show seem to be hinting more and more strongly that Menma’s wish is to hear how Jintan feels about her?

    Zeuradin
  11. Boy, this series certainly makes it difficult for me to choose a waifu.
    Anaru is stunningly hot with her hair down and she’s so cute when she blushes and acts all tsundere. She is also a gamer, which is a plus.
    Tsuruko on the other hand is smart and cares for her friends despite her cold behaviour. She is always calm and rational. She looks good with a ponytail/sidetail and glasses. <3
    So, who is your favourite AnoHana girl? (well, I didn't mention Menma 'cause she is too childish but YMMV…)

    Son Gohan
  12. This series is certainly a step above most fair. This and Hanasaku Iroha are clearly the best shows of this season by far. Just like Madoka was the best last season.

    Karmafan
  13. Anaru’s friends are the bitchiest bitches I’ve ever seen in any anime. Especially that tanned one.
    Yukiatsu turns out to be real man though. I thought I would hate him a lot, in the end I gained a little respect for him.
    I love this show! All the characters have issues, but you can’t hate any of them. Feel so real 🙂

    KGFJ
  14. yeah!! a HOUSE fan.
    I was crying at the beginning and at the end of the episode. Poppo is still the man, his despair and Menma’s reaction because she does not know her wish was amazing. I’ll have to wait and see what comes next.

    Jack Vojack
  15. Man, what’s with attempted rape in anime? Especially how they brush it off once its been averted. ‘Phew, good thing we took care of him! Now I’m sure he’ll just wander off to resume being a healthy, normal-minded citizen that will certainly not try to rape anyone else at the drop of a hat.’.

    Rhine
    1. I would guess that it may be a perception that when you dress and act like those girls and meet up with older guys you do that for slutty purposes. i.e. sex.

      So he is a drunk guy assuming she wants sex because all the signals are there. I just don’t think he understood that she didn’t want sex, because everything else she was doing up to that time was “yes”.

      Ryan
  16. Watching Anaru is the most frustrating thing in the world.

    Like Kiiragi said a few episodes ago “…she’s awesome. She just doesn’t know it.” She doesn’t have to hang around those bitches she calls her ‘friends.’ If she took time to think about what that guy was actually thinking, she wouldn’t have ended up that situation. Ahhhh it’s just so aggravating watching good people do really stupid things.

    In any case, I’m glad this episode reinforces my theory that Tsuruko is the one to watch. She never, ever sat well with so now I’m just dying to see what secret she’s hiding.

    BabyChooChoo
  17. This show is so good its hard to praise it enough, up there with Iroha for best show of the season.

    Creepy thought on Tsuruko though – what if she had more to do with Menma’s death than simply an odd string of everyone blaming themselves for an “accident”. Jinta and Yukiatsu blame themselves for her death but what if Tsuruko actually had a part in it – as they extend the flashback of the day of Menma’s death further.

    Would be interesting.

    Thundershock81
  18. I’m seriously going to be pissed if Menma turn out to not be real or if she’s a figment of Yadomi’s imagination.
    This show is invoking some serious emotions here! 😛

    Kagutsuchi
    1. To toss us that much subtle evidence she is actually there just to turn around and troll us by revealing she isn’t… that would be lame.

      I’m fairly certain she is real, even before this episode. The “sorry about the hairpin” comment cemented it for me.

      Ricalloo
  19. In Mr. Shin’s words: Damn them for trying to take my Anaru’s virginity!

    Wouldn’t be surprised if she still hangs out with those sluts.

    Yukiatsu won puberty points this time, curse you Yukiatsu! but if he and Anaru enter in a relatonship Tsuruko will go yandere.

    Lectro Volpi
  20. Damn, Yukiatsu sure bounces back fast. He’s 1234654 times a better man than the last episode.

    And I think maybe Poppo might be the one with the biggest issue, he seems so carefree about everything almost too carefree.

    Serapita
  21. I would have to agree that the show is definitely saving the most troubled for last.

    Poppo definitely did not look very stable during the end. He seemed to be going a bit hysteric. Like the others, I’m sure he harbors some kind of obsession over Menma. His carefree ways have always just been a distraction to the audience. He was immediately the first likable character without a doubt. Which was a great setup. It all could be a front he’s keeping up to hide deeper issues.

    And this entire ep just screamed Tsuruko issues. Just so many obvious hints! From her personality, Yukiatsu, the Menma drawings, the hairpin.

    I do hope they delve into Poppo and Tsuruko because they are the 2 characters who have not “changed” from Menma’s death. But this ep seems to show that they may be the ones that have changed the most, as in their issues might be the most drastic or disturbing or whatever. And the fact that they are both the “carefree” and the “calm” one just adds to the suspicion.

    Lilian
  22. This show and everyone in it is way to obsessed, focused on and centered around one single character, a dead one at that. I get it everyone misses Menma in one way or another, but it’s been a few years already. It was fine for first two, three episodes, but now it’s getting old & kinda annoying (Menma this and Menma that).

    Still a good show.

    Den
  23. Not too bad a bounceback for a crossdressing guy, plus Yukiatsu gets to save a girl, though not the one he’s after.

    So far, here’s how this love polygon plays out:
    Anaru —> Jinta ?? Menma <— Yukiatsu <— Tsuruko

    Poppo is harder to define in this relationship, but the last scene shows that even he too has been affected profoundly by Menma's departure.

    2011 is a good year for anime watchers, what with story-intensive series like Madoka Magica, HanaIro and this. A breath of fresh air from too much moe and mindless service. (I still love K-ON, mind you. ) A while ago there was a debate about which was better, AnoHana or HanaIro. I can now say my vote goes to AnoHana, its story moves in more dramatic ways than the "countryside romance slice-of-life" HanaIro provides (at least for now).

    This is not to say HanaIro is bad in any way, and I'm sure Okada Mari, who writes both series, would pull something out of her creative hat for HanaIro eventually as well. But for now, she's going full steam on AnoHana. (Though Fractale was a bit of a let down for Okada's standards. )

    Kinny Riddle
  24. I initially thought the drawing might be Tsuruko wearing Menma’s clothes and style, because of the hair and expression, kinda like Tsuruko wanting to be in Menma’s place (for Yukiatsu?). But maybe it was just Menma.

    South
  25. Oh man, I felt so much emotion in the opening scene. I’m glad that Yukiatsu redeemed himself this episode by saving Anaru, because it somehow made me feel justified for feeling bad for him. I also can’t wait to see what Poppo and Tsuruko’s issues are, they’re sure to be even more interesting.

    And interesting thought on Tsuruko drawing Yukiatsu crossdressing. When I saw it, I thought it was just her cool version of Menma, but her drawing the crossdressor makes a lot more sense.

    As for people saying that he bounced back quickly, I think it’s because he was shouldering that guilt for a long time, and he’s always hated himself. Just like how Tsuruko said that when he was insulting Jinta, he was talking about himself. I think that now that it’s in the open, he feels a sense of relief. He wants them to call him a crossdresser because he doesn’t want to/need to hide it anymore.

    Amurita
  26. Popo seemed to be until now the calmest and most “normal” of them but it seems like he is at his limit or have I misunderstood? In his eyes was somehow the look of Despair.

    Dee
  27. I just loved how Yukiatsu just pretty much said thanks for saving him. Anyway things are getting really good. Now all we have left is to see issues that Tsuruko is having since we all know now that each of the characters are having some sort of issue with Menma’s death.

    Silver
  28. I’m still on the fence on what exactly is Menma? Why doesn’t she just eat a tempura in front of Poppo to show that she’s there when she clearly have no problem eating pocky in front of Jintan.
    It doesn’t seemed like she’s just Jintan’s fragment of imagination too since she obviously has memories of the past which Jintan can’t possibly be aware of.

    Tsuruko’s character is making an interesting turn, is she a ticking time bomb waiting to explode? I hope not. She’s my favorite character of the show and I hope the writers doesn’t make her too damaged for us to swallow.

    Aidata
  29. Yukiatsu likes Menma

    Menma Likes Jinta

    Anaru likes Jinta

    Tsuruko wants to be Menma, not for Yukiatsu, but for herself

    Poppo thinks Menma is suffering by hanging around the living

    Jinta was a jackass, as a little kid, pfft, don’t care if he lost his mom and friend, he was still a jackass.

    Yukiatsu crossdresses-Bro points -1

    Yukiatsu gets caught crossdressing- Bro points -2

    Yukiatsu overcomes his obsession- Bro points +1

    Yukiatsu saves Anaru- Bro points +2

    Yukiatsu has gained 0 Bro points.

    Tsuruko is “one of those”.One of those people that thinks people should stop being hypocrites, one of those people that give off that feeling of “I’m better than you”, one of those people that tries to act indifferent in order to feel better about themselves.Tsuruko wants to be like Menma, carefree and kind, she doesn’t want to be “one of those”, but she doesn’t know how to be like that.

    Poppo has no issues, he’s worried for Menma.

    That’s my two cents on this episode ;p.

    anishuma
  30. “It’s these types of things that make me question why I should ever excuse poor writing when plot is supposed to be the main point of the show”

    You’re talking about shows that are supposed to be serious, right? Because I don’t want to see this kind of writing in slice-of-life comedies. Working! and Nichijou, for example, are good they are silly.

    In other kind of shows you (in fact, they) have to be careful. For example, High School of Zombies were supposed to be AWESOME because the its concept is fantastic. It’s also a perfect fit for fanservice, which is not a bad thing (I like a good fanservice). The problem is: this show sould have been something like 70% story/characters and 30% fanservice. But High School of Zombies is the exact opposite. Actually, it’s almost a porn show. If wanted to watch animated porn, I would look for a hentai anime. LOL.

    The same is true for the second season of K-ON. Cute characters are nice, but when you’re watching comedy, you want to see the freakin’ comedy. Cute things are like a bonus. The second season of K-ON was more moe than comedy, and that sucks.

    1. Whoa there. I think the majority understands what the writer means. It’s just an above average drama series. I thought there was going to be loli fanservice throughout after the first episode but I was wrong.

      This series is great and surprises me the direction it takes every episode!

      Staal
  31. My guess before this episode was that they all have something they feel guilty about related to Memma’s death. So far Jintan, Anaru, and Yukiatsu have admitted guilty feelings for what they said. Poppo? I don’t know. He seems stressed out neeeding to get some reaction from Memma. Some think that Tsuruko is in love with Yukiatsu, but what if it’s really Memma that she was in love with? Maybe she said something to Memma and it freaked her out. Conversely, if it was Yukiatsu, maybe she said something hurtful to Memma out of jealousy.

    bear
  32. I think popo’s has also been greatly affected by menma’s death.
    what I believe is that he is like living in an illusion that everything is still the same and its just that menma is not seen. he doesnt seem to really see the others problems and think everyone is still “friends” when its not quite right.

    amado
  33. Great episode. I was a wee bit frustrated with Anaru for her idiocy with that guy. You don’t get flustered, you just say “I’m not interested” and get the hell away. I also think she needs to get away from those bitch friends ASAP.
    I wish we had a little more reaction from Yukiatsu this week after his cross dressing. I would really like to have an inkling of why he dresses like her (yeah he feels guilty, but what does dressing like her do about that?)
    Poppo was great this week. When he started freaking a bit at the end, it really gave a new insight into his character and I’m glad to see his affection for Menma showing through. (I also have this theory that he hasn’t actually been to the places he says he has, he’s just pretending to have moved on.)
    Tsuruko was interesting this week with the reveal that she probably likes Yukiatsu. As for the drawings… I’m really just wondering the same thing that I’m wondering with Yukiatsu… Why? Also, I doubt Tsuruko went “out of her way” to find the clip. I mean, Yukiatsu probably didn’t tell her about it, so she probably witnessed him throwing it and went to get it back then. I don’t really think it’s “disturbing” either, as it’s a representation of his love, love that was wasted on Menma and she wished was hers. It’s an item of envy for her.
    I’m glad that Menma has openly admitted she has no idea what to do. Good for her.
    Jintan is pissing me off. Why doesn’t he just say “yes, Menma’s here, she says this, she can eat, she can touch you, let’s all help her!” I really don’t know what is holding Jintan back at this point when everybody (amazingly) seems to believe him to a certain extent. BAD MEDIATOR.
    🙂

    innerchihiro
  34. I’m still not convinced Yukiatsu has moved on. Although at least now I know Menma is really there and not just Jinta’s imagination. She said something that Jinta doesn’t know.

    megalith
  35. I think this is the second time Poppo has asked Menma to eat/drink something. Both times Jinta became uncomfortable, and Menma ended up not doing anything. You would think that Menma, who eats in front of Jinta all the time, would have no problem eating food with the rest of her friends. It’s almost like seeing food magically disappear would make it obvious that something “weird” is going on, and it makes Menma and Jinta uncomfortable. I feel like neither Menma nor Jinta want to admit that Menma technically shouldn’t be there, especially after what happened in this episode. It’s like they’ve gotten used to the fact that she “exists,” and don’t want to think about it further — which is why Poppo’s words hit Menma so hard.

    N
  36. This episode had me close to crying at the beginning and the end, and here I was thinking they usually left the drama bombs till the last few episodes. Still the most enjoyable anime this season apart from Tiger & Bunny! (I’ve dropped HanaIro despite the beautiful art because the emotional response it invokes really pales compared with this show.)

    I’m guessing Yukiatsu wants people to tease him about being ‘just’ a crossdresser rather than keep linking it to his guilt over Menma.

    Momogoldfish
    1. Oh and this show really really reminds me of Cross Game since they share the same seiyuus -Miyu Irino, Haruka Tomatsu and Sakurai Takahiro. Miyu Irino(Jinta) and Haruka Tomatsu(Naruko) even seems to be in a similar situation to Kou and Aoba in Cross Game as well.
      Despite it being a sports anime I really recommend watching Cross Game, especially if you’ve enjoyed Moshidora.

      Momogoldfish
      1. Well, to explain, the original comment was huge. He/she extended the comment with a “Spoiler warning” then several spaces down, wrote the culprit sentence. The person treated it as a spoiler, so I did the same.

    1. That’s a pretty good speculation.
      Maybe she say Yukiatsu giving the clip and confessing to Menma, got jealous and later had a fight with her near the river…

      pimple
  37. So why is this episode called Tunnel?
    Guess its because like how their train stopped in the long deep tunnel while they were going through their feelings the express train is going by. They are at a dead end, stuck while they ponder their feelings while everyone else (express train) flies by them.

    Yukiatsu = stalker? Followed Ana from train station to Karaoke. Waited till she was done and then to the hotel.

    deafvader
  38. Yeah after this episode and thinking about it some more, I think Poppo is also still living in the past, and he too will have to face reality. Definitely want to see his character developed more.

    And sure, we all think about these characters and how they’re affected by the loss of Menma, but we should also have to consider how they’re affected by the loss of each other. Every one has changed since their former days together (well, maybe with the exception of Tsuruko, unless it hasn’t been shown yet).

    To be honest, I can only see a happy ending in the future, so it remains to be seen how or even if this will be resolved in the 6(?) remaining episodes.

    invazn
    1. orange is ginger, ginger equals red head. It’s the same thing, there is no such thing a natural RED hair. They are always either light or dark, but always orange. And yes, they are the best:D

      prejsu
  39. Tsuruko’s crazy meter just went up a bunch of notches for me. She’s either obsessed with Yukiatsu, or Menma, or BOTH! (and why does Yukiatsu have a replica hair clip anyway) And seriously, everyone loves Menma (and all the girls want to be her now)

    Little Yukiatsu was kind of cute and sweet. Sadly he was rejected XD

    random note: Is it just me or Menma doesn’t seem very Japanese…? I mean blue eyes and all?

    But this show is a must on my list for this season XD

    Fuugetsu
      1. Aren’t blue eyes recessive? In other words both parents have to carry the gene and she would have to get it from both of them as well?

        That being said, I long ago gave up trying to figure out colorful eyes and hair in anime. For the most part it is generally used to individualize the characters from one another. There is no basis in reality.

        Ricalloo
      2. Well yes, you’re right – I believe there can be rare exceptions, but I’m also not a geneticist. I was just pointing out that there is, in fact, a reason given for Menma having odd coloring compared to her friends.

        But when it comes down to it, we are talking about anime here. XD

        Umeko
  40. ahhh, nothing brings old friends together better, than attempted rape…. so one’s “sort of” love interest is occupied with a ghost, while another is obsessed with that same ghost. and all while Mr poppo surveys all the proceeding from kami’s lookout. thats all well and fine..BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MEGANE GIRL???

    BROOKLYN otaku
  41. The first five episodes of the story unfold like a metaphor on how the modern society has killed “innocence” and then tries to seek redemption. Everyone has problems — stupid or smart. And no one sees any way out.

    Matroid
  42. Great episode. The subtleties in this series are great, while keeping you guessing.

    My opinion on Menma’s wish:

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Delwack

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