‘ The meaning of the word “everyone” isn’t like one giant stuffed dumpling. It’s when a bunch of grains of rice all individually shines. And when they all come together that’s what makes “everyone.” – Menma (Anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day)
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is an anime that tells the story of six childhood friends. A beautiful yet sad story. It’s beautiful because it tells a tale of deep friendship and memories. It is sad because an unforgettable tragedy happens which shakes and tests those bonds which seemed everlasting. The death of Menma tears apart those unbreakable bonds.
Brief summary (Anohana)
Jintan, Menma, Yukiatsu, Poppo, Anaru and Tsuruko, are very close friends. They are so close that they name their group ” Super Peace Busters”(which is the actual name of the creators of anime). Jintan is the leader of the group. He is a really energetic and spirited boy. But the death of Menma makes him lethargic and breaks away from the company. Not only Jintan, the rest of the group too slowly drifts apart. After some years, Jintan a total shut-in starts to see a teenage Menma. Meeting Menma again takes him back to society. Menma tells him that her wish is not completed and they have to complete that wish. So Jintan gathers everyone after a long 10 years. And they try to figure out Menma’s wish and complete it.
Meaning (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day)
The reappearance of Menma after her death is actually the meaning behind the title. The flower here both means Menma and Wasurenagusa flower (the forget-me-not flower). This flower grows where Menma meets with her accident. In a way, it is telling them to not forget about her. Or it is telling how even after so long that they hadn’t forgotten about Menma. That flower will keep reminding them about Menma constantly. They can’t forget about her. Because everyone thinks that her death is their fault in their own respective ways. Perhaps that’s why Menma appears before Jin so that they can realize it’s not their fault. She appears so that she can break their guilt chains and set them free.
Anohana has various themes. These themes may be simple but their true worth runs deep.
Friendship: Anohana has friendship as the main theme. It particularly revolves around the six friends. It is full of their companionship and their trust. They care about each other. They play and have fun together, study together. Whatever they do, they are always together.
Death/ Tragedy: Trust, friendship, bonds of care, affection – these are fundamental values that constitute this anime. But death is also a part of this group. Death of a friend whom they have cared for so much. Her death breaks the group. They disperse. But they re-group when Menma’s spirit comes in contact with them. It is sad that Menma is no longer there but her memories remain with them, And it goes on forever.
Memories: Another theme is obviously memories. Memories about Menma. In anime Jin is the only one who starts seeing Menma, the rest cannot. This signifies Jin is the one who got affected the most emotionally because of her death. Because he loved her. But romance is a minor theme in this anime. What plays a pivotal role are the bonds between the characters, and love is an extension of that. His memories of her are what make him rise up again from being internally dead for so long. Memories are the lifeline of this anime.
All in all, this story is beautiful. How friends bore a sense of guilt about Menma’s death and how they overcome that guilt. Their memories of her laughing and goofiness. How they re-groups only because of one common factor Menma. All these are beautiful. Memories never fade away, they just keep on living eternally.