“Live And Let Go” – Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutashi wa Mada Shiranai (anime) – 10/10 Pools


Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~From a headstone in Ireland

Genre: Slice-of-life/Supernatural/Drama

Review Status: Complete (11 Episodes/11 Episodes)

Licensed: No, this anime is not licensed in the US

Art/Animation
: Very nice. The lines are crisp and clear, the colors bold and bright (no pastels here!). The animation on-par for what a slice-of-life should be, pretty smooth.

Dub Vs. Sub: There is no dub for this anime.

Summary: A group of childhood friends drifts apart after one of them, Meiko “Menma” Honma, dies in an accident. Years later, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, has become withdrawn and lives as a recluse. An older Meiko appears to him, and says that she must have a wish granted, though she does not know what it is. (Wikipedia)

Review: Death is inescapable. How we deal with it differs, though. As adults, most of us have gone through various stages of grief and grieving. Children, though, are much more complicated. How can they deal with death when one of their friends dies? For this group of friends, they all still carry wounds from that day. Every one of them feels that they contributed to her death in some way. Mix that with complicated emotions that they were dealing with at the time, issues left unresolved, and all of them have had their lives affected in big ways.

In this anime, they have a chance to heal. Menma has appeared to one of them, and with that he realizes that she needs to move on. However, his emotions war with that. As a child he loved her, and those feelings haven’t died. His guilt over what happened- having run away from the clubhouse caused her to follow him, and she subsequently ended up drowning. All his friends deal with similar issues, from Anjou’s love for Jinta and guilt for being happy Menma was dead, Yukiatsu’s unrequited love for Menma and being unable to stop her as she ran after Jinta, Tsuruko’s jealousy over never being able to have Yukiatsu’s love… Even Poppa hides some serious guilt and agony over her death.

Jinta’s friends struggle to believe that Menma is actually back, they come together regardless to support each other because of their strong ties with one another. Their guilt over what happened and lingering bonds of nostalgia and friendship are what keep them coming back, even when they don’t truly believe.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that all is well. Each person has their own level of belief as to whether Menma is really there, and their grief plays into that. Yukiatsu was so driven by his grief that he has a tendency to ‘become’ her- he dresses in a wig and dress similar to what she looked like, and tries to use it to cast doubt on Jinta’s claims. Poppa is so driven by being unable to stop her death that he fully believes that she has come back and is unable to rest properly.

Trying to find out what her last wish was, why Menma is back and unable to rest, drives them together as their belief is sharpened through several unmistakable signs that she is there. Seeing it all come together is beautiful. Each step brings them closer to what her final wish is. Each episode shows more of their past and what fuels their guilt and brings them together so many years together. The last episode may leave some wanting, as the issues that they are dealing with were aired out, but they aren’t truly resolved. However, that’s the first step to healing, and they still have a lot of that to do. All of them do end up with resolution over Menma, and are able to say a final goodbye- something that they desperately needed.

Overall, this was a beautiful anime about love, loss, and the healing that comes after.

Recommended: Yes. Ooooh, so yes. 13+ due to some sexual innuendo- there is an allusion to Jinka getting ‘excited’ when Menma sits in his lap (the look on his face and the sound effect conveys it all). He also peers between his fingers to her covered bosom to mention that she hasn’t grown that much. Anjou is nearly forced into a love hotel against her will, and there are two mentions about her virginity. Rumors spread around school about her being a prostitute. Jinta and Yukiatsu nearly get into a fight, and Yukiatsu ends up strangling Jinta for a bit. I can only remember one swear in the entire series- one instance of the ‘d-word’ in a very appropriate situation.

Other titles you might enjoy
:
Grave of the Fireflies (anime)
The Music of Marie (manga)
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (anime)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (anime)
Rainbow (anime)
Ginban Kaleidoscope (anime)
Millennium Actress (anime)
Utahime

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beneaththetangles
    Jun 26, 2011 @ 02:01:39

    I like how you mentioned that it's okay the series ended without every issue resolved. Even if Menma has moved on, it isn't a magic bullet that suddenly heals everything. It's a trigger that will lead them to healing, but it still takes time, and I think the series was realistic in showing this.Excellent series with an awesome ending.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Best Anime of 2011 « Paper Chimes

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