Well, that title certainly is a mouthful, isn’t it?
Fair warning: there are spoilers ahead.
There are 2 different ways I could describe what this show is about:
- The charming story of a girl who died years ago coming back as a ghost (but only visible to 1 person) and that 1 person must get their old group of friends back together to help figure out how to help her pass on.
- Trauma. A bunch of teenagers who have all experienced childhood trauma.
Suffice it to say, this is a show that will absolutely give you “the feels.”
What makes this one different, in my mind, from other anime shows that feature trauma and serious, sad stories is the way the characters react to that trauma – which in this case, is very realistically.
None of the characters in this show react to their trauma in the same way – and we actually get to spend a fair amount of time exploring how each character in the group of friends has dealt with (or not dealt with, as the case may be) that trauma.
At no point is there a magical “oh yeah” moment where everyone just magically feels better, or even just a big crying scene followed by smiles and then everyone’s OK… because none of that would be realistic. Instead, individual characters break down here and there at different times, and each in their own way. People lash out at one another in their anguish, and make mistakes or say things that hurt others. There is a little bit of the classic “if only these characters would talk to one another” frustration you often see, but again it is played very realistically.
The pacing of the show is also refreshing – at only 11 episodes, it’s not too long and drawn out, but not too short that you don’t get time to know and connect with the characters. Also refreshing is that this show lacks any of the somewhat-standard “filler” episodes you so often see in anime – the “beach” episode or the “festival” episode.
The art style of this show is also amazing – in fact, it was what drew me to it in the first place, before I even knew anything about the story or plot.
Overall, I highly recommend watching Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (or to give the more direct translation, “We Still Don’t Know The Name of the Flower We Saw That Day”) – but just do be prepared to feel some intense emotion, especially towards the end.