AnoHana Ep04

I waited all day for this episode~ ...well, not really, since I'm in Beijing and it was subbed by gg by the time I woke up in the morning. But, my point is, I was looking forward to this.

That comparison is so useless but cute.

The first moments of this episode only served to annoy and anger me. Many times, I questioned what kind of nonsense I was watching, and I became slightly disillusioned with the quality of anime this season. Then I realized it might have something to do with the stupidity that is Yondemasu Yo, Azazel-san (which I was watching right before), and so I tried to give AnoHana a chance. After that, this episode didn't disappoint, despite the rocky start.

She's talking to a TV!

First of all, let me announce that Menma has officially grown on me. I recall that one of my comments for the last episode was about the "sexual awkwardness" due to Menma having a grown-up body. I still stand by my stance that I would rather not have adult/teenaged girls acting this way, but she's really cute as a child. It's what Murasaki from Kurenai (why do I keep drawing this conclusion?) would have been if she didn't have the occasional bouts of extreme spoilage.

The emoness continues.

The beginning of the episode is what I despised the most. The level of emoness was pretty high, focusing on the conclusion of the BBQ gathering of the friends. Anaru seemed a little more at peace with the fact that her crush, Jinta, liked Menma, although it's not like there was any kind of closure there. Yukiatsu continued being really creepy and obsessive, essentially playing a "who's right" game against Jinta and introducing new thoughts to the group - mainly, that his version of Menma didn't want such a big fuss. In retrospect, I can understand the way the scene played out; while I was watching it, though, it was really annoying to see the character's reactions.

They bust false peace!

Tsuruko has really, really grown on me. Her character got more focus in this episode, although it wasn't really so much revealing her inner works as it was just showing a little bit more about what she did. It's hard to say that she's the bitchy and aloof person that she had the potential of turning out to be, given her first appearance. She seems more the calculating type, who would probably not have a problem with the rest of the group if it were not for her feelings for Yukiatsu.

The perfect compilation of the friends.

In reality, this episode really endeared me to most of the characters. I liked Poppo a lot more after this too; he has a straightforward innocence about him that contrasts well with the rest of the characters' personal issues. To be frank, without Yukiatsu, the group seems pretty stable and happy. I realize that it's unfair to Yukiatsu - but he's been pretty creepy so far. I'm willing to give him more chances (not least of all because, without him, there wouldn't really be a series).

And thus began an extra serving of creepiness.

After Tsuruko's skilful manipulation of Yukiatsu through Jinta (what a mouthful), the episode delved into another meeting of the friends. (I'm just going to stop calling these out; it seems like there will be many to come from here on out.) This was where Poppo led the acceptance movement of Jinta's Menma; basically, despite what Yukiatsu said his Menma wanted, they deduced what the "real" Menma (and also what Jinta's Menma said) wanted. This really supports my point that, without Yukiatsu, the group is pretty balanced.

Ugh, now the creepy smile, too?

As many people seemed to call it with the last episode, it turned out that Yukiatsu had been cosplaying as Menma to mess with Poppo's mind (and perhaps his own). After a chase through the woods, it turned out that Tsuruko had already guessed it (I like her more), and the friends found him. How creepy~

That must be seriously awkward.

I'm pleased that this anime didn't take the feel-good road - or, at least, not yet. It has turned into something psychological; it turns out that Yukiatsu probably has some serious problems. I won't lie; a part of me was expecting some really grim and gory stuff when he opened his closet to call out Menma. That's still in the cards, but this anime is most likely more about personal peace - i.e. the friends finding closure with Menma's death. Of course, that doesn't really discount story twists, like in Ghost Hound; I actually do hope that something "strange" turns out to be associated with Menma's death.

I thought this was spray-on panty hose, but it was just mosquito spray.

I feel pretty conflicted; I genuinely considered what was going on with this series during the first minutes of this episode, but it ended on a high note. Strangely, it's a really good ploy; it leaves me wanting more (like I do right now). Let's hope the analysis of Yukiatsu's mental state doesn't disappoint.