AnoHana Ep05

Despite looking forward to this episode since last week (the cliffhanger was great~), I took my sweet time watching this. For one thing, my router here is terribad and it takes special coaxing to even let me on the Internet. For another thing, Gurren Lagann had my undivided attention for all of yesterday. But, anyway, here we are~

At a point, they're just doing it due to popular demand.

The first watch of this episode caused me to be pretty annoyed the entire time. However, I had just watched [C] with Rho (hopefully, the last time I have to), so I calmed down and tried to really see the episode. After a second watch (or skim, basically), I stand by most of my initial thoughts: I really started to see the characters in new lights, have new hopes for the direction, and Menma is freaking annoying.

What's with that unreal stream of tears?

The episode began with the remainder of the cliffhanger from the last episode, wherein there was some form of confrontation - but, in true Japanese style, nothing was really confronted. As I thought, Yukiatsu had more to do with Menma on the day she died than letting her run off after Jinta; it's not as gruesome as him actually going insane and pushing her into the water, holding her head there until she stopped breathing, and then laughing softly but maniacally as he walked away...but, then again, it's not like I actually expected that anyway.

The announcement dinged just as he confessed, adding to the importance.

Yukiatsu's pain and obsession is a little more believable now; he actually confessed to her on the day of her death (whereas, for all he remembers, Jinta called her ugly and ran away), but Menma's ghost still chose to show herself to someone else. Coupled with his repression and angst over being "different" (i.e. crossdressing), I can see how he'd torture himself. It would have broken the scene if he continued being righteous and overall crazy; I was happy to see that he embodied a desperate and broken man clutching onto his pride. That was rather enjoyable.

So he actually did buy the dress instead of peeling it off a dead body...

A question that I had since a few episodes ago was answered: Yukiatsu actually bought the dress instead of wearing Menma's old one. Watching the child-form of Menma walking around, it was obvious that the dress she wore was kind of long - but definitely not something that could be as long as it was on Yukiatsu. One minor issue I had was the concept that Yukiatsu could walk into a store and magically find a one-piece that looked identical to Menma's dress. It's been 10 years since she died; style changes. Moreover, they rarely make dresses in the same design for children and adults to begin with. It was only a small annoyance; I would have preferred them to show that he made his dresses, but perhaps that wouldn't have led to Tsuruko knowing, thus destroying some of her cool factor. Moving on~

Such random actions are so cute...

Tsuruko grew on me a lot this episode, adding to my like of her from previous appearances. She's definitely the type of character that I like, one who knows more than she lets on but isn't always stoic and unaffected. Having known of Yukiatsu's habits beforehand, her behaviour (supposedly) didn't change at all after it came out to the rest of the group. Based on her interactions with Yukiatsu, it does look like he might be a little oblivious to her feelings - she shows it in a way that can easily be misunderstood. It looks like he might want love in the form of validation, which is something that she doesn't want to (or can't) provide. When he wants love in the form of acceptance, I'm sure she'll be there.

Glad to see he's still cocky despite the revelations.

The scene in the middle (the other end being the interactions between Yukiatsu and Anaru) was about Jinta roaming around trying to find snacks for Menma while thinking about what she really was. It genuinely felt like a space-filler, although he did begin thinking that she was a ghost instead of being a hallucination, which is actually kind of a breakthrough. I would still hope that she's a hallucination, except they're really pushing that she's not. (It would be a nice twist, though, and still plausible; I mean, Jinta could have been in the trees watching Yukiatsu confess to Menma, thus knowing about the clip and rejection.)

How would this work? Would she give up eventually and let you rape her?

Anaru's overall weak nature was shown when she went along with her "friends" after they insinuated that they wouldn't be friends with her any more. She began standing up to the One Piece Boy when he tried to force her into the love hotel, which was nice to see. I sincerely wonder if this happens regularly in Japan; I mean, I can't imagine how he would even get her into the hotel without some cooperation on her part. Either way, that Yukiatsu saved her was nice; their train ride home was good to watch. (Honestly, though, him asking her out in the flow of the conversation worried me that it would turn into some super inter-dating cliche, but it seems like that really was in the flow of the conversation and not particularly for real.)

It's obvious she likes him...or has a great passion for art. Hopefully, both...

It seems kind of cemented that Yukiatsu wasn't doing it (dressing up as Menma) because he's crazy, but rather because he's a crossdresser. That gives this anime brownie points; I want to see Yukiatsu come out of this happy with himself. If it turns out that he "gets over" crossdressing because it was triggered by his inability to let go of memories from that day, I'll be greatly displeased. Regardless of the cause, some effects stay with you long enough to become a part of your personality. If they downplay the crossdressing to lead to that kind of outcome, wherein he gets "better", I'll accept it only a little; I want him to be happy as he is by the end. (Of course, I have Hourou Musuko to show me a real and serious take on crossdressing, so I won't put all my expectations on AnoHana.)

Poppo was the best part of this scene~

Menma was incredibly annoying this episode; I almost zoned out completely when she started crying. I don't really know why; she didn't do anything uncharacteristic. Moreover, I can't use the excuse that we've already seen the cute and naive version, and she should grow up a little - because she's a ghost; the idea is that she can't grow. This entire last scene was greatly annoying; I felt like Poppo was sincerely trying - in fact, he felt like the only one that took Menma seriously - while Jinta was coddling Menma because he wanted to protect himself. She said that she wanted her wish fulfilled, and Poppo was trying to legitimately find out what that wish was. Jinta, on the other hand, has spent quite a lot of time questioning her existence (and some time trying to fulfill potential wishes; I'll give him that). I feel that this scene was overtaken by Poppo because, in an anime where the characters all have their flaws, we've yet to see his; he represents a surreal source of stability that I hope shows cracks in upcoming episodes.

My popsicles NEVER do that. So suspicious...

So, all in all, I didn't particularly like this episode much and I worry that a lot of emoing is to ensue. I like the growth that Yukiatsu's character has begun getting, the potential of growth that Anaru is showing, the potential that Tsuruko has, and Poppo (he doesn't need a reason right now). This episode shot Menma and Jinta's rating much lower for me; I hope they redeem themselves in the coming episodes. I worry that Menma's wish is that everyone should see her, at which point she'll be fulfilled and leave, because that kind of leads to the idea that her ghostly presence "fixed" her friends. As the anime is continuing now, though, I have hope that they'll be able to head down their chosen paths while only being influenced by thoughts of her; that's a much better direction.