Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai – 02: further comparisons with H&C

Back when I was still in college during the first four years of my blogging, it wasn’t difficult for me to broach topics in philosophy, psychiatry, and theology because I was actively learning about it. I also had the benefit of a wonderful university library: it was easy to glean important information from the country’s best library (now even better). When I started medicine, however, I no longer had both the time and the resources to obtain information and knowledge other than what I can obtain from the Internet. For the most part these were only small excursions and in no way could compare to the time and effort I poured into reading different texts back when I was in college. Life’s like that, however, and time flew.

I love watching the obvious subtleties of unrequited love.

I essentially still have similar tastes in literature and in anime, although I’m no longer as well-read as I was a few years ago. I hope the reader forgives me for that. I will hopefully revert back to myself as the etymological philosopher, or one who loves interdisciplinary study. It’s pretty much a struggle for me currently to dissect series compared to when I was in university, because I could only rely mostly on my stock knowledge. Exemplary series tear that diligence out from me, however, and that was the case with Tatami Galaxy: I simply had to respect a series rife with symbolism, meaning, and empathy. It was also a series that struck the core of my personal dilemma during that period, and that was the preternatural reason that I could write about it so much.

Most of the series that have aired pale compare to that, however, but some are so well-executed and well-drawn that one can’t help but appreciate the series. Series like these are Honey and Clover and Maison Ikkoku. They do not tease people’s knowledge about philosophy: they simply tell a heartfelt story that resounds within the viewer. I have hope that Ano Hana, or Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai will belong to this latter group that I treasure by the end of its run. I think it is primarily because of its similarities to Honey and Clover, although they are noticeably different in certain aspects that they may be treated as antipodes as I have mentioned in my previous post.

Their similarities, however, shine through in that both series essentially deal with the juxtaposition of friendship and romance: whereas Honey and Clover dealt with more adult issues set in the university, Ano Hana deals with issues of adolescence set in high school. It does not make Ano Hana inferior, but it does make it different, as I have said before. Although the issues will most probably be resolved in a shorter amount of time given the 11 episodes Ano Hana has, that same gripping element of unrequited love pervades both series. In fact, I will argue that some of the personalities of the six friends overlap with the characters of Honey and Clover.

Menma, for one, reminds me of Hagu. They’re both soft (physically and emotionally), and diminutive for their age. Anjou reminds me of Yamada, who has a facade of strength but is actually also broken within. Yamada kept on trying for Mayama’s heart despite the fact that he was never interested her beyond friendship; Anjou dissimulates her personality to hide that guilt that she kept on feeling from Menma’s death, and in this sense is similar to Rika as well. Poppo and Morita seem alike in the sense that they are relaxed and fun characters yet nevertheless hold depth. Rika’s character also evidences herself in Jinta, who regressed into himself and no longer cared about anything due to Menma’s death. It is the interplay of these characters and their rebirth, as well as the propulsion of their goals forward that is simply a joy to watch.

I really don't think Anjou's tsundere ... it's more of her being true to herself.

Episode two was just as good as episode one in terms of expanding the personalities of some of the major characters. The upbeat Poppo, the confused but concerned Anjou and the recovering Yadomi have slowly been transformed into more akin their childhood selves because of their friend who re-appeared to make a wish. The wish may probably be the beach outing that never materialized in Honey and Clover – and I will be all right with that. These people should be happier.

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