I mentioned as much in my full review, but the series Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day holds a special place in my favorite anime. Once I started watching it, I couldn’t stop and I finished the whole thing in a single day. It was a lot more thought provoking than I expected, and in a way, gave me a welcome fresh perspective on my life. To this day I still think about it. The finale currently holds the spot of my single favorite episode of anime. Obviously this is the finale, so there will be spoilers for the entire endgame of this anime. If you don’t want those, stop reading now.
A dead childhood friend named Menma has come back in ghost form and can be seen by protagonist Jinta. All Menma knows is that she can’t leave until her wish is fulfilled, but she can’t remember what the wish is. Jinta must get their old group of friends (the “Super Peace Busters”) together to discover and fulfill Menma’s wish so that she can peacefully move on.
The finale is all about the final fulfillment of Menma’s wish. It’s full and final closure for Jinta and the rest of the gang, each of whom had been dealing with Menma’s death for years in their own private (and sometimes unhealthy) ways.
There’s a lot of debate as to what Menma’s wish actually was. Was it to fulfill the final wishes of Jinta’s dead mother and help him learn to express himself openly? Was it simply to heal and reunite the Super Peace Busters? Was there another unstated wish? Honestly, it could have been any or all of these. By the end of the anime, it becomes less about the wish and more about the healing of the entire group, including Menma. Whatever the catalyst, in the end, it was enough, and a tearful final goodbye is given to everyone as Menma is finally able to peacefully rest.
It was a beautiful and poignant reminder that life is finite; as cliche as it sounds, you truly don’t know if you have a single day or one hundred years left to live. What’s important are the people around you and how you treat them. Be open and honest so that when the time comes, you can’t be left with regret. It’s too easy to get settled in a comfortable routine and forget how short life is on a cosmic scale. It’s an incredible message and has earned a spot in today’s challenge because, if for no other reason, than the impact it had on me.
What’s your favorite episode of anime?