Uhm… What is it with the ridiculously long title? First it was a certain sister, then a particular brother and now, childhood friends. If you think Ano Hi Mita Hana No Namae Wo Bokutachi Wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don’t Know The Name Of The Flower We Saw That Day) is a mouthful to pronounce and remember, thank goodness we can just shorten it to Ano Hana (literally means, That Flower). Phew. Yeah, the title was so long that by the time you finished reading it, it will be next week already (please read the sarcasm). Next time, please keep your titles short, okay? Easier to pronounce and definitely easier to remember.

Anyway the plot of this series revolves around 6 close childhood friends whom have drifted apart when one of them dies in a drowning accident. Jinta Yadomi, who is affected by the death of Meiko “Menma” Honma, is now a withdrawn and hikikomori because instead of going to school, he confines himself at home, play video games, bum around, eat, sleep, repeat same process. If only life was this good. Maybe ‘too good’ for him so much so the ghost of Menma visits him one summer. Yeah, “I see dead people”. Just kidding. Only ghost of your past, present and future visit you on Christmas. Childhood friends visit you during your summer vacation :).

Seems Menma isn’t able to pass on to the afterlife till her wish is fulfilled. The problem is nobody can remember what it was except that a condition of it is the need to have all of them to gather. So together along with their other estranged friends, Naruko “Anaru” Anjou, Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki, Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi and Tetsudou “Poppo” Hisakawa, not only they have to help and find Menma’s wish, but resolve their own problems of hidden and lingering feelings, bitterness and internal conflicts so that everyone can move on. Life is indeed one big drama.

Episode 1
Jinta is playing his video games when he thought he is hallucinating because Menma is getting all clingy around him. You’d be wondering if Menma is really a ghost because there is physical contact between them. However everyone else including Jinta’s very nice dad (he never scolds or reprimands his kid even if he’s being lazy or does nothing) can’t see or hear her. Menma is acting like she’s still alive. Heck, she’s full of life and vigour. To the point she wants Jinta to make an egg soup, which he only made for himself and dad. Since Menma is still hanging around, Jinta feels she is an incarnation of his stress. Summer heat getting to him? Yeah, she’s still around. She reminds him that she wants her wish granted but don’t remember what it is. Just great. So Jinta has to figure it out himself, eh? He is then visited by Anaru who is reluctantly here to pass him notes from school. Jinta couldn’t care less of going to school so she too couldn’t care less if he turns up or not. Menma wasn’t happy that Jinta didn’t manage to ask Anaru the wish but that guy tells her that b*tch has changed. Well, Menma didn’t like it too when he badmouths his friends. However he notes that everything has changed since then. Menma follows Jinta out on a shopping errand. As she fools around standing on top of a fence, she trips and falls. This brings back bad memories to Jinta as he rushes to save her. Well, Menma’s alright but Jinta got his face on the road. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko pass by. Yukiatsu mocks the loser Jinta is because he failed his high school entrance exam, he has been bumming around since though he managed to enter a lower grade high school (Yukiatsu and Tsuruko are studying at an elite high school). Not only he doesn’t turn up for class, he keeps calling Menma’s name. This upsets Jinta as he runs away. But isn’t it true? Though Tsuruko feels Yukiatsu was being harsh, she mentions that he too is the same. Jinta reflects that he is the one who has changed the most and all the bad things are coming back to him. Remembering the good ol’ days whereby he was the energetic leader of the Super Peace Busters Association with his buddies. Then one day, Anaru asked if Jinta liked Menma. Since the group can’t keep secrets, Jinta is caught in a dilemma. With peer pressure and without thinking, he denies ever liking that ugly girl. Oddly, cry-baby Menma smiled instead. Though Jinta felt guilty, he thought he could apologize to her tomorrow. But tomorrow never came. Everything from there went downhill ever since. Menma visits her family. She sees her mom praying to her alter and though glad that they still remember her, she can’t help see the sadness in mom’s face. Jinta is overcome with guilt and runs out in the middle of the night to find Menma to apologize to her. He thought he was so stressed up and created a vision of her for him to apologize. He has a hunch where she’ll be. Back at the original hideout base of the Super Peace Busters, the place seems like someone is making it his camp when it should’ve been abandoned a long time ago.

Episode 2
Actually, Poppo is temporarily living here. There is a big map on the wall that indicates his travels around the world. Yeah, after saving up from his part time job, he goes trotting around the world. That’s his dream. What about school? Screw that. Oh well… But seeing the many places he went, I’m just wondering what kind of job he does to earn enough money to go travelling. This big guy is excited to learn that Jinta could see Menma’s ghost but is disappointed he can’t see or hear her himself. Anaru is hanging out with her friends, Aki and Haruna. They are badmouthing Jinta. So happen Tsuruko was sitting nearby and she couldn’t take any more of it and storms out. Anaru thought she forgot her notebook and chases after her to return it. But she was being told off she doesn’t want to be seen with someone who is easily influenced by others. Like how she was always copying Menma. Menma tried to stop the girls from fighting but you know, they can’t see her. Anaru blames herself if she didn’t ask that question on that day, things might have turned out differently. As Anaru goes to her part time job, she is surprised to see Jinta looking for an old and rare video game, Nokemon (what?). The reason he is buying the game is because after a little ‘brainstorming’ with Poppo, they thought this is Menma’s wish. You’ll never know if you don’t try. He goes back to play the game but nothing much happens. Next morning, Yukiatsu is jogging when he meets Poppo. He tells him about Jinta’s ability to see Menma. Yukiatsu asks for more detail on what Jinta said about Menma. Jinta gets a rude (or pleasant however you look at it) awakening when Menma appears before him in a towel! Don’t get your hopes up and though Menma may appear to have grown up, a certain part hasn’t. Then Poppo visits him and they remember about the need for everyone to gather. Anaru remembers how much she hated her specky looks and curly hair. She wanted to be like Menma (because she likes Jinta). In a way, though she likes Menma, she also hates her. She gets a surprise visit from Jinta and Poppo. They are here because she has an extensive collection of games and manga. See a cabinet filled with games and mangas all systematically labelled? While Poppo reads some of her manga, Jinta and Anaru play that Nokemon game to achieve some rare character. Jinta finally got it and the kids rejoice. Having fun are we? Anaru wants Jinta to come back to school as thanks for helping out. Menma is glad to see them happy together but notes this wasn’t her wish. Jinta also notices that Menma is having fun herself and though his trauma isn’t gone yet, if there is still tomorrow, maybe he could take his time to apologize. Oh, now he’s procrastinating?

Episode 3
As Poppo is taking a leak in the woods, he got spooked when he thought he saw the ghost of Menma! Menma wakes Jinta up to remind him to fulfil Anaru’s promise of going to school. Surprisingly he did. But it must be one awful ordeal to get there, eh? Along the way, he bumps into Anaru and her friends. Because Haruna mocks Jinta about showing up, he changes his mind and leaves. Menma looks around Jinta’s house and finds an altar of Jinta’s deceased mom. Jinta makes his way to the hideout and was being told by Poppo that he too see dead people. Okay, at least Menma. He thought his piss was perfect to enable him to see her? WTF?! Because his vague descriptions match how Jinta currently sees her, Jinta decides to go home. Upon returning, he finds Menma trying to make steam bread cupcakes. Back in those days, Jinta and co really love and look forward to his mom’s bread because they were so good. Then when she got hospitalized and couldn’t bake anymore, Jinta went into sulking. Can’t blame him because probably he’s too young to understand. Nobody makes them good bread like she does and if she’s gone, who will? Menma learns that Jinta went to the hideout and the ghost Poppo saw. I know Menma was a slow girl but to think she thought that ghost was Menma, what makes her then? Or is she pulling a fast one? Tsuruko reluctantly accompanies Yukiatsu to buy some stuff. Later that evening, Poppo hands Jinta a flyer that they’ll be having a BBQ to help find Menma’s wish. End of Summer Search For Menma Association? Menma wants to come because she is excited to see her own ghost. Say what? That evening, everyone except Yukiatsu gathers. Tsuruko is confident he’ll show up. Anaru tries to make up with Tsuruko but the latter is acting somewhat stuck-up. Not to say that she is, but what do you expect her to say? What do you want her to say? Anyway Anaru admits that she is easily influenced by others around her (looking at Jinta’s way). As everyone is having sausage BBQ, Menma is brought to tears of seeing everyone together. Poppo feels this is so nostalgic, Menma might just come back. Well, she’s right under your noses… Then Yukiatsu pops up with more ingredients. Then he says he too saw Menma. And recently too. At the creek. This has Poppo and Menma excitedly rushing down to catch sight of the ghost. Menma is serious in wanting to see her own ghost, eh? With Jinta left behind, Yukiatsu tells him that he too can see Menma and not only him.

Episode 4
As everyone searches and calls out to Menma, Anaru talks to Jinta about giving school a second chance. He’s not interested. A little argument ensues and this has Anaru almost slipping off the cliff. Luckily Jinta grabbed and pulled her up. Phew. Don’t need another tragedy. Anaru feels Jinta loves Menma so much that he can see her even if she’s not there. And if he can, please be kind to her. When everyone returns from the futile search, Yukiatsu mentions the faint voice he heard from Menma not to cause a ruckus and perhaps she doesn’t want them to cause a commotion over a little wish. Of course this is not what the real Menma intended. Everyone seems to agree but Menma yells that she’ll be their friends no matter what. If they could only hear her. Yukiatsu mocks Jinta that he can’t forget about Menma and leaves. Jinta also does the same. Tsuruko asks Poppo about the Menma he saw and though he couldn’t see clearly, it matches Tsuruko’s guesses of the clothes she was wearing. Menma tries to cheer Jinta up back home (maybe the Menma he saw was Menmario or Menluigi? WTF?!) but he’s no good. He feels Yukiatsu has taken Menma’s wish and twisted it. Meanwhile Tsuruko sketches a picture of Menma. Next morning, Jinta gets a surprise visit from Tsuruko. She says that anyone can cook if they understand the recipe and finds it hard to believe Menma made them. But because of so, she wants him to do her a favour. Anaru is hanging out with her friends when she thought she saw Jinta with Tsuruko. Her eyes weren’t deceiving her. She follows them and confronts Tsuruko on what she is up to. Seems Jinta is waiting for Yukiatsu to pass by the route he normally jogs. He tries to ask him about the Menma he saw but Yukiatsu gives him the cold shoulder. Till he says the real Menma said the Menma he saw is fake. This got Yukiatsu’s attention as he points out the loser dog he always was. Even back when he was the leader of the group, he never acknowledged him as one. After Yukiatsu goes off, Tsuruko commends Jinta for having guts. Yukiatsu is obviously upset back home. He calls out to Menma and is going to show them all. That night all the friends except Yukiatsu gather at the base again. Menma tries to cheer Jinta up that she herself doesn’t know why she is here and perhaps it wouldn’t be strange if there’s another Menma. Tsuruko gives each one a mug since her family’s collection is expanding too much. Poppo discusses about Menma wanting them to gather. She probably doesn’t want them to forget about her but even so, that’s not possible. They can’t. Menma gets emotional and hugs Poppo but all he feels is something heavy coming over him. He excuses himself to take a piss. Uh huh. Menma also wants to take a piss with him! Then they return and exclaim they saw the ghost of Menma! Menma herself too. Everyone goes out to look. Tsuruko confirms with Poppo about the ribbon Menma had on her dress. At a distance, looks like the other Menma is running away. Tsuruko couldn’t take any more of this and yells out that it won’t work because he’s too big and no matter how much he shaves his legs. The fake Menma trips and it is revealed to be Yukiatsu.

Episode 5
Jinta tries to help Yukiatsu up but the latter is not taking it well. The guys get into a scuffle as Tsuruko tells the rest to not get involve because this may be his last chance. Yukiatsu mentions that he was the one responsible for Menma’s death. So it’s odd that Jinta could see her when it should’ve been him, whether she’s cursing or haunting him, he should be the one to see and hear Menma. And since it’s his fault, maybe that’s why she isn’t here anymore. Jinta tells him as what Menma says, she is grateful for the hair clip. Back in the base, Tsuruko reveals that it was a hunch that she thought Yukiatsu was cross-dressing as Menma. Because he made her go shopping for presents for his girlfriend she never saw. Then he bought that one piece white dress that Menma always wore during summer. Yukiatsu remembers back then when Jinta called Menma ugly and ran off. Menma went after him and Yukiatsu followed. He confessed he liked her and tried to give her a hair clip. But Menma was surprised that she made an excuse to go after Jinta before he ‘disappears’. Yukiatsu was heartbroken with the rejection and threw the hair clip away. Though he has a replica of it, the original one is being kept by Tsuruko. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko just miss a train. So as they wait, Yukiatsu notes how she is her usual self. She replies would it be better if she starts calling him a cross-dresser. In any case, she doesn’t want him to use her to maintain his self-esteem. They see Anaru and her friends coming out from a train on the opposite platform. Anaru was forced to come along with her friends to a karaoke bar with a couple of middle-aged guys. One of them notices Anaru not having fun and makes an excuse to ditch the group. To her surprise, he takes her to a love hotel. She tries to refuse but he is forcing her. Yukiatsu so happen to come by and pretends to call his friends over so the jerk leaves. Yukiatsu sits the train back with Anaru. He tells her it was just painful watching her. He’s the one to say. He suggests if she wants to date him but she thought he was in love with Menma. Of course she can’t even if Yukiatsu points out that she likes Jinta. Even so, she isn’t sure if she really is in love with Jinta in the first place. She continues that it was hard to talk to Jinta after Menma and his mom’s death. Though she was happy that she managed to enter the same high school with him but he can’t forget Menma. Yukiatsu notes that they are being left behind. Poppo is having dinner at Jinta’s home. He has been thinking that Menma hanging around isn’t a good thing because it means she can’t attain nirvana. Poppo thought Menma is around (due to Jinta’s body reaction to her) so he bugs her to appear because he wants to help but was told to stop. Menma is crying because she too wants to talk to everyone and doesn’t know anything about nirvana about her wish.

Episode 6
Jinta surprisingly prepares himself for school as Menma hugs him. Menma prays at Jinta’s mom alter and wonders what nirvana is like. In school, Jinta is expecting that nobody could care less about his return. He gets more than he bargained for because the school is talking about Anaru. She is being called by the principal because a PTA member saw her at a love hotel. In class, Jinta hears the comments of other students whispering among themselves. How Anaru is into prostitution and maybe she’ll return the favour if they ask her too. Jinta notices Anaru scribbling words of “Help me” and “Stop making stuff! Shut up! Die!”. He too can’t take it anymore and stands up right in the middle of class to tell off everyone to look at him! Since they can see her anytime, they should be looking at him more since he doesn’t come to class often. And though Anaru has that love hotel face, she will never stoop to anything low as prostitution. He goes on ranting about her personal likes so embarrassed Anaru takes him out of class. The duo skip class and though she thanks him for standing up for her, she felt it was too much to say she had the face of a love hotel look! But she can’t go home now so she decides to temporarily stay at the hideout. See, if a woman tries to clean up a man’s place… Hear all the screams? Poppo gets this idea to visit Menma’s house to get an idea of her wish. Only Anaru and Jinta tag along since the rest are busy with their exams. Menma’s mom, Irene is happy her friends came over. After praying at her altar, they are being shown Menma’s room. It’s empty. A couple of Tsuruko’s classmates are asking her to pass a love letter to Yukiatsu but she tells them off to do it themselves since they’re in the same class. They chide her for being stuck-up just because she is always by his side. They think she likes him too. Then the said guy pops up and the girls run away in embarrassment. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko ride the train home together and talk about Jinta. He still feels he is always ahead of Jinta though the latter always got the better of things. If only he didn’t called them to gather on that day. But Tsuruko points out that it was Menma who did so because she wanted advice on something. Irene was kind enough to give them her daughter’s diary. Seems Menma’s stuff are packed in boxes and stuffed away in the closet because daddy feels it’s not right to dwell on her forever. Poppo wants to read to diary together at the base but Jinta feels they should wait a little longer. Back home when Jinta tells Menma they went to see her mom, she confiscates his food! She is not happy he did it because it would remind mummy about her and cause her to be sadder. She wants mummy to forget about her even if it’s for a while. Jinta thinks she is lying because she was happy that they didn’t forget about her. He scolds her for worrying about others and should think more about herself. I’m sure Jinta didn’t get turned on by Menma. Heck, the atmosphere is impossible. So why is he suddenly nose bleeding? Maybe his anger burst a blood vessel? He goes to the base and is surprised to see Anaru (he thought she went back home). She misinterprets his nose bleed was his horniness in seeing her body and starts throwing things at the pervert. Yeah, he got time to comment she’s a virgi- Oops.

Episode 7
While Anaru complains about her mom, life, etc, Jinta feels that she shouldn’t ditch school. Like he’s the one to say. But who better to give advice than the person who does it himself? Anaru thinks he shouldn’t brood about Menma when she trips and falls close to Jinta’s face. In that awkward moment, Poppo returns with dinner and saw. Then he runs away. Then Anaru collapses on Jinta. Well, it didn’t get messier than this. The trio start reading Menma’s diary. Seems pretty monotonous. “I have fun playing with everyone today”. Till an entry that states they paid a visit to Jinta’s mom at the hospital. Wanting her to get better, they decide to make a rocket-type firework after seeing a poster (because you need something to send it to heaven when you write to God). They did make the rocket but failed miserably. Maybe they followed Menma’s ‘detailed instructions’ on how to construct one. They think this rocket thingy is Menma’s wish. Meeting with the rest, Yukiatsu has researched several stuffs and it seems doing it the legal way may be hard (need to be over 18 years to handle gunpowder, need licence, bla bla bla). On the way back, Tsuruko wonders why Yukiatsu didn’t tell Jinta about Menma’s instruction to gather then. Menma told him to keep it a secret. Jinta finds out trying to make such a rocket is expensive. 20,000 Yen, baby! So how? Jinta decides to work part time. Finally he does something. He is a quick learner working at Anaru’s part time place but needs work on his greeting. So with Jinta leaving home early and sleeping early, Menma is totally suspicious. Then a guest comes by the house and asks his dad if his son has quit school and is working part time because she saw him. Daddy hears this the first time but allows Jinta to do what he wants since he is responsible for himself. But this doesn’t sit well with Menma. She goes to the base and hears Anaru talking about Jinta doing manual labour (a quick way to earn hard cash). Then she goes over to the road construction site and sees Jinta plying his sweat through the night. Jinta almost trips so Menma moves the light. The other workers are stumped if the wind changed the light’s direction. At least nobody thought this road is haunted. Back home, Menma bakes lots of steamed bread for him and asks about his school life. Obviously he lied and says it’s good since it made him feel alive since it’s better than staying at home. Though, he doesn’t mean it literally (because Menma’s dead). But Menma feels alive if Jinta’s feeling alive. Yeah, staying alive! Jinta, Poppo and Anaru go see the fireworks meister and to make down payment for his services to make the rocket. It may be a long way to go but still, they are serious. However he can’t accept their request. Previously he bragged about them to the festival supervisor and she refused it. Jinta is willing to go talk to her directly but the thing is, she is Irene. Yup, she’s praying at Menma’s altar, thinking how foolish her friends are.

Episode 8
Jinta and co go see Irene. As Irene talks, she slowly breaks down and feels that they’re just having fun as an excuse to make Menma happy. That they are acting like nothing has changed. Then she grabs Tsuruko’s hands and gets emotional that Menma isn’t the only one who hasn’t changed and wonders why they all keep growing. Menma’s brother, Satoshi come in to see this heartbreaking scene so Jinta and co decide to leave. At the shrine, Yukiatsu feels they should stop all this. He wants Jinta to get real and everyone was just being nice to him. Unlike him, he never forced his pain onto others. Back at the base, Jinta notes how he was surprised none of them changed much. Besides, ‘all of us’ will never be possible anymore because Menma isn’t around. That’s why he is going to grant Menma’s wish himself. Jinta continues to push himself to work hard till he collapses. Anaru wants him to stop because he’s just hurting himself. But he wouldn’t listen. Anaru hugs him from behind and be frank with him. When Jinta said he didn’t like Menma then, she felt happy. But the way he ran out was an indication that he liked her. She hurt Menma and things ended up like that. That’s why she couldn’t forgive herself for liking him. Since Jinta is still going, Anaru gets desperate. She wonders if she will really disappear if he grants her wish and won’t he care about that even though he loves her. Jinta just leaves and let Anaru cries her heart out. Back home, Jinta couldn’t contain his tears so he had to lie that it was the Dog of Flanders show he watched. Even if his lie sucks, Menma was convinced. At least she looked the part. Jinta notes by losing Menma, Irene continued to hate them and his friends continued to wallow in guilt without salvation. Only he was being saved by Menma. Next morning, Jinta follows his dad to clean his mom’s grave. Dad starts apologizing because he couldn’t tell why his son was apologizing. Was it his part time job or going to Menma’s home? Parents know everything. But he plays it cool.

Tsuruko calls Yukiatsu that she received a silent call from Jinta’s house. But at that time of the call, wasn’t Jinta on his part time job? Speaking of which, Yukiatsu also gets the same silent call. That night when Jinta is covering Anaru’s shift (she can’t face him so obviously she didn’t turn up for work), Satoshi pays Jinta a visit. As they talk, Satoshi reveals how Irene never left the house since Menma died. It’s like she doesn’t want to meet anyone. He felt embarrassed and disgusted she is his mom. Though Jinta feels it is tough on the parents when their child passes on, Satoshi feels his mom doesn’t seem to see him as her son. When Satoshi was young, he could hardly remember Menma. Menma told him to protect the house because she’s part of the Super Peace Busters that will protect the peace of everyone. However he feels his household is somewhat dreary. Jinta meets his friends at the base. They are asking if he called their homes. Since it wasn’t him, he notes it must be Menma. That’s when Yukiatsu grabs him by the collar and wants him to let him see Menma. Poppo restrains him as Jinta looks back and sees Menma. Tsuruko wants him to stop this Menma make-believe. Yukiatsu is about to punch Jinta as he mentions that what they did to Menma won’t go away for the rest of their lives and there is no way she would forgive them. Suddenly the diary drops on the ground. There is a fresh writing saying that Menma had fun with all of them today at not to fight. Everyone recognizes her handwriting and realize Jinta has been telling the truth all the while.

Episode 9
You know, Menma should’ve done something like this a long time ago. If she can’t directly communicate with them, move things around. So the non-believers become believers when they witness invisible Menma baking steamed bread. She tries writing but it seems the pen doesn’t work though it has ink. Does this mean she can only write in her diary? As the friends return home, Anaru thinks Menma has forgiven them but Tsuruko thinks otherwise. Maybe she appeared because she hasn’t. Yukiatsu feels Jinta wants to keep Menma for himself so he vows to make Menma attain nirvana. So save those paycheques for the rocket. Menma continues to support Jinta at his labour job and also hang around with him and his friends. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko go see Menma’s father. It seems that he isn’t against the fireworks. He lets them know ever since Menma’s passing, time has stood still for Irene. But he wants to bring her back to the present and thus doesn’t want her to remember such things. Yukiatsu goes down on his knees to beg and also confess he loved his daughter. On the way back, they meet Jinta. Yukiatsu asks Jinta to describe the Menma he sees. He is surprised that Menma is grown up. About her being beautiful, Jinta was careful not to make that ugly statement again and says she’s just cute. And kind of too. Menma not happy… The fireworks meister finally agrees to help them out and has them do the easy parts in creating the rocket. Anaru note show happy Jinta is and realizes she couldn’t best Menma then, she couldn’t win Menma now. She takes a breather away so Yukiatsu goes talk to her. He says that he was serious when he was asking her out to date him. Of course it’s impossible for Anaru. Tsuruko happened to pass by and heard their friendly talk. She doesn’t seem too pleased. As Jinta goes off for his job, he starts thinking if it would be a good idea to send Menma back to heaven. Is he chickening out now? Menma hops her way back home and something below the bridge caught her attention. Did she fall over? When Jinta returns, he doesn’t see Menma around and panics. He starts running around to look for her when he spots her down by the river just fine. He rushes down in haste and this causes him to slip and fall. Though he is alright, Menma got emotional because it was dangerous he might lose his life. Anyway Menma wanted to show him a koi she found. Before she could enter the water, Jinta’s trauma kicks him and tells her to stop. He will go and catch it instead. He wants her to stay here forever.

Episode 10
Jinta leaves an invitation to Menma’s family to come and see the fireworks tomorrow. The pair of girls who like Yukiatsu confront Tsuruko to tell her off that she’s acting like he knows the guy bloody well. To prove that she does, she starts ranting his bio-data and likes. Including his cross-dressing fetish. Yukiatsu is not happy if she spreads that around (I thought he dared her previously?) but Tsuruko tells him that she’s hurt. Irene isn’t pleased that Menma’s friends are doing this and is adamant she won’t go. However Satoshi says he will. Then he tells her does she know how tall he has grown. As she breaks down, her husband says everyone is sad over Menma’s death. That’s fine and they should all be sad together. Yukiatsu and Anaru meet at a café. Anaru relates how she was supposed to be closest to Jinta if Menma isn’t around. But they grew distant instead. Then they got closer again but it’s because of Menma. Yukiatsu gets a call from Tsuruko. She calls him a coward. She thinks he is chickening out at the last moment to send Menma to heaven. He’s scared of it so he ran away from Menma to be with Anaru because he doesn’t want to think he’s the only pathetic one around. She continues she remembered what Menma said when she called them on the phone. Something about she wants them to do for Jinta. After she hangs up, Yukiatsu needs a favour from Anaru. Something that she only can do. That night the friends gather at the hideout for a rally to say goodbye to Menma. Menma is given the honours to do her speech (in writing of course). Because everyone is just snacking around, Yukiatsu suggests some kind of entertainment: Recreate the scene on that day. Jinta is against it so Yukiatsu makes Anaru start off. Poppo got no choice but to play along and this pressures Jinta to react. Jinta blurts out he likes Menma and runs out but was stopped that the same thing will happen if he runs away. Jinta then sees tears rolling down Menma’s cheeks.

Anaru is inconsolable as she walks back with Tsuruko. Tsuruko knows Yukiatsu put her up to this. Flashback reveals Anaru didn’t want to go through it since they already know the answer but he said she’ll keep losing to a Menma that shouldn’t exist and stay lost forever. Anaru says Tsuruko doesn’t understand how it feels to get the person you love to notice you but she begs to differ. Tsuruko likes Yukiatsu but he was always chasing after Menma. But he never chose her and if Menma goes to heaven, Anaru will be his replacement. Anaru disagrees she is one because she won’t date Yukiatsu no matter what as she still loves Jinta. Menma wonders if Jinta would marry her had she really grow up. He says she could stay here and not go to heaven. But she disagrees and wants to go to heaven to be reincarnated. By doing so she can talk to everyone again. Menma remembers talking to Jinta’s mom on her deathbed. She is talking about the being reborn so there is no sadness. Menma believes her when she said when one reincarnates, one may not necessarily be born human again. But there is just one thing that concerned mommy. As the day gets darker, everyone helps to set the rocket. Tsuruko has cut her hair. When Satoshi comes by, delightful Menma hugs him and he felt strange. A familiar scent. During the setting up process, Jinta is in a dilemma if he should stop all this. He thinks he should before it’s too late. Just when he decides to, the meister lights the fireworks as it displays a beautiful flower in the sky (Irene is watching at a distance in a car). But to Jinta’s shock, he still hears Menma playful joy behind. And soon it hit everyone else that Menma hasn’t gone back to heaven yet.

Episode 11
Satoshi thanks them for doing a lot for his sister before being picked up by his parents. Back home when Menma falls asleep, Jinta gets a call from Yukiatsu to meet at the shrine. They are discussing that the rocket blast wasn’t Menma’s real wish. It’s not that she didn’t go to heaven because her wish was different but were they considering her feelings when they did so? Everyone felt that they were only thinking about themselves. Anaru wanted not to grant Menma’s wish but because she couldn’t stand Jinta caring about Menma. The same case for Yukiatsu. After all these years, his love for Menma was still strong and he couldn’t bear to see (ironically he couldn’t) Jinta and Menma together. Tsuruko calls them horrible so Anaru tells her off that she too is the same. Especially hiding something she wants to tell Yukiatsu. Both girls started getting physical. Tsuruko reveals that it was just like the other day. Anaru and Yukiatsu planned to check if Jinta had feelings for Menma. Anaru admits she is jealous of Menma but because Tsuruko loves Yukiatsu, she was also jealous of Menma and tried to make her go to heaven. Yukiatsu is surprised to hear this. But Tsuruko insists she wasn’t jealous. She knew from the beginning she was no match for Menma. If she went to heaven, then Anaru will be Yukiatsu’s replacement. Therefore the one she has always been jealous of was Anaru. Back then when Tsuruko found out about the plan, she told Menma about it but Menma did not want to scold them because she loves everyone not just Jinta. After Menma’s death and through time, Tsuruko thought she have come to understand Yukiatsu. But with Menma showing up again, look who is by Yukiatsu’s side again. So yeah, if Menma goes back to heaven and Anaru hooks up with Jinta, you do the maths. Ultimately, they couldn’t send Menma back to heaven with these feelings. Now it’s Poppo’s turn to get emotional. He’s saying he needs to make Menma return to heaven or else she’ll never forgive him. He reveals he saw Menma died on that day but was too scared to do anything or even run away. He then started living in the hideout, skipped school and went on a world tour with hope he would change but he keeps coming back to this place. He begs Jinta to make Menma go to heaven. Just when Anaru is determined to send Menma back to heaven and couldn’t care less about Jinta, Jinta notes her two eyelashes. This causes everyone to burst into laughter and tease her. With the ice broken, Jinta admits he was happy that he was the only one who could hear and see Menma. But she wasn’t like that. She wanted to talk to everyone and not just him. That’s why she wanted to go to heaven and reborn. They decide to call Menma over and seriously discuss with her. Yukiatsu acknowledges Jinta as the group’s leader since he’ll be the one who’ll bring Menma over.

When Jinta gets back, he is horrified to see Menma weakened and lying on the floor. Of all times. Yeah, she’s starting to feel strange. In his arms, Menma remembers the promise she made with his mom. She told Menma how Jinta was acting tough because she ended up in hospital. Though she’s happy to be reborn, she wants her son to laugh, be mad and cry more often. That’s when Menma promised that she’ll make Jinta cry no matter what. After thinking for so long, she had no idea how to do it. That’s why she called her pals to gather to help think of a way (because she admits she isn’t smart). But it didn’t turn out well and thinks it’s her punishment for keeping it from him. Jinta disagrees it is so because he would still go whether he kept it a secret from him or not. With Jinta crying, I guess this means her wish is fulfilled and time to say goodbye, eh? Menma notes that she prefers him laughing than crying. Jinta carries her on his back and runs all the way back to his friends. But upon reaching the hideout, suddenly Jinta couldn’t see and hear Menma anymore even if she’s standing right behind him. He starts to panic and this has everyone alerted. They go out to search for Menma, thinking she’s playing hide and seek. Menma feels the need to say goodbye properly to everyone so she gathers up her last strength and start writing. When the friends couldn’t find Menma, they start seeing pages from Menma’s diary beneath a tree, a letter to each of them. Inside, Menma’s earnest and heartfelt thanks and how she likes their kindness (Tsuruko), hardworking (Yukiatsu), funniness (Poppo), steadiness (Anaru) and to Jinta the I-want-to-marry-you type of love. Nobody can hold back their tears after reading those touching words. Jinta yells out that since this is a hide and seek game, if he doesn’t find her, this will never end. Suddenly, everyone hears Menma’s voice. Yes, everyone. Then they see her leaning against the tree. They are so happy to see each other. Menma wants them to end it by reading their letter. They shout aloud that they love her. Jinta thanks everyone for granting her wish and confesses he loves Menma. A complete emotional Menma says she wants to be with everyone and play with them all. That’s why she’ll reborn again and be together. Menma disappears with a smile when everybody shouts that they’ve found her. In the aftermath, Jinta goes to school with Anaru. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko are going out together while Poppo tries studying during his break during his part time jobs. Jinta narrates they’re becoming adults every day. As the seasons pass, different flowers bloom on the side of the path. The kind of flower that waved around a little, prick a little if touched, smelt like a faintly green sunny scent. Though he doesn’t know the name of the flower, he knows it is still blooming somewhere and will continue to grant its wish. On the wall, the last message carved by Menma states “Super Peace Busters will be friends forever”.

I Still Don’t Know The Relevance Of The Flower I Saw In This Show
Oh my. This is just too sad. Even if the ending could be considered a happy one, I still felt sad that everyone couldn’t be together. A note of warning though. Trying hard to hold back your tears is only going to make it worse. Unless you’re the kind of emotionless sadistic bastard that enjoys seeing the pain and suffering of others. Personally, I too wanted Menma to stay at the end and have everyone living happily ever after even if Menma would remain a ghost. I even dared thought of a possibility that a miracle would happen. In the sense that she gains a physical body and continues to live with her pals. However that’s stretching it and though this series is supernatural, I don’t think it will reach that length of absurdness. But look at it this way, Menma couldn’t realistically be with everybody forever. She is dead in the first place. She can never return to the present time even if her wish to reborn and talk to everyone served as a hope for everyone to move forward. Basically Menma’s appearance was timely because the friends that should have been friends for life started drifting far apart to the point that they could even hate each other. It was totally sad that they could only see and hear Menma for a brief moment but I guess it is better never to have to. Well, seeing is believing.

Though Jinta was the leader of Super Peace Busters, it is actually Menma that held the group together. Whether it is for good or bad. Bad? Well, because of her, we see love triangles forming among themselves, right? Only Poppo was the one that didn’t take any love interest among the group. Menma may be slow but I find that at certain points, this made her quite cute. Especially the part she confiscates Jinta’s food! Maybe because of her slowness, it never dawned to her that she should just move things about to convince others that she is really there. It could have been a lot easier. I mean, Yukiatsu and the rest were demanding for proof and Jinta could have easily told Menma to do something to make it seem like things are flying in the air. Instead he just kept hoping that they’ll believe in his words. Get real. If you saw something that is rarely seen by others, it’s natural that they want to see proof of existence, right? The odd part of Menma being a ghost was, it never felt like she was one. She could interact and touch objects like as though she was a live human being. Especially her physical contact like hugging Jinta. It’s like she’s an invisible girl. So it kept me wondering if there was more than meets the eye. It would be tad odd for others to see Jinta talking and interacting with himself. Like a mad kid. Perhaps too many video games? Oddly if Menma touches others, they will feel a change in air pressure but when she touches other solid objects there is no such thing. There were several instances when she moves physical objects and other people thought it was just the wind or some accident. Menma also do not display ghost-like abilities. I believe I never see her walking through walls or even fly. Yeah, she walks.

Menma’s return was a chance for the friends to bury the ghost of their past and reconcile with each other. Notice how everyone gradually started calling each other’s childhood nicknames instead of their real names? I just wonder why Menma chose to return many years later instead of shortly after their deaths (by the way, where the heck was she during her death and her return? Perhaps time runs differently for the human and spirit world). Maybe when they are kids, they are too young to understand things and are unlikely to even comprehend the appearance of the ghost. They had a hard time losing a friend and now their friend returns as a spirit. That’ll be too much for a kid to handle. For the many years that they have been going on living their separate lives without Menma, perhaps growing distant and then making them gather is good since there is a ‘cooling period’. It is just unfortunate that everyone had to live with the guilt, despair and gloominess. So by getting over their past and reconciling with each other, they are able to move forward once more. Menma may not be physically here but she’ll always be in their hearts as long as they remember her. With that, Super Peace Busters will always be the six of them no matter when, what, how or why. Whether or not Menma will reborn is a different matter. All we know is that she is set free as with her friends.

You thought little kids in love was just child’s play and nothing serious? It is as complicated as if they were teenagers or adults. The love triangle was basically the source of everything that happened. The jealousy and envy long kept in their heart finally exploded out in the final moments. Anaru was easily influenced by those around her only because she was insecure about her feelings for Jinta. Even if she was the ‘closest’ to him, she was in fact as distant as the rest. I think she was the most emotional one, crying the most. Tsuruko was also like Anaru but she didn’t disclose her love and nobody knew of it till recently. Yukiatsu’s cross-dressing fetish as Menma was perhaps the only way he could get ‘close’ to her seeing he knows that Menma would choose Jinta over him. His words may initially sound harsh and cold towards Jinta but they are somewhat directed and a reflection towards himself. Poppo may be the liveliest and mature among the bunch but that I feel is because he is trying to put on a mask and hide the guilt he had for seeing Menma die. Helpful and eager to get Super Peace Busters back to its original state, it wouldn’t help if everyone else was sad, gloomy and bitter, right?

The one who has it tough is definitely Irene. She never got over Menma’s death though initially she seemed calm. It’s odd that if Satoshi said she never left the house, how did she become the festival supervisor? You need to meet people if you’re in this kind of position, right? Unless she’s doing it through proxy via her husband. So eventually she too has to move forward because if she continues to wallow in the past, she might even lose Satoshi. Not through death but perhaps he would walk out and disown her. Jinta’s dad is an amazing character. He actually never scolds or forces Jinta to do anything! I’m sure many kids would like to have a father like him. I don’t know what his job is and he looks and sounds a little effeminate, but never hearing him raise his voice or hitting his son, it makes you wonder if this is the case of spoil the rod and spoil the child. Even Jinta himself is confused if he should get scolded in situations that normally should. Maybe it’s because of daddy’s ‘soft approach’, Jinta turned into a lazy bum. He even got a choice of not attending school! Well, it’s not one of those high class schools so I guess if you want to turn up, it’s your business. At least he didn’t do drugs or turn into a life of crime. Maybe so long a lazy bum that Menma had to step in and remind him of her wish. But really, he’s so traumatized by his past, forcing things upon him would only make things worse. After all, kids his age have those rebellion and raging hormones in their genes.

Since this is a tear jerking drama, I guess the most dramatic voice acting are mostly during arguing scenes that would normally have the characters start yelling at each other or crying scenes that also want to make you weep. Newbie seiyuu Ai Kayano (Roman in Sket Dance) is cute in her role as Menma. Other casts include Miyu Irino (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle) as Jinta, Haruka Tomatsu (Lala in To Love-Ru) as Anaru, Takahiro Sakurai (Shito in Zombie Loan) as Yukiatsu, Saori Hayami (Ikaros in Sora No Otoshimono) as Tsuruko, Takayuki Kondou (Oishi in Prince Of Tennis), Kaoru Mizuhara (Gisen in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls) as Satoshi and Fuyuka Oura (Jita in Seikon No Qwaser) as Irene. I think this is the first time that I have heard an ending theme from another anime being used again. This series’ ending theme is Secret Base – Kimi Ga Kureta Mono (10 Years After Version) sung by the seiyuus of Menma, Anaru and Tsuruko. The first time I heard this song was the first ending theme for the TV series of Kyo No Go No Ni back in year 2008. Not too sure why they would reuse this song again but I guess the lyrics fit the flow and theme of the series. Oh, see all the petals of flowers floating in the ending credits animation? Is this the flower that they’re talking about? The opening theme is Aoi Shiori by Galileo Galilei and is a nice moderate pop piece.

There are several trivia in this anime if you keep your eyes peeled. Many of them in the form of anime posters because Anaru works part time in an anime and games shop. So it’s eye candy for you to spot animes like Sekirei, Hourou Musuko and Working!! among the many posters displayed on the shelves and walls. Then there was one scene whereby Jinta was watching TV. I instantly recognized that show as Seikimatsu Occult Academy. Ironically he was watching a supernatural horror series when ghost Menma suddenly pops up! Scared the daylights out of him! Of course there are those that are a parody of popular ones such as Pokemon and Digimon (Dojimon in this series). There are some real life places used in this show. For instance the unique bridge that you see here is actually the Chichibu Bridge in Saitama prefecture. I’m not sure if this is Jinta’s fashion statement because I notice he always wears shirts that has two or three big kanji words on the front like “Fire Mountain” or “Not Careful”. It’s like he’s trying to make a big statement.

Losing a childhood friend during one’s childhood days can prove to be traumatic. Sometimes we don’t see what is in front of us and we get stuck in the past because we are unable to overcome it. That is what friends are for. True friend sticks by you and go through every good and bad times. Even if they’re dead. I may be lucky not to experience such events in my life but it will be some time for me before I get over the sadness of this story. The sorrow and grief of the series affected me so much so that I too could feel the pain in my heart. Just thinking back about everything in this anime could easily bring back all those heart-wrenching moments. Excuse me while I grab another box of tissues.