May 22, 2011

Ano Hana Ep6: A Reason for Living

Posted in AnoHana tagged , , at 4:47 pm by meotwister5

In school most of the time all we think about is reputation. In high school almost nothing will determine the life you will lead there than your social standing, to be at the top rungs or the bottom of the heap. A little gossip here and there could raise you up or destroy whatever image you’ve been cultivating. Anaru brings about an image of a very sociable and likable girl, but after being seen in front of a “love hotel” and having the story spun around by listeners, one can only expect her to become the so called “school whore.” A sad turn of events for someone who only wanted to get for herself the same life she thinks Menma had.

Still not decided on what he wants to do for Menma, Jinta almost on a whim decides to finally go to school, surprising everyone there especially when he shows no traces of the social anxiety he displayed on his previous attempt. His return was short lived however when the class becomes embroiled in gossip about Anaru and her love hotel “exploits”. In a daring, if embarassing, display of GAR, he stands up for her in an awkward speech in the middle of class, prompting her to drag him out and for both of them to skip school. Along the way they meet Poppo and head for Menma’s house and borrow her diary to perhaps get some information on Menma’s wish. At the same time, Yukiatsu begins to recall that the reason they came there on the day Menma died was because she had a very important thing to tell them.

The big reveal for the episode was that apparently Menma had something important to say to them, hence why she called them all together in their hideout. It just so happened that it was hijacked by some childishly spontaneous comments from Jinta and an impromptu gift giving from Yukiatsu. As we all know she would never get the chance to tell them what this is when her life was taken prematurely. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this missed opportunity might be the key to Menma’s wish, and it might even be in the diary they borrowed. What exactly that wish is is anyone’s guess. Some have even suggested that it might be Okada’s take on KeyAIDS. That’s not exactly a bad thing, but it might not be a good thing either. At this time I’m sure everyone just really want to know what this news was, and what exactly lies behind the girl they thought they’d left behind.

This girl we’re talking about cries a lot. Perhaps we can call it a bleeding heart syndrome, and that may be an accurate description for her. Jinta has rightfully observed that Menma is always crying, not for her, but for others, whenever she sees them suffer as a result of her death. She cried for her mom, for Jinta, for her friends, but so far never for herself. Jinta is irritated by this, believing that Menma deserves more than being the one who has to feel for others. She deserves to feel sad for herself and her predicament. She deserves to cry for her own feelings and emotions and not just for others. Her heart should bleed for herself now, especially because she’s also stuck in this world, unable to move on and unable to find the peace that her friends are also desperately trying to find. Only by finding her own sense of peace can she extend it to others, so that they may find peace to. Again, this is definitely linked to wish and the message she was supposed to deliver when she was so unceremoniously taken away.

Jinta showed a major amount of improvement in his capacity to suddenly go to school and managing to leave his fears and anxieties behind him.  Even greater is that, despite his social phobia, he manages a meaningful if dorky speech on behalf of Anaru.  It may sound awkward and corny to some, but the intent is clear, and for what it’s worth it manages to achieve what it was supposed to do.  Maybe it didn’t change people’s minds that much, but it put a lot of calm into Anaru’s otherwise troubled heart.  Jinta has surely matured over the past half of the season, but perhaps the biggest showcase of his capacity is that he is slowly coming to not only accept Menma, but also understand her personality.  It’s easy to see his outburst at Menma to be cruel and mean, but under the harsh words lies a deep understanding of how Menma is and why she does what she does.  Menma has enough suffering on her plate to go through, but puts it on herself to suffer for others as well.

This perhaps makes it clear just the concept of personal responsibility runs deep in this show.  Everyone of her friends feel responsible in some way for Menma’s death, but now we see that Menma suffers deeply as well.  She cries not for herself, but for her friends, so much so that in somehow impedes her ability to move on.  It’s no longer just about the five remaining friends moving on with lives, but Menma moving on with hers (in a less than alive sense).

Jinta is bleeding a lot nearing the end of the episode, and people are already saying an awful lot of things about where this will all lead.  I’m willing to accept the possibility of KeyAIDS to some extent, but I’d prefer this to be some benign event like most nose bleeding in anime tend to be.  Anything more may as well be melodrama, and this show has been wonderful enough with very little of it.


1 Comment »

  1. Guest said,

    i just marathon-watched eps 1-6 and found your blog searching for ano hana discussion.

    KeyAIDS is a great turn of phrase. I’m a bit scared that Jinta’s going to turn out to have it, too; there are some flags for that in earlier episode, particularly ep 1, that’d be easy to forget about if you’d seen them over a month ago. If it pans out it’ll probably be some kind of “heart condition” causing Jinta issues if he gets *too* stressed out.

    In ep 1 there’s two things that jump out: right at the beginning when Jinta is trash-talking the videogame he hears the couple on the street and then says something about “hoping they keep their recessive genes out of the gene pool” (it’s directed at the game but seemingly inspired by overhearing the dirty-talking couple that passed-by); it’s a really weird line but would make a lot of sense if Jinta knows he might have some hereditary illness.

    A little after that there’s the incident in which Menma accidentally / unknowingly gets Jinta aroused and he passes out; taken in isolation it could be another example of anime-style exaggeration, but it could be another early clue disguised as a gag.

    The last thing is more just speculation but we don’t know why Jinta stopped going to school, and we also see his dad doesn’t particularly nag Jinta much or seem too bothered. If Jinta originally took a leave of absence for health reasons and then stayed away due to stress it’d fit with the KeyAIDS scenario and would fit with his dad being soft on him.

    Big wall of text, sure, but just chiming in on KeyAIDS in AnoHana? It’s more likely than you think.

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