June 3, 2011

Ano Hana Ep8: Letting Go

Posted in AnoHana tagged , , , at 7:59 pm by meotwister5

Letting go is, and will always be, the hardest part.  This is especially true for parents who have lost children, and children who have lost friends.  Parents live their lives believing they’d watch over their kids as they grow into teenagers, into young adults, until the day they become adults themselves and finally leave the nest.  A parent expects to grow old and play with their grandchildren, to watch a new generation come to take the world from them as they sit on the sidelines, content that their work is done.

A parent expects their children to be the one to bury them.  It’s never a job for a parent to bury their children.

The gang visits Menma’s house to talk to her mom about their fireworks plan.  Little did they know of course that her mother carries some very, very deep scars of her own, and she all but blames them for her sorrows and the fate of her little girl.  An understandable grief, and when they leave they start to have second thoughts about their plans and Jinta’s intentions.  He still decides to try for Menma’s sake, an act Anaru can no longer stand to see.  As Jinta starts to go over the breaking point, Anaru finally breaks down and says everything she has ever wanted to say over the years, which goes beyond mere confessions of feelings but also of guilt.  Jinta moves away unable to respond, and himself begins to break down emotionally as he realizes fulfilling Menma’s wish means she will disappear as well.

Which leaves us with a gigantic cliffhanger, as Menma starts to realize how much she is able to affect the world around her.  The gang starts to question Jinta’s sanity as Menma leaves them a message that only Menma can, leaving everyone puzzled and confused.

I cannot claim to understand a mother’s grief.  Clearly she’s been grieving everyday since her little girl was taken from the world, but she’s survived this long because she has spent her life blaming her daughter’s friends for what had transpired that day.  This was probably the only way she’s been able to function since that day, projecting all her grief and hatred towards her daughter’s friends.  In most ways this is completely unfair to those who also have been carrying their guilt since that day, but also understandable for a parent who has lost a child.  For someone to have broken as she has, she could have used a lot of help that day, but perhaps it is too late now.  Her own son had grown with a mother who’s time had stopped on that day, and he feels such strong resentment since then.   As we can see, death itself doesn’t destroy a family alone, but also the aftereffects on those who have been left behind.

Unable to keep it all inside, Anaru finally lets it all out.  Everything out.  Maybe it wasn’t the best time to confess, but in a moment of overwhelming emotions she just had to say it.  She’s been jealous of Menma all her life, and the combination of the guilt and emptiness she feels had finally pushed her into a corner.  Jinta refuses to heed her advice and still tries to push himself towards a goal none of them are able to understand.  She probably believes he is self-destructing before her eyes, and wants him to stop this charade.  She probably also believed that it was high time he knew the truth, if only to make him change his mind and turn away from what he is doing.  Just like Menma’s mom and every other character in the show, Anaru is a dam desperately trying to contain the overwhelming torrent of emotions years of guilt has fermented inside, and it was in this moment that the dam finally had to break.

Much of reflected back at Jinta who had internalized much of what Anaru had said.  He too carries an emotional connection he could never fulfill.  While Anaru’s was there, alive, but oblivious to it all because of grief, Jinta (and Yukiatsu) was left to wonder about everything that could have been of she was alive.  He has some sort of chance now, but at the same time knows deep down inside that this is first and foremost Menma’s problem, not his.  He can’t keep Menma here for his own unfulfilled desires.  She was here to find her wish and move on to her afterlife.  He knew that Menma would leave his life once again, but it was the right thing to do.

The group itself, after seeing Menma’s mother, had finally reached their breaking point.  It would take nothing less than Menma manifesting herself to convince them that Jinta was still in command of his sanity.  Manifest she did, if rather indirectly.  The group was brought together on what would tantamount to a whim, and one cannot blame them when only one member of the five could claim to see her.  At most they could only have faith in Jinta’s word, but after seeing so much lingering pain that festers on the wounds of everyone involved, faith could only take them so far.  Did they really believe in Jinta’s words, or did they only follow for fun?  Without any proof that their actions would mean something, that it would really do anything for Menma, it’s only natural for them to question everything and just abandon it all.  I cannot blame Yukiatsu for his reaction and for everyone else almost following suit.

But proof, practically a miracle, did occur.  Menma had finally stopped being a passive observer to everything and decided that she was there not to let others fulfill her wish, but to also help fulfill it herself.  She wasn’t just there to watch her friends reconnect with each other, but to also reconnect with them herself.  She wasn’t just there to watch other’s pain from a distance.  She was there not to just watch, but to make things right.  She wasn’t there just for herself but for others.  She was there both to be healed and to heal.  She was there for a reason, a reason she had finally realized.

And now she is able to act.

We can now call it: the story is moving on to its climax and its inevitable conclusion.  This was perhaps the final piece of the proverbial puzzle needed to finally find out the mystery behind Menma’s wish, and perhaps even her death.  Everyone’s faith in Jinta and Menma had been tested.  Assuming this isn’t one massive troll, everyone finally gets some inkling into her presence.  Now that they know she’s real, it would be one massive emotional event as they finally have their own chance to come face to face with the girl who’s death had affected every facet of their lives.

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