Aka the first long-name show the complete title of which I memorised. No, wait, that would be OniAi, but I digress. AnoHana was not one of the first tearjerker shows I watched, but it was the first peak. After AnoHana, the floods of tears were just not the same anymore. So, to ask the same question I asked Angel Beats, how does AnoHana hold up after these ~2.5 years? The answer is that it doesn’t really. It’s not a case of my thoughts and knowledge maturing over time and through hearing people point out the flaws in the show, I just feel like the show lacked lasting oomph. Unlike with Angel Beats, where I excitedly watched the new OVA when it came out, I never got to watching the AnoHana movie. I watched Garden of Words instead(and quite enjoyed it).
So why did AnoHana not make a lasting impression on me? Probably because it saved everything for the ending(meaning both the song and the series finale). Thinking back on AnoHana, I barely remember anything from the first 10 episodes. I have more vivid memories of Clannad, for goodness’ sake! Ok, that’s an unfair jab at Clannad, but the point stands. The whole duration of the show was used to build plot lines that would eventually converge and culminate in the finale. And while the finale was quite wonderful and moving at the time when I saw it for the first time, seeing it once(or twice) was enough for me. I don’t really have any desire to go back to it.
That said, I’m not saying I think the idea behind the show is fundamentally bad. Death, loss and grief are some of my favourite motifs in fiction(though saying it that way sounds kind of morbid), and I appreciate what the show was trying to do with those themes. However, I think there are shows and films that do all of those better. The Tamayura series, for instance, and the Ghibli film When Marnie Was There. Tamayura isn’t quite as psychological as Marnie, but I think it has an optimistic outlook that AnoHana lacks. It also has several peaks and climaxes, unlike AnoHana(and Marnie is more about the journey itself than the climax).