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anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 21, 2014 by  



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Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is an animated film that will captivate you and a Blu-ray release that I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © ANOHANA PROJECT. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie

YEAR OF FILM: 2013

DURATION: 99 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 CH, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai

Screenplay: Mari Okada

Storyboard: Tatsuyuki Nagai

United Director: Shinobu Yoshioka

Music by REMEDIOS

Character Design: Masayoshi Tanaka

Art Director: Tsutomu Ishigaki

Art by Takayoshi Fukushima

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano as Meiko “Menma” Honma

Haruka Tomatsu as Naruko “Anaru” Anjō

Miyu Irino as Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi

Saori Hayami as Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi

Takahiro Sakurai as Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki

Takayuki Kondou as Tetsudō “Poppo” Hisakawa

Aki Toyosaki as Tetsudō (child)

Asami Seto as Atsumu (child)

Mutsumi Tamura as Jinta (child)

Jintan, Menma, Anaru, Yukiatsu, Tsuruko, and Poppo – six grade-school students who were the best of friends. As the “Super Peace Busters,” they always played together at their “secret base” until Menma died in a tragic accident.

Five years later, Menma appeared before Jintan, now a high school freshman. No one could see her but Jintan, and Menma told him that she wanted the Super Peace Busters to grant her a certain wish. But not even Menma herself remembered what that wish was.

Having been traumatized by Menma’s death, the five had drifted apart, but after giving vent to their bottled-up feelings in an emotionally-charged moment, they gradually went back to being the “gang” of years past. And then Menma said goodbye, leaving letters to everyone of the Super Peace Busters.

One year later – once again, they gather at their secret base, each of them with a letter to Menma in hand.

It was one of the saddest anime series to debut back in 2011, the series “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai” or “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day” debuted on television.

An 11-episode series produced by A-1 pictures and directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai (“My-HiME”, “A Certain Scientific Railgun”) and written by Mari Okada (“AKB0048”, “Vampire Knight”, “Black Rock Shooter”, “Black Butler”), the series revolves around six childhood friends that drifted apart after one of them dies in an accident.

Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi is the main protagonist and as a kid, he was very close to Meiko “Menma” Honma

Together with their friends (which they are known as the “Super Peace Busters”) included Naruko “Anaru” Anjo (who had a crush on Jinta), Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki (who likes Menma and looked at Jinta as his rival for Menma’s feelings), Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi (has feelings towards Asumu) and Tetsudo “Poppo” Hisakawa (always looked at Jinta as “cool”).

On the day before “Menma” died, everyone wanted to know if Jinta loved Menma but being a child and embarrassed, he said he would never fall for someone like her.  Embarrassed, he ran away.  But when she tried to find him, by the time he went to look for her an apologize, it was too late.  She slipped and fell into a river and drowned.

Fast forward into the future and Jinta has become depressed and anti-social after the death of his mother and Menma.  But when Menma reappears as a ghost, at first he thinks it’s his stress manifesting, but when he starts to realize that she has returned, Jinta slowly reunites with his old friends to tell him about his visions of Menma.

Of course, not everyone believes him, as he is the only person that can see her.  But some fans give him the benefit of the doubt and Poppo believes that she may be stuck on Earth because she has a goal that she must reach or a wish that she must fulfill.  But as Menma hears this, she is not sure about her thoughts nor does she remember much.

But as these friends slowly reunite, we learn that not only does Jinta feel guilty about Menma’s death, each of them do for some sort of reason.

And a the eleven episodes delves into each character’s life in the present, they also share with each other their thoughts and the pain they have felt all these years and in many ways, allowing each to receive some type of closure in regards to Menma’s death but giving them the chance to say their final goodbye and vice-versa.

With the film adaptation of “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie”, the film does its best to condense all eleven episodes down to a 99 minute film with new footage to showcase how the characters are doing since their experience (seen in episode 11 of the TV series) with helping out Jinta but also showing flashbacks from those episodes to make up one emotional story.

VIDEO:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is a film that looks gorgeous.  While character designs are shaded, the background art is well-detailed and for the most part, you are drawn with the many cut-scenes and flashbacks but the lush green and vibrant colors instantly grab you.  I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding issues,

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is presented in Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  This is primarily a dialogue-driven soundtrack, so one should not expect to hear a lot coming from the lossless soundtrack.  If anything, the surround channels are more about environment and ambiance.  There is no English dub included.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • TV Spot & Trailers
  • Announcement– (2:32) Film announcement
  • TextlessOpening (Special O.A. Version)

EXTRAS:

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” comes with the awesome Aniplex Inc. swag that you expect from the company.  Included is a musical soundtrack which include the following tracks:

  1. Aoi Shiroi 5:39 Galileo Galilei
  2. The Next Morning 1:03 REMEDIOS
  3. Beautiful Seasons With You 4:06 REMEDIOS
  4. Thin Moonlight – Thin As Ice 2:04 REMEDIOS
  5. Secret Feelings – Hidden Feelings of Love 2:52 REMEDIOS
  6. Sink – Frozen Memories 1:35 REMEDIOS
  7. All About her Death – It Has To Do With Her Not Being Here 1:29 REMEDIOS
  8. My Star… – Steady As A Star 4:31 REMEDIOS
  9. Guitar Afternoon – Lazy Afternoons 2:31 REMEDIOS
  10. Secret Feelings – Tender 2:02 REMEDIOS
  11. Before It Gets Dark – While the Sun Sets 1:27 REMEDIOS
  12. I Left You – Did I Leave You 1:58 REMEDIOS
  13. Dynamic Sunset – Words I Heard in the Silent Dawn 1:40 REMEDIOS
  14. Lost Childhood – Wondering About 1:44 REMEDIOS
  15. Dear Love – My Sweet and Most Dearest Love 2:12 REMEDIOS
  16. Sounds Inside The House 1:53 REMEDIOS
  17. Still… – Follow you Still… 1:21 REMEDIOS
  18. On A Silent Afternoon – Childhood Marks On the Wall 2:03 REMEDIOS
  19. Going Crazy Over You – Going Crazy Over Her 3:19 REMEDIOS
  20. I Left You – I’m Here To Make You Cry 6:49 REMEDIOS
  21. Leaving The Ceremony 2:11 REMEDIOS
  22. Not As Friends – Can We Make It Not As Friends 5:40 REMEDIOS
  23. Last Train Home – Twinkle Train Take Us Home 2:47 REMEDIOS
  24. secret base – Kimi ga kureta mono (10 years after Ver.) 5:53 Meiko Homa, Naruko Anjo and Chiriko Tsurumi
  25. When It All Comes To An End 1:25 REMEDIOS
  26. Epilogue… From Time to Time 3:34 REMEDIOS
  27. Circle Game 4:43 Galileo Galilei

Also, include is a slipcover artbox illustrated by character designer Masayoshi Tanaka, a 20-page booklet, four memorial postcards and a double-sided Menma poster.   Also, included is a Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.

Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is an animated film that will captivate you!

Once in awhile, with a lot of action-driven anime films or films that are deep, hilarious and dramatic, once in awhile, you will run into a film that makes you laugh, makes you cry but most of all, makes you feel happy that you watched it because you enjoyed it so much.

“anohana” was an animated series that was one of the saddest anime series to come out in 2013 but one that made you watch because like all childhood friends, everyone drifts apart.  But in the case of these friends, it was because one friend’s tragic death, everyone had went on their separate ways.

Some harboring guilt or feelings about their friend, Menma’s death that they have kept in their heart for so long.

And now as these young children have grown up to be young adults, they are brought together once again, because of their deceased friend.  A friend who has shown up for some reason and only Jinta can see her.

The film is about child innocence but also holding on to emotions that were kept inside but never said.  The film has a message of letting people know how much you care about them before it’s too late.  And while most people don’t get the opportunity to tell that person how they truly feel, what if you were given that final chance.

I often think about films such as “Ghost” (the classic romantic drama with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore), where the film’s protagonist is murdered and comes back as a ghost and needing to fix things in order to go back to heaven.  With “anohana”, Menma is somewhat a ghost but one that can be seen by Jinta and also one that is unaware of why she was brought back and not knowing if she would disappear if she was able to make a wish come true.  She doesn’t know.

Of course, Jinta seeing the deceased Menma is hard to believe for some individuals until Jinta shares details that only they and Menma knows about.  And to see everyone coming together, but also having these unresolved feelings… it makes for a dramatic and emotional film.

“anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is more or less an extension of the film.  Like any animated film that tries to condense many episodes of story into one animated film, the fact is that you lose a lot of details, a lot of story and some key emotional moments that made the series so wonderful.

But what you do get is extra footage of the characters in the present time but also connecting the dots to the original series with new scenes that will no doubt make fans appreciative of the new scenes, no matter how heartbreaking or sad those scenes are.  If anything, it was great to see how each individual handles Menma’s return but also dealing with these unresolved emotions they have kept inside.

As for the Blu-ray release of “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie”, the picture quality is vibrant, the character design is well done and the background art is fantastic!  While the lossless soundtrack is more dialogue-driven with ambiance played through the surround channels.

While special features are not as many in this release, Aniplex makes up in swag.  You get a 20-page booklet, a musical soundtrack, memorial postcards and a double-sided poster plus an illustrated slipcase.

Overall, “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is a film that manages to carry on the emotional storyline from the 11-episode TV series to an animated film.  While an extension of the series, one who has not seen the film will easily laugh and cry by its storyline and possibly lead them into watching the entire series.

Emotional, uplifting, tragic but also a film of hope,  “anohana – The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie” is an animated film that will captivate you and a Blu-ray release that I highly recommend!

 

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