Tag Archives: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai

Anime and the Coming of Age Narrative

The heroine of Kill La Kill

Madcap magical costumes optional

The coming of age story is defined as a narrative that follows a young person through their transition from childhood to maturity, whether the setting of it involves fighting dragons or maths homework. Either way, the protagonist/s have a pivotal moment on their journey and a lesson they learn that propels their character development and essentially says something profound about the adult world that they’re now more in tune with. Everyone was a kid and a teenager at some point, so it’s kind of a universal theme.

A lot of anime is aimed at young people, which explains why there are so many school uniforms fluttering around since the high school experience is the one most relatable to the target audience (and also they’ve kind of elevated to pop culture cult-interest status, but that’s another story). With adolescents involved and being sought out as an audience, the medium is full of stories about the trials and tribulations of growing up. I wondered, as one does, if the conventions were the same as one would find in the Western YA fiction market.

A note before we begin a somewhat lengthy, ponderous and example-filled post: I make an effort not to generalise when talking about anime since it’s a medium rather than a genre, with the same range of content between high fantasy and slice-of-life sitcoms that Americans and Europeans find in their live-action TV. However, for the purposes of this article I do note that a lot of the same cultural conventions remain the same throughout anime series, understandably enough—a lot of them have a similar sense of humour and values and will be affected by the climate that they were made in and the audience they’re made for. And in this case, whether hard-hitting or escapist, that is the teenager. Continue reading

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Filed under Archetypes and Genre

Ghosts are Cute and Friendship is Magic: Alex Watches Anohana

I’ve never reviewed an anime series on here before, so let’s break the champagne bottle on a worthy boat, a short series with a lot of heart, a meaningful message and ludicrously long title.

The cast of AnoHana

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, literally translated to We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day and blissfully shortened to Anohana for all intents and purposes across the fan world, introduces us to Jinta Yadomi, a somewhat apathetic and angsty teenaged shut-in who spends his days cutting classes to surf the net and game at home, only going out if entirely necessary and doing so in disguise. His routine is, naturally, interrupted when he begins seeing what he assumes are visions of his dead childhood friend, Meiko “Menma” Honma, hanging around his house and demanding his attention.

Soon enough he realises that Menma isn’t a stress-induced hallucination but a ghost, shown up out of the ether to play with him and the rest of their friends again, only to discover that the tight-knit and carefree group that they had as children have grown apart since her untimely death. Deciding that she must have reappeared on this plane of existence for a reason, Menma declares that “Jin-tan” must grant her a wish and help her to move on to Heaven. She can’t, however, remember what her wish might have been. Continue reading


Filed under Alex Watches