Like wendeego said, our “Twelve Days of Christmas” is not about the Best Shows of the Year, it is about the most significant moments in anime for us. As such, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (aka AnoHana for short) falls into this territory for sure.
SIX KIDS A CRYING: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
I really liked it! AnoHana seemed extremely moe at first, both in style and initially in it’s treatment of Menma and Jintan’s relationship in the first episode (I’m talking about that awkward fanservice and line about boners). However, by the end of the show I gave it a nine out of ten for it’s great handle on death, greif, and guilt as well as the profound emotional depth it had. Do I wish that AnoHana had pushed its themes of grief and guilt more? Do I wish that it hadn’t been so reductive with respect to Anaru and Tsuruko’s characters/motivations? Do I wish that it hadn’t used rape as a cheap way to bring Jintan and Anaru closer together? Needless to say: yes, I do. All the same, I gave it a nine and it remains one of my fondest memories of this year.
The why of the matter — why out of all the nines it this my most memorable anime — lies in the manner in which I saw it. This year is the first year where I have been truly into anime, and devoured show after show; one of those shows being AnoHana. Natasha had mentioned it as a fantastic anime in passing, and so I decided to download it for later. Then, and I don’t know what possessed me, one Saturday I decided at ten at night to watch AnoHana in its entirety. This marathon lasted for about eight hours, carrying me to about five the next morning. I sacrificed an entire night’s sleep to watch this show, but I’ll tell you what: that made it all the better.
When you first watch a movie or a television show, there is something about it that seems sharper, crisper, more perfect. Call it nostalgia if you will, but the first time you watch a movie is an experience that elevates the material of the matter, and the same thing happened with AnoHana. My marathoning of the show allowed for the feeling of the first watch to be amplified and captured in a way that has shaped my entire experience of the show into this mythic event that simply thinking about feels good.
We all experience the feeling of the “first watch” when everything is perfect, sharp, and crisp; and wether that is nostalgia or not is irrelevant, because the memory of that experience feels good. AnoHana isn’t on my list because it was the best show I’ve seen in 2011, far from it! AnoHana made my list because of the idea that the experience I had with it encompasses: the ultimate viewing experience.