I have said it once before -or at least I think I have -that anime, more than any other media, has managed to instigate a longer lasting impact on my being as an animal of relative intelligence.
Where I am not learning about distinctive cultures and arts, I tend to find my interests and tastes challenged, usually for the better, and in many cases, enhanced. One example of this would be music; my interests in classical music only rose after years spent admiring the beautiful scores embedded within each anime.
Ano hana would be another example of this trend, existing in a genre within anime or any other entertainment medium for that matter that I would never have given the time of day, where it is not for the anime format within which it was presented. Ano hana is the shortened form of a really long Japanese title that roughly translates as 'we still don't remember the name of the flower we saw that day.' The reason I have chosen to recognize this anime is because it's a romantic comedy.
'WHAT!' would be the reaction that past me would have at the idea of indulging in what I would have categorized as rubbish, before slapping the heck out of my cheeks and asking my crazy self to wake up. In Ano hana, we are introduced to a group of 6 friends, spending their 6 year old summers in an existentially sunny world, filled with the laughter and playfulness that children often exhibit in their early years.
Under the leadership of Jinta Yodomi, they live out the kind of lives that most adults forget once life and age catch up with them. One day, the cheerful, white haired sunshine of a girl, Meiko 'menma' Honma, dies in an unforeseeable accident. Ten years later, menma's ghost intrudes on Jinta's life with the request that he fulfill an unknown wish (she cannot remember, kind of dumb) before she can move on.
But things have changed in the time that menma has spent in the grave. Jinta is a depressed recluse of a high school dropout, despised by his more successful peers and former friends, spending his days sleeping, eating and gaming.