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The Project Itoh movies

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Offline Bamyasi
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« on: June 22, 2016 03:08 AM »
Okay I watched Anohana again in two sittings and I can definitely see where you're coming from. I think the only difference of opinion is that I think it could have easily been far, far better than it was, and only a few narrative missteps kept it from "fukken masturpiece" status.

it was just depressing
I'd argue it wasn't depressing enough, but more on that in a sec.

emotionally manipulative
It definitely falls into a lot of the trappings of melodrama, but I don't really hold that against it. It's important to remember that the entire cast is in arrested development for the duration of the show due to survivor's guilt. They're stuck in childhood. It's a bit unbelievable yeah, but the trope "treasured young ingenue dies and leaves community/norms to unravel" isn't peculiar to Anohana, but the only other example I can think of off hand is the wake scene from The Host.

the supporting cast was lame.
They definitely weren't fleshed out enough, but again, it's a melodrama, so I can forgive stock characterizations to an extent. I think most of my problems with the cast could have been resolved by writing in more flashbacks that showed how precious Meiko was to them and why she was the glue that held their group and psyches together.

My own gripes mostly stem from the plotting. I really liked the ambiguity the show had in the early episodes in which we weren't sure whether Meiko was a ghost or merely MC's stress-induced hallucination, and was sad to see this resolved in an extremely cliche way. It would have been better had Meiko's ghost only represented their need for collective healing and growth, which could only happen upon reunion with each other, rather than with the dead.

I also thought Meiko's unconditional "liking" of everyone she knew was a fantastic character trait and was totally ruined in the last scene where she professed her love to MC. Making her flawless as a symbol of childhood innocence and norms and whatnot made sense, but making her flawless as a person is just bad writing, especially when the alternative would have made her a much more three-dimensional character.

That said it's still probably the best thing Okada has written and I'd even go as far to say it's conceptually better than the vast majority of anime and even fiction in general. She simply didn't know how to accentuate its strengths toward the end, as usual.

Tune in next time for more reviews of 5 year old anime.