Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower we Saw That Day)
Number of Episodes: 11
Production Company: A-1 Pictures
As of this point, no company has stepped-up to stream or license this series for the Region 1 market. I expect that to change eventually, due to its overall quality as well as its pedigree. I'll try to remember to update this once it happens.
This review is mostly free of plot spoilers past episode 1.
Thoughts: As I mentioned in its first episode review, I had many hurdles to overcome before I was able to enjoy watching the series. I wasn't a big fan of Toradora!, and one of the aspects of this series that seemed to have many people excited was the fact that it brought back together some of the staff that helped create the animated version of the popular teenage romance story. While it may sound petty from an outside standpoint for me to have worried so much that this series would carry over some of the more undesirable traits from its staff-related predecessor, my very personal (sometimes emotional) investment in the noitaminA programming block tends to leave me very protective of it to the point of being a bit unreasonable. I was still trying to wash the sour taste of Fractale out of my mouth and wasn't in the mood for another series that wasted its short span of time on similarly weak character development and occasional fanservice, the domain of any number of other late-night anime. More specifically related to Toradora!, I wasn't in the mood to be spoon-fed teenage melodrama and be told that it was in some way "unique," while at the same time feeling as if it was simply another moe anime with higher production values.
Ano Hana does happen to owe quite a debt to moe character typing, and its story involves a whole bushel full of teenage melodrama. In this case, though, it works; why it does so was a mystery to me until I reached the conclusion of the series. Ano Hana, while short as anime series go, utilizes each of its episodes very well to work towards a singular goal, presenting its theme of atoning for one's past guilt, making peace with one's perceived mistakes, and learning about the persistence and value of true friendship. The final episode didn't leave me questioning the logic of the situation, but rather enjoying the cathartic nature of the series' dramatic resolution. Despite being flawed in several ways, the success of the series' emotional conclusion allowed me to overlook many of its missteps.