Wednesday, March 12, 2014

BUNNY DROP: COMPLETE SERIES

Daikichi, a 30-year-old bachelor, meets the 6-year-old girl Rin at his grandfather Souichi's funeral. It is there that Daikichi and his family learn that Rin is Souichi's direct descendant. When the topic of who would care for her comes up, the family shirks all responsibility of raising this "shameful" child. Reacting emotionally, Daikichi declares his intention to take Rin into his home. This is the story of two very different individuals coming together under one roof and learning what it means to be a family, an experience that teaches Daikichi what it means to be a parent.
[Amazon.com description]
(NOTE: Image is not the front cover of the DVD set)

Original Japanese Title: Usagi Drop
Dubbed by: There is no dub
Animation: Production I.G.
Manga adaption?: Yes
Rating: All Ages

{I, the reviewer, give Bunny Drop, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

A friend of mine had bought this set, and since she only needed the Blu-Ray, let me keep the DVDs of it. For awhile, I hadn't been watching much anime and hadn't watched it 'till today, where I marathoned it. And man, do I wish I watched it sooner, because this is a fantastic series!

It's about a single man named Daikichi in his 30s, who goes to attend the funeral of his Grandfather. Upon arrival, he sees a little girl he's never seen before. His mother tells him that she was Grandpa's illegitimate child, which comes as a shock to Daikichi. After the funeral ended, the family discusses who would care for Rin. Nobody seemed to want to take the burden of caring for her, especially since she was a "product of shame". But when they come to the conclusion of sending her to an orphanage, Daikichi makes the bold decision to take Rin in.

This simple slice-of-life story was absolutely adorable. It touches on a pretty uncomfortable subject, but deals with it gently. Children are not at fault for what their parents do, and their feelings should be considered. When Daikichi starts to raise her alone, he can tell she has issues, due to how her birth mother, Masako, was toward her. Not abusive, but more or less, seemed to not care except for her work, and tried to convince herself Rin isn't her daughter. I like how it brings up how just because you have a child, doesn't mean you want it. And also that the child can still be loved by another. Being taken in by Daikichi, she still remains in her family. It's fun to watch as the relationship between Daikichi and Rin grow, and how raising her has taught him a lot of things. Later, he meets a single mother Yukari, who has a son named Kouki. To be honest, they would make the perfect family, since whenever they are together, you'd think they were a family of four!

This was a sweet story about becoming a family, despite certain circumstances. I really wish it was a lot longer though; I would have loved to see what could have developed for Daikichi and Yukari, and watch Rin and Kouki grow up a little more, as well as more on Masako's feelings toward Rin and if she ever felt regret for giving her up. Daikichi also made some dad-friends, so it would of been cool to see more of them hanging out. However, from what I understand, this is based only on the first half of the manga, while the second half is a time skip. For only 11 episodes, though, it's still a fairly enjoyable series that can be enjoyed over and over again. It's pretty clean as well, and could be watched with the family, even with the subject matter, for it is treated with care. The animation from this is simply lovely; I expect nothing less from Production I.G. in its smooth animation. I especially love how the prologue of each episode looks traditionally colored, like it's the colored manga illustrations in motion. Also, if you feel left wanting a bit when the show ends, this also comes with four bonus episodes that are extra slice-of-life segments of Daikichi and Rin, two of them being with Yukari and Kouki as well (which are the best of the four).

All in all, while disappointing in how short its run was, it was still fairly satisfying and an enjoyable watch. It treated its subject matter with care, and brings out a lot of good points. It was fun watching the simple things, and how precious they were. But most of all, it's about what it means to become a family, even if it is a bit out of the blue.

Recommend?
If you like a good, simple, and clean slice-of-life, I think you'll definitely enjoy this.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
Very nice music! A lot of it is quite nice and relaxing; also the openings are cute and fun to sing along with.

[SUB VS. DUB]
There is no dub for this. The original Japanese is very good, though.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
The "Usagi Drop" manga.

[RELATED TITLES]
None.

[DVD EXTRAS]
This comes with 4 bonus episodes which average 5 minutes in length, as well as clean opening & endings, and the Japanese commercial.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Four uses of the "d" word, 2 uses of "crap".

[TOBACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
When Daikichi tries to smoke, but notices the smoke hitting Rin's clothes, he puts it out and basically quits smoking. *SPOILER* When he requests a demotion, his employees have a drinking farewell party. At first he refuses, but is convinced to bring Rin along (another worker with a child brings her kid). The kids do not engage in drinking, of course.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Rin is the illegitimate child of Daikichi's deceased Grandpa, who's mother was his young maid. There is a brief scene of Daikichi and Rin taking a bath together (but in Japanese culture, family baths are pretty common).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
When Kouki and Rin lose their babyteeth, there is some blood drops shown.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
When Rin asks Daikichi about divorce, she says "wouldn't God get made if you do that?"
In one of the bonus episodes when it rained the night before their picnic, Rin asks to make sun charms.

*EPISODE LIST*
(will list later)

NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: PLATINUM COLLECTION

The year is 2015, and half of the Earth’s population is dead, victims of the disaster called Second Impact! Answering a summons from his enigmatic father, 14-year-old Shinji Ikari arrives in the rebuilt city of New Tokyo-3 just as a gigantic creature identified as an "Angel" attacks! Forced into the cockpit of a giant bio-mechanical construct known as an Evangelion, Shinji must defend the city from the rampaging Angel or die trying! The future is back like you’ve never seen it before, in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition!
[From the back cover]

Original Japanese Title: Shin Seiki Evangerion (Gospel of a New Century)
Dubbed by: ADV
Animation: GAINAX
Manga adaption?: No, this is completely original.
Rating: 14+

{I, the reviewer, give Neon Genesis Evangelion, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Ah, the controversial Evangelion series, one of anime's greatest classics to redefine its genre, which took mecha to a completely new level. Several years back, when I was still a kid, I remember we rented from Blockbuster a VHS tape of this anime. After a few episodes, I remember my parents and brother leaving the room, yet I stayed, still watching, despite this being one of the most confusing and weirdest cartoons I've ever seen. For years, I had always wondered what that anime was. All that I could remember about it was "Eva units, can only be piloted by 14 year olds, very mental, aliens called Angels" and discovered it was none other than the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion. Thanks to a friend of mine, she was able to lend me the Platinum Collection of the series, so it also includes the Director's Cuts of episodes 21-24. Now, this series was known to be a bit controversial for many reasons, especially its use of Christian symbolism, though the creator didn't intend it to be offensive and it is obviously used for stylistic flare, as well as to enhance and deepen the story (which it does work, admittedly). And of course, the ending, which spawned two films as a demand from fans for another ending. Also, from what I've heard, the creator was going through a depression during the time, which definitely shows, but that makes everything feel all the more real and enticing.

The story follows Shinji Ikari who is forced into the role of hero, as he is summoned by his father to pilot EVA Unit01, the synthetic humanoid Evangelion mecha. He resists his father's wishes, since he feels his father only wants him when he is seen as useful (which Gendo his father actually says to him; "because you are of use to me"). However, when his father asks an injured girl named Rei to pilot in his place, Shinji tells himself that he "mustn't run away" and finally says "I'll pilot it!"
Of course, not having prior experience, his first battle with an Angel proves painful, until something happens to Unit01: it goes beserk.

Upon finally getting to see this again, I was able to enjoy it more since I'm older and can grasp a little bit more of what was going on. We have an interesting cast of characters with their own problems and backstories. While the action and the threat at hand is important, the story itself is very character driven. The intensity is often found mostly in the pilots' mental state just as much as the battles themselves. The Eva pilots have their own personalities and reasons for fighting; Shinji, who has abandonment issues with his father, forced to pilot by the same father. Shinji admits to being a coward, yet also tries to overcome this. Rei, quiet, almost emotionless and cold, soft spoken - she will do anything Commander Ikari tells her too. And then Asuka, by far my favorite, who can be arrogant and hot-tempered. Piloting the Evas have yielded both possible and negative results, though since destroying an Angel to prevent the Third Impact is of top-priority, its good often outweighs the negative.

The characters you really feel for, as you explore the deep parts of their hearts, minds, and souls. The emphesis on human emotion is amazing, and goes beyond the surface. The show by no means is easy to watch; it's dark, it's disturbing, it's weird and confusing, it's psychological, yet it holds your attention all the way as you try to learn the secrets of NERV and humanity's (and pilots') fate. And of course, the action is intense and exciting to watch. The Evas are fast-paced, smooth in motion, so it's definitely fun to watch the battles. Although always something goes a little wrong, because we are dealing with a very experimental project. Neon Genesis is definitely the prototype for many things found in anime today, and of course it's always done best in its genuine state.

The animation and art-style is pretty good, for a late 90's anime. While further down the series you could tell there were some production issues, mostly you can tell they spent a lot of time in creating this. The voice cast is just amazing, either language - I mostly watch it dubbed though, and its top-notch, especially considering how mediocre a lot of dubs were back then. Plus, the story is completely original and not based on a manga - that came later. So when you watch this, you are seeing the story unfold in its original state, so there are no adaption issues to complain about. There are some bothersome things, of course, like especially in later episodes where it feels like you're stuck on a frozen frame for 30-60 seconds before anything happens. Sometimes during a character's mental breakdown, there is too much things flashing, which can be jarring and annoying to the eyes. Sometimes I had to shut them because it would give me strain.

Being the Platinum Edition, this also comes with the Director's Cut of episodes 21-24 all on its own disc (so the original TV versions are still there). The Director's Cut (which has additional scenes from the film Death & Rebirth, I believe, cut into it) definitely enhance these episodes, since before, the TV versions felt a bit condensed, like something was missing. The Director's Cut fixes that. Also, you'll notice in the Director's Cut versions, some characters had new dub voices (they still did a good job, though; for example, Kowaru's voice is much better in the cut than the TV version, I think).

Of course, the biggest controversy of Evangelion is the climax. After that ending in episode 24, you'd think something epic was about to happen next, but instead we are given a 100% mental climax. How and why everyone and everything is in that state is almost unknown, although there are some vague mentions as to what that could be (to avoid spoilers, all I can say is you can probably figure out what's happening when you watch the whole series). You can also tell it seemed they had some cost issues, as these episodes appear EXTREMELY low budget. Episode 25, not so much (though the background is practically black throughout it, aside from some flashbacks), but episode 26 is mostly still images and what appears to almost be storyboards. No wonder fans were so torn and dissatisfied; even I myself felt cheated. *SPOILER HERE, SPOILER!* Though I won't lie, the last scene where Shinji finally finds some worth in himself, and the entire cast appears and applauds him, that felt really special and at least ended things with a good note, considering all the depression he and his fellows have suffered. *SPOILER END* Regardless of bizzare and hard to watch climax, it shouldn't be skipped, and is most likely still connected to the events that transpire in "End of Evangelion" (I hope it leads up to what was happening in 25 and 26).

Overall, even though the ending left me wanting, with still many questions unanswered, that doesn't change the fact that Neon Genesis Evangelion is still a masterpiece despite it's flaws. Yes, it may not be the easiest series to watch, it can be down-right disturbing or heartwrenching at times, yet that's what makes it a memorable experience. And like any anime, no matter how series, it does have its bright moments as well. So even though I was left wanting, this is definitely something any anime fan should experience once. For me, it's definitely now part of my personal top favorite anime of all time for its solid storytelling, even though it may be weird and dark, I like it that way. But remember, it isn't for the faint of heart. As a Christian, some of the use of certain symbolism is a bit uncomfortable, but I am secure enough in my faith to know the difference, and it was interesting how the show explored the deep, dark emotions at an insanely deep and psychological level. The best way I can describe what I see is how emptiness looks and feels like, and trying to overcome it. Humans are imperfect, yet try to achieve the impossible or forbidden things which have consequences. For me, that is how I see Evangelion - humans struggling, and sometimes dabbling in things they don't understand, and what happens when they do.

To be honest, I can't say I am quite satisfied even with my review of this. Mainly because there is so much I can say about it, but it'd be too spoiler ridden and at that point, too much to read when you can be checking out the series for yourself ^.^

Recommend?
If you think you can handle it, YES! I say this because it really isn't an easy series to watch, mainly later episodes especially. Some of the show's use of symbolism or weirdness can be a turn off, but if you can get passed that, this is an amazing series despite many flaws which is character-driven, emotion focused, with all the chaos of the world being the backdrop.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
Very good music, perfect for the series. Sometimes they even use classic symphonies, which at times seems weird (especially when the pilots are going through psychological stuff while attacking) yet it oddly fits at the same time. I really love the opening "Cruel Angel Thesis", and interesting is the ending is in English "Fly To The Moon" which seems to be an odd song for this series yet still lovely to listen to.

[SUB VS. DUB]
I haven't watched much of the original sub (yet), but what I have seen is really good and it's an all-star Japanese cast. As for the dub, it is AMAZING! Considering this series being when dubs were pretty mediocre, Neon Genesis Evangelion proved what it is to be a good dub. So no matter what language you're watching, both of them hold a great weight of epicness.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
There are several manga adaptions of this series, including just plain "Neon Genesis Evangelion" or some alternate world titles like "The Shinji Ikari Raising Project", "The Shinji Ikari Detective Diaries", and "Campus Apocalypse".
As for films, there is "Death & Rebirth" which some additional scenes from it later served as the extra scenes for the Director's Cut, and then "End of Evangelion" which is the true ending of the series (and I think explains how they got into that mental state in episodes 25-26). There is also three of four films from the Rebuild Evangelion series, "1.11: You Are (Not) Alone", "2.22: You Can (Not) Advance", and "3.0: You Can (Not) Redo".

[RELATED TITLES]
The Rebuild Evangelion movies series, which is not only a remake, but takes an alternate path.

[DVD EXTRAS]
This set comes with the Director's Cut of episodes 21-24.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Language is actually used very little. When it is, just the typical "d" and "h", and once in awhile "b" and "s" is as harsh as it gets.

[TOBACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Some characters smoke and seen drinking. Misato especially drinks a lot, with a refrigerator full of beer and is seen drunk once in awhile.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When Shinji delivers Rei her keycard, he accidently falls on top of her (and she's naked, since she just took a bath). Not much is seen, but you do quickly see his hand on her breast, which he pulls back when he realizes. There is one off-screen sex scene (you briefly see them together on the bed, but then it focuses on an ash tray while they have a conversation and then you hear some sounds). Any nudity seen is usually cleverly covered by cans, bars, or is undetailed or in sillouette.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
This series can get pretty brutal. While the show often is character focused, especially on their mental state, when there are battles it can be quite gruesome at times. There are some scenes where you'll see the Evas rip apart the Angels quite brutally (especially if they go beserk). Whenever an Evangelion is severely damaged or maimed, the pilots feel this pain since they are synced to them. Many times you'll see the pilots suffering pain, even if there is no blood it can be quite disturbing, especially when they're screaming. In a later episode, a flashback of someone who hung themselves can be seen (in sillouette, but still very disturbing) as well as a child being strangled. Most of the brutality is mainly bloody, but there is occasional gore.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
The series incorporates a lot of symbolism from many religions, with Christianity being a major part of them. For example, the aliens they are fighting are called "Angels", and when they are defeated, they will blow up into the shape of a cross. NERV has three super computers they are called The Magi, and each one is named after the three wise men. This series is very psychological and focuses on the mental state of the pilots, and explores deep feelings of lonliness, and other things. A major theme as well is a person in two parts; yourself, and the you observed by others. *SPOILERS!* There was also something about Unit 01 reaching the "ultimate form", and "obtaining the power of God". The first Angel, discovered in the Second Impact, is known as Adam. From "Adam" comes Eve, a.k.a the Evangelions were created from Adam. The Evas are also, in a sense, "human" and have a soul. Rei was born in a lab, and appears to be a clone of Yui Ikari, Shinji's mother. The Dummy Plug system uses empty clones of Rei, because it cannot function without a vessel for a "soul". There is something called The Human Instrumentality Project, which is a bit confusing but from what I understand it, it's all of mankind sharing one mind, and episodes 25-26 seems to be The Human Instrumentality Project in action. *SPOILER END* There's probably some more little details, but those are some of the major things to note.

*EPISODE LIST*
1. Angel Attack
2. The Beast
3. A Transfer
4. Hedgehog's Dilemma
5. Rei I
6. Rei II
7. A Human Work
8. Asuka Strikes!
9. Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!
10. Magma Driver
11. The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still
12. She said, 'Don't make others suffer for your personal hatred.'
13. Lilliputian Hitcher
14. Weaving a Story
15. Those women longed for the touch of others' lips, and thus invited their kisses
16. Splitting of the Beast
17. Fourth Child
18. Ambivalence
19. Introjection
20. WEAVING A STORY 2: oral stage
21. He was aware that he was still a child
22. Don't Be
23. Rei III
24. The Beginning and the End, or 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door'
25. Do you love me?
26. Take care of yourself

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SIX RULES

Hung on a piece on thread in the foyer, a bamboo scroll read:

Rules
1) You must not let any strangers into the house. Preferably not even the forest where we reside in.
2) If you spot any strangers loitering around the property, alert us immediately.
3) You may converse with strangers as a gesture of friendliness, but never tell them where the house is located. We are hiding for safety, after all.
4) Don't accept things from trespassers. Don't give things to trespassers, either.
5) Never, I repeat, never talk to those of the Taira family.
6) Got it? Don't trust the Taira Clan.

Minamoto no Ryouji, a 12th-century Japanese boy of the Minamoto clan read those rules, and knew them all by heart. Never in his life would he even dream of breaking even one of them. That is, until that one day he met a girl named Yuki in the heart of the winter fields.
[Lemmasoft Description]

Developers(s): Soyasushi Productions
Rating: (not rated)

~*~Click Here To Download~*~

{I, the reviewer, give Six Rules, 9 out of 10!)

COMMENTS

From the creator who brought other short titles, such as Ribbon of Green and RE: Prince of Nigeria, as well as the in-progress Crimson Rafflesia, comes a short Kinetic story entitled Six Rules. The interesting thing is instead of the usual teenagers or adult protagonists, we follow children. Ryouji is a boy, the youngest in the Minamoto clan who has been given six strict rules to follow. The greatest of these rules is to NEVER trust anyone from the Taira clan; it is emphesized in it being repeated twice in the rule set. Ryouji has always been faithful in following these six rules, until one fateful day he meets a beautiful little girl taking a nap in the snow. Slowly, these rules begin to bend...

There's a lot I could say about Six Rules, but would have to be careful to avoid spoilers. The story is written in a third-person narrative, very well written to draw you in. The conversations between Ryouji and the strange girl Yuki are fun to read. Yuki is extremely adorable, especially with her manner of speech. There's an mysterious yet innocent aura about her, which will draw you just as it does Ryouji's curiousity. To be honest, there really isn't much to complain about the story, except that I was a bit torn over the ending, yet I must say it was executed beautifully, too. Your initial feelings over the ending may change after you read Another View, an extra part of the story that unlocks when the main is done. With both of them together, you get an entire picture of what's going on.

Overall, Six Rules may be a bit short, yet it still leaves an impact. Ryouji and Yuki are adorable children, who you'll enjoy to see interact with each other, but that doesn't mean interesting things won't happen. Coren does it again, in creating yet another short but brilliant piece.


RECOMMENDED?
Yes! If you like historical fiction, especially based in Japan, give this a try!

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
Brilliant! The music really fit the moods quite well, and there were some very lovely pieces.

[ARTWORK]:
Simply lovely! The backgrounds are befitting to the era, and the sprites are cute and eye-pleasing of a professional level.

[INTERACTION]:
This is a Kinetic novel, so there is no interaction. After playing through once, you will unlock the Extras section, and it even comes with a bonus segment of the story, Another View.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There is mention of murdering in cold blood and being beheaded, but it is not seen.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
None.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ANOHANA: THE FLOWER WE SAW THAT DAY


Jinta Yadomi and his group of childhood friends have become estranged after a tragic accident split them apart. Now in their high school years, a sudden surprise forces each of them to confront their guilt over what happened that day and come to terms with the ghosts of their past. With their childhood friend Menma back in their lives, the "Super Peace Busters" put their personal issues aside and work together to grant her one true wish. But to do it right, they'll have to overcome years of shame, hard feelings, and heartache.
(Amazon.com description)

Original Japanese Title: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don't Know The Name of The Flower We Saw That Day)
Dubbed by: There is no dub
Animation: A-1 Pictures
Manga adaption?: Original anime series
Rating: 13+

{I, the reviewer, give Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

If you ever heard about how Anohana will make you cry, it's not a joke. Nor is it exaggerated. Never ever has an anime made me cry AT THE FIRST EPISODE! I am sure you can figure out by the story's description you're in for an emotional ride. Despite that, however, the series can still be light and fluffy.

Our story begin with a teenage boy named Jinta Yadomi playing video games. This little white-haired girl is beside him, watching. In fact, Yadomi seems to try to ignore this girl's existence...because she's not suppose to even be standing there. The girl is Menma, a childhood friend who sadly died. For some reason, she has reappeared a few years older, and only Yadomi can see her. Unlike most "ghosts" she's not only aware she is dead, but she can actually eat and sleep, so it feels more like she's invisible except to Jinta. She says she's come back because there's a wish of hers she needs granted...but unfortunately, she can't remember what that wish was.

The premise of the story is Jintan trying to find out what wish she wants granted. Initially, he thought that Menma coming back was just an illusion to haunt him, due to his trauma. All of the remaining friends have some form of guilt left they have to face, and no one except Poppo believes Jinta about being able to see Menma. Despite this, this does bring the friends back into contact again anyway as they face up to what happened that day. All the characters are different; some are serious, some are average, some seem pretty easy-going. I have to say that Poppo was definitely my favorite character. Yukiatsu I feel was probably the jerk of the gang, yet you can feel even for him at some points. Anaru felt sort of like our tsundere, while Tsuruko was always serious. And of course we have Jintan, the shut-in, who thinks Menma is a hullicination due to his guilt, but later accepts it and enjoys having her again.

This is by no means a fast-paced story, yet it'll keep your attention all the way. Despite the minor supernatural aspect, the series itself is quite slice of life, with your typical fun anime antics. Menma is a completely adorable character, and sometimes you even forget she's actually dead. It captures some genuinely fun and heartwarming moments. However, I think you can tell by the story's synopsis that it's going to be a tearjerker. I figured as much, but I wasn't prepared for the amount of feels that would be served to me, dished out every single episode! And the best part is, it all feels so natural...nothing about it feels forced, like the writers are desperately trying to get you to cry. What the characters feel and how they deal with their guilt feels so real.

The final episode was definitely the most brilliant. I couldn't help but feel at that moment that I could relate to Jintan personally when *SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER* Menma wrote a final note to each of her friends, and for Jintan, she said "I love you; the kind of love that makes me want to be your wife". Just reverse the genders here; I feel for ya, Jintan. *END SPOILER* Whoever wrote that line needs an award or something. It only made the anime feel more real and personal to me, and I will cherish it always.

Any faults with the series? Sure, there's no such thing as perfect, but it comes pretty darn close. I thought some of the minor perverted parts didn't have to be there, because other than a few incidents the series was pretty clean. The first episode didn't feel very attention grabbing. It just seemed like it would be another slice-of-life anime, but finish the first episode 'cause its glory does start to shine its light if you just stick with it. Other than that, I'm very satisfied with how everything played out and how it was paced. Being so short, there is absolutely no filler. Even though not much seems to be happening, there's a lot of emotions going on as we watch whether Menma's reappearing will reunite or break the former Super Peace Busters.

In conclusion, I will cherish this anime always, especially the ending. I'm completely satisfied with it. For an anime that makes you cry, it can also make you smile and cheer up if you've ever lost somebody. It's fun to think of what would happen if you could see them one more time, and in Anohana, we're given a scenario. And despite a few incidents here and there, the majority of the anime is pretty clean, very focused on characters and how they feel. Definitely something you should at least watch once, but I wouldn't mind experiencing it over and over again.

Recommend?
YOU BET YOU NEED TO SEE THIS! It's a simple, short story, but it gets a lot done for its length and is very memorable.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The opening and ending songs are WONDERFUL! Really captures the feeling of the show, plus the singers have really soft, pleasant voices. The music in the series fit the show like a glove, giving the right emotion at the exact right moment.

[SUB VS. DUB]
This was licensed by NIS America and is sub only. The Japanese voices did excellent, though.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
There is a manga adaption of the series, as well as a movie which is the same story in Menma's perspective.

[RELATED TITLES]
Not any I know of.

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Minor language like "d" and "h", but there was the "s" word I think only once.

[TOBACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
There may have be drinking somewhere, but it must of been minor since I don't remember much.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
In the first episode, when Jintan wakes up to see Menma sleeping on him, he thinks about how it gives him sexual thoughts (but they don't do anything). Anjo is taken to a love hotel by a guy who tries to force her to stay a night, but one of her friends comes to rescue her so nothing happens. Rumors of this incident is spread across school liek she did do something. A couple times it's commented on how Anjo is "definitely a virgin" *SPOILERS* One of the guys in the group of friends is caught cross-dressing as Menma (this shows how emotionally scarred he is about her death). Other than that, just confessions of who likes/loved who.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Sometimes Yukiatsu physically attacks Jintan when he claims to see Menma. The memory of her actual death is not shown; just a shoe floating in the water to get the picture. One episode Jintan gets a nosebleed after yelling passionately about something.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Menma is a childhood friend who drowned, and now as the friends are teenagers, reappears a little older but only Jintan can see her. Strangely enough, for a ghost, she can eat, sleep, pick things up; so she's more like an invisible person almost. Jintan's mother talked to Menma about reincarnation, and Menma says she wants to reincarnate so she can be with everyone again.

*EPISODE LIST*
1. Super Peace Busters
2. Menma The Hero
3. Menma Search Party
4. The White Dress with a Ribbon
5. Tunnel
6. Forget It, Don't Forget
7. True Wish
8. I Wonder
9. Menma and The Rest
10. Fireworks
11. The Flower That Bloomed Summer