Home > Anohana, Episode Reviews > Anohana Episode 6 – Forget Me (Not)

Anohana Episode 6 – Forget Me (Not)

We all have memories we’d rather not have, embarrassing moments that we wish we could just block out, and preferably make everyone else forget about too. Adolescence, also known as the period of constant embarrassment, can generate these moments on a daily basis. But in a culture as shame-based as the one in Japan, these sorts of events can permanently alienate students. Once ostracized, it’s really hard to reintegrate.

That’s the pressure Jinta faces as he tries to return to school for the second time this season. He expects a repeat of what happened in the first attempt, that is, to be met with some degree of derision and mockery for his previous behavior. No matter how much he works to reestablish himself as a model student, he’ll always be that kid who was a shut-in for several months. This time, however, he finds that everyone has forgotten him in favor the latest target of shame—and he finds himself frustrated by the fact that everyone forgot the thing that he desperately wanted them to put out of their minds.

The exploration of Matsuyuki and Tsurumi’s odd not-quite-a-relationship continues this episode, but sadly I don’t have time to talk about it

Some of this, to be sure, is because of the new target, Anjou. Spotted by a teacher approaching a love hotel with an older man (the date that went horribly, horribly wrong last episode), she’s called to the main office to explain why she engaged in such inappropriate behavior. Apparently the teacher didn’t stick around long enough to spot her struggle against her “date” as he tried to force her inside, or her eventual retreat with Matsuyuki.

If that’s how the “responsible” adults are taking the issue, the student body is jumping on it like only the twisted rumor-mongers of high school can. Before long, everybody knows that Anjou is a regular patron of love hotels who sells herself to much older men. Even as Anjou returns to class and the teacher starts droning on, the whispered conversations are all anyone—particularly Anjou—can focus on.

Anjou maintains composure at first, but Jinta realizes her “notes” are actually a stream-of-consciousness cry for help. He intervenes right before Anjou was ready to crack

Facing this, Jinta does the only thing he can: bring the attention back to himself. So he has a public outburst in class, letting everyone know that he has a much worse history of offenses that Anjou does and how they should pay attention to him instead. In the process, he also does what no one, not even Anjou’s so-called friends, would do, and defends her against the charges of prostitution.

Such is another example of Jinta’s courage, sticking up for his friends even in the face of possible mockery, knowing that his outburst will likely convince no one of anything beside of what they already believed: Jinta’s a weirdo. Despite Jinta’s previous fall from grace and obvious social hang-ups, his halting attempts to protect and support the old members of the group reveals how he hasn’t shaken his role as the fearless leader.

Anjou, while flattered by and grateful for Jinta’s defense, still gets annoyed when his comments about her start revealing how well he knows her, especially when he starts explaining how she’s really a nerd at heart. It’s a reminder that her current public persona is something artificial—something that could be said for most of the cast

A more interesting aspect to it all is how Jinta seems genuinely upset that no one pays attention to him; even before he uses his past in Anjou’s defense, he’s upset about how he’s being ignored. Just as when he got angry at his father for not scolding him for being a shut-in, or Anjou was disappointed when Tsurumi didn’t harangue her a few episodes back, this event hints at a deeper truth that people who are doing or have done something wrong sometimes want to be called on it. In the same way, Matsuyuki’s humiliation last episode is something that he needed to heal.

As much as there are things we’d prefer to see forgotten, remembering them, and having others remember them, is an important part of growing up. Our memories are what make us who we are, and other people’s memories of us is a way we know people care for us. This comes out in a completely different way with Menma, who has slowly been realizing that her memory is a open wound for her friends.

Poppo, Jinta, and Anjou visit Menma’s house to try to find hints of what her wish could be. One thing Memna doesn’t wish for is for her mom to be so sad, which is unfortunate since that appears her default state

When Menma learns that Jinta went to her house, she’s enraged, or as close to enraged as Menma ever gets. She knows her mother is constantly weighed down with the memory of her lost daughter, and doesn’t want anything to intensify those memories. Others might want for embarrassing memories to be forgotten to protect themselves; Memna wants to be forgotten entirely, to protect others.

Jinta calls her out on sublimating her own desires for the sake of others, which apparently was always a problem for her. Menma just a few days prior was begging her friends not to forget about her, so Jinta knows what she really wants. But her guilt about causing pain to those she loves makes her want to take it all back.

The argument between Jinta and Menma shows the former’s growing sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others. His leadership was an old trait resurfacing; this, I think, is something new

I’m happy that the one concern I had about the direction of the show—that it would turn into a celebration of childishness and escape from adult responsibilities—has been completely avoided. The cracks in Poppo’s carefree attitude were showing last time around, and here Menma, the personification of childhood lost, has her own flaws on display. Menma is sweet, and loving, and selfless, and innocent. But she’s also willing to constantly take the short end of the stick, and think she deserves it. Constantly giving isn’t that much healthier than constantly taking.

What angers Jinta the most is that just this sort of behavior was on display on the day she died, when she just smiled and took his careless insult. Jinta desperately wants to apologize for that moment (I suspect that this apology will work into the show’s climax) but he can’t bring himself to do so. And one reason for that is because Menma won’t bring it up, or act as if he has anything to apologize for. It’s another memory that needs to be addressed, an offense that the offender wants to be called on; given how the memories of that day seem critical to everyone, it will likely require more than a conversation between Menma and Jinta to work through it.

The visit to Menma’s home nets the group her diary. Given Menma the ghost has been having literal as well as figurative memory problems, perhaps an unvarnished look at her young mind will help with things

Far from being a celebration of childishness, Anohana is about coming to terms with the responsibilities of adulthood, among them coming to a healthy acceptance of the events of the past, whether good or ill. Jinta, Menma, and the rest don’t have the strength to achieve this on their own. But perhaps they can achieve it together.

You can watch this episode here.

  1. May 31, 2011 at 2:35 am

    Though moving on is a big thing in this anime, the problem is that Jinta is still rooted in the past, even if he might be making some strides forward by deciding to go to school for once.

  1. December 30, 2011 at 5:55 am

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