Home > Anohana, Episode Reviews > Anohana Episode 7 – The Sky’s the Limit

Anohana Episode 7 – The Sky’s the Limit

I set last time that Anohana was about the cast coming to accept the responsibilities of adulthood; this episode, the cast learns about the limitations of adulthood as well. Just becoming older doesn’t grant adults with the seemingly mystical level of freedom that children imagine they have. Jinta and the rest come to realize this as they make their latest attempt to fulfill Menma’s wish.

Despite getting ahold of Menma’s diary, the group promptly realizes that a kindergardener isn’t the most insightful of writers. But they do discover a half-forgotten project that once enraptured their imaginations: building a rocket to deliver a message to God. Now that they’ve gotten older, Jinta, Anjou, and the rest understand what a difficult undertaking they have ahead of them.

The vast majority of Menma’s entries are a variation on “I had fun today”

Children could imagine they could build some half-baked contraption and have it work; adults understand the difficulties of getting something even a simple rocket off the ground. Children think adults can do anything; adults understand that “anything” requires money, sweat, time, or likely some combination of the three. Jinta wrangles from his father an introduction to a fireworks maker, but the price for even a simple rocket is far above the paygrade of a high schooler.

So Jinta decides to spent the time he would be spending wasting away at home working part time jobs, working with Anjou at her gaming store job in the afternoon and with Poppo at his construction job at night, to help build up the funds to buy a rocket. It’s an exhausting schedule, but he recognizes now that the imagination of a child requires something more concrete backing it to accomplish anything.

Everyone is alternately humiliated and horrified that their younger selves thought their rocket plan would work

Once the group has the money for a downpayment, however, they hit an unexpected snag. The fireworks maker’s boss has gotten wind of his side project, and forbidden him from selling. Said supervisor? Menma’s mother, Irene, who privately scoffs at her daughter’s friends and their attempt to honor her memory. (Edit: Actually, Menma’s father, but he took instructions from his wife. This becomes clear the next episode.)

I’m still not certain where the show is going to take this new development. Perhaps the show is trying to split the difference, presenting the need for both adult responsibility and the child-like simplicity of grandiose dreams (the latter being what Irene has lost). Perhaps the show just wants to help Irene get over her daughter’s death in a more meaningful fashion (and on camera). Perhaps launching the rocket is Menma’s wish, and the show just needs a temporary block to stretch the plot out for its full run of eleven episodes.

What’s her angle in all this? And how will Jinta manage to talk her out of it?

There’s some reason to doubt that the rocket is Menma’s wish: It’s far too external of a challenge, for starters. But there’s also a secret Matsuyuki is still keeping from everyone, that Menma called everyone together that fateful day ten years ago, to discuss something she didn’t want Jinta to know about. It’s because of Menma’s desire for secrecy that Matsuyuki hasn’t brought this up, at least ostensibly. But I suspect knowing something about Menma that Jinta doesn’t is a privilege Matsuyuki will not give up easily.

Either way, this episode feels more like a transition than a stand alone offering. Sparks are still flying between Anjou and Jinta, and the two seem to be growing more comfortable with that. Matsuyuki and Tsurumi are still stand-offish from the rest of the group, and dancing around each other in all the usual ways. Menma is still childish and easily distracted. I can’t point out any particular advances in the characters’ maturity or development this time around.

For all Anjou pretends to be worldly and sophisticated, she still has a childish side

There’s also some unfortunate recourse to obvious plot cliches. Having Poppo walk in on Anjou and Jinta right as they’ve tripped over each other and are in an awkwardly suggestive position is one. Having Menma fume over being lied to by Jinta, only to be touched when she finds out that her’s been secretly working for her sake, is another. I can’t shake the feeling that the writers were stalling for time at a few points.

That hardly makes this a bad episode, even if its not as enthralling as some of the previous ones. There are some great moments scattered throughout, such as Anaru and Jinta’s interplay throughout their time in the store, Jinta’s father explaining his hands-on parenting style to a worried neighbor, and the general reflection by the cast on how the freedom of adults isn’t quite as free as children would believe. And the surprise ending alone makes me willing to forgive the lulls along the way.

Anjou and Jinta’s interactions at work are amusing enough on their own, but the references to other shows everywhere is a special treat

Perhaps this is a helpful reminder to me, too: No show can be perfect all the time. But Anohana is close enough that I was close to forgetting that.

You can watch this episode here.

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