Home > Anohana, Episode Reviews > Anohana Episode 9 – Ghostbusters

Anohana Episode 9 – Ghostbusters

Last time Anohana took the controversial step of having the ghostly Menma reveal her presence to the rest of her friends, providing definitive proof that she wasn’t just a figment of Jinta’s imagination. At the time, it seemed like a really good move, providing proof that Jinta wasn’t insane and giving a reason for everyone to listen to him. The central complaint his friends offer is why he didn’t offer this proof earlier.

Of course, Jinta was only half-convinced at any given time that he wasn’t hallucinating, so he wouldn’t want to test the situation just in case he was proven wrong. The question is why Menma didn’t reveal herself earlier. And this episode provides several hints about why she might have been right not to do so; while her confirmed existence gives the rest of the group a reason to come together, the deeper problems they have aren’t helped by knowing Menma’s ghost is present. If anything they grow worse.

As if the diary wasn’t enough, Menma then proceeds to cook for them. There do seems to be some objects she can’t interact with, but food isn’t one of them

Matsuyuki, for example, is now convinced of the one thing he didn’t want to believe: Menma is back, and she chose Jinta. As much as he loved Menma, his love for her is instinctively possessive and selfish. The prospect of communicating with her using Jinta as an intermediary is just galling. If those are the conditions, he’s fine with her being gone.

Anjou, too, finds the rejection she suffered last episode pales before her new reality. Now that Menma is openly acknowledged, Jinta can interact with her—and he continues to do so in a way that shows his exasperation and concern, feelings he only has because he loves her. Knowing you’ve lost a romantic competition with a dead girl is hardly an ego-boost; watching the man you love spend time with the woman he loves is devastating, whether the woman is flesh or spirit.

Anjou, seeing Jinta interact with Menma, finally breaks down and flees. A return to the days when Menma walked among them was the last thing she wanted

It’s not a coincidence that Matsuyuki goes from dismissing the idea of helping Menma to becoming the key advocate for getting the fireworks project completed. He’s now more investing than anyone else in helping achieve Menma’s wish and helping her move on. Until that happens, he’s stuck in a world where Menma can be seen and heard only by Jinta. That’s not a world in which he wants to live.

It’s not like Matsuyuki and Anjou are the only jilted lovebirds. Tsurumi gets to watch Matsuyuki’s latest Menma related meltdown, and is further rewarded by catching his interactions with Anjou, in whom he sees a kindred spirit. It’s not certain if Matsuyuki is serious when he offers to date Anjou, or if he is hoping to create a reverse jealousy trap to pull Jinta away from Menma, but either way it leaves Tsurumi at the bottom rung of the ladder.

Matsuyuki successfully convinces Menma’s father to allow the fireworks project to move forward. On a surface level, his willingness to abase himself is evidence of his love for Menma’s memory. A deeper examination reveals something more sinister

Tsurumi, in turn, is the one to suggest that Menma might not have forgiven them; Jinta says she has, but he could be lying, or she could. Even Poppo, who takes to Menma’s ghostly interactions the best of them, seems to have an underlying sense of unease. Given the opportunity to communicate alone with her through written communication, he almost asks a serious question, but changes the subject at the last moment.

What the question is about is uncertain, but if it doesn’t have something to do with Poppo’s own final interaction with Menma, I’ll eat my hat. (Disclaimer: 3HM does not actually own a hat.) Could Poppo have been the last person to see her alive? Could he be the one ultimately responsible for her death? There are some serious bombshells involving  both Poppo and Tsurumi’s backstories that have yet to drop, and there’s only two episodes left.

Tsurumi catches just enough of Matsuyuki’s proposal to Anjou to be upset. She’s far more like Anjou than Anjou is like Matsuyuki, yet the latter can’t seem to acknowledge her

So what of Jinta himself? Now that he’s been granted the freedom to acknowledge Menma’s presence in a far greater set of circumstances, he increasingly comes to realize that he doesn’t want her to leave. What Anjou offered as a spiteful retort last episode (“If you really loved Menma you wouldn’t be trying so hard to make her go away”), Jinta starts to take seriously.

The end result is that Anohana has removed the obvious obstacles from the fireworks project (the block by Menma’s parents, the lack of cooperation from disbelieving ex-friends), but the solution for overcoming those obstacles has only deepened internal division and discord. Jinta’s no longer in favor of helping Menma move on and those that are, are for the wrong reasons.

Menma’s continued fascination with the river she drowned in causes Jinta to panic. Even though she can’t die, he doesn’t want her near it—which shows to him that he can’t bear to have her leave him again

It’s a subtle and clever narrative move, one attentive to the deeper psychological causes for everyone’s distress. In short, it’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from this series, and addresses any lingering concerns I had about the overtly supernatural solution offered last episode. For a ghost now clearly walks among her youthful friends, and despite her best intentions the problems she hoped to solve have only compounded. And now perhaps everyone, save Jinta, would be very happy to see her go.

You can watch this episode here.

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