High school student Jinta is a hikikomori and lives in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. One summer day, when Jinta is absorbed in a video game, a girl suddenly appears in front of him. The girl is Jinta's childhood friend Meiko, but it seems impossible because Meiko died on a summer day. Meiko wears the same white dress when she died, but she looks a little taller. She tells Jinta that she hasa wish and that's why she came back as a ghost, but Meiko can't remember what her wish was.
To grant Meiko's wish, Jinta along with his friends Atsumu, Naruko, Chiriko, Tetsudo and Meiko gather together for the first time in 7 years. Jinta soon realizes that he is the only one able to see Meiko.
Cast & Credits
I personally found Anohana as a live action to have met and well-exceeded my expectations of what i thought the drama would be like. Some fans may complain that the plot is not followed to the T, but that is exactly what i appreciated the most. An 11 episodes anime squeezed into 2 hours is quite an incredible feat by itself, and i am impressed the essence (friendship and portrayal of Menma) still remains. Kudos to the production team. The live action is well-executed and is as realistic as it can get given the supernatural-ness that surrounds the whole story. The only complaint is that the characters are not being developed enough to show us how different each of them are from one another and how Menma's death affected them, that It kind of became plot-driven. Still amazing nonetheless.
The cast is awesome. There is no other way to describe how great the cast work to portray the originality of the characters (i felt that they did their homework, and they aced it). However, it is a tad disturbing/uncomfortable when you see tears and more tears as the story progressed. I mean i am impressed how much the actors could cry and the whole point is to be tear-jerking. Yet especially in the second half of the movie, it felt as if the story could not continue without any tears. Like seriously? I do believe however that the young actors/actresses are quite new for i never heard/watched them before. They are definitely worth looking out for :)
For the whole duration of the movie, there is only one song playing from what i have heard -- ''secret base ~Kimi ga Kureta Mono~ (10 years after ver.)''. It was the ending song for the anime. This is my bias-ness speaking for this very song is one of my few favorite Japanese songs ever, but it does fits perfectly into the whole atmosphere of the live action. I love how both the original song and the instrumental version are played.
Beautiful friendship? Check.
Selfless Menma? Check.
What more can one ask for? But be forewarned: prepare a (or a few) box full of tissues before you start watching because you would need it (my tears flowed like a dam throughout the entire movie).
Definitely highly recommended! :)
The anime version of AnoHana is amongst the best animes I've watched, it was such a beautiful friendship story that was so heartwrenchingly sad, and the whole series was done so well. However this drama version, just didn't work.
For one thing, the drama just seemed like it was trying too hard for emotional impact, but just failed to deliver, as what could have been sad and emotionally moving, was instead overdone, sentimental in a bad way, and depressing.
Also that adorable sweetness, gentleness and innocence of the anime version and of certain characters within it, just didn't translate well to this live action adaptation and by the actors in this, and instead seemed awkwardly done and rather fake. The kids were cute when they were happy, and that first bit when they were introduced I was almost in tears at how adorable it was and had a lot of hope for the drama, but that quickly changed, particularly as the badly acted forced crying from both the kids and teenage actors that was constantly done, just came across unrealistically and was off-putting from the drama.
Acting and Characters:
Regarding the actors and characters in general, they looked and seemed generally appropriate to the originals, and there was some decent acting by some of the supporting characters, but the leads definitely need to improve on their acting yet, and there was barely any character development throughout the drama, so it was difficult to get involved in their story in any way.
Setting and Music:
As for the settings, they were well chosen and nicely done, as certain places were appropriately almost identical to the anime version. The music was similar as well, with some nice pieces, but there were others that just reflected the drama's candy-coated sentimentality.
Pacing of the drama and Story Development:
The pacing of the drama was typical of a manga/anime/tv series being squashed into a 2 hour film/drama special, where various storylines and situations ended up being rushed. Depending on how it is done, sometimes this is less noticeable. In this drama, however, I thought the pacing was badly done, as various stories/situations that could have done with more build up and a longer time were instead rather too hurried and fleeting. An example for instance being Jintan and what he thought were hallucinations of Menma, where one minute he thought he was hearing things, then he talked to Poppo about it who immediately believed it as her ghost, then suddenly Jintan was happily sitting next to Menma not only chatting away with her like it was perfectly normal, but he could see her ghost as well and there didn't seem to be any reaction of shock/surprise/awkwardness at first about the situation at all, so this seemed unrealistic and far too rushed to believe and get into the drama properly.
Another example was when Atsumu dressed up as Menma and ran through the woods pretending to be her, this was discovered immediately and was followed by a rather forced crying scene from the character. Again this storyline went by far too quickly that there was no mystery to it, the dark psychological aspect didn't have chance to be explored, and the latter part of it lacked any emotional impact it was trying to put across.
At the same time there were various scenes with nothing much happening that just dragged a lot, which could have easily been shortened to make more time for those other scenes that had been rushed or for generally more time for character development.
I know it is easy to say we shouldn't compare, but since it's based on a manga and well-loved anime, then comparisons are appropriate, however in general disregarding the differences in comparisons, regarding it as an individual drama in itself, it seemed overall like it was trying too hard and just failed to deliver the emotional impact it was trying to convey, it was badly paced, the acting was about half decent half in need of improvement, and I thought it was depressing and filled with too much sickly sentimentality, as opposed to being the sad and heartwarming drama it could have been.