Saturday, 7 May 2011

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai - Episode 4

Having managed to get all of the old crew reunited at their former hideout, it seems as though things are perhaps finally thawing in the borderline cold war between said group's various characters. 

At least, this seems to be the case until Yukiatsu's appearance - although his original claim that he'd seen Menma upon his arrival seems like little more than a playful attempt to test the beliefs of his former friends, upon their return from this "Menma hunt" we see a far darker side to what he's trying to do; essentially, his claims that he's spoken to Menma are designed to push against this current reunion and takes this back to the way that they were for whatever reason.

While Yukiatsu's plan seems to work in fragmenting their barbecue, Tsuruko in particular seems to have some questions of her own that she wants answered as she first presses Poppo on exactly what he saw when he thought he glimpsed Menma, before going on to ask Jinta to track down and talk to Yukiatsu to test out his claims of having seen Menma and effectively lay down a challenge to him.  This provocation certainly works, ultimately revealing a surprising secret about the seemingly arrogant and detached Yukiatsu.

I might as well come out and say this first and foremost - that was a terrible and almost lazy plot twist to end this episode on.  Sure, revealing the truth about Yukiatsu and his own obsessions is fine and much-needed to progress the series, but surely they could have come up with something a little less daft than that?  That aside, this was finally the episode of the series that began to show the potential of its characters - we see a stronger side to Jinta which was certainly required to move things forward, perhaps most importantly Tsuruko has finally progressed from just being the token girl with glasses into an interesting character in her own right, and Anaru's ability to be just a little more honest with herself and those around her also marks progress for the series in terms of character development.  It's taken longer than it should perhaps, but come the end of this instalment I'm finally starting to genuinely warm to what it's trying to do.

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