Best Anime on Netflix: Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Considered one of the best anime of the 2010s by Polygon, writer Julia Lee wrote reviewed that Anohana, “has turned the toughest people into crying puddles on the floor, not only because the entire premise is built around a tragedy, but because it’s a reminder that friends grow apart and people change.” This is one of the most accurate summations of Tatsuyuki Nagai’s anime, that–while filled with plenty of smiles and humor–tugs on one of the most sensitive heartstrings of all, especially for young adults; childhood always comes to an end.
After Menma, one of the members of a grade school group of six friends, dies from a tragic accident, the friends drift apart from vocally blaming each other and internally blaming themselves. Five years later, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi has completely withdrawn from school and society, spending his days playing video games in his room and talking to Menma or, as Jinta explains, “a figment of my imagination.” Jinta believes that, in order to cope with his immense grief, he’s created an older Menma in his mind, as she is the only one he wants to see.
However, Jinta’s imagination begins to take on a new life all its own when Menma appears and asks for Jinta’s help with fulfilling her one wish, as she cannot pass on to the afterlife until her wish is granted. Unfortunately, Menma cannot remember what the wish is. Still believing Menma is a hallucination, Jinta is apprehensive but eventually gives in, gathering his old group of friends together for the first time in five years to figure out Menma’s wish. While the other friends initially view Jinta’s request as an unhealthy coping mechanism, they eventually discover that Menma’s spirit is very real and that each of them carries the blame for her death they cannot move on from.
This romance, coming-of-age anime on our list of best anime on Netflix to kickstart your obsession, is a delicate illustration of childhood grief. Jinta and his friends are not only mourning their friend but also the innocents that was lost the day Menma died and the happy, simple lives they led as children, whereas now adulthood is fast approaching for them. But while the story focuses on high school students, the anime’s themes are relevant and tangible even to adults who are not too far removed from their college years. Plus, the animation is absolutely stunning.