Spring reviews part I: Only God Knows the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day

As I will be heading to Anime Expo this weekend, I thought I would share my thoughts on the first two series that have ended this season: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai and Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai II. There’s spoilers for each show in this post, so feel free to skip until you’ve seen the final episodes (if you plan on watching them).

Obviously the show that was most popular this past season was Ano Hana. It proves again that it doesn’t matter how simplistic characters and plot can be as long as they are well-written. The cast never really changed (except for Anaru) throughout the season until the final episode and yet it worked tremendously well for doing so. There were so many plots that needed to be finished going into the final episode that I mentioned “I’m not sure that they could end this well” and somehow it finished very strong.

Ano Hana never got into how Memma came to be a ghost nor did it need to. The point is that we believe she was there because we can see her, even when no other person was able to see her as well. It’s somewhat sad and yet realistic that everyone glosses over what Memma really wants until that final episode. They believe she’s there, but because they don’t see her they subconsciously push her out of their desires.

The weakest point in the show is definitely the relationship between the Super Peace Busters. A-1 succeeds in showing us how disconnected they are in the present, but lack their development in the past to show why they were friends. Even if it’s a dumb reason, that’s a piece of character development that was poorly missed. I think there was more images of when they were of children in the final episode than of the five preceding it! I couldn’t tell why these five people would want to become friends again given what happened when they were children.

Overall I thought the show was decently constructed. They never wanted to venture somewhere new, but they were able to produce something well defined. I think most of the problems of the show would have been solved if it had one-two more episodes to give us some backstory on the characters beyond “They’re not really friends anymore after Memma died.” Visuals and audios for the show were very good. A-1’s style isn’t always to my liking, but the characters were well designed and the backgrounds well crafted. The OST never took over a scene but never added much to it either. The OP was nice, but the ED was a masterful decision and always made the highlight of the episode.

Final Score: 76 pts – Well story, but needed more details that were likely cut due to time. Didn’t really connect with me.

The second show that ended for me was Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai II. I went in with somewhat low expectations after seeing the four heroines and the lackluster performance of the first season, but II blew me away. I’m not much of a fan of Chihiro (can’t say why really) but the other three main arcs combined with the side stories were absolutely fantastic. Each of the girls and Elsie were given time to shine and were well plotted out.

Contrasting to the first season, Kami Nomi II was much better planned out. Having two episodes for a conquest seems to be the right amount as the third episodes for Chihiro and Jun drug at times, but they match what happened in the first season to much better success. Having much better heroines than sports girl/tsundere/idol/bookworm helped a bit. It’s not that those characters aren’t interesting; it’s that those four arcs are a bit subpar compared to these and later conquests.

Kami Nomi has a big shift in art styles between realistic and deformed for jokes that is carried out well. Manglobe did what good animation studios do for adaptations: highlight the best parts of the manga and add to them. There’s not really a bad character design for any character shown as well. The anime version of Elsie is also superior to the manga version in my opinion.

What really shines in Kami Nomi is the soundtrack. It varies from comedic when Keima is in his instructor-mode for gal-games to cinematic when capturing a girl but never feels out of place. The piece that plays when the heroine is finally captured is one of my favorite pieces in an anime OST and adds immensely to the emotional value in those scenes. I’m highly considering to import the OST to both seasons.

Overall I was highly entertained by Kami Nomi II and felt it was a rare sequel that surpassed the original. Everything was better executed and I hope beyond hope that a new season is made.

Final Score: 83 pts – One of the best shows this season and something that appeals to everyone. One of my Highly Recommended shows (after watching the first season).

Yes I’m lazy and all images come from the final episode of both. They happen to fit best!


7 thoughts on “Spring reviews part I: Only God Knows the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day

  1. I loved Kami Nomi for all the quirkiness in those weird Keima moments. But still, the manga is far ahead of the anime and much more interesting at the moment. I hope the third season gets green-lighted, there’s so much potential.

    • I think the anime adaptation has done a masterful job in conveying the quirkiness of the manga as well as enhancing the capture scenes. It’s true that the current plots in the manga are immensely more interesting than the current arcs that have been adapted, but we need these arcs to learn about what Keima has done thus far. I hope beyond hope that a third season gets announced, but sales are not looking good for it.

  2. The weakest point in the show is definitely the relationship between the Super Peace Busters. A-1 succeeds in showing us how disconnected they are in the present, but lack their development in the past to show why they were friends.

    I would narrow this down to just Menma, because the focus isn’t on how the characters became friends – it’s how they’re reconnecting. By showing the audience what the characters have become and replaying that one flashback scene over and over and over again, A-1 allows us to piece together what the characters were like in the past… and how Menma’s death affected them because of it.

    I thought it was a very clever way to tell a story. A flashback episode would have ruined this and exposed the audience to excessive melodrama (not that the finale didn’t have enough).

    Menma, on the other hand, is stuck in the past (almost literally) and receives no character development whatsoever. Because she hasn’t changed since that day, we can clearly see how shallow a character she is. She’s energetic, and… that’s about it. You’d expect the main character of the show (well, everything revolves around her) to be more than one dimensional, but…

    • I agree that the entire point of the series is to show how the Super Peace Busters reconnect, but it’s difficult for me to suspend my disbelief as to why they are reconnecting when we’re not shown much of how they became so close to begin with. That one flashback scene isn’t enough to grasp the whole picture of how things are between them. It’s evident in the final episode when we’re told the relationships instead of shown them. That’s going against the general rule of “show, don’t tell” in entertainment.

      I don’t think a flashback episode is needed, rather you could put scenes in the episodes that feature flashbacks of “Hey, I remember when we first met here” or “I remember when we went to (blank)” beyond Jintan’s family. We’re never shown anything in Memma’s house with the rest of the group, only between her and her brother.

      There’s no way to grow Memma’s character and you don’t need to show that. It’s how either a ghost or a hallucination would be since she hasn’t changed from when she died. Having her change would go against the principles of either possibility. She’s shallow because she’s always going to be a child.

  3. Ano Hana is now one of my favorite shows because it really fits my taste in anime. I don’t have any problems that the friendship before this specific day was never really shown, because because of their interactions I believed that these characters were friends before – especially because in their age strange combinations of characters are very normal (I remember this from my childhood). For me the structure worked perfectly because they didn’t make any stops to show stuff that isn’t necessary, at least in my opinion. Most things in this series are really a matter of taste (I loved nearly all the characters, that certainly helped) and here I really enjoyed that the story had a real structure that fits to a 11 episodes series. Furthermore, I’m bored with all the shows that go on for 13-26 episodes and then don’t end at all, because the manga is still going on. Ano Hana offers a real ending and uses the anime TV format perfectly and I hope that they will go on to do more original shows because for example Madoka also worked really great and HanaIro also does a good job at the moment.

    I also think that Kami Nomi II is much better than the first season because it offers a little bit more overall story progression and character development. The arcs were also better and Haqua is a very nice addition – even if her character is not really creative. The only arc, I didn’t like very much, was the teacher arc. I also hope that they will do a 3rd season. Fortunately, the manga will be released in Germany so that I probably will be able to read the full story even if they don’t do a 3rd series.

    • Ano Hana is a good show. It just has weaknesses in the points of the show and I couldn’t overcome those like I could with other shows like Toradora!. I think the lack of any main character that drew me in is why I scored it lower than others. Tsuruko was the only one that I really liked. That’s just like you said, a matter of taste. It just didn’t appeal to me like other shows did this season. I’ll state that it’s a great show (and that’s why it’s scored as high as it is compared to others), but it’s not something I think I’d want to re-watch.

      While I think A-1 did an amazing job narrowing down the story to fit 11 episodes and still have the story be as great as it was, I can’t help but think about what could’ve happened with just one or two more episodes. Like you, I appreciate shows that go “here’s one/two cour” and it’s over with no chance for a sequel. Outside of After Story, which I have difficulties considering a sequel, two of my top five shows are through and have no future plans. Only Haruhi, Railgun, and Saki have potential to continue and that’s because they’re still ongoing in their main forms. I’m glad to see more original shows get produced as fans don’t have to worry about a sequel.

      Conversely I’m somewhat relieved at the adaptation of Kami Nomi I/II. You’ve seen why fans like the later stories: they build up from something boring into something better as time grew on. You could see the progression of the mangaka’s skills at developing a story as the manga went on. The problem is that it’s now too long to fully adapt and that’s why I’m surprised it’s gotten the praise it has. Sales aren’t going to be good enough to get a third season (though I could be surprised) but it’s gotten more attention to the manga which is always great. I hope someone takes a plunge and releases it in NA, but at least you’ll be able to read it in German and enjoy the later stories (spoilers: the current overall arc is fantastic!).

  4. Since you know my thoughts about AnoHana already, let’s talk Kami nomi =) I actually prefer the first season just for personal taste, but the second season is just as good in terms of quality. I liked Kanon and Shiori’s arcs from season 1, as well as the fun “filler episodes” (like the buggy game!) I liked the episodes in season 2 as well, it’s just that the girls didn’t stand out to me quite as much as the first. But what I did like better about season 2 is more development for Keima as far as just how engrossed he is in games. I feel he’s one of the most unique male leads, which is very refreshing in an otherwise female-heavy cast. All in all, both seasons of Kami nomi are great – I think it’s an underrated series whose unique, fun-filled twist on a seemingly uninteresting premise deserves more love ^-^

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