Thus that which is the most awful of evils, death, is nothing to us, since when we exist there is no death, and when there is death we do not exist.
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai has brought me more enjoyment than any show so far this season, due in no small part to a heavy theme that weighs on the characters’ shoulders (sometimes literally, as in the case of Poppo is episode 4). It speaks to a belief that believers of most religions and even those who don’t practice an established religion believe – that after death, life goes on in some form.
For those left behind, death of a loved one can be very painful. At the very least, it can change one’s life – in the case of AnoHana, it apparently has changed the entire life courses of each of the main characters.
Menma’s death was sudden and tragic – and as such, Jinta and the rest weren’t ready for it to happen. Add to that their intimacy with one another and the young age at which it happened (and which they’re even at now), and it’s easy to see how the event could have scarred them all. They each seem to be haunted by a specter of Menma, physically or otherwise. The sadness of losing a loved one, especially one as kind and lovable as Menma, is difficult to bear.
But where is the series headed? It certainly won’t end on a depressing note, will it? Rather, I think the expectation is that as the group comes together, they might be able to let Menma go with a sense of joy matching the sadness in their hearts.
Lately, I’ve thought some (not a whole lot) about death. Otakurean talked some about it in a recent post and I’ve thought about my mom aging. Another reason for the thought is that my brother-in-law will be having Memorial Day festivities with a deceased friend’s family. The friend was more than that – he was a best friend, a brother, and like Menma’s (though of course, real), his death was tragic and senseless (he was murdered without cause).
But as the AnoHana cast possibly moves toward shared feelings of sorrow and joy, my brother-in-law is moving forward as well. Almost two years later, he is celebrating with family of his friend rather than drowning in misery.
In most religious traditions, there is some sort of life after death. Certainly, this provides hope and strength for those left behind, and can help one focus on a bigger picture. We just celebrated Easter, for instance, with Jesus’ death and resurrection being symbolic of a Christian’s earthly death and eternal life spent with God.
As AnoHana moves forward, I’m eager to see how Jinta and the rest end up treating Menma’s death. It’s been a dark cloud that just won’t go away – but perhaps the sun is about to shine through.
Have you experienced the death of one close to you? Have you been able to celebrate that person in addition to grieving for him or her?