Anohana is an adaptation of the anime of the same name. Developed by Guyzwear, it is a Japanese exclusive visual novel for the PSP. The original concept of the story was actually eroge where it focused on teenagers exploring their sexuality, but the proposal was rejected due to it being seen as cliched. It is pretty accessible if you haven’t watched the show.
The visual novel like in the anime, follows the story of The Super Piece Busters, a group of friends who drifted apart 10 years ago because Menma, a group member died in a mysterious accident. The series never explained how she died but it was assumed that Memna drowned after she fell into a nearby river. Jinta, the leader has since became a hikkiomori spending his days playing video games because of Memna’s death and also because his mother died from a disease that never was mentioned in either the game or the anime.
About ten years after her death, Menma’s ghost having found no peace in death and her wish is to bring back The Piece Busters to properly say goodbye and to have them become friends again. All the member of the group harbours some guilt over Memna’s death. Jinta initially doesn’t believe it and dismisses it as the summer heat and until he realizes that it actually is Menma’s ghost and that the only way for her to go to heaven is to have her wish fulfilled so he sets out to reunite everyone. The main story focuses on member of The Piece Busters trying to become friends again.
Like in the anime, the story is set in Chichibu Saitama Prefecture and has the somber and slice of life atmosphere. It has the same themes the show has like the effects of dealing with death and remorse. The story expands upon the original and it adds new cutscenes for characters who weren’t given as much screen time as they should. When I watched the anime, it had only about 11 episodes and one movie that was an epilogue. The extra scenes add in new dimensions to the characters and more in the lore of story which was really necessary given how short it was. Other scenes however, were either abridged or cut out entirely. The new scenes add in more scenarios relating to Menma’s family and how they are coping with her tragic death.
The artstyle looked really well done and each of the character designs were quite appealing as is in the anime. The expressions are well animated thanks to Guyzwear’s use of live2d system. The musical score and audio quality were really good and the ending song from the anime is used here along with other songs from the anime.
The Japanese voice cast reprises their roles and they are mostly excellent despite a few flubs. At the end of each scenario, you could even hear the voice actors comments on the story, which I have to say the only time I ever heard a voice actor remarking about a game as an extra feature would have to be Degenki Bunko Fighting Climax.
Memma is the only 3D model of the game and everyone is 2D drawings. In terms of interactivity, don’t expect too much; you just choose which dialogue you like to go with which area you like to visit. There is also this Tomogatchi like mini game where you could interact with a mini Menma everyday and do things with her.
Another feature that I found interesting was that you could save your favorite cg shot and use it as a wallpaper for your PSP. You can skip or go to auto mode like many visual novels for scenes you have already watched.
The user interface and control system were easy to understand and learn. The story was sort of inconsistently paced from time to time with some scenes going fast and others being slow. The story was also pretty formulaic as each part was focused more on the characters than on the main goal. Much of the story didn’t seem to be going anywhere and is more focused on romance stuff instead of having Menma’s wish come true. The character development was an improvement because of the visual novel format giving more screen time to each character.
The characters like in the anime, could be really moody being calm at one moment and upset and crying at the next. The members of the Piece Busters did not seem to have much in common and it appears that that the only reason the wanted to help Memna to move on was to stop her ghost from bothering them.
The visual novel was overall a good adaptation of an average anime.
It gets 4 out of 5 stars
If you enjoyed Anohana, you would also find enjoyment from this visual novel.
The physical media of the anime like many Aniplex products, is ridiculously overpriced but the visual novel is more affordable.