AnoHana brings an interesting mystery to the table in this Spring. The existence of a supernatural event and the earthy social problems of a group of friends while giving the pieces of what happened on that day. Menma’s existence is already a strange occurrence that could be explained by logical means. My initial theory was, as the story suggests, that Menma was a manifestation of Jinta’s stress as no one person other than himself could see her. That would mean everything could be explained by Jinta’s unstable mental state caused by her childhood’s friend’s death and the later events in his life. The most logical explanation stands out and is solid as it can, however certain unscientific moments regarding Menma’s interaction with the real world prove otherwise.
The theory that because Menma died in an accident thus she has lingering regrets is the most natural guess to explain her return. Menma’s wish and the reason why she came back is what remains to be unclear.
The reason for this is that Menma has been absent while of these events happened, therefore she is not aware of any of them. For that matter possibly everything that Jinta has done in recent years after Menma’s death escapes her. If she was aware of these events she’d be likely to hint at what her wish is. One of the first theories was that she wanted Jinta to return to school, however Jinta being absent from school is a no-go. Menma adopts this as a way to get him to get back to school in hopes of getting his life on track, yet when Jinta eventually manages to go to school and Menma is still around. Naturally, Menma’s wish isn’t to get him to return to school. A conclusion drawn is that Menma isn’t aware of any of these events and has no actual connection to her wish, but to something else. All of this is under the assumption that Menma has no idea why she has come back and she isn’t withholding some information to not leave. That one, ought to be a possible understandable reason why Menma isn’t eager to go back after reminiscing how well everyone used to get along back then. Now Menma feeling helpless and incapable of helping her friends figure out her wish says the opposite.
The curious detail is that when Menma comes back only Jinta can see her. If Menma’s wish was deeply connected to everyone she’d appear in front of everyone as well so it can be granted. Either to make the story more complicated (unlikely) or because the target is Jinta who is the only one who can see her. Menma’s wish can be connected to everyone in a greater scale however only with Jinta’s help it can granted, the reason why he can see Menma whereas no one else can. This can be seen in the first episodes when all his friends get back together. Is that the wish? That Menma wants everyone to be friends again? Unlikely, at least not a small level since this has already been accomplished in previous episodes. Menma shows signs of being pleased with the positive changes in Jinta’s life but nothing changes concerning her stay on earth. There is something else.
Back to the connection the wish may have with others. Atsumu is obsessed with Menma’s death, however, she did not appear in front of him, which is further proof that Menma is unaware of the current events after she passed away therefore also unaware of the status of her friends. Only Jinta is selected, back again to only Jinta can grant her wish, which takes us to the conclusion that he is either directly or indirectly associated to granting her wish. Because of that we’d assume that Jinta in the past did not grant this wish. We connect it to an event or a wish in the past he didn’t grant for Menma and as a result Menma comes back years later to get that wish fulfilled. Note. Menma forgetting that wish is a contradiction in getting that wish granted. This contradiction, however, can be explained by a spirit losing his or her memories after death. Menma’s wish happened to be one parts of the memories that got lost (further details left unexplained)
Then there’s also the theory that Menma does not wish to be forgotten and so the reason why she comes back is to be remembered. It sounds plausible, yet if this was her wish then it has already been fulfilled the problem would’ve been solved.
More onto Menma’s wish and the discussion that happened back then. Supposedly when Menma passed away everyone was still together and there were no great signs of discord among them. Ghost Menma’s hazy memories tell her everything is “as it used to be” when she first appeared indicating that when she passed away that the situation wasn’t that serious to guarantee for the massive breakup in their friendship. As seen the breakup was an after effect due to Menma’s death which affected everyone negatively making them drift apart in different way, Jinta and Atsumu being the extreme cases. Conclusions drawn indicate that Menma’s return is a wish that is rooted in events of the past therefore they should be events Menma ought to be aware of, however, she is unable to recall any of them. And the second conclusion is that her wish was created by the latter events and fixing them would grant her wish. This in some has level has been disproven.
We come back to the name of the show: “We still don’t know the name of the flower we saw that day” and its meaning surely connected to the main focus of the story and highly likely connected to Menma’s wish. The situation was that she wanted to meet with everyone on that day, however she died in an accident before they all could. This also working out in also many other ways. The name of the title mentions “flowers”, “not knowing” and “that day”. If they refer to actual flowers and no metaphor is involved it refers to a special flower they had never seen before. The ‘not knowing’ is explained by how exotic the flower was or it can also be explained by how young they were back then, as not many of them would know the name of the flower. The reason why it wasn’t addressed again was that they probably forgot about the flower as they grew up. Also perhaps this information was more relevant to Menma than to the others. ‘On that day’ likely refers to the exact day they saw the flower in question, which none of them knew its name at that point in time. The name of the flower was of so much interest that it grabbed someone’s or everybody’s attention, which would mean that the flower symbolized or reminded them of someone, a positive trait they all agreed on, a feature they all shared, which I’d connect it to their group of friends, therefore possibly a trait such as friendship and how of a flower which wouldn’t easily wither would symbolize their strong friendship, to pick provide some alternatives.
Connecting this to Menma and connecting it to the information that an urgent phone call on the day of the tragedy, it should mean that it is highly probable that Menma learned the name of the flower on that day via reading a book or her parents and felt that they everyone had to know it. Menma having everyone come over to break the news should mean that not only Jinta but everyone was also with them when they saw the nameless flower. This could work another way as also Jinta and Menma saw the flower then it was decided by one (or both) that the flower’s significance was enough that everyone should know it. The missing piece is why would Menma die if they were meeting at their secret place and not outside where she had her accident? To answer this, the accident had to happen because Menma was rushing off to the meeting. That assumes Menma was alone and it was no one’s fault and later everyone found her (one at the time) when they were passing through the woods. The other more fitting theory is that Menma was not alone but with someone when she was rushing to the meeting place and a discussion took place before they met up with everyone. The other one is that everyone did meet up at the meeting place, however, because there was an argument regarding a difficult topic regarding their friendship, love, or that the possibility that everyone would split up because they were going to different school – to provide some examples. They caused enough of an uproar that Menma stormed out of the place violently.
Connecting it again to the nameless flower. The discussion might have been connected to the flower after all in some way as an analogy to their group. Then there’s the possibility that the flower’s name possibly did not come up after all or if it did the name wasn’t revealed and only Menma alone understood its real significance. Assuming Menma was alone when the accident happened then the discussion moments before caused her to look for the flower in question, to confirm or to prove an unsettled matter, this also possibly related to the flower. Finally going with the theory that Menma wasn’t alone when the accident happened and the other person was involved, not necessarily directly, in the accident, proves that the accident was due to the discussion in which Menma tried to find or to prove the significance of the flower in question. Case in point. Same as flowers, friendship ought to be cultivated. Menma’s wish isn’t necessarily that everyone remembers her but that they all remember the meaning of the mysterious flower which symbolized their real friendship that has been lost in the past years after the accident that separated and changed everyone’s life.
– And that concludes the whole reasoning process concerning Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai’s mystery, providing other alternative solutions, possible scenarios, interpretations, and theories. What is the truth? We’ll find out.