Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day Is the BEST Anime to Watch on Netflix This Year

2020 has been a rough one for people around the world, so it's a good thing Netflix is always here for ample distraction. The streaming service has been pumping out new content, both original and not, at an alarmingly high rate of late. Specifically, Netflix has been adding lots of new anime content to its platform, pleasing anime fans around the world. Anime that are impossible to watch without a separate paid subscription service is now available to watch anytime on Netflix.

In June 2019, Netflix added Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, created by the Super Peace Busters -- an artistic collective featuring director Tatsuyuki Nagai, screenwriter Mari Okada and character designer Masayoshi Tanaka. Although Anohana actually premiered in 2011, this anime was a very smart addition for Netflix, and speaks to audiences around the world, especially after such a catastrophic year.

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Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day Anime Promotional Poster

Anohana tells the story of a group of childhood friends that have grown apart after one of them tragically dies while they are young. The story starts when they are teenagers, years later, all of them now leading separate lives. Memna, the girl who died, comes back to haunt Jintan, the leader of their former friend group until her wish is granted. Just like viewers, Jintan has no idea what wish she's talking about and the story unfolds from there.

Though Memna herself doesn't even know what the wish is, she wants to bring her old friend group back together despite their differences and harsh feelings towards one another. This proves to be the constant conflict throughout the single season of this anime.

Just like they do in reality, friends grow apart and lead their own lives, as difficult and often heart-wrenching as it can be. 2020 has been especially rough on friends and community as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a mandatory distance between families and friends around the world. Many people have lost their sense of community and haven't had the support system that they normally would. While Netflix is certainly a good friend to have, it simply cannot replace the connections that come from a community of people. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is a pretty good substitute, though.

The Super Peace Busters in Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Anohana is ultimately about bringing people together for a common cause -- in this case, Memna's ungranted wish. As the season progresses, it becomes clear that Memna begins to care less about her wish and more about bringing her old friend group, self-named the 'Super Peace Busters,' back together. What's especially frustrating in this story is that only one person, Jintan, can see her. The other members of the Super Peace Busters are unable to see or hear her, which becomes a further conflict between them and Jintan. They are unsure whether to believe him or not. Though this is a very specific situation, the divide between the friends and the dismantling of their previous friendships can be echoed by viewers everywhere as 2020 similarly has dismantled social connections due to the coronavirus.

Ultimately -- and without giving away too much because it is definitely worth a watch -- Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is about the rekindling of friendships and reinstalling a sense of community between characters, many of whom desperately need it. Though the content is sad at times, it's a story that ends on such an uplifting and positive note. That's what people need right now -- especially from streaming content, which is all most of us have to turn to as we sit at home, bored.

Each character in Anohana undergoes a personal transformation in order to rekindle what's been lost, and though the motivation is, at first, external (doing it for Memna's wish), as the season winds to a close, it becomes clear that they've been motivated for a purer reason: to regain the strong core of their friend group.

Ending Scene of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day Anime

Although this anime was released almost a decade ago, its theme and message are incredibly appropriate for 2020. It's an anime that can reinstill that sense of community while providing occasional laughs, fully fleshed-out characters, and a heartfelt story that is suitable for any age. Though at the end of the day, it could be thought of as "just another anime," it's an anime that could still make an authentic difference in someone's life, especially if they need a pick-me-up.

In a world that has been decimated by global conflicts, epidemics and divisive politics, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day was the perfect anime for Netflix to add, without even knowing it, as its message can be heard and felt by everyone feeling detached from the people around them right now.