In Ano Hana, Menma died when she was a kid, but then a few years later when she appeared again, her ghost was a teenager. What exactly happened here?
Jintan still has romantic feelings toward her, as do the other male characters. There are also some scenes (at least one, and I think more) where Menma is sitting on Jintan's crotch and moving around, which naturally gives him nosebleeds and at least once causes him to pass out. The implication is that she has no clue what kind of effect this has on him because she died before learning about such things.
It seems likely that the creators did not want to show that kind of scene with Menma looking like a child. Kodomo no Jikan ended up not being adapted for the US market because of such content. The late-teen male characters having romantic feelings toward such a young-looking character would also tend to squick people out.
There are two routes here:
If Menma was a ghost or spirit:
- We know that she doesn't have any memory of the gap in between her death and her reappearance
- Thus she was likely in some sort of stasis or limbo, but still aged
- The major likelihood is that her soul was stuck in the human world because her wish wasn't fulfilled, so she kept aging
- Alternatively, it's possible spirits can control their appearance and it just seemed natural to be at the age of her friends
- As to explaining the memory gap, I like to think that she was unconsciously waiting for the Super Peace Busters to get back together, and when it didn't happen, she didn't have a choice but to wake up in the human world and put everyone's longing to rest herself.
If Menma was a collective hallucination:
- She was grown up in their hallucinations for a reason.
- The reason could be speculated as:
- Everyone wanted Menma to grow up as well, still not wanting to let go of her death.
- Subconsciously, it just seemed natural for Menma to grow up as well, because she wasn't dead in the characters' hearts
Personally I would like it better if Menma were a hallucination because seeing people resolve their own emotional traumas without any divine intervention (a spirit coming to make things better by meeting with their loved ones, etc.) is a lot more moving.
Absolutely none of this is canon but it can be in our hearts.
I would also say, that Menmas reappearance was already told to happen. I understand the outro song as something that Menma thinks or sings. And he sings that she wanted to see Jinta in August after 10 years again and, I think, that other then just seeing Jin-tan again, she also saw that the Super Peace Busters aren't real friends anymore which kept here "here". She wanted her friends to get together again, be friends. Nobody should give themself the responsi
I think she appeared as a teenager because there were reasons behind it as such:
I think that she reappeared as a teenager because Jintan still likes her, and so do other male characters, even though she is dead.
She reappeared as an adult because it would seem a bit weird for older teenagers to like a 7-10 year old girl.
Plus, if you understand the outro song fully, you'd think it along the lines of it as something Menma would think/sing to Jintan.
Maybe, she also wanted to get the "Super Peace Busters" back together again, as her death made them all split apart.
People, including her mum (or mom, however you want to say it), didn't want her to die that day, and they wished she had grown up to live a lovely life.
(There's meh bein' smart ヾ(●ε●)ノ ;^; )