Posted by psgels on 29 April 2013 with categories: Aku no Hana

This series is just completely amazing. Seriously, in terms of teenaged dramas… this was one of the best we’ve gotten in a long, long while. Nakamura is just an amazing character. She really showed that with this episode.

She’s not a simple pervert who is weird. She is actively trying to tear down all of the walls that Kasuga has built around himself, trying to get into the perverted mind that he has, trying to find out what drove him into stealing the gym clothes. I love how she was fascinated by that and how she just keeps Kasuga on a leash, and just keeps invading his personal space that he’s trying to defend so vividly.

And on the other hand there is Kasuga, who is seeing that as a hint that she likes him, and in the meantime just continues to be completely unable to resist her. And I’m probably repeating this, but this animation is cheap and all, but the characters are incredibly expressive because of it! It also offers all kinds of inspiration for conventional animation, because the way the characters move, the way they hold each other. They just feel so believable!

One argument against the rotoscoping that I’ve heard a bunch of times mentioned is the following: “why don’t they just make a live action series out of it?” I don’t think that a live action Aku no Hana would be the same, to be honest. First of all, this series still uses still frames which would be really awkward in live-action, whereas in animated form it makes use of them incredibly well by contrasting between lots of movement, and no movement at all.

I’m not sure how many of you remember that one episode of His and Her Circumstances, which suddenly out of nowhere switched its regular animation over to moving cardboard cut-outs. Literally! I haven’t seen many reactions of how others received that sudden decision, but I loved it. I think that those unconventional animation techniques can really add something to the characters when done well (that’s the key point there, because it can indeed be done really badly or without any sort of expression; those CG dance eds are a good example of an idea that just doesn’t work for me).
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

14 Responses

  1. Juno says:

    You expressed my feelings on the “live-action” complaint I keep seeing very well. I still can’t put my finger on it specifically, but the animation here is something that is very, very characteristic to anime and not to live-action, even if the rotoscoping comes from being filmed. It’s not like I haven’t seen styles like it emulated (the recent xxxHOLiC drama tried it), but it just isn’t the same and it adds to the mood this series seems to want to create.
    Whether the director wanted this to be a live-action or not (it’s only a rumor. I’ve yet to see proof…), he made very good use of the visual format here. =3

  2. Dop says:

    The animation style just adds this whole other level to the atmosphere in this show.
    The characters just seem more real. From what I’ve seen of the manga, Anime Nakamura seems much more intimidating than Manga Nakamura, and Anime Saeki is, I think, prettier than Manga Saeki (good casting).

    The director knows exactly what he is doing, and from my viewpoint he’s succeeded.

    For me it’s the most compelling show of the season, and the one where I want to watch each episode several times over.

  3. Hogart says:

    I just can’t really get invested in Aku no Hana. I had no real quarrel with the animation, but the acting and writing aren’t clicking for me. Kasuga’s more puppy than human, and something about his actor(s) just doesn’t let me feel invested in him at all. That makes the whole thing fall apart for me. Especially now that Saeki’s magically interested in him.

  4. Arno says:

    Oh gosh it’s still butt-ugly.

    Its so ugly it’s incredible it was even made.

  5. Arno says:

    The main character is beyond pathetic or involuntarily comical, he is so weak he is not even human.

    He cannot constitute the basis of a story, he doesn’t exist as a character.

    And as there is not much of a story otherwise, all we get to see is that non-person.

  6. NAN says:

    Another great episode

  7. CherylHew says:

    I don’t HATE rotoscoping, but I’m just curious why they couldn’t make it ATTRACTIVE :/ For amazing-looking rotoscope animation, you could try searching up videos of the NDS game Hotel Dusk. It shows that rotoscoped designs can actually look really attractive. Throughout the game I just couldn’t tear my eyes off the NDS screen. It’s just sad when you compare Aku no Hana to what it could have been, if managed by a studio with a bigger budget/better designers.

    • manlyflower says:

      Don’t you think it might be intentional though? I mean look at the background animation, tbh that is some of the most incredibly drawn backgrounds I have ever seen in an anime. You don’t notice it as much because of the rotoscope, but it’s obvious they had the ability to design the background with such clarity, yet chose that animation for the characters. It really puts you off, and I think it’s the intended effect.

  8. headachebaby says:

    LOVED IT!!! Aargh…another week for the next episode…how I dread waiting for the weekend and for this to air.

    Rotoscoping definitely adds to this anime and it wouldn’t be the same to adapt it exactly from the anime. You couldn’t get the same craziness and annoyance coming from Nakamura. She’s so WEIRD and different that I don’t like nor hate her. I would’ve want to slap her too. What’s going on in her head??!!

    A live action series…oh no, I hope it doesn’t go this route. There’s something about Japanese live action series that I cannot stand…it’s poor acting or the way it’s made that I find it chessy and I always prefer the anime.

  9. Slightly_Nihilistic says:

    I love what this anime seems to be achieving. In my opinion, part of the allure of anime is the way in which the combination of music, simple character design & animation, and the exaggeration of typically subtle aspects of life serve to magnify various truths or issues. I feel that the key with Aku no Hana is the fact that the crude, jilted animation is supposed to make you uncomfortable, to show you aspects of human nature that most people would be loathe to confront otherwise.
    Even the most depressing anime can contain within it some aspect of escapism, but the style of Aku no Hana seems to take those elements that would normally allow people to look away from reality and throws it right back in your face.

  10. Arno says:

    There is a difference between the weakling character and the brainless jellyfish.

    This one reminds me of the recent anime about mutants, the boy with white hair who wanted to “fight for justice” but made the whole show crumble down because he belonged to a mental institution and didn’t fit in the plot.

    They totally jumped the shark here. Not possible to have that sort of psychiatric case in an average high school. He would not even have made it through primary school.

    There is a trick in making him read Les Fleurs Du Mal by Baudelaire to make believe that he has a brain, but it is an illiterate naive trick to insert a literary work as a reference. The show has nothing to do with the real Les Fleurs Du Mal if you have read it. If you have not read it though the title sounds like it has something to do with the show. And anyway the character would have crumbled down emotionally before trying to learn to read.

    • anona says:

      there are people out there who don’t use their brain in things outside academics or literature you know.

    • Vonter says:

      I have read some poems of that book, and I think in context of the anime the book is a crutch the main character has to justify he isn’t that much of a pervert. Since the book is kinda of kinky at some parts.

  11. Souther says:

    I don’t like rotoscoping either, but I do think it’s good to experiment with such techniques. That being the case…the actual story is interesting enough, though I don’t think I’ll be rewatching this after the end (or at least the end of the part they’re adapting comes). It relies a bit too much on shock factor.

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:47 AM)
    I remember that same guy, during end of eva, pausing it over and over during that scene where asuka dies with all of those fast moving clips too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:39 AM)
    I remember catching it also when I was young with a friend and we looked back on a fanservice scene with shinji and rei and he mentioned “You know if you think about it that scene is damn disturbing when you think she’s a clone of/modelled after you know who…”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:36 AM)
    Before Eva, when I was 11 or so my image of a mech anime was Nadesico…then it was eva and then I was like…Whoah…whoah God halp! =O
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:34 AM)
    I suppose credit where I feel it due, the angel designs are excellent and I remember getting the shock of my life when shinji’s eva went nuts and then there was a bit with Bardiel infect Toji’s unit. I remember at least Masatos boyfriend being a likeable character.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:31 AM)
    I don’t think anyone was prepared for Eva, whether they liked the show or not, at 11 I can remember being horrified by end of eva and the series original ending as well as having my first moment of “Feck…theres a first…an anime that did something that scrambled my mind, I actually feel kind of thick now, this show is smarter than I am”.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:27 AM)
    It really wouldn’t have been that hard to put a satisfying ending to the original series, wrap up the threads nicely and put a pretty ribbon on the package to finish it off. But Anno and friends took a risk and went against the tide and end up becoming the trope-namer for the Gainax Endings. That took balls and made things unexpected and fresh, cuz god knows that ,good guys win the day ‘is tired and boring.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:26 AM)
    Requiem for a dream. I remember the guy who recommended that film saying to me “Even someone such as yourself who finds it hard to find/has high standards an emotionally investing film will get something out of requiem for a dream”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Emma: leaving a bad taste is pretty much the point of Eva, just as getting bummed out by Requiem For a Dream is the naturally intended effect. I don’t mind that you don’t enjoy Eva all that much Emma, l actually appreciate it over dishonest admiration. Just keep in mind that Eva deserves it’s special place in anime.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.

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