Posted by psgels on 7 May 2013 with categories: Aku no Hana

There are times when the characters in this series don’t have faces. But holy crap: when they do, their facial expressions and nonverbal communication here is just stunning. If I had to pinpoint the thing I like the most about this series, then it would be that: the subtle cues that the characters give each other that say so much more than what mere dialogue could have done.

Nakamura in particular is just brilliant at this. I just love how her mood changed over the course of this episode, from excited, to disappointed, and then back to excited again. The way she just looked down upon Kasuga was really expressive. She, more than anyone else in this series, has presence.

As for Kasuga, it’s always difficult to write a very flawed character. You need to know the difference between being flawed, and just completely stupid for the sake of the plot. The key for that is balance, and believability. And Kasuga indeed is not normal. I suspect very much that he has some sort of autism, or at least I suspect so considering the way he so passionately talks about books, and how he is socially awkward. And for that I too have to congratulate the creators, because for me they managed to make him believable enough to completely draw me in here.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

12 Responses

  1. Emma-hime says:

    The show don’t tell thing along with the atmosphere being alot better/more effective than the manga helps and adds a realism feel yes.
    However the use of not normal, the phrasing seems awkward, austism I hadn’t thought of that, thats a very interesting observation though. Being autistic myself I can see what you mean even though I don’t feel as if I’m on Kasuga’s level.

  2. Dop says:

    In the end card the author asks viewers if they remember their adolescence, and this show just captures the awkwardness of adolescence in a nutshell.
    It’s almost painful to watch Kasuga and Saeki on their ‘date’ as they’re both quite clearly very uncomfortable about everything, and the bit in the bookshop when Kasuga is rambling on about surrealism you can just see how very very uninterested Saeki is by that. It’s the look on her face.

    Certainly one thing I pick up from this show is body language.

    I think Kasuga’s real problem is that he’s read too many dodgy old French poets and that’s given him this over-romanticised, idealised and unrealistic opinion of girls, and he’s too young to know any better.
    I get the feeling that his reading habits are influenced by his father, but he hasn’t got the wisdom of age on his side.

    It’s an uncomfortable show to watch in some ways, but I find it compelling, and I can rewatch each episode several times just to wallow in it.

  3. zoom says:

    Kasuga does not have autism…

    Just because he likes books doesn’t make him autistic, similarly to how you aren’t autistic just because you like anime.

    It would be better to avoid the pop-psych in future reviews.

  4. Kagamihime says:

    Not sure about him having Autism. Asperger’s syndrome maybe, but even that is fairly hard to diagnose. I think Kasuga’s problem is just that he has a more realistic version of 8th grader’s syndrome where his superiority complex has completely overshadowed his view on life.

    Also Nakamura just keeps getting better and better. I can’t help but think her behavior is cute in the sickest of ways. At the same time, she resembles the average bully that is seen in schools though manages to throw her own little twist in it.

  5. Ennor says:

    I agree with Zoom, it’s not autism. It’s not Asperger either (actually, after checking it out I’ve learnt the later has been recently included within the autism spectrum). Anyway, the point is that Kasuga’s problem to socialize doesn’t seem to come from a lack of empathy, he seems perfectly capable of understanding social rules and how people works emotionally.

    If anything, I’d say he has an avoidant personality disorder… although, probably he’s just a timid and inmature teenager that has taken refuge in books to feel he belongs somewhere…

    Or even better… he’s just an excuse crafted by the creators to set Nakamura in motion,… after all, she’s the actual star of this show…

    By the way, I’ve been lurking around for a while now, but that’s the first message I leave… so, hi everyone! ^^

    • zoom says:

      Nakamura believes she is the only person in her society that is true to herself. She hates everyone around her for being repressed and fake, which is why she becomes so excited when she meets Kasuga, who is, to her belief, the closest to her herself in authenticity. The Flowers of Evil represents the repressed darkness of human nature that people choose to ignore for the sake of living lives rooted in blissful ignorance.

      I love this show…

  6. Tarsio says:

    Yeah, I don`t think Kasuga is autist too. I think he is just a repressed guy that only can liberate his trueself through books and fiction. Aku no Hana is certainly about repression, how we fear to show our inner desires when we are adolescent, especially in Japan. So Kasuga desires Saeki, but he can’t deal with his feelings, because japanese society thinks that everything is peverted (gosh, a fucking uniform disappears and it`s a fucking fuss), therefore kasuga creates this holy image of Saeki – this platonic love – to hideaway his desires and not be rejected.

    For me this show is the closest to how a japanese really acts. When we read manga and watch anime we usually get a wrong notion about japanese behavior.

    Another thing. I have seen a lot of complaints abou the animation style, and the heads withou face. Well, I adore the heads without faces. It have everything to do with the story. Is like everyone is hidind there faces, hiding who they really are, so only when they are close to the camera we see their faces and personallity. A town surrounded by mountains, populated by people without faces. It’s a fantastic scenario and symbolism.

    A interesting question to discuss about the show is: Why the purity and evil can`t coexist together? Why the first-in-the-class girl couldn`t love weird things in bed? I don`t see any problem in that.

  7. Raye Peneber says:

    I’m so sorry Psgels, this is a rare miss on your part. Ignoring the fact that the show is animated in a “lazyscoped” style it continues to reuse and re-reuse assets and backgrounds. Sometimes an a competent series an animator will draw a char without facial features to show that the char is emotionally distant. Here we have no facial features because of laziness or a low budget. The opening and ending theme suck too…

    Next we have the issue of the main being a complete fool. Yeah, guys are awkward with women during puberty. We get it. Still, the level of incompetence here kills me. Burn the clothes, fight back against the redhead bully. It’s annoying to watch him struggle with easily fixable minor life problems. The low self esteem thing is just lame and overdone.

    Even if this turns in to a horror series (as you mistakenly billed it as psgels) and redhead murders Ms. perfect, or ditz boy murders redhead, or redhead straight up rapes/literally tortures ditz boy I wouldn’t want to watch it happen because it will be animated like poop. I doubt a body count would save things here. This series is dropped, with prejudice.

  8. Raye Peneber says:

    PS: I’m calling that redhead has a tortured past, an abusive home life, or is/was molested. Cliche city bro.

    • Vonter says:

      Whatever floats your boat. To be fair this show isn’t for everyone, it wasn’t intended for a wide audience.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:36 AM)
    @Masky: lots of game designers aspire for realism. Now this can be done for cosmetic purposes like face textures and lighting, practical with physic engines and movement, or contextual like believable character reactions and dialogue. Now some games thrive in being ridiculous and fantastic, but some want to create a realistic setting to further the emotional impact. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:32 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: and happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    Speaking of awful sense of humor and things that dorks like, just wanted to say that turns out I was right about Jitsu wa watashi wa in that main couple does get together before chapter 100(forgot what exactly, some where in 80-90 range I think). But they are such huge dorks that they do everything ridiculously slowly because they are that embarrassed, so they have had like just one date(in chapter 100). Not that I expect anyone to remember what the heck I’m talking about xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    The battle system grew on me a bit, but I didn’t like the puzzle elements it offered, the actual gameplay looked kind of dull also. Some of the characters were likeable enough, Papyrus, Asogore, the flower guy being my favourite though the plot didn’t really get interesting until the end.

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