Posted by psgels on 27 May 2013 with categories: Aku no Hana

Aku no Hana, you have balls.

I’m probably going to get a lot of people making fun of my tastes again, but heck, it’s not like I suddenly started caring about that or anything. This episode was an amazing aftermath-episode. One of the best in recent years. I mean, it was just perfect for me, it hit all of the right notes.

Let’s start with by far the most controversial part of this episode: the start. Five minutes in which the characters just walked. Yeah, first of all I have not seen anything like that in anime ever. Yeah, I really admire the guts of the creators to actually do that. I loved it to bits, and not just because of its novelty value. What we saw there was an incredibly intimate moment. What we saw last episode was just all hell breaking loose. They completely wrecked the classroom. Instead of just cutting to the next morning and show the superficial reactions of Kasuga’s classmates for shock value, the creators showed the mood he and Nakamura were in on the journey back. Nothing was said, we just experienced it. I’ve never seen any other anime do this, even though it showed so many emotions nonverbally.

And then there was the rest of the episode. I mean, that was some fantastic build-up. Bit by bit, the creators moved closer to Kasuga’s fears of being found out. The responses by the students, the responses from Saeki, everything was just perfect. Seriously, no overacting whatsoever in htis episode! This was by far the episode with the most convincing acting I’ve seen the entire season.

At first I felt a bit let down by how Kasuga’s name was conveniently obscured everywhere, but Saeki more than made up for it by showing that she very well knew what was going on. I mean, that was one heck of a cliff-hanger, even for this series’ high standards.
Rating: 6,5/8 (Amazing)

23 Responses

  1. Deadlights says:

    I couldn’t agree any less

  2. Upscaled says:

    Well, I couldn’t agree any more with PSGels. That was an amazing episode. I’ve seen some movies do this, long moments without dialogue. Tarkovsky comes to mind, for example. But for it to be done in late-night anime, and a TV series at that, was so refreshing. I had initially toyed with dropping this after the third episode. But I’m now convinced that the creators know exactly what they are doing.

  3. Dop says:

    I am totally with you on this, it was the perfect aftermath.

    When Kasuga and Nakamura were walking home hand in hand from their frenzied night of destruction, the music was all kind of ambient, and it seemed to me very much like the feeling of coming down after a really good party. The climax was last episode, and this is the afterglow.

    Then when Kasuga was going to school, the music was much more sinister and foreboding, in keeping with Kasuga’s fear of what would happen when he got there.

    One of the things I love about this show is its sound design, and here it is using sound to convey the feeling to the audience. You don’t need to tell people what the characters are thinking and feeling, you can just intimate it through mood.

    I have to agree with Upscaled. The creators do know exactly what they are doing. There is a clear vision here to make something unique, and I love that.

  4. Sophism says:

    It’s implied that his name was obscured on the blackboard by Nakamura.

  5. Arno says:

    Thank you for letting us criticize your tastes psgels.

    I watched the silent part. No comment.

  6. Kurisu says:

    Also agree with the rest. Brilliant episode! And what a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see how Nanako reacts next and how Kasaga handles it all.

  7. nicheitch says:

    Great episode.
    The music in the background when they walked was perfect for the mood.
    However, I wonder if they will be able to reach the climax in the manga with only five episodes left.

  8. YourDream says:

    I’ll represent one of the people that didn’t like this episode.
    I’m all for alternate unique ways to create build-up and tension, and I’ll admit, that minute or so when Kasuga was standing in front of the school and thinking about what the reactions of his classmates would be, I was breathing heavily and my heart was racing with his.
    But it was too long. I’m certain the walking sequence was much longer than five minutes (as said in psgel’s blog), including Kasuga walking with Nakamura as well as the morning when Kasuga was walking by himself. And if they weren’t, they certainly felt that long. Not to mention the beginning of the episode recapped the last episode, and that took 3 minutes or so. So basically including the opening song, nothing happened until ~12+ minutes into the episode, and that’s already halfway! I was genuinely irritated that the show kept me waiting for so long.
    I’m aware they paced it so the episode would end on the cliffhanger it ended on, and if they had showed two chapters from the manga instead of one, the pace would have to be double the speed it was. That would not be good for this show (probably), so they picked the better option. But nevertheless, I didn’t like this episode. It was an episode that connects episode 7 with 9, not the best episode thus far (which psgel’s score implies).

    • manlyflower says:

      Ya, I really do love this series, and honestly the sound this episode around was one of the best I had heard thus far, but I did think the scene was dragged out too long.

    • Avalon says:

      I was actually watching the time and the recap ending at 1:20, the opening at 2:52, the first sound made after the walking was at 9 minutes exactly. Saeki first said his name at 13:40, though of course he had his inner fears/monologues before that which started at 13:12.

      Obviously I’m not trying to prove you wrong or anything, I just thought the numbers were interesting. I thought the initial walking scene went on slightly long, but other than that I loved this episode and the risk it took.

  9. headachebaby says:

    LOVE this anime! And it keeps telling us this is episode # out of 13. I will definitely miss this anime when it’s over and that’s just around the corner. It’s such a pain to wait for every next episode.

    The beginning of the anime was long and done in the best way possible. There was no conversation but the message was conveyed very well with the music and characters’ body language.

    What actions will Saeki take knowing what has happened???

    Rotoscoping is awesome when it’s done well like this!

  10. oroboros says:

    Amazing follow up to the best episode of the year. No problems with the first 8, 9 minutes. Pure poetry in settling down from that incredible high, that Dionysian explosion of the vandalization of the classroom.

    Glad you agree. :)

  11. Carlos Another says:

    Man, i can’t agree anymore with Psgels on this amazing episode

    The walking part somehow reminds me of Endless Eight in Haruhi Suzumiya, looks boring yet interesting, but of course that walking part is much, much more interesting compared to that. The fact that Saeki actually knows the truth kinda surprises me, I thought she won’t notice that evil flower on the wall and cry until Kasuga confess it to her, you know, like those normal female character.

    • Hogart says:

      Not that I’m saying this to offend, but: “can’t agree any MORE”, not “can’t agree ANYMORE” :)

      It’s just that Deadlights already slipped up on this phrase in the first comment.. maybe this is a sign that agreeing with psgels will have dire repercussions on one’s grammar? (Just kidding!)

  12. JaK says:

    and in the end they will end around festival and considering the BD sales this will never get s2 and hence the time skip portion will never be animated which is pretty damn good in its own way

    • manlyflower says:

      I’m concerned about whether or not they will be able to animate even up till the festival :(((((((((( Considering the pace they are going at, they have so much to fit in just to get to that point.

  13. RABUJOI says:

    We agree that this was a fantastic episode that had big shoes to fill after the final minutes of the last episode, which are repeated in the cold open here and will resonate in our heads for a long, long time. It will go down as one of our all-time favorite scenes in anime.

    The long, silent walk that follows, with hands clasped together – two people walking in a new world they’ve both created, is just astonishingly beautiful to watch, and Kasuga looks as lost and worried as ever the moment Nakamura has to break their grip to go home.

    We also like how the show not only devines a very plausible reason why the class doesn’t immediately suspect Kasuga (that ink was very black and very opaque!) only to have the very illustration that graces the copy of The Flowers of Evil be the dead giveaway to Saeki that he did it.

    With this latest cliffhanger, Aku no Hana continues to be a series whose next episodes we look forward to more than any other show for a long while. We’re dying to see how this turns out!

    One aside: as she was the one who first broke out the ink, part of us wondered whether Nakamura always intended for Kasuga’s name to be obscured, thus making the culprit unknown and open to rumor by the rest of the class. That being said, she knew he gave Saeki the book, so Saeki at least was always going to figure out that it was Kasuga.

  14. imredjimmy says:

    Wow. This was even better then last’s episode. I don’t think I’ve ever been as emotionally invested in an anime that much since Bokurano. There are just so many things about this show that clicks with me.

    Simply, wow.

  15. danpmss says:

    Just used your arguments on My Anime List (including the font and URL, of course :D)
    That was the best episode analysis i saw so far, congrats!!
    here’s the link:

  16. aryan says:

    it was incredibly well done

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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:51 PM)
    Hype kills anything. In regards to the kind of emotional manipulation Clannad and maybe Undertale uses, it’s like a drug. The more you are subjected to it, the less of an effect it has.
    Still there are examples of something which comes close to expectation. People say Muv Luv Alternative gives you PTSD and in a kinda does. Though it’s helped by the connection you build with the characters though the first two games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:47 PM)
    @Kaiser,I haven’t updated the old entries of my MAL in quite a while. Pretty sure Code Geass is sitting at a 10 on it and I am sure if I give that a rewatch that rating is going to fall harshly.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:59 AM)
    I say this because people often like to hype up the genre or those elements. I bring this up/think about it now because I played a game called undertale lately on my brothers recommendation and he was all like it emotionally destroyed him but I never ended up crying, I mean don’t get me wrong its a good game, there were laughs to be had and there was sentiment but it wasn’t THAT sad/funny.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:44 AM)
    Given how many people cry at some drama, clannad included.
    That reminds me…
    I can’t actually remember the last time in my life where I cried, I draw a blank.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.

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