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:
    http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=606303&pages=5&show=80#msg22378329

  16. aryan says:

    it was incredibly well done

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.

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