Posted by psgels on 4 July 2013 with categories: Aku no Hana

ZEXCS: this show cost little to make: rotoscoping is relatively cheap and good for a low-budget series. Please some one in there: see beyong all of the negative publicity that this series has gotten. Look past the bile, and see some potential for a second season! Otherwise this was one heck of an annoying ending to pull. Basically all it did was tease us for a sequel.

I really liked that Kasuga could finally see a bit into Nakamura’s mind. That was great. Then there followed this chase, followed by a lot of atmosphere building, to a lot of teasing scenes for events that are yet to happen, like what the OPs have been doing. That was one heck of an evil cliff-hanger. The atmosphere still was really good during all that, and I find it a bit strange that they put so much work into rotoscoping all these random scenes for nothing, but still the chance of this getting a second season are unfortunately really low.

And for me that’s pretty much the only big blemish on an amazing series here. I mean complain about the rotoscoping; if you ignore that than the creators excuted this story basically perfectly with some fantastic atmosphere.

Aku no Hana took risks. Oh dear god, it took risks! More series with the same mentality would definitely be appreciated! I can’t promise to have the actual review of this one out today. There are a number of first episodes that I first want to check out.
Rating: 4,5/8 (Good)

33 Responses

  1. Puran says:

    The thing is: The manga is not done.

    There is however, a point where the current arc is concluded nicely (and actually, we were shown bits of that in the teases in this episode). BUT, there isn’t enough material for another cour of episodes to get to that point.

    The covered up to chapter 20 with the anime (and the pacing was deliberately slow). The point where they could conclude things is at chapter 33. That’s material for what? 7 episodes?

    They could do a movie though…

    • manlyflower says:

      Oh wow, I was thinking the same as you, but I never considered a movie. Maybe even an OVA. And it certainly might be more plausible than greenlighting an whole second season. You sir have given me some hope. Given the pace set by the director and the small-chance of a second season, I was biting my nails the entire time, dreading how they would end it. There’s no telling how relieved I was with the possibility of there being time to properly flesh out that shitstorm that is the end of this arc, especially with a director that has proven himself more than capable of giving the story an incredible adaptation.

    • nil says:

      >BUT, there isn’t enough material for another cour of episodes to get to that point.
      Well, I dunno about that. The first arc’s conclusion is a pretty expected ending for a second season, particularly with the anime’s pacing and because of the last flashed scene in the finale’s roundup. I can’t expect the direction to have any problems slowing down either (after all, this is Aku no Hana we’re talking about).

    • Gan_HOPE326 says:

      I was hoping they would end with that too. In fact, I must say, everything that follows in the manga leaves me pretty indifferent. The first arc of Aku no Hana feels like it’s going into uncanny places of teen psychology – it’s something we’ve all touched upon, but most likely not drowned ourselves in like Kasuga, Saeki and Nakamura do. The second arc by comparison is pretty ordinary. I basically lived personally through every situation Kasuga experiences in that part of the story, and as the manga is now, he even came out of it better off than I did ^^.

    • AkuNoHANA says:

      For this previews to be created, they had to film, then trace over it frame by frame, which is the technique of rotoscoping. If they only did that for these scenes to be a preview, then that was a total waste of money and time.
      Production would never put money on something that is not set in stone. They would if there is a higher percentage of hope that it would air. Like some dramas have been cut in the middle of filming and so on… but this animation we are talking about. Why would they invest money on all these just for a preview? Plus by the way they preview was edited, I can tell the animation part is already done. It’s just a matter of will it air or not? That is what we should be asking. Not if there is enough material.
      I don’t care how cheap it is, drawing animation is not done in one day, it takes time to create something this amazing like Aku no Hana. Even if it’s tracing. I work with ink, tracing over drawings and then applying the ink on it, I don’t do rotoscoping, but I do tracing and it takes a while.
      I doubt they would invest this much time on just a preview. That’s stupid.

  2. Puran says:

    Also, I’m not sure why Aku no Hana is considered cheaply made.

    Maybe rotoscoping is cheaper than traditional animation, but not that much.

    Also the background art was done by Studio Pablo, which is an amazing studio and I’m imagining they are not that cheap. ( http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/company.php?id=9407 )

    • manlyflower says:

      XD I’ve been trying to say this since day 1. The backgrounds are so incredibly well made. I haven’t seen backgrounds that well drawn in an long time, if at all, so whenever I hear people complaining about this show as being “cheap,” it annoys me to no end. Once you understand that, the choppy rotoscope seems more like an aesthetic choice rather than one made entirely out of economic necessity.

    • Yause says:

      Aku no Hana’s cheapness lies in the low drawing counts. The rotoscoping adds some extra flair (if you can look past the wonky implementation; it’s choppy precisely because of low sheet counts), but this is a very low budget show regardless of technique.

      Still images such as backgrounds are the cheapest things to create in anime. Producers sometimes skimp on them for small savings (it’s like opting for a hamburger instead of a cheeseburger to save a few cents), but when your animation budget is already so low…….

      • AkuNoHANA says:

        It might be low budget, but the art is not cheap. That is a different thing…in the other hand, low budget or not, I still think the second season has already been done. I just don’t understand why would they invest the “little money” they have just to show us a bunch of previews… it’s a waste of money for a low budget production.

    • AkuNoHANA says:

      Agree… like I said before, tracing takes a long time. People think tracing is easy. Not when you are trying to create art. Tracing over a drawing or frame of motion picture is not done in one minute, because it’s not just the tracing, you actually have to have drawing skills to get the tracing looking just like the original. Then to apply the color… it’s not a one minute job. So I don’t get how it would be “cheap”

      I say, it’s probably more costly because of the time you have to put into creating this kind of animation.
      First film, then trace, then apply the color, and details and so on… how is that cheap? lol.

  3. Litho says:

    The director probably did a good job, knowing his pedigree. But looking at the fairly-low quality of the source material, this most this series could ever be was lipstick on a pig. The bile is the pretentious plot, not the art.

    • Puran says:

      Why is the plot pretentious?

      What is it pretending to be?

      • meaqui says:

        Well, it comes down to tastes, but I maybe I can provide some arguments for Lithos opinion.

        From the very beginning, the plot tried to be something “deep”. “Look how cruel a teenagers life can be, if hes not “mainstream”.

        Well, what we got were actions that are way over the top: vulgar words, sexual abuse, mistreatments…There was barely anything positive. Aku no hana tried to show a realistic side of a teenagers life – and completely lost itself in the “shitty part”. I agree that you can show this side too, but the characters here didnt try anything to ameliorate their situations or understand those around them. And … maybe spoiler?? I havent seen the TV-Show, so I dont know how far they got in the story:
        ………………The suicide-attempt was completely unmotivated. Well not completely, “life is shitty” was their explanation. But come on, at least the main character really didnt have a believable motive to kill himself.

        So to sum up, the plot tried to be realistic, deep and dark, and what was left was the dark part. It became ridiculous in the end, because the plot is inconsistent and motives arent provided.
        I completely agree in calling this plot “pretentious”;)

        And I can only say it for the manga to argue against psgels: The plot certainly tried – and it failed. Trying alone is not enough to succeed.

        • meaqui says:

          Ugh just to explain myself
          “way over the top” – the actions itself are believable and realistic, the amount and the onesidedness is not.

          • martin says:

            the show is pretty darn negative. and i dont really agree with some of these characters at all. they do seem pretty self involved. except i reminded myself a lot that im watching sensitive/troubled teenagers and i’m seeing how they’re experiencing/dealing with things. i do believe there are some teenagers who are that negative. especially in a country that has a high suicide rate. the show is kinda like a pseudo POV of a negative main character/author and how that person sees the world. which personally i find interesting. on the other hand there is nanako saeki, she’s pretty much the one ray of positive sunshine in the show, she offered that much needed contrast.

            i dont think the show is deep as well.
            but when it comes to content, for me the show is just an interesting view of a few teenagers.

            your points are definitely valid though; easy to see how divisive this show is.

          • someloser says:

            that one way to view it, positive vs negative. I saw it as individualism vs conforming to society. Nakumura was the character who didn’t give a shit about society, and thus in a sense was “free”. Only problem was that she also was a bit hypocritical due to trying to reach out to people. Kasuga was the one who believes himself to be special but submits to society, and by being blackmailed by nakumura, he’s allowed to let his true self run free and starts doing shit rather than mumbling about what should be done. I guessing this is the reason kasuga stays with nakumura, because by staying with nakumura, he becomes more and more “human” rather than a robot of society. This might also be why nakumura dislikes kasuga and saeki’s relationship, mostly because it’s as normal as it gets. saeki on the other hand, conforms to society the most, and realizes this. Any by hopefully going along with kasuga, she believes that she can also become truly unique, similar to how kasuga went along with nakumura.

            Truthfully I don’t see the story as trying to follow realism, but rather just to make people think. The reason they did the suicide attempt wasn’t just that “life sucks.” and if it was, they would have done it alone. However by going out and killing themselves in front of a bunch of people, wouldn’t they have essentially broken many people out of their normal cycle of life? does the act of killing oneself have acted as a statement that they were truely unique, and not just walking the path taken by many before them? Or in the end, are these kids just taking everything to an extreme extent, and don’t understand enough? By did nakumura take individualism too far and start becomeing ignorant of all opinions? There’s alot to think about…

        • Puran says:

          @meaqui:

          Your explanation (which by the way I’m not going to argue against very much, because you make calid points), points that the plot is “bad”. Not pretentious.

          I guess I’m taking issue more with the word “pretentious”, because other than that, I don’t want to defend the plot that much.

          I will say this though. The plot didn’t seem very dark to me. It did seem about right. Then again I did have more or less fucked up school years.

        • Puran says:

          @meaqui:

          Also, the parts you have problems with the plot, are parts that the anime didn’t get into. So I’m not sure how your explanations work to defend Litho’s opinion (who is refering strictly to the anime).

        • Gan_HOPE326 says:

          Personally, I think it’s perfectly acceptable for a work of art to push a bit beyond realism in its strive to tell something unusual. After all, we are ready to accept sci-fi or fantasy elements used as metaphors for real life problems: why then not a slightly “over the top” version of reality which serves the purpose of stressing problems/states of mind that do exist? I think Aku no Hana drives a few points home, and does so very well. One of these is exactly that Kasuga and Nakamura’s actions are unjustified, irrational, and disproportioned to the causes of their discomfort with their lives. The manga, and the anime even more so, does not justify them, or portray them as some kind of romantic heroes striving for freedom from monotony: they are petty teenagers doing petty things which only make those around them suffer. Kasuga’s self entitlement and his arrogance when he thinks of himself as better just because he reads a few books is blatant. This is made even more obvious by the second arc of the manga that, despite being arguably less interesting, is explicitly focused on how Kasuga finally grows out of all this shit and realizes he’s just another normal person, yet he can find his way to live and be relatively happy within that. The show’s purpose is strongly rooted in shock value – namely, in forcing viewers to confront the memories of their own teen years by showing them how arrogant and stupid they could be back then (personally, I was). I’m not arguing that Aku no Hana is some sort of absolute masterpiece, but it surely is better at psychology than most anime. It’s like a Chuck Pahlaniuk book: not realistic, but ultimately about real mind states – only, taken to the extreme.

  4. martin says:

    damn, i want that 2nd season, even if there isnt enough manga material for another full season.

    i wrote off this show early on because i didnt like that it was fully rotoscoped (i prefer Masaaki Yuasa’s sparing use of rotoscoping), so initially i thought it just came across as cheap and it shouldve just been live action. i gave it a 2nd chance, and im glad i did. love the atmosphere. and i definitely warmed up to the rotoscoping, i thought it was justly used.

    i have to echo psgels, i love how risky and non-mainstream this show is. good to see a studio take a chance on this unique property.

  5. Arno says:

    Hi Psgels, you seem to have a technical problem with the selection of your bottom-right images.

    Sorry, just harmless hazukashi joking…

  6. Tarsio says:

    I love it! I love the episode as a end of a season (if it was the end of the anime, it would be boring). The way Kasuga makes a contract, it close a circle. He finally take the iniciative. He made a choice to follow the “dark side”. And know, everyone want to see how far he can go.

    I just can`t wait to see more. This anime goes more deep in japanese society than any other anime that I have seen.

  7. aryan says:

    Hope it would get a second season and one for mushishi too please nagahama

  8. Dinsdale says:

    This series has been a bold, risky experiment. From the hindsight, I can´t imagine how it would have been possible to achieve its dense, creepy atmosphere, it´s moment of emotional burst, it´s introspective imagenery, without rotoscoping. Using your standard cutesy character designs -kinda like in the manga- and without the librety of a camera actually shooting things like the classroom scene in Chapter 7, would have detracted a lot from it. I really enjoyed this series and i´ll keep my fingers crossed that we´ll see the order of those random scences within the context of a new season.

    Now, to the episode itself, it was kinda a letdown. We had been left to a whopper of a cliffhanger, finally we´re going to get a glimpse of what´s going on inside Nakamura´s head; till now we still had to learn the first thing. Who is she? Why doesn´t she behave the way she does? But alas, her dairy doesn´t reveal anything we didn´t already know. Kasuga´s renewal of their contract? Nothing new there, we foresaw that 2 episodes ago.

  9. chris says:

    Basically another Kare Kano ending.

    • someloser says:

      kare kano was a different type though. By the last episodes there was barely any animation and stuff was done in black and white, showing how bad the budget was. At least AnH actually ended with some form of complete animation.

  10. Keith says:

    I know everyone on here likes to pretend they actually know how production works, so I have a question. Even if rotoscoping is ‘cheap’, what about the expenses of paying actors, scheduling shooting scenes, equipment for the real-life shots, etc? Just because animating the frames themselves might be ‘cheaper’ won’t all of those costs for shooting the scenes add up?

    • sparaflAsh says:

      I was going to say the same thing, but I thought it was quite useless against some lame complaint. They probably think you don’t have to pay all the staff you need to shoot a live action drama.

    • Well... says:

      No. Not at all.

    • AkuNoHANA says:

      You have a good point, and one I have been trying to make up there in reply to all these other “theories” about not enough material and cheap production.

      Before talking all bout this, they need to get informed on what drawing, tracing, and animating, really is, how it works and how much time it’s actually put into it.
      It has taken me hours to do one piece of art that might look like it can be done within 30 minutes. It is in the details that everything lies… and this animation whether “cheap” or not, is not done to meet a certain date, you can tell there is so much love put into every frame of this animation.
      Aside from all the time consumption that is behind filming, which needs to be done for this kind of technique to be applied, there is time in tracing, coloring, animating, and finally editing.
      Just because they aren’t doing it free hand doesn’t mean it’s less time invested. And time is money.

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  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:37 AM)
    @;( I mentioned desensitization due to overexposure as an alternative, but that is a natural mechanism for coping, as natural as the disgust in regular individuals. There is always a good portion of irregular people in every society, the information age just makes it more accessible and brings them together.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:37 AM)
    The point is, that I can see in rare cases and you could say this of butchers also., that for some off kilter people, aspects of those careers can easily become triggers to kill.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:36 AM)
    And yet there are doctors who kill such as Shipman.
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:34 AM)
    @Emma: I don’t think anyone too invested in medicine and surgical procedures is bothered by gore. They simply see too much of it to look at it as something more than a science probably.
    And we also know that a lot of organs are donated and not all lives are saved. So moving organs and bodies must seem normal.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:32 AM)
    In that he pretended to himself he wasn’t in the room while commiting the executions.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:31 AM)
    I am recalling a story about an English executioner from the world war II period. His attitude to his job of hanging people was that it was merely a job and he left himself behind whenever he did the hangings, to him he wasn’t in the room when they occured.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:25 AM)
    @;(: The doctor is aware he is saving a life, that fact I am sure overwrites his fear of the gore aswell.
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:25 AM)
    Disgust is psychological after all.
    And if you can change your perspective you can change your emotion towards it.
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:22 AM)
    @Emma:
    Well if you really think about it, humans are just biological bodies. Doctors see corpses and body parts all the time.
    Taking this into account, these things stop being gross if you don’t consider the being living and watched enough gore to care. Conditions which from a barrier such as a screen could be easier to meet.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:22 AM)
    Interesting note about psychopathy/sociopathy, not all offend. Also high functioning autism, sometimes psycho/sociopathy is misdiagnosed as it.

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