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. ( )

    • 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:


          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:


          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.

Leave a Reply


Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 07:59 PM)
    @Masky: no definitely not every game, but you made it sound as if the whole idea of realism in videogames is ludicrous. Now I haven’t played Undertake myself, but looking at the Steam pics in looks like a humorous retro pixelart indie project, in which case it doesn’t need to be realistic but it still should respect it’s own internal logic. Unless it’s meant to be all bonkers like an Xavier: Renegade Angel episode, but again very few things are like that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 07:30 PM)
    Oh lol the Symphogear guy teased the idea of a fourth season for it, you mad mad bastard.
  • Masky
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 08:03 AM)
    @Bam: Yeah, but simulating reality applies to certain types of games. Judging EVERY game by how realistic it is is silly xD
  • 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.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

One Punch Man – 08

I wish I knew just what that girl at the beginning was parodying as she’s clearly been overdrawn in a completely different style. My closest guess would be the poster girls of creature features in the 60s and 70s as she wouldn’t look out of place if pasted into a movie poster. I don’t think […]

Young BlackJack – 08

While I find the level of risk in this two part arc to be inconsequential, I must admit that I like how it all turned out. For this is the first time in this series that Blackjack failed. While he was able to discern the cause of Johnny’s lack of pain, he was unable to […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 07

Oh those poor seiyūs that had to act in today’s episode. I can only imagine the horror when a Japanese speaking seiyū is told they need to have an entire conversation in English in a fairly dialogue heavy show. Japanese and English happen to be two of the hardest languages to learn so if they […]

One Punch Man – 07

This episode mainly focused on a giant Meteor about to annihilate the city and the introduction if S class heroes, Metal Knight and Bang. Bang makes it a point to say how the top class heroes are hardly very heroic with most not showing up at all to stop a city’s total destruction. Even one […]

Young BlackJack – 07

Racism is always a thorny topic to deal with. Regardless of intent there are just so many ways of messing it up, be it by using strawmen or one dimensional caricatures. It’s a topic that requires a delicate hand to prevent pushing it to its extreme all to make an obvious point of Racism being […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 06

I can’t say I enjoyed this episode of Subete too much, mainly because there was less investigating and more character building. That wouldn’t be a problem if the character building wasn’t so focused on our main leads. The leads are fine, what we need is to expand on the other characters present on the island […]

One Punch Man – 06

It is interesting that the challenges that Saitama faces that get him worried that truly the most mundane and ordinary. Saitama can punch a monster into oblivion but when it comes to essays or going to sales he’s powerless. Here we have him about to be kicked out of the hero association if he doesn’t […]

Young BlackJack – 06

There are times when Blackjacks over the top nature can be entertaining presentation wise and others when it can remove any sense of surprise. While I do like the things Blackjack explores, it is very clear cut on how it shows it. In this episode the man that Blackjack and the army Medic have been […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 05

The more I hear about Magata’s DID, the more suspect it becomes. According to this episode, Magata didn’t conceive DID out of trauma or accident but instead intentionally crafted alternate personalities so well to the point that it became DID. I personally find the mechanics of this rather fantastical as I don’t think anyone can […]

Latest Reviews

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]


Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]


Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]


Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]


Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]