OP Sequence

OP: 「惡の華 -春日高男-」 (Aku no Hana: Kasuga Takao) by 宇宙人 (Uchu-jin)

 

「運命の出会い」 (Unmei no Deai)
“A Fateful Encounter”

Aku no Hana has been highly requested as a “To Blog” show this season and although I’ve never read the source material, I can see that it’s going to turn out to be a controversial piece. There’s a haunting atmosphere that surrounds the anime and sets up the mood to reflect what you would expect out of this type of show. You’ll see what I mean if you’d just give the show 24 mins to play.

The true intentions and bulk of the plot is not revealed within this first episode. However, the audience gets a grasp of all the key characters and components of the story. The story follows the protagonist named Kasuga Takao (Ueda Shinichirou) and not much is revealed other than – he is your average high school student. He has a family (nothing wrong with that), he’s not an outcast because he has friends and he loves to read this particular book called “Les fleurs du mal” (which the anime is titled after). He has a crush on this girl in school named Saeki Nanako (Hikasa Yoko) and no signs really point to interactions between the two other than in the classroom. Not much else is revealed in this episode other than another girl named Nakamura Sawa (Ise Mariya), who is introduced but that’s all you see of her for now. The episode ends with an empty classroom and Takao stumbles across Nanako’s gym clothes. Unknown to the audience yet, Takao ends up stealing them – which sets the story up for Aku no Hana.

So why are people so drawn to Aku no Hana and what makes this series so anticipated? For one, I’m not watching this series for its animation. That’s mean to say but I’m glad that Zexcs has an untraditional approach to drawing out this anime. You can really see some realism reflected in the “fatter” girls and boys. It’s unique but it’s not fluid and some audience members might be turned off by it. I just wanted to mention that this shouldn’t be considered a complete write-off since a lot of anime have unique styles and that’s no reason to stop watching. One of my personal favorites of all time, Fantastic Children had an odd style as well but it turned out to be an exception anime. As a result – yes, it’s odd at first glance, but it doesn’t deteriorate too much from the intentions of the show.

Aside from that, the anime has far more potential than it leads on. I promised not to look into source material – however it’s hard to encourage readership without giving hints of what is to come. Without spoilers, Aku no Hana is essentially a show that shows a different perspective of growing up. It’s definitely not a very easy show to swallow because it’s humiliating to watch, and difficult to keep your eyes off of at the same time. This story is gripping because there’s an uneasy tension that’s hard to pinpoint throughout the series. It’s not to be taken light-heartedly since it’s meant to keep you thinking, and bring about interesting encounters that makes you cringe. It’s distributing to say the least so don’t say I didn’t warn you. The songs also add to the dark and daunting atmosphere, especially that tie-in with the ED which sounded like the inner subconscious of Takao.

Unfortunately, due to my weak stomach – I won’t be blogging this series past the introduction. However I encourage those that like psychological dramas to try it and let me know your thoughts. It’s a very symbolic show as well (with the evil flowers blossoming) and there’s bound to be a ton of controversy about the direction of this series. Even I’m curious to see how it’ll all end – but for now, I’ll be reading the manga first.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「花 -a last flower-」 (Hana -a last flower-) by ASA-CHANG

Preview

195 Comments

      1. The animation in this looks like Rotoshop (computer tracking rotoscope rather then hand drawn) but I find it disturbing as shit because it actually lacks a touch of humanity to it while watching. o_O It feels like humans being degraded to mannequins to me. It’s actually effective in setting the mood as a parody of humanity.

        Ani_BEE
      2. @ Ani_BEE:
        Divine said the same thing when he watched the episode. I’m not a fan of the style since it makes the characters stand out a lot against a very static and bland background. It really bothers me that their mouths don’t move properly too =S

      3. I have to laugh at the mouth thing. It’s actually tracking pretty well actually buy since it tracking Japaneses speech patterns and facial moments it look strange when you flatten the shapes out like this in 2D. There are being very soft spoken as well which amounts to smaller movements compared to other language of the mouth.

        Ani_BEE
      1. SAEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
        NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
        nOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
        OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
        fuck this shit.
        NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
        Show Spoiler ▼

        NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

        Natsu
      2. I can understand how you feel. Compared to how the characters look in the manga, this is literally a crime on the manga itself.

        To be honest,CHERRIE has my sympathies for having to take these screenshots.

        Though the animators are trying to being realistic, realism is poison to the anime/manga world.

        L002
      3. @Cherrie

        Well still, I am feeling sympathetic that you have to watch this episode. The first three minutes of this anime and this is how I feel when it didn’t look anywhere near the manga in appearance.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKK-KLDlm20

        At this point, no one can blame you if you let this anime go, Even though the genre is a “slice of life,” they poisoned this anime with too much realism. Everyone in the anime looks too much like a guy that I feel shivers just thinking a girls voice is coming out from that sort of poorly made anime character.

        L002
    1. ….. how come everyone looks more realistic than they do in the manga? …if they went so far as to make it look like this, why didn’t they do it in live-action?

      starss
  1. Since the art of the anime isn’t the same as the manga, everything is ugly. Even I myself thinks this anime is ugly.
    But I think that the anime is trying to portray the ugliness and realism of the story.
    Those who read the source material should be able to understand what I mean.

    1. Nice try, but, nope. They’re not showing the “ugliness” of the story, they’re just trying to be edge, which is completely unnecessary. The character design of the manga is pretty good. Change it? Bad decision.

      André
    2. And… I don’t think they look realistic. If people where as ugly as the characters of this show, I would gladly cut my eyes off. This is just like those generic action games that try to be realistic using just grey as color… They just forget that the sky is blue, plants are green, etc. Just like Battlefield, the art of this show is not really realistic.

      André
      1. “If people where as ugly as the characters of this show, I would gladly cut my eyes off.”

        You can’t be seriously, André! What, you watched too many damn moe girl anime with eyes-big-as-your-fist with no-nose girl/boy that you forgot how real, normal Japanese people looked, son? They are NOT ugly! This is what, non-movie star, non-model, everyday average folks look like. Well, all right, beauty/ugliness is totally subjective, but I won’t let you trash normal Japanese people! Just go watch Japanese live action films or better yet, visit one of Asian countries.

        If the studio intentionally exaggerate to make fun of people in mean-spirited ways -oh I dunno, like short height, facial features like eyes, etc-, that’s one thing, but there is no such thing happening here. If you don’t like non-idealized faces, that’s fine, but don’t go crazy overboard like saying this sort of stuff, man~~! 😛

        deathtogeneric/formulaicshows
      2. Natsu,

        yeah the cheap rotoscoping effect didn’t help, surely, but I still insist that some people are taking too far with this”ugly talk”. To me, they look normal. Decidedly average, if you will. They won’t turn heads when they walk on the street, that’s for sure, but that’s okay. That’s normal. There is difference between normal and ugly is all I am saying~~!

        deathtogeneric/formulaicshows
      3. Watch about 1/3 of this anime. Don’t like the ugliness. I mean, the show trying to hammer in the fact that it is a dark stories by accetuating it with drab colour and ugliness all around. Japanese girls in general are quite pleasing to the eyes. danny choo got lots of schoolgirl pics that are damn cute.

        Lordip
    3. I can’t even fap to this like i did to certain parts in the manga ( you know what parts i mean) but the realness is understandable except everyone isn’t ugly like this anime. They ruined my Flowers of evil 🙁

      Natsu
    4. The movements are quite realistic, and so is the background, but the character design hurts my eyes… Then again, it is more realistic as Croos pointed out earlier

      Shrubbery
      1. The result? Half of the world’s anime-watching population go into shock and suffer from withdrawal symptoms due to lack of moe. Thank you for your efforts in finding a way to alleviate overpopulation, Japan.

        junglepenguin
      2. It’s the Japanese Government way of alleviating the declining birth rate in japan. By removing the Moe in anime, otakus will be forced to interact in this 3D world, women.

        Nekomimimeido
  2. How should I say it? It’s an…interesting show. There’s a lot of symbolism going on and literature it references to, such as Les fleurs du mal’s Beauty and Hymne, and it has a more realistic feel to it. The manga makes everything a little more beautiful, but the anime takes a more realist look to it, in my opinion.

    Definitely a show you’ll either love on first sight or hate on sight.

  3. Obligatory: WHAT THE ART?!

    Personally I think the reason for nontraditional realism approach is meant for viewers to “take the show more seriously” (3D>2D!!!), granted that mostly backfired.

    I’ve read vol.1 of the manga, and all I can say without spoiling is that there are no rainbows and unicorns awaiting at all (please avoid if you’re prone to raging or easily depressed). But the manga didn’t draw me in as much as the anime did – because of the said odd art style.

    Granted the visuals is still difficult to adjust to (damn Nakammura, what happened to you), the manga might be a better way for viewers to get their feet wet quickly. But for those who are in no hurry, I’d say the anime would be the better bet, if solely just for the “depressing feel” factor.

    PS: I should’ve known why there were no characters shown in the PV..

  4. I don’t feel any hate for the art, I actually enjoy it for a change but shouldn’t it be saved for an original anime or a novel based anime?
    The original work is a manga and I kind of feel cheated because I loved the art on the manga counterpart.
    It’s like a double letdown: a shame they didn’t adopt the manga’s artwork and a wasted opportunity to really demonstrate a different anime animation style because fans of the original may not get attached to it…

    MenuMaker
  5. I liked this first episode. I watched it before reading the manga, and wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt a creepy mood the whole time, and that cut-in with the ending almost gave me a heart attack quite honestly. I thought something was going to pop out any moment, even though I knew it wasn’t a horror or anything of the sort.

    After having read the manga up to date, the only thing that truly bothered me about the first episode is that it only got through half-way of the first chapter, and hasn’t even got to the problem and plot of the story yet.

    This anime is getting a lot of crap, be it Japan and around the world among the English speaking audience. I’m not quite sure if I can see the “beauty” of the series at the beginning of the manga that everyone keeps mentioning that is ruined through the anime. The series is a bit repulsive (as it tries I believe? lol I don’t mean that I hate it, trying to find a good word that fits to describe the story it depicts) so maybe the realistic/shoddy animation is meant to show that? I’ve heard others say that and I think it’s an interesting way to look at why it’s animated this way.

    Hope this continues to get blogged since I like to see the opinion of people at RC and the visitors quite a bit.

    Jel
      1. I believe that it’s only supposed to be 13 episodes, so I’m pretty worried about how much material they’ll even cover if the pace continues this slow.

        Wish that more comments here would talk more about content than the evident bad animation and “ugly” characters. Let’s talk more about this ridiculous pace of the first episode that accomplished close to nothing from a creepy atmosphere, huh?

        Jel
  6. In an interview, the director mentions he chose this art style as an attempt to *shock* and *disgust* the audience. Well, he accomplished that, but to what end?
    Does it REALLY help tell the story better? or it just to satisfy the director’s own ego? Time will tell, I suppose, but its already worrying that the viewer discussion so far has been all about the art style rather than the content.

    Babel
    1. “Good job, you have successfully disgusted us in the audience, so you got the reaction you wanted. Now allow us to go spend our money on some other series more worthy of it that isn’t trying to be a horrible adaption. Once again though, good job accomplishing your goal.”

      anon
  7. I do hope someone picks this up and blogs it, since this series is a nice discussion piece. I don’t think a weak stomach is a problem, since gore isn’t the seller. Maybe a weak heart will shy you away?

    TSouL
  8. Though the art was initially sore on the eyes, I’m intrigued by the direction the adaptation’s chosen to take. The character design and style of animation are definitely contrasts from what you see in anime nowadays and it seems like Zexcs is trying to draw away any preconceived notions viewers may have about anime in general. This unfamiliarity in design also adds to the unsettling atmosphere. Most anime character designs work to make the viewer feel comfortable with the characters and thus character designers often resort to recognizable design patterns.

    The strange fluidity, yet stiffness in movements is uncanny in the Freud’s sense of the word. Like watching a human android move, something about it seems human-like and real, yet strangely out of place and clearly unnatural. I look forward to seeing more of this series.

    Cleaningagent
  9. The character designs are so radically different that it’s hard to recognize this. I am no fan of the original manga (interesting at first, then got self-indulging on weirdo fetish real fast… dropped it was), but I like this look!

    Even though I keep hearing from the haters how this show is unnatural based on shading and jerky movement while disregarding on the character designs – since they can’t dispute on that- or they just outright say they hate these faces and they are fugly or what not; I, on the other hand, LIKE THIS. If you hate these faces, you’re saying that you hate Japanese people’s faces; these characters look infinitely close to the real Japanese folks’ faces (minus weird shades… think of A Scanner Darkly, folks!!) than any Japanese anime show, so GET OVER IT. I see nothing wrong with these faces!

    ANY time I see Japanese anime shows moving away from the-eyes-big-as-your-fists with no nose thing, I am a happy boy. Even Saeki looks rather normal now in realistic way, as the real life person would be. Nakamura looks down-right psychopathic -and surprisingly realistic depiction on disturbed Japanese teenage girl.

    Bravo, the studio. Bravo.

    I won’t be watching since I didn’t see much point in the manga, but that’s just me. I just didn’t care for the weirdo fetish stuff and mega-masochism the manga brought, what can I do~~~??? Seriously I almost want to let this play on my monitor for 20 min on its own while I go out, just to support this moe killing movement!! Fuck yeah! That’s how much I am for this thing…even though I don’t care for the content. Heck, I am quite sure this show’s blogs will be deserted towns, so I almost want to come here every week to comment some random things solely based on the screencaps alone, just to support it. See? That’s how much I am for this moe killing Japanese anime show. About the damn time, I tell ya!!

    deathtogeneric/formulaicshows
    1. I see no noses. I see no cheekbones. I see a mandible in one out of three, and even then only when they are speaking. Last time I took physiology, humans had all of these (granted, this was 10 years ago and humans have a remarkable ability to mutate and adapt). Now Japan might be populated by a sub/super-species related to homo sapien that do away with such trivialities, but if this is not the case then this art style isn’t particularly “realistic” either, huh? Almost as if it were chosen just to give a giant middle finger to the viewership and then laugh heartily at anyone so self-absorbed by their own personal crusades that they try to defend it?

      But if you’ve been to Japan and can confirm that real Japanese people really do look like this I’d very much welcome your reply, deathtogeneric/formulaichipsterattitudes.

      I won’t be holding my breath.

      J Jay
    2. Well I understand your reasons. I personally dont like this colorful moe-stuff either. But that doesnt mean that everything else is immediately good. Aku no hana is certainly more realistic than your average-anime, but you still cant tell me that this is how normal People look. Neither do I have rabbit teeth, nor eyebrows that are grown together etc. Yeah, you’re right, this IS more realistic and people CAN more or less look that way. But why did they have to take the ugliest examples of our species as characters? There is someting between this and moe (eg Ergo Proxy, Shinsekai Yori etc.)

      Not gonna watch it.

      Libelula
    3. Disregarding the stuff about animation, that’s what I got from the manga too – rather than psychological it felt a lot like someone just put together some fetishes to make it look deep and different.Granted it does show some sides most anime about teenagers don’t, but those things are few and far in between.To be quite honest it felt like a hentai with a solid storyline but psychological/realistic/deep?Only if you haven’t watched/read anything good of those genres.

      Banshee
    1. EVEN SAEKI IS UGLY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Show Spoiler ▼

      I cant fap to this NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      Natsu
  10. Damn, the character designs are just hideous. I can sort of understand why they did this, but I don’t watch anime to torture my eyes. I guess I’m passing. The manga looks pretty decent though, so I’ll probably check it out since I hear some good things about it.

    FlameStrike
    1. Well, the director originally declined the project, saying that it was a pointless exercise. He only relented once they accepted the rotoscoping idea.

      Now, the question is, why did he decline in the first place? If I had to guess, it was probably budget. If they went with (really cheap) traditional animation, the show would die without a fighting chance, which would reflect poorly on his effectiveness as a director. However, rotoscoping creates a gimmick, which makes it stand out. In a best case scenario, the viewer could forgive the puny budget once he/she became intrigued by this atypical technique.

      Obviously, the strategy didn’t turn out too well (this is cheap, poorly executed rotoscoping that failed to impress most viewers), but it was a compromise.

      Mike
  11. The original manga author actually knew about this.
    But anyway!
    I’m enjoying how much publicity this is getting. It exploded all over 4chan and anime forums. Whether or not I’m actually gonna continue watching this depends on whether the story can make up for the animation. I mean, I… I think I can still stomach all that rotoscoping… but if it falls flat on story, I’m bailing.

    Meh
    1. The publicity will certainty make it more well known, but they have scared away the Japanese audience who pays $40/episode for blu ray releases, so this publicity will not translate into any profits.

      anon
  12. hooray for everyone who says the style is ugly…congratulations! you hate yourselves hahahaha! anyway whats this about again…im about to find out. thanks fo blogging

    BROOKLYN otaku
  13. This show tackles the tough theme of troubled teenagers. Not the normal type who might run away for a night or two because dad yelled at her, but the truly troubled type who for one reason or another sees the world as a place of despair and hopelessness. The perceived “ugliness” of the characters portrayed in the art style is probably intentional; meant to illustrate how others and the world around them appear through the eyes of the troubled protagonists…

    Zen
  14. Although I dont hate the Art (I preferred the original manga art though), It’s the absolutely bad rotoscoping technique that grates my nerves. Even the Kids on the Slope/Sakamichi no Apollon anime have better more smooth implementation of this technique.

    Nekomimimeido
  15. Good lord! What madness is this?! I don’t mind realistic, but none of them look like kids. Then again, maybe showing a realistic girl raping a boy may have made problems. It’s like they took live videos and photoshoped it. Regardless, this is supposed to be a psychological anime and from the visual appearance, I say they’re succeeding in already making us go nuts.

    ion62
    1. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that the characters look like freaking adults. These are elementary students and seeing what appears to be full-grown men, in elementary sports’ uniform is a little distressing.

      ion62
  16. Ironically, I think Aku no Hana would do more to promote the persistence of the Moe Art style, than a dozen best selling Garu-pans and Love Lives done in the “traditional” moe art style.

    Andmeuths
  17. I had no problem with the style. Some characters look uglier (mainly because I can’t detach my preconceptions on how anime women should look like, my bad) while some looked better (this is exclusively the case with the boys though, who in the manga can look outright disgusting).
    This begs the question, though, Why don’t they just outright make a live action dorama adaptation?

    Cobeurn
  18. instant cult classic, everything about it is near perfect…the realistic body proportions depicted here is definitely a welcoming sight compared to fag shows like you name it (k, karneval etc)…i don’t get why people are complaining…in my opinion, this is the way it should be for a show geared towards a more mature audience…story really sucked me in…possible runner-up for the best show of 2013

    ed is fucking great, op seems a little out of tone though…

    NierTevra
  19. My main issue is the art style is not the same as the manga.The only thing they got right was the flowers of evil.

    I’d rather they have just made it a live action show if they wanted “realism”.That’s what Yankee to Megane kun did (and I fucking hate it, I WANT AN ANIME, NOT LIVE ACTION).

    The animation is trash, plain and simple.They ruined one of the 21 anime I was looking forward to the most -_-.

    Whatever studio did this animation, you’re all a bunch of shit eaters.

    Magoiichi
  20. Minimalism in expression as an artistic choice. Realism in the detail of motion. I quite enjoyed the effect.

    Have you ever heard of the saying that most of what someone is thinking or feeling can be read through the eyes? The basic concepts of expressionism are the core of existing anime and indeed emoticons. Tell me are depictions such as: =D XD ^^, realistic human expression? No. But do they get across a feeling or a mood? Yes. Look at standard anime expressions. Do they sometimes have barely a incomplete triangle for a nose and a line for a mouth and maybe well drawn eyes which are in an unrealistic style which we are accustomed to?

    Aku no Hana seems to me deconstructive of the foundation of anime and expression. Every simplification of facial features is barely different from norms of how anime depicts expression. The art is ugly, hell yeah it is but there is realism from the rotoscoping. When he’s walking to school in the morning and he clears the dirt around his eyes while rolling his eyes upwards. Have you ever seen this detail or realism in normal anime? Or compare the walking animation to the countless ED walking animations of other recent series.

    The realism in proportion as well as motion opposed to keyframe expressionism, AFFORDS this anime to take a stylistic approach which has little facial definition. You try putting as little detail into a face and put it into standard keyframe pure hand drawn animation and then attempt to get feelings and expression across in the same way and you’ll fail.

    That’s my take on it anyway. If i’m flattering producers that are trolling then I take back what I said. If they are sincere and maybe making the best use of a small budget with a clear artistic vision, I applaud them. But if they are willing to animate mist descending the own at 1mm per second and not draw a face in past 3 meters; evidence points to most things being as intended.

    Ngai
  21. So many opinions on it in the first episode! I thought that this episode was far too slow, and thus the characterization wasn’t very good. And the rotoscoping wasn’t done very well. But this episode certainly shows what kind of theme it can bring. And hence, it probably would help to promote the manga.

    Having read the manga, I personally think that this series has a generally different type of events that portray the main characters, and although it is unconventional, it certainly can turn some heads. But my personal take is that those who say that the plot is disturbing, have not really experienced reading extremely horrifying and disturbing writing yet.

    And yeah, the animation. I would give credit for it being different, but I don’t give credit to lazy animating. So I dropped it, unless great improvement is seen in later episodes. It’s really a waste of the source material if the animation isn’t done right.

    Personally, if you’re interested, read the manga.

    Polashi
  22. I would totally blog this if I was a part of this site.

    I think the issue with the animation, personally, is laziness. There are shots used over rather obviously [for example, when he’s walking to school] and some shots where the characters completely freeze and just stare which makes it uncomfortable to watch. The style itself is interesting and I’m warming up to it, definitely fits the mood that they’re going for, but the “laziness” is what’s bringing it down for me.
    It’s been a while since I watched a psychological series so I might keep up with this even though the manga didn’t catch me (but that may be due to the art being pretty and trying to capture the mood of things, could be why I prefer the anime style also).

    bara
    1. Rather than being lazy, I had thought the use of repeated scenes were for the purpose of emphasizing his “ordinary” life where nothing interesting happens and he repeats the same thing over and over each day. That was the only reason I would imagine someone would would the exact same scenes in the exact same sequence. If this is indeed the case, then I suspect that episodes after this won’t use repeated scenes so blatantly.

      introverte
  23. Well….I wasn’t expecting the animation to attempt being…..that realistic. i have no issue with it being realisitic , the trouble is that these are supposed to be highschoolers and yet they look like adults acting as highschoolers-like in a live-action movie. its not a good look. At all
    Apart from that , and the fact that the OP and ED songs were not enjoyable at all(The ED in paricular is going to give me nightmares at this rate) , i could really get into this anime. Theres this whole atmosphere thats “simmering” , as in all the insanity is waiting below the surface , and the consequences will be disastrous.
    I’m gonna try and ignore the jarring aspects of the animation and just continue watching for the story. I have a soft spot for psychological stuff.
    (Really wish this was getting continuing coverage , but I respect Cherrie-san’s decision so i won’t dwell on that too much)

    Aki-Chan
  24. There is quite a bit of controversy already. One, an animation technique known as Rotoscoping was allegedly requested by the mangaka. Two, he/she stated that when they learned they (the animation studio)wanted to adapt this series, he/she said that this was the intended look of the characters from day one and not what we got in the manga. Personally, I don’t like the series or manga but the characters look something horrible almost too realistic. Why the mangaka decided this, is a big unknown to me.

    Ziko
      1. Because then, we’d never look in its direction long enough to see what Aku no Hana was all about. It’s clear now, isn’t it? The minute the pleasing visuals disappear, everyone gets all upset.

        junglepenguin
  25. OMG, an anime where the kids actually look Japanese and the school is run down! Have they no shame? No mecha? No mahou shoujo? Of course it sounds like it’s going to be a horror story ( but not the magical kind), so I guess that makes up for the realism.

    Bear
  26. I’m actually looking forward to what this show may bring. This show still has potential in my eyes. I myself am a big fan of the manga, so when I first saw the episode and the scene opened with an awkward looking kasuga, I also thought ‘WTF’. However, after I rewatched the episode, I adjusted and somewhat appreciated their different approach. The art is not a deal breaker for me.

    The director of this anime seems to have a very clear grasp on the material he is adapting, which makes me hopeful. This is clearly a set up episode. Very mundane and showing the everyday life of Kasuga, with the only really interesting thing happening towards the end when nakamura comes into play. The episode intended to show the uninteresting things that happen in everyday life, things most animes usually cut out and are narrated about.

    However this lifestyle gets shattered when he makes a life changing decision at the very very end of the episode, symbolized when the flower of evil begins to bloom.
    It is fully understandable why people don’t like this show, but please don’t knock those who have a genuine interest in where this show might be going.

    stuff
  27. 68 pages on MAL for a 1st episode.I couldn’t find and don’t know anything else that has that many for a single ep.

    I’m already looking forward to seeing some eventual “My reaction to seeing Aku No Hana anime” on youtube.

    MgMaster
    1. Black Butler season two, episode 8: 75 pages. 1,519 posts.
      Never underestimate fangirls.

      Nevertheless, Aku no Hana’s thread on MAL is getting very close to surpassing it.

      Mormegil
  28. Manga entertainment level: 9/10
    Anime entertainment level: 0/10

    When I watch or read something, I want to be entertained by whatever it is I am directing my attention towards. Entertainment to me is to be taken from my everyday world and drawn into a new, fictional world. The manga succeeded in drawing me into the world of Nakamura and Kasuga. The anime tried to draw me into it’s world but the art, pacing, and animation kept kicking me out. It was like it was saying, “We don’t want you here!!”

    The way I see the manga characters designs is that you have 2 cute girls and an average looking guy. At first glance they seem normal, clean-cut members of society going to schoool like everyone else. But then you find out they are NOT normal junior high schoool kids. It is because of the complete contrast between their looks and their personalities that caused the biggest impact for me when I read the manga.

    For the anime, the characters designs seem like blobs in the shape of humans. The lack of shading and details mean that I could not see them as normal from the beginning. Because of this when Nakamura did her stare and famous quote, there was no impact. They were ugly on the outside so what was inside would be the same. There was no impact, no contrast, just me chuckling. And having your audience laugh at what is supposed to be a important scene is not good.

    As for the background, showing the town and school as being rundown and not like how it is shown in other anime, I feel they missed something from the manga. What I interpreted from those scenes in the manga was a town/society in decline but continuing to do things the same way as in the past. It helps that environmental scenes seemed to be placed either before or after a confrontation/interaction thus reinforcing that message. Nakamura and Kasuga are rebeling against what they see as a worthless and mundane society that knows it is failing but won’t change.

    For the anime, I never felt any sort of message about society or their town. It was like they saw the dirt environment in the manga and thought that was all it was. Maybe I’m thinking too much about it.

    Anyway, the anime just doesn’t draw me into it’s world and thus I’m not enteratined by it. And because I’m not entertained, I won’t be watching it.

    rh75
  29. Well definitely the manga is far better than the anime. The girls look so cute in the manga, that even though sometimes is quite fucked up you forgive it due to Nakamura’s sexy mysterious smile.

    I know that with this artstyle ZEXCS chose, they will probably mind fuck me more than the manga did. But then again, what really makes this series addictive is the cute innocent artstyle the mangake originally used, so i don’t think with this art, the series will be that much of a hit.

    Shadow
  30. We all know those moments when we’re watching something… and you’re not quite sure why at the time, but you just have that nagging voice inside of your head saying: “I really should stop watching this, like right now.”

    That ’bout sums it up for me. Whether by its art, name or something else entirely, I feel as though this is a show that if I try to invest in it, I just know I’m going to regret it.

    Call me out for it if I’m horribly, horribly wrong. As of right now though, thanks but no thanks.

    Ryan Ashlight
  31. 0/10

    Colors, style and lighting are all wrong. Plot seems shit(yes, unless I can feel the plot I’m very unkind.) And you barely can feel what the characters feel(I blame the art style.)

    The Moondoggie
  32. Despite what everyone is saying about the art, I am actually very very looking forward to the show. I am more of a storyline driven person. After watching the first episode, I immediately jumped into the managa just to find out what is going to happen next.

    As for the art, yes, the manga no doubt is more eye pleasing (please do not use the word “better” its shallow…) compare to the anime, but there are many scenes in the manga I would LOVE to see how they will turn out in the anime, especially Show Spoiler ▼

    , really want to see that.

    leungclj
  33. I for one loved the first episode for two main reasons: it’s adult and seems to capture Baudelaire’s energy in his poems really well. I haven’t read the manga but from what I can gather is that it was read through a traditional lens of slice of life/harem manga with a dark twist. I think it is more than that. When you really understand the depth and controversy behind those poems when they were written, and the modernist approach this anime is taking, with the audio, visual and voice acting choices it all comes together in that perfect foreboding taboo.

    It’s kind of disappointing to see a lot of people write off the anime for its visuals, so many people write off the entire anime medium because of that and can’t take it seriously as a result, and I think that sucks. I would implore people to realize that there is a lot more under the surface.

    Last note: This really reminds me of Serial Experiments Lain.

    Joyeuse
    1. The problem is…If this was an anime original we wouldn’t be complaining. But after reading the manga every month. Discussing it, analyzing it you grow to like this characters. So when the anime turns what you like into that, even if the plot is the same, that the voice acting is interesting due to being realistic, it all goes to hell because you cant imagine the characters you grew to like with that artstyle the anime studio chose.

      I know this series is good, the problem is, the manga itself relies a lot in expressions and anime specific quirks that in any other style they would look creepy or just wouldnt convey those feelings.

      Shadow
      1. Well, I took it upon myself to catch up to chap 44 last night (haven’t binged on something in awhile). Having read it, I definitely didn’t get the chance to mull over and grow with the characters as you might have, however if I follow through with a Nabokov analysis, he’d be chiding us for trying to connect or identify with characters. That isn’t what a makes a story great (in his opinion) it’s the ability to have us travel and live in the world that has been created for us. I’d say that if the manga as a written and visual form and yes the art for you, better conveys the world than this one with it’s audio-visual experience then I can’t argue, but if a preference is born out of attachment because of what you watched or read first, I would fight that impulse! =)

        Joyeuse
  34. I’m not sure if its an age thing — I’m 32 and I grew up with anime but the newer generation seems to be spoiled with 1080p, perfect, sexy, gorgeous anime. As someone who grew up with some “ugly” anime in the 1980s you realize that there are a number of styles that help to tell a story. Style should fit content. It seems a lot of people are disappointed that you wouldn’t consider dating these characters in real life 🙁 Unfortunately that isn’t a real reason to write it off. If you are a fan of the manga – then you should be happy that you are getting two distinct styles instead of one carbon copy (after all I fail to see the point of an anime that is exactly like the manga).

    I for one think its a brilliant start – and found myself thinking the anime was gorgeous, actually. The speed, the cuts, and the framing of the shots were all well thought out and are recognizable to anyone who has studied film to any degree. Though I may be biased as I had the pleasure of working on A Scanner Darkly which was rotoscoped (and resembles this style in a more lo-fi/lower budget way — think *Waking Life* for a better comparison).

    At any rate, this is definitely one for the older crowd who grew up with less than stunning images in general and perhaps people who aren’t judging the characters on sex appeal. Think ambiance, emotion, metaphor, nonverbal communication, the way style interacts with content and the importance in framing the camera for the best affect and you might find yourself looking at this in a whole different way (which is the point surely).

    oshinai
    1. It’s really interesting that u worked on A Scanner Darkly, truly sorry that this is a wee bit off-topic but how was the experience of working with Richard Linklater?

      KingofConquerors
  35. It was a terrible premiere, owing to, yes, the dire rotoscope art which really pinned down my interest to the point i couldn’t even finish it. I was one of the hell-bent supporters of this anime getting coverage on the site because of 1. The source material is amazing, 2.It comes from the director of the forever underrated Mushishi. 2. But if this whole thing was his idea, it means he truly has dropped the ball. There was nothing special ’bout the art of the manga, really, nothing. But at least it didn’t detract from the reading experience. The director probably was concerned about this. But his effort sadly shot him in the foot.

    I just realized that the adaptation of A Scanner Darkly also used Rotoscope. I wonder why it didn’t work out well. It was probably because of the Japanese’s faces that didn’t suit this kind of a method, or probably because of the lack of ability of the staff to draw out the full extent of the filmmaking technique.

    KingofConquerors
    1. The director used Mushishi’s artstyle when he adapted Mushishi, and that’s why Mushishi is a really good anime. I feel that this is an insult to the mangaka. When someone adapts someone else’s work he should do it with the same idea the original creator had. *unless the original creator is dead, so you have no idea how he/she would have done it*

      Imagine if every anime director did this with every manga adaptation. the anime industry would go to hell.

      Heck, the two most awaited adaptations, Oreimo and Shingeki no Kyojin, use the same artstyle the Light novel and the manga use. And that’s why people like them, because they stay true to the original.

      Shadow
      1. Except it was the original creator who wanted it to look different in the first place. He refused the original pitch which would have made the anime look the same as the manga. There’s a link a dozen or so posts above with a link to a translated interview with the author. This anime is simply, as intended.

        Ngai
  36. There’s plenty of feedback on this series, and my personal opinion won’t add to or subtract from anything that’s already been said; I would like to only render the observation that if you like this series but haven’t read “Les Fleurs du Mal” by Charles Baudelaire I highly recommend it. Though I was an English Major and consider myself well-read by American standards (not saying much, sadly) I had never heard of this piece of classic French poetry and I have to say, I find myself really enjoying Baudelaire’s sentiments as it pertains to the industrialization of French society.

    I also find that it adds a certain richness to my understanding/enjoyment of the anime “Aku no Hana”, though it’s definitely going to be a “niche” title. As has already been said, you either love it after twenty minutes or you hate it after twenty minutes; though I think that anyone who possesses even a modicum of common sense won’t find their opinions swayed by the vapid spewings of the pre-pubescent apelings whose incoherent drivel constitutes the vast majority of the responses for this thread.

    Ah, my apologies – that last part should have been contained within a “spoiler” tag.

    Yes, that was sarcasm.

    ZD

    Zendog
  37. Come on Random Curiosity, you cannot leave this uncovered. For good or for worse, The Flowers of Evil has generated more forum posts than any other premiere in the season. And it is the most controversial anime in quite some time (well, really since Sword Art Online I guess…). This should be on top of the list in terms of blogging potential!

    Steelman
  38. Wow, what a… what a shock.

    The director and mangaka agreed on this animation technique as the best one for a series like this one, which is supposed to leave the viewer scarred after watching. Color me scarred. But I can’t look away.

    hoiut
  39. I agree, there is something wrong with the animation- it makes me feel very…..uncomfortable……. But, this anime is like a Japanese drama, like Life or something- no fantasy elements or anime elements, it’s designed to tell a story about life… But the style is really bad. I wish they made the style more anime-ish.
    This is on the borderline between reality and fiction to me.

    Shinichick39
  40. I’ve only read a bit of the manga, but I think the anime is a beautiful representation of it. I can’t wait for more.

    I think the whole “leaving faces blank until they’re close” look is quite genius. It mimics how a lot of us perceive people as we walk around town each day. We don’t really stare at faces, we just see figures of people. The backgrounds and cityscapes are rendered beautifully as well…

    The conversations that the characters have and the ambient noise in each scene make this anime feel so real to life. I think any boy who’s had a crush on a girl in school can relate to when Takao notices Saeki during class and during gym time. A lot of times we only realize we’re staring at someone until they look back at us, we get embarrassed and look away. The animator presented this beautifully.

    There are some pieces of cinematic gold in here, in particular the scene near the end where we see Takao and his friends walking home through a mirror. When Takao walked out of the mirror and down the path back to school, that literally blew my mind.

    I think anyone who appreciates good photography or cinematography will find this anime really aesthetically pleasing, and if the plot stays relatively close to the manga’s then the story will be interesting as well.

  41. Rotoscope from hell much?
    Ok, seriously, I thought the animation was too jerky, the facial expressions were non existant and all in all this looked really cheap.
    I didn’t know WHAT kind of animation to expect but… let’s face it,people expect more than 5 minutes worth of effort in the animation style.

    Amy
  42. I haven’t watched yes, but from the screens i think it fits very well the mood that Aku Hana has, the plot is kinda of weird and erotic. Having a more realistic animation gives a much more emphasis on that. I read on the comments that the creator wanted it to be different from the manga. I have always felt that the mangaka wanted Aku Hana to have a more realistic drawing. It conveys better the climax scenes.

    Kamishiro
  43. For some reason, I find this style a refreshing change from ye overly cute anime style.
    It seems appropriate to look seemingly real and yet animated, given the darker subject matter.

    Having not read the book, nor manga. The first episode has given a dark taste to the show, I’m loving it already. It’s not often do anime tackle the more awkward topics of teen life besides boys peeping at girls in the shower…

    I do hope someone from Random Curiosity keeps blogging this. I for one will see where this show will take me.

    Momo
  44. image 12 (Kasuga’s mother?) really does earn this anime its nickname of “Aku no Potato”.

    The irony is that I went through the entire current manga chapters (1-45) due to the anime’s existence, but I, too, am not a huge fan of rotoscoping, and so I will probably not follow the show itself.

    JohnnyAxes
  45. Not reviewing one of the best series of the spring 2013 season due to a clumsy first episode is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen since I discovered this great site. What a disappointment if also there is no review of the entire series at the end.

    Yamirokuai

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