Another Short:

There are plenty of short anime on offer this season, but Kowabon may be the one most worth checking out. It’s classed as ‘horror’ but it’s not scary in the slightest, however, it is interesting. I suppose someone out there could find this scary, but I’m not one of those people (it takes a lot for a horror movie to scare me nowadays – most of the time I just giggle my way through the cheesy dialogue and lame jump scares). That being said, I don’t think it really matters whether or not you found this scary. I say that because there aren’t many anime out there like Kowabon – shorts even less so – and a bit of something different is always a good thing.

Rotoscoping Horror:

Aku no Hana is probably the first rotoscoping anime you’d think about, for better or worse. Personally, I was a fan of the manga, which I blitzed through in one reading and thoroughly enjoyed, however I made a point of avoiding the anime adaptation when it aired back in 2012. Interestingly enough, if it aired now I’d probably give it a shot and enjoy it for what it is. The rotoscoping might be ‘ugly’ (like you could say with Kowabon) but I so have some respect for that particular method of animation.

As an animation graduate, I studied the history and practice of rotoscoping, and let me just say that I hated doing it. I found it repetitive and tedious and not near creative enough for my liking, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have appreciation for those who do use it. I think it makes for an interesting final result, even if in Kowabon’s case the frame-rate is criminally low and the lip syncing doesn’t exactly fit… it actually works given the characters are speaking over Skype. I’m going to assume the clunkiness of the whole thing was intentional, even if it results in a disappointing (albeit interesting) final product. Rotoscoping is at its best when it’s not noticeable, but that takes time, money, and dedication, and I suspect Kowabon is lacking in the first two.

Overview – First Impressions:

It may be horror, but like most horrors it’s not scary in the slightest. But it’s not laughable either – unless you detest rotoscoping, of course. But if that’s your view on that particular technique, there probably isn’t much point in watching this in the first place, is there? Proper rotoscoping looks much better than this, but this is a short and its budget reflects that; yet it still has style and it provides variety in a season that is plagued with rehashed LN adaptation and tired tropes that that we’ve seen done to death. I’ll definitely be sticking around to see how this turns out. I suspect each episode will focus on a different scenario with different actors and actresses playing the characters, so maybe one of those stories will actually like up to the ‘horror’ tag. Time shall tell.

Note: There are currently no plans to blog Kowabon on a weekly basis.

In other news: I posted an Anime Summer 2015 Review on my personal blog. Feel free to check it out and see what I thought of the past season – I even ranked all 24 shows I watched in order from worst to best.

ED Sequence

ED: 「I, Screaming.」 (アイ、スクリーミン。) by LinQ


  1. Ignore infantile flamers and totally check out the Aku no Hana anime. Unique and honest adaptation of a great manga. Rotoscoping is something you get used to and works well with the densely thick atmosphere.

    Good to see some appreciation for experimentation.

    1. Honestly, it’s not the rotorscoping that bothered me, it’s the fact that they made them look like grown adults. If they wanted to do rotorscoping, fine, but couldn’t they have fixed the age bracket? None of them look like they’re in junior high, which kinda destroys a part of what made the manga so great. You see some of the worst humanity appear in something so young.

      1. Might have been a bit risque for younger kids to act out some of those scenes? Besides they looked plenty like 14-16 year olds do IRL. Students face a lot of mounting pressure in Japan so contextually it didn’t feel that out of place.

        It’s great to have the manga experience AND a different spin on it via adaptation in my view.

    2. Nothing from with Aku no Hana if you liked that style. This was just dire, however.

      It’s a pity it was even animated – it actually might have worked as a live action web video.

  2. Well, I have no idea what went on, which is good and bad? It’s great that it got my attention, but lacking a clear outline of what the series is going to be kinda feels weird? Not sure how to describe, but definitely going to check this out (though I want to marathon this instead of watching it weekly).

    Also, I felt the rotoscoping was a good choice for this. Honestly, I felt if they made it more anime-ish, doesn’t have to be all moe, it would’ve lost some of that creepiness it had. 😛 This really matches with the creepy weird atmosphere it had throughout the episode.

    Trap Master
  3. It’s not bad or anything, the problem is it’s too short. Most anime short eps are at least 8-10 minutes, but this was like 3 minutes at best. Without any time to build an atmosphere, it feels empty.


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