Nope you’re not reading wrong, Pancakes is indeed blogging Kuzu. Given how provocative this show is turning and how busy Cherrie is this season, I decided to pick up the coverage if just to see how far down the rabbit hole Kuzu decides to go. And oh boy, if this week is anything to go by, I made the right choice.
Part of what draws me in with Kuzu is how downright disgusting it can be. There is a no holds barred attitude at work here, where relations and infatuation are disorderly, licentious, and outright ribald in spots. This week of course focuses on the gorgeous Akane, who thoroughly breaks all prior assumptions by emerging a character as broken—if not more—as Hanabi. I personally guessed Akane was a bad girl a couple weeks prior, but her personality definitely broadens that image into something more sinister. At face value you can see why. Akane apparently finds pleasure in exploiting others, and takes great satisfaction in stringing the ignorant along. In Hanabi’s case, Akane even seeks deliberate harm by using Hanabi’s brother’s love as a weapon to tear down and belittle the girl. It’s almost a sadistic form of femme fatale.
When you dig down, however, Akane’s character becomes significantly more complex. This one is not a narcissist or psychopath as I’ve seen discussed, but a true solipsist, one who sees people not as people with their own thoughts and beliefs, but as flat characters in her own little world. Akane’s definition of “good” (i.e. intimately wanted) being any man who is already desired is the key, because in Akane’s world desire is the only objective—notice as soon as her plaything professed to dumping his girlfriend, Akane was turned off. Her professed inability reciprocating love is also a substantial indicator. Further interesting is how Akane became like this. Her backstory indicates a hefty amount of fear concerning rejection/exploitation, a fear which somewhere along the line morphed into an infliction fetish as evidenced by her enjoyment tormenting Hanabi. Akane’s entire existence is based around her desirability, a fact (and drug) which will eventually ruin her. We don’t have the term spinster just for fun after all.
The other shocking development is Hanabi’s sexual adventures with Sanae. This I never saw coming after the sleepover, especially given how much Hanabi was willing to try for Mugi. It certainly fits with the exploitation theme, however, especially with Sanae admitting she has no real chance realizing her love. As with Hanabi’s relationship with Mugi, Sanae shows a bloody accurate view of another form of intimate relationship, where only one party is truly interested while the other engages out of fear of losing the other. This is incredibly common in real life (think infamous “marriage sex”), and can serve as the flashpoint for many of those messy breakups you hear about. In Hanabi’s case though, Sanae sort of serves as the release Mugi cannot provide, largely because Sanae remains stuck as a friend in Hanabi’s mind while Hanabi can properly fantasize when with Mugi. This relationship will likely boil down into uneasy synergism, where both gain just enough from the interactions to see them continue, whether from fear or sexual release.
How things continue will prove intriguing too given Hanabi actually confronted Akane, and Akane crushed her hard with the remarks about Mugi. Hanabi’s vow to change will likely be challenged, especially if her brother finds out the hidden side behind Akane’s smiling face. And what will Mugi end up doing once Sanae’s services are discovered? With everyone this broken Kuzu has formed one hell of a powder keg, and it only takes one match to set things off. What the spark will be is anyone’s guess, but I doubt we have seen the best worst of things just yet.
Note: Cherrie may not be blogging Kuzu, but she’s being really sweet and helping me with the caps. Give her a big thanks, without her help I couldn’t blog this one with my other choices.
Oye oye qué ricolino :v
Welcome to the mess, Pancakes 🙂 … you’ve picked pretty much the most “split” anime I can remember: Fairly low number of comments on RC relative to the gigantic success of the show on MAL/Reddit which is talking about it “Anime of the Season” terms. And I have no idea why.
Frankly, I feel strong empathy towards Hanabi. And lord knows that she is wrong when she was talking to her “inner ghost child”: What Hanabi did with/to Ecchan is not in the least comparable of what Akane does with Narumi. And now she’s making the fateful decision to change in order to defeat Akane *cringe*
No idea why there’s a lack of comments, but I’ve seen stranger things in my experience. Some shows just never generate discussion here–I mostly chalk it up to coincidence 😛
I’m also not surprised by the AOTS talk given the subject material. Kuzu has the unique distinction of emphasizing the nasty side of relationships alongside some blunt scenes of intimacy. In a sense it’s pandering with an uncommon theme, particularly in terms of characters. Not many romance stories ever go this route or with such “realism” per say, giving Kuzu a good degree of strength compared to others.
It’s an interesting story, with a rather unique adaption. I can see why it would have a lot of discussion. I’m personally watching it for the adaption. As to Anime of the Season, I don’t really watch that many to make a judgement XD.
Looking at number of comments on this site, the last anime I remember that is rather similar to this also had a large variance. ef had a rather unique style and story. OMNI covered the first season of ef, but not the second. Looking at comments, numbers dipped and then increased again. Anyone care to do a statistical analysis on that? See what happened with the low numbers and high numbers. I didn’t follow his posts about it back then as I watched melodies before memories.
So Ecchan takes advantage of Hanabi because Hanabi doesn’t want to lose this friendship. Hanabi takes advantage of Ecchan because Ecchan is willing to be another substitute to fill Hanabi’s void. This is a toxic relationship no matter how you look at it, and one of the few yuri ships I cannot support. When I read through the manga, I remember I didn’t feel quite this way about their relationship. If the anime succeeds at anything, it’s portraying Ecchan as borderline creepy (vs. just really intensely in love), especially when she follows Hanabi around.
Another thing this series does really well for me is it draws a clear line between sympathizing with a character and excusing their actions. I still deeply empathize with Ecchan, particularly with the kind of self-loathing she felt towards the beginning. At the same time, I can be rightfully critical of her behavior. This is not a series where I can attach myself to a favorite character without examining exactly who they are and what they do, and I think that’s one of the show’s strengths.
Ecchan is interesting because she’s surprisingly honest with herself. She outright admits she’ll never have Hanabi, so settles on getting what she can while she can. It’s incredibly toxic as you mention, but it allows for empathy and understanding regarding Ecchan’s actions. Her and Akane add a layer of complexity I wasn’t really expecting once I started watching.
Until this episode, I thought our protagonists put the Kuzu in Kuzu no Honkai. Now I’m suspecting it’s Akane.
I think it’s everyone that puts the Kuzu in Kuzu no Honkai. Just about every character has done something questionable. We have yet to look more deeply into Noriko, but I highly doubt her or even “Onii-chan” is safe from being scum in some way.
It’s pretty much referring to everyone here, every fleshed out character so far is broken in some capacity. Not too sure on Noriko being similar, however, I can see him remaining “pure” if only to accentuate just how defiled Akane and Hanabi are.
After Assassination Classroom, here comes another B*tch-sensei. And she relishes in your despair. Enoshima Junko would also be so proud. And to think I first heard Toyosaki Aki as K-ON’s Yui. I know she voiced other characters opposite Yui’s personality but still color me impressed with her performance as Akane here.
I have several acquaintances who are like the characters presented here… including a “friend” who’s the male form of Akane. Less dramatized, of course. They’re more “savvy” with how they act, but they have mild psychopathic or self-destructive tendencies. They’re also very, very charming people. When you start to notice it, it’s almost horrifying… because you’ve realized you’ve been with them for so long and conditioned yourself to harmonize with their personalities. The world is a scary place, folks.
akane sensei actually narcissist sociopath.
Wow Pancakes you did a good write-up there, about Akane and everything. And I totally agree: This show is real disgusting.
I’m out. I’ll come back to take a peek at the finale if this doesn’t become a sex show by the end of this season.
Heh thanks for liking it, I had a lot of fun writing this post up that’s for sure, so much to potentially talk about.
Akane is a monster, I don´t think anyone could love a scum like her once they see her as she truly is.
The biggest problem is that those that can love Akane for who she is will have a hard time getting that love reciprocated. It’s complicated stuff. She likes the process of stealing, but not stolen stuff. Trying to keep that fire alive, oh boy.
I’m still entertained by the idea that everyone here is “horrible”.
Akane is horrible. Everyone else seems to just be more honest than usual about how confused/lost/badly motivated they are by the illogical, unplanned emotion of attraction/love.
If Hanabi were horrible, she wouldn’t be as self-reflective as she is. She wouldn’t feel guilty, imagine herself being scolded by her younger self, and wouldn’t walk about perpetually sad and lethargic.
Her relationships with Mugi and Ecchan are knowingly mutually using, yes, and there’s a painful mix of emotion and lack of emotion. But everyone’s in on it. It’s not like she’s Akane, seducing and drawing them in while letting them think she’s in love. The difference is black and white.
It’s just a blunt, honest look at teenagerisim. Stuff like this happens all the time IRL but rarely are the participants honest about it. Kuzu’s characters see rain as rain; their IRL counterparts see rain as cherry blossom petals until reality slaps them in the face. In this sense, Kuzu’s pretty unrealtistic, IMO!
Oh, and as for Akane, time is her enemy. As she loses your youthful looks, her deliberate ability to charm men will keep her going for a little while, but soon enough her gestures will look motherly and even grandmotherly. Not a good way to keep up her student crushes.
Her alternative is to become more directly blunt with her targets and seek male attracted based on the promise of experienced sex, but then that is a loss of what she really wants: male adoration.
She’s destined to be an ugly, bitter, resentful, lonely crone.
Some people (yes, women included) age like fine wine. They’ll be dangerous no matter their age.
The key is some. Betting on looks and desirability lasting through age is not a good idea, particularly for those people like Akane. It can be incredibly hard finding others for romantic adventures when you’re both old and carry a hefty history, no matter physical appearances.
But we haven’t seen her bet on her looks. She’s taking advantage of what she has. If she finds other things she can make use of, that’s scary stuff.
Very, VERY good comment from you, danny. Thumbs up!
Except for Akane (who I love to hate – she is a fascinating character), I wouldn’t call any character bad, or even “Kuzu” (Scum/Trash). They are YOUNG.
And the anime doesn’t filter out the fact that being “moral” or acting “healthily” doesn’t solve all problems.
My guilty pleasure anime xD
I was thinking I would enjoy everyone’s bad sides in this anime, until this episode that is… Hurting Hanabi just because Akane enjoys watching peoples broken faces is where I draw the line.
Even though 3 episodes have long passed, I’m giving this one more episode to prove I will like it. If I keep watching and most episodes will be like this one, I fear I will lose hope in humanity (even though it’s fiction)…
ok I wish Akane gets her well desired karma – preferrably by someone actually (ab)using her and leading her to realising her declaration “I’d rather die than end being used by someone”
other than that I just wish to as many people as possible to find their happiness… which is of course impossible considering how many onesided love interests we are seeing.
Mugi X Hanabi looks like most probable stable form of relationship, as long as Mugi manages to see past Akane’s charms and Hanabi manages to go thru with her “try to love him”. This of course leaves at lest 2 people heartbroken in the form of Ecchan and Moca. The “Onichan” will probably end up heartbroken too since akane is gonna dump him eventually as everybody else.
Gosh what a romantic mess…