An Oasis of Thoughts

Aku no Hana – 02: Before Kyuubey, There was Nakamura

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Best girl, Best troll.

Best girl, Best troll.

Aku no Hana continues to be unnerving and creepy, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

I thank any of you who watched the first episode and continue to give this show a chance, because trust me stuff like the last scene in this episode will be the norm. Yes, Nakamura trolling and abusing Kasuga is pretty much what most of the story involves, except some nice plot twists and new character dynamics though at the pace it’s going so far, I’m not sure if anime viewers will see when Aku no Hana gets REALLY juicy. Many will find this trolling to be extremely mean spirited (no shit) and hard to stomach, but AnH doesn’t shy away from the hard facts: that this is how teenagers act towards each other, that we find pleasure in other’s suffering and that people like Nakamura are among us in the real world.

That’s one reason why I love this series: everything that happens in Aku no Hana is very matter-of-fact in it’s presentation: Nakamura trolling Kasuga? The show isn’t trying to pity poor Kasuga, nor is it rooting for Nakamura either. Just the way life is.  Nakamura pushing Kasuga onto Saeki would almost absolutely be considered funny if this series was animated “normally” – falling onto a girl’s breasts is the most cliche and annoying things I hate and yet Japan loves to use this as “comedy”, but that was completely subverted here. Nothing but tension and anxiety in learning what reactions Saeki had, what reaction Kasuga had and of course what reaction Nakamura had. I also highly recommend you have headphones on when watching this episode (and episodes to come), because the sound was really bouncing from left to right in a way that reminds me of Corpse Party, a visual novel that shares the same kinds of unsettling and creepiness along with very creative use of sound.

I won’t mince words: this kind of story is hardly “enjoyable” except to people like me who are pretty damn pessimistic about a lot of things about life and this kind of blunt, matter of fact storytelling really resonates with me. Nothing is outlandish about the issues Aku no Hana brings – resentment, disillusionment, bullying, etc. – though you can make an argument that it’s quite unlikely that kids these days suffer from ALL of those issues. Still, the point is that you’re not really meant to enjoy this series in a normal way: nothing about this series is funny, nothing about our main characters you want to relate to or understand. It’s all horrible, it’s all ugly and yet that’s just how life is, according to Shuuzo Oshimi (the mangaka).

So what kind of life will Kasuga have from now on? Well, he can pretty much be Nakamura’s slave as the contract has been formed but in the coming episodes, you’ll see their relationship blossom (pun intended) into something quite unexpected that will hopefully lead to getting to the best parts of this series, to see how much it can take to break these characters.

See you next week, shit bugs.



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