English: Flowers of Evil
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 5, 2013 to Jun 30, 2013
24 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.191 (scored by 18746 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisKasuga Takao is a boy who loves reading books, particularly Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal. A girl at his school, Saeki Nanako, is his muse and his Venus, and he admires her from a distance. One day, he forgets his copy of Les Fleurs du Mal in the classroom and runs back alone to pick it up. In the classroom, he finds not only his book, but Saeki's gym uniform. On a mad impulse, he steals it.
Now everyone knows "some pervert" stole Saeki's uniform, and Kasuga is dying with shame and guilt. Furthermore, the weird, creepy, and friendless girl of the class, Nakamura, saw him take the uniform. Instead of revealing it was him, she recognizes his kindred deviant spirit and uses her knowledge to take control of his life. Will it be possible for Kasuga to get closer to Saeki, despite Nakamura's meddling and his dark secret? What exactly does Nakamura intend to do with him?
Related AnimeAdaptation: Aku no Hana
Characters & Voice Actors
DISCLAIMER: FOR THE SAKE OF THIS REVIEW I WILL BE OPERATING UNDER THE ASSUMTION THAT THERE IS AN UPCOMING SECOND SEASON. The anime said there would be a part two and I’ll trust that for now. If there is no season two then I'd have problems with the conclusion and the score would have to be lowered. But the anime created interest in the manga, they haven't exhausted the budget, they previewed pt. 2 scenes that they've supposedly finished, some of the most powerful scenes have yet to come, etc. At this point, it seems very safe to assume there will be a second season even if the anime sales haven't been great.
Ah, adaptions. The bane of all manga readers. Understandably, this is simultaneously claimed to be one of the best and worst anime adaptions there is. It has attracted much criticism and ridicule due to the huge change in character design, but this change was actually approved by the mangaka and I would tend to agree with him that it was good stylistic choice.
For some reason, fans think all anime characters, besides the comic relief ones, must be attractive. They can’t take ugly characters seriously or treat them like humans, but they have no problem falling in love with cute bug-eyed alien creatures. That’s superficial to a disgusting degree.
The characters are often ugly, but why does that matter? Do you hate all movies with unattractive actors? Not all actresses look like supermodels, nor do the vast majority of women, so why should all anime characters be beautiful? I actually didn't like how, in the manga, Nakamura was meant to be ugly or plain, but the mangaka drew her attractive. It's like the manga version of "Hollywood Homely." When I read the manga, I was kind of annoyed that something like that tried to evoke a masterpiece like "Les Fleurs Du Mals." In the anime, I wasn't offended by the reference, and it heightened my appreciation instead.
Aku no Hana is a work about descent into decadence, libertinism, and the meaning of freedom; mental and physical. Should the characters really be moe? Is it really important that their eyes cover half of their face? This adaption took advantage of all of the manga's squandered potential. This is exactly what a good adaption does, rather than following in every folly of its predecessor.
One thing that should be noted about the realistic nature of the character’s faces is sometimes they look better than others. Like a real person, some of the screenshots will make a character look ugly and some will make a character look normal, although normal is ugly by anime standards. The point is that you shouldn’t assume all the characters are ugly based on a couple unflattering screenshots. They’re not poorly designed, they’re real.
I love the collision between realism and minimalism in the character designs, additionally contrasting with the fact that the city is one of the most realistic I've seen in anime; kind of emphasizing the insignificance of humanity more subtly than the manga ever did. It should be noted that the fact that the city seems to be "decaying" or in poor shape is a reference to a major theme of Les Fleurs du Mal. This animation captures the atmosphere really well and if it was done differently it would have flopped thematically. It had an interesting and creative artistic direction that had a clear purpose to it.
There is much of symbolism and depth to the art, just as there is in the general plot, and it is arguably the best aspect of the show. The animation seemed a bit choppy at times, but the art was generally flawless.
The atmosphere created by the art was enhanced by the incredible OST. The first OP perfectly captured Kasuga’s character, the second OP Nakamura’s, the third Saeki’s, and the fourth was like a victory lap that captured the very essence of the anime. The BGM complimented and accented the atmosphere perfectly while the ED always kicked in with genius timing, changing subtly as the series progresses, culminating in it playing for half of the finale and a new ED coming on at the end. The ED is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever heard. All in all I’d say this is the one of the best and most fitting anime OSTs out there. It certainly has to be the only OST I’ve heard that’s influenced the atmosphere of a series and my opinion of it to this extent.
The plot seems a bit generic in the description, but unlike similarly premised titles, it is not a hentai or a comedy and it plays out very differently. The show is more about presentation than plot, but the plot is still engaging, unpredictable, and unique.
The characters were among the stronger points. Kasuga’s development was the entire point of the show (it appears to be a bildungsroman) and it was very well done. Under the guidance of Nakamura (a great character in her own right) we see him go from a mindless puppet who can only spout out the thoughts of others, but longs to be unique, to a free individual. At first he can only express himself in Baudelaire poems, poems he clearly doesn’t really understand, but looks down on others for not getting although he doesn’t really want anyone else to read them either. This whole concept infuriates Nakamura and she tries to “break down his walls.” Later, even in the classroom scene, he’s just writing what Nakamura says. It isn’t until he faces the prospect of losing her that he really manages to form a thought of his own, in an incredible scene and finale episode.
Nakamura helps him, and seems to treat him like dirt, but she also needs him. Her character is very interesting and the changes to how the audience views her over time were well done. Saeki is a foil to her character and there are many parallels and contrasts between them, both subtle and overt. She wants to understand Kasuga, but she can’t. She would accept him no matter how he is. Some of her character developments towards the end and alluded to in the preview/flash-forward were very unexpected and her character is as complex as any. All of the side characters are also interesting and serve their purpose well.
Enjoyment would be the hardest category to score. I enjoyed it more like I would enjoy a horror movie than a thriller, romance, or comedy. My eyes were not glued to the screen and sometimes it was hard to watch. I couldn't take it in more than one episode at a time, which is a testament to how powerful the atmosphere is. The whole thing was slow paced and tense and chock-full of second-hand embarrassment and humiliation. You really feel for the characters, and as they are dejected for most of the anime, you will be too.
This anime is arguably the best of its season and the best in years, but I wouldn’t recommend it to most people. If you appreciate the decadent literary movement, if you thought the manga could be better, if you aren’t bothered by unattractive characters, if you’re looking for something different or more realistic, or if you are just open minded then this anime is for you. read more
Aku no Hana is by far the most controversial Anime of the Spring Season 2013, receiving by far the most hate and still having quite a big fan base that does like it. Which one of the two sides arguing against each other is right?
Story: The story of Aku no Hana takes place in Japan and revolves around Kasuga Takao, a quite normal boy, who goes to school, loves books (especially Baudelaire's "Aku no Hana") and has a crush on what is supposed to be the beauty of the class. One day he finds her sport clothes as he wants to get the book he accidentally forgot in the classroom. He takes them out and hears a sound. In the hurry he just takes them and leaves quickly. Later on the psycho child of the class, being Nakamura Sawa tells him she saw him stealing the clothes. From then on she makes him do things that...well are kind of awkward. The whole story is really well executed and as far as I know follows the Manga quite well (didn't read it). It is really enjoyable to watch and it keeps unfolding in directions that the viewer doesn't expect to go to. It was a good story, but no masterpiece! 8/10
Characters: The characters are the shining point of the show. Even though the only ones that get any focus at all are the three main characters that everything revolves around, they are that good developed that that is no problem at all! Kasuga Takao seems to be one of the most normal students we've seen in a while in Anime. He likes books, has a crush on a girl and doesn't have any powers or things he is really good in. That is until he gets seen by Nakamura stealing the clothes and his life gets more and more messed up, just as his mind. Nakamura Sawa is a psycho. That's what everyone agrees upon. But it is a kind of psycho, that seems more pleasant than the "I'll kill you all" type, and rather is someone that is claims himself to be a deviant and searches for people that are the same as she is. Saeki Nanako is the girl Kasuga has a crush on. She is a kind and good looking girl. I am not gonna talk a lot about her since I'd just end up spoiling. One must be said: The characters aren't likable at all! It is hard to really like them, but that is the point the series wants you to be in. It's a point were you can look down on the show from a spot a lot higher, which makes every single character a lot more human and makes their built up incredibly well done. 10/10
Art: Well....the first thing that comes to your mind while watching Aku no Hana is the character design, which looks to say it in a polite way different. It is not a bad thing to make them look this way, since it is just another point that makes you feel more distant to the characters. The point were the art fails is the animation itself. The characters suffer from either to much movement at the same time and you just can't seem to concentrate because the characters look as if they would tremble without a reason or they don't move at all. The amount of still screens in this show is incredibly high and makes the show feel as if it was something based on an incredibly low budget, which it probably is. Later on the Animation gets a lot better but still not good enough to make up for what they did within the first episodes, which makes the enjoyment go down by far and the hate level rise in the same way. 4/10
Sound: The Soundtrack of Aku no Hana is incredibly simple. It mostly consists of tones getting louder and louder which creates a suspense that really fits the show as something dark and awkward. Aku no Hana has one of the most memorable endings ever created. A song only sung by a computer voice singing about the flowers of evil definitely is really creepy and fits the whole show really well. Just as the 4 Openings do. Every single one of them is weird in it's own way but still it fits the show so well that by now I really enjoy hearing them on their own. The voice acting is nothing that really stands out. While it definitely is not horrible, it is nothing I do love. 8/10
Enjoyment: I have no idea how to score this...honestly! This show is nothing you will enjoy! However it is something that makes you want to shut down your browser and never open it again. At parts I couldn't watch an episode in a single sitting, but had to constantly pause it to calm down a bit, since my nerves were blank, but this is what makes this show so good! 9/10
Aku no Hana is not a show everyone will enjoy, that is for sure. It is hard to watch and if you aren't into thrillers or that kind of stuff you really should stay away from this, but if you like them or if it even interests you a little, go watch this and make your own picture of it.
Different is better. As soon as something comes along that isn't a harem and/or doesn't have generic moeblob character design, BEST ANIME OF THE SEASON! For better or worse, this is ALWAYS how it goes. In the case of Tatami it's highly regarded across the board since there wasn't any manga artwork to disregard for the purposes of ART. Aku Hana is FAR more of a love/hate series; people familiar with the source material generally disliking it and people unfamiliar often labeling it as the best anime of the season.
The approach of both series is, simply put, style over substance... and cheap over expensive. Aku Hana had real people/locations rotoscoped. Tatami often used real stuff as backgrounds and/or flashed through images of real things, with artsy/unfinished drawings of the characters themselves. Aku Hana's stylistic selling point, rotoscoping aside, was turning one panel transitions into repetitive eight minute walks. Tatami's was repeating the same episode over and over, with the same characters playing the same roles and there being no character growth in any of those episodes.
Any and all failings relating to substance should be overlooked with these two. Half an episode dedicating purely to walking is more important than pacing. Likewise, the same events playing out with minor differences matters not when it moves the soul with an idea. If you don't approach these two with that mindset, disappointment awaits.
There is one key difference between the two: for Tatami you'll want the pause button handy if you have any hope of being able to read all of the subtitles. For Aku Hana, it's the opposite: you'll want the fast-forward button at the ready whenever anyone starts walking. An ironic difference, for sure.
Both are extremely unique anime with a non-traditional art style. They stray away from most of the cliches out there and stand out among the never-ending supply of moe anime that come out every year.
Opening Theme#1: "Aku no Hana -Kasuga Takao- (惡の華 -春日高男-)" by Uchujin (with guest vocalist Mariko Goto) (eps 1-3)
#2: "Aku no Hana -Nakamura Sawa- (惡の華 -仲村佐和-)" by Uchujin (with guest vocalist Noko) (eps 4-6)
#3: "Aku no Hana -Saeki Nanako- (惡の華 -菜々子佐伯-)" by Uchujin (with guest vocalist Shiho Nanba) (eps 7-9)
#4: "Aku no Hana -Gunma-ken, Kiryu-shi- (惡の華 -群馬県桐生市-)" by Uchujin (eps 11-13)
Ending Theme#1: "Hana -a last flower- (花 -a last flower-)" by ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY (eps 1-4, 6, 9, 11-12)
#2: "Hana -a last flower- ver.Z (花 -a last flower- ver.Z)" by ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY (ep 5, 10)
#3: "Hana (花)" by ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY (ep 7)
#4: "Hana -a last flower- ver.X (花 -a last flower- ver.X)" by ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY (ep 8)
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Related ClubsA Small Cult, Yandere, Yoko Hikasa Fan Club, Unusual is Better, Sol's Worst Anime, Artsy, Realistic Anime, Yandere & Yangire, ★ Лучший аниме проект в сети - AniMedia.TV ★, Harsh Raters Club, The Official Book Club, Aku no Hana FC, Unusual animation style
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