What better way to start of a new season of anime with a rotorscopic explosion of rage and opinions on a manga adaptation like this.
Aku no Hana a.k.a. The Flower of Evil made the rounds in animedom that instills such rage as if it killed your favourite pet. What it is is a manga adaptation that took inspiration from the French poem of the same name by Baudelaire; mainly it centres on decadence and the mockery of virgin purity in teenage life.
While the premise is interesting, I never really continue to read it for some reason. I will be sticking with it this time though since the adaptation is like this:
The “slap in the face” feeling of the fans that expected the anime to be a pure, clean adaptation is so good. In a sense, the decision to use rotorscoping for this anime in of itself is highlighting how decadent animedom has been lately with regards to a middle/high school setting. Almost always that such a setting would be comedy, school romance, incest, harem, walking sex fetish or all of that and almost always with a pointless story-line coupled with an artstyle engineered to be appealing to the lowest common denominator. Not that I can see how this anime will shake the industry enough to make a change in trends, but this is yet another break from the circlejerk that clamours for more same “school life comedy romance harem” themes that are already legion.
Okay enough with that tangent.
Wish they would clean up the animation a bit though, as much as I like the decision to fuck with everyone with it. I don’t really know what is it that I want fixed, but it’s not “3DPD REPLACE IT WITH ANIME STYLE!!111!!”.
There’s also that post circulating of the interview with the director and mangaka. Don’t know if it’s BS translation or not, but I like what I’m reading: http://forums.animesuki.com/showpost.php?p=4622098&postcount=169
There’s also the opinion that this should’ve been a straight live-action adaptation. I disagree in that I think animation leaves a lot more room for clever mood setting scenes to be worked in. Sure, this will still need acting, but since it’s now “turned into animation” that will give it a sort of freedom that I feel would be inhibited by just normal live action.
I’ve reread the first chapter of the manga just to compare. The first half of the episode is a good exercise in “show, not tell”. Showing that the main character, Kasuga Takao’s life is just an ordinary boring student life with normal student friends. They even decided to reuse the starting scene to get into where the manga starts. Another good example of “show, not tell” is the way Takao is shown to have a crush on a girl, Saeki Nanako in his class. There’s no introductory monologue that tells the audience that Takao’s life is boring and then suddenly jump into a world-shaking event later on.
I also like how the music is as foreboding as it can be, telling the audience that crap’s going to hit the fan, or rather that despite the pure and naive view that Takao have for his crush, there is an impure seed budding in his heart. Admittedly though, the anime doesn’t really show how much he thought of Nanako other than that he has a crush on her. And that ending song. Oh my word, that is as WTF as the art style is. It is foreboding, it is creepy, it fits with the overall theme.
The episode ended in one of the best spot possible: the metaphorical winter of blandness that is Takao’s naivety comes to an end, and ushering spring that will allow the flower of evil to bloom.