22 CommentsFlowers of Evil / By Shinmaru /

Flowers of Evil 10 – Disappointment

flowers-of-evil-nakamura-disappointment

This is the look your waifu gives you at the end of every day.

This series is very good at a great many things, but there’s one thing in particular it excels at: that perfect cutting moment of awkwardness leading to horrified laughter. There’s much rawness and emotion in this episode, but it’s the very end that hit me most deeply. During Saeki and Kasuga’s argument, Nakamura remarks on how pathetic everything is. It is a horrible stroke of irony, then, that she’s center stage in the final pathetic moment of the episode: After Kasuga refuses to choose sides and reveals his nothingness, Nakamura can do nothing but be intensely disappointed and attempt to run away from the police when they arrive to round the kids up. That scream when she trips and is taken in by the cop? Horrifying. Even Nakamura is not immune to the stifling nature of this everytown.

flowers-of-evil-awkward-police-ride

I’m usually loathe to use another screenshot so quickly, but Jesus, the awkwardness of this ride combined with the ED. It’s just too fucking much. It’s like the opposite of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure — it’s a crushing march toward doom. It is remarkable how leaden with doom and thrill most events in Flowers of Evil are when what these kids are actually doing is rather unremarkable. Such is the power of a presentation that understands how huge these events are to people who have experienced very little in their lives. For most people at that age, the town they live in is their entire world. I know I knew town I lived in front and back, but outside of that? Everything might as well have been a different planet. The world beyond, so different and full of magic . . . and me never able to get there. Now I can drive and fly and ride the train wherever I want because I am An Adult! Hoorah!

And, heh, don’t think I didn’t notice that Saeki/clean and Nakamura/dirty imagery, you cheeky little show, you. Saeki, though . . . it’s more clear by the episode that she represents how weird and fucked up this pure, clean view of romance is. It’s totally OK for Kasuga to take Saeki’s gym clothes if he does it for TRUE LOVE~~~~ It’s probably for the best that this whole thing falls apart so that Saeki can look back on this after a decade and be like, “Wow, did I actually think that?? Kids are dumb.” Then again, with three episodes remain, I somehow doubt that everything will be peachy keen and squeaky clean from here on out. This is a humiliating event for everyone involved, and because this is a small town, rumors will no doubt spread like wildfire. The fallout at school will be something to see, that’s for sure.

flowers-of-evil-holding-kasuga

Going back to this scene, though, I’m cool with the decision to toss away all manner of subtlety in favor of full-on emotional rawness. Stripping Kasuga down to his core is a rather obvious metaphor, but how else could this tug of war conclude when Nakamura has been tearing down Kasuga’s walls this entire time? It is only when stripped of any social pretense that Kasuga can admit that he is not the person either Saeki or Nakamura wants. He reads Baudelaire but doesn’t truly understand him (unsurprising considering his age and actions throughout the series), and neither is he someone with the strength to rebel in total against society. Kasuga is just a dopey, ordinary boy in denial that he is ordinary, which, ironically enough, makes him all the more ordinary.

Ordinary isn’t what Nakamura wants; the kind of ordinary Kasuga represents isn’t what Saeki wants. Poor kid just can’t win.

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22 Comments

  1. Pusswookie
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Feel sorry for Kasuga, the resident Bad Luck Brian, and his consecutive string of awkwardness and failure. This show is fucking heavy.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Haha, yeah, as much as Kasuga is a big phony and such, I can’t be that mad at him or wish ill will upon him because he’s such a poor sap.

  2. Erif
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Great post, sir.

    Although there is one thing I want to add; you say “the kind of ordinary Kasuga represents isn’t what Saeki wants.” I must disagree with you there and propose that Saeki is so fascinated with Kasuga because she thinks he ISN’T ordinary. Simply, she perceives him to be wise beyond his years, and places him on this echelon of higher thought, above the rest of her peers. Her struggle to “understand” him is not only due to Kasuga’s seclusiveness but also to Saeki’s insistence on putting him on a high pedestal.

    Of course, as we see in this episode, Kasuga comes to realize that is somewhat of a sham, and that seems to displease both Nakamura and Saeki. To what extent – well , we’ll have to wait and see. That’s my two cents.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted June 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      Ah, yeah, that’s a good point, and somehow I didn’t realize the irony of that right away — both Kasuga and Saeki putting each other on pedestals and not totally being what the other thinks they are.

    • Posted June 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Agreed with Erif.

      Saeki thought Kasuga was unique, and being loved by a unique person made her feel unique as well.

      Nakamura hoped Kasgua was a true deviant, and by being with a deviant she could accept her own deviancy.

      Hence the disappointment of both with Kasuga’s confessions of mediocrity.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        Well put.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink

      I think that it’s not just Kasuga that puts Saeki on a pedestal [though he does more so than most], but everyone, to an extent. Her “purity” leads people to project their own standards on to her [that she probably feels she has to live up to], which, in reality, leads to it’s own sort of isolation.
      They think, “well, she’s clearly unobtainable, so might as well not bother,” which inadvertently leads to no one approaching her at all and has likely led to her having a warped view of herself.
      So, basically, I think that another major aspect of Saeki’s general interest in Kasuga is that he’s the only one who’s actually bothered to ask her out in the first place. To be fair, I have read the manga [though don't remember most of it], so I might be inferring this from a larger pool of information.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I think I pointed out something similar in one of the earlier posts. She accepts Kasuga’s weird confession very easily because he’s probably the first who bothered to approach her on a one-on-one level at all.

    • Nazaren
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      I was about to say the same thing, but Erif said it better.

      I’m torn between glee and sadness for Kasuga’s situation. Seeing him being rejected by both girls for being a big fat phony is pretty satisfying… but view the whole thing through the lens of middle-school life, and I kinda sympathize with him.

      It’s apparent the Saeki is a bit twisted, but I still get the feeling she’s hiding something more deviant than has been hinted at…

      • Posted June 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        I hope that’s the case, because there are three more episodes left, and I doubt Shuzou Oshimi will just snooze on his laurels without twisting an extra drop of angst from our characters.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I mean, nobody wants to see a phony come out ahead, but at the same time, it’s pretty understandable why he’s such a phony — lots of people are phonies at that age, because they’re still trying to figure out who they are, so they get through it all by aping others.

  3. sandberm
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious what you think of Oshimi Shuuzou’s post-credit tags? “Shall I rotoscope you as well?” These episodes are so intense; but his tags make me giggle.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      … You know, I don’t think I ever noticed them, because I’m usually looking at other stuff while the ED plays.

      • sandberm
        Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:31 am | Permalink

        At the end of the first episode he calls the viewers pieces of shit and a few episodes later he calls himself a dumbass. I’ve seen anime with little omake bits after the credits, but not addressing the audience directly. Anyway, I thought it was interesting if not different.

  4. Gedata
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Amongst all this thoughful discussion, here is what I have to add:
    Saeki must’ve felt quite the poke from hugging Kasuga (if not, he ain’t no real man)

    • Pusswookie
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      Agreed. A man should be capable of materializing a boner at any time, in order to allow for tactical retreat from many tense situations.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        I kind of like that he has the shadow crotch like a manga character would.

  5. Kagamihime
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    You have to admire a MC that recognizes how shitty he is. I actually felt like clapping when he stated ” I don’t deserve to choose. I’m a piece of shit” (or something along those lines) just for the simple fact that it was what I thought the whole time while reading the manga and this episode as well.

    Best part of this episode had to be Nakamura’s break down and failed attempt to escape the police. For the first time she actually seemed vulnerable and I couldn’t help but feel that Saeki was actually the stronger one in all of this despite initially being the victim. Who would have thought.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      If Saeki’s stronger, it’s only by a little bit. Nobody really comes out a winner here, haha.

  6. Killer Queen
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    As much as I like that Kasuga admits he’s not a “speshul snowflake”, it’s harder to develop from it overnight. It’s not being a better person, it’s being a chameleon. As an avid Manga reader, all I’m just gonna say is “Dude, you’re still being something you’re not. Trust me.”

    Also, Nakamura’s break down…yeah. That was also quite an intense scene worthy of Clockwork Orange Music.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Pretty much. It’s not like a switch you can flip on one day and be like, “You know what? I’m just gonna be myself from now on!” Well, maybe it is for some people.

      • Killer Queen
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Well, if their will and resolve is strong then yes, quick development and improvement can happen.

        If anything, what IS “the real self” in the AnH universe? Because from what I see in the series, the real self involves connecting to primal instincts and impulses in order for them to feel “alive”. In other, simpler words: They yolo’ed.

        If anything, why do they brand being impulsive as “deviance?” Is it because no one else they know was doing it? Are they just bored, so they thought being “different” would bring fascination to the universe? it’s no longer asking “what is a pervert?” it’s more “How to stand out from the crowd?’”

        The idea for me is that AnH’s “deviance” existed because no one else was brave or curious enough to be impulsive. Their ideas became an unpopular opinion in the town, and if Nakamura and Kasuga became aware that there are people who are as “deviant” as them, will that deviance suddenly be the norm?

        If anything, AnH for me is like a thesis on the ideas of being different, or in my case, a speshul snowflake.

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