13 CommentsFlowers of Evil / By Shinmaru /

Flowers of Evil 13 – Let’s Make a Contract

flowers-of-evil-alone-in-the-room

I sure bet this finale wasn’t divisive at all.

Man, that was … something. I’m still sorting out how I felt about the whole thing. I was definitely into it at the beginning as Kasuga looked through Nakamura’s room. It’s really about as visually interesting as the creators could have made it. Dutch angle is a pretty obvious way to go, but the line of sight tricked me into thinking we were looking at the room through Kasuga’s eyes as he entered, so him entering from the side adds a subtle bit of visual weirdness to the start of the scene. Then you’ve got the little details throughout the room. I chuckled a bit at the shot of the two outfits Nakamura has worn during the series. We’re basically seeing her entire wardrobe there. Look, I thought it was amusing, OK?

I do wish the show hadn’t gone out of its way to point out the holes in the wall. I actually didn’t notice them at first, because my eyes were drawn to Kasuga, but it’s a detail most people would probably see eventually. Then you’d get the whole thought process of, “Wait, are those holes in the wall … ?” and you’d be left to wonder in what state Nakamura did that. Before she met Kasuga? After? I think leaving it for the viewer to discover in a more subtle way makes it more unnerving, because it’s really the one detail in the room that makes it abnormal. Really, Nakamura is out of the house so much that I doubt she uses the room for more than a place to crash at night and get dressed in the morning, or to do the occasional scribble in her journal.

Ah, yes, the journal. So simple and heartbreaking in its own way. It’s actually a jarring reminder that these are middle schoolers we’re watching. (And not high schoolers, as I’ve seen people occasionally refer to them.) This seems like (and is) a simplistic way of humanizing Nakamura, but that’s really the point. Despite the intensity of her emotions and the unique way in which she acts on them, she is at her core quite a young person. She expresses herself simply and directly, so the emotions on the page are more raw and bare.

flowers-of-evil-nakamura-take-a-hike

Then Nakamura tells Kasuga to take a fuckin’ hike in a creepy way. Yikes!

After that is where my feelings get more mixed. The extended series of flashbacks indicate yet again that Kasuga believes he has regressed, which is why he walks backward through scenes we’ve already seen and concludes the flashbacks with a picture of himself as a child. He wanted to separate himself from the drudgery of the town, to become some unique and with worth, and found that he couldn’t quite do it. But now with a little more self-awareness, he wants to give this another go and see where it takes him. And … that’s where the flash-forward comes in. Honestly, this is a bit weird and confusing to me, because I don’t know what happens beyond this point, so the only context I had for what I saw was what little I could parse. From Kasuga’s point of view, though, perhaps he is thinking about what could come from this? Going against the “normal” course of life is often chaotic, confusing and difficult, and maybe Kasuga took a deep look inside himself to see if he still had the will to stand by Nakamura. Could he stand up to an imagined future of terror and confusion?

That’s the way I see it, anyway. If that’s the intention, it doesn’t totally work for me because I’m not quite invested enough in Kasuga for that to have a genuine emotional impact. (Or, at least, the kind of emotional impact you use to bring a series/arc to a close, because I’m not a total unfeeling monster.) The idea is nice, but what’s shown holds very little meaning for me, so beyond making a connection to Kasuga’s desire to reform his bond with Nakamura and wondering along with everyone else what this means for a second season, I was mostly ambivalent about that part. It’s a somewhat interesting approach, at least.

flowers-of-evil-torn-book

Here we are at the end. I didn’t totally buy the conclusion, but I did appreciate the effort, and it doesn’t really taint my enjoyment of the previous episodes too much. I did appreciate Flowers of Evil more as a twisted dark comedy than as emotional drama, but the slower, more atmospheric moments did work for me most of the time. I enjoyed seeing the series try a bunch of things anime doesn’t do all that often, for good or for ill. But, really, the main thing is I’m just into anything that is Adolescence as Madhouse. I’d like to see a second season of this.

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13 Comments

  1. edata
    Posted July 1, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    MOAR!

  2. sandberm
    Posted July 2, 2013 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    I thought the flash-forward was a season 2 preview cleverly placed for the audience, I didn’t realize it was Kasuga’s thoughts. That does make it a whole lot more interesting when you think of it that way.

    BTW, this made me laugh: http://i.imgur.com/LKT14x5l.jpg

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 2, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      Well, the impetus of the flash-forward may have been a need to get people interested in a second season. I’m not really privy to that decision making, though, and I think it’s rather useless for me to speculate on it. I’d rather think about the rationale behind making that fit in the story, and the explanation I posited is the one that makes most sense to me — until someone comes up with something that makes more sense, of course!

  3. Killer Queen
    Posted July 2, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, they need to learn how to rotoscope her face to actually look like she’s pissed at Kasuga. Actress just makes her more sexually frustrated. XD Eyebrows and facial expressions are key.

    The holes on the wall is just adding Nakamura’s flair. She may as well be a simple girl who either just moved in due to her start of the journal being about Kasuga. Maybe something darker, but let’s face it… do you think she’ll open up to anyone about that?

    Her conversations about animals too… maybe she had an interest with them… who knows? There’s subtlety…but there’s also vagueness.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Ha, yeah, during that scene where Nakamura is trying to drag Kasuga out of her room, she doesn’t look quite as angry as one would think. Maybe it’s purposeful, but I dunno.

  4. Maxlous
    Posted July 2, 2013 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    I’ve loved your complete openness and weekly discernment of Aku no Hana, Shinmaru. Thanks for being a voice of reason among the crowds of spoilt kyoani fans and narrow minded flamers in general who took pleasure in stoning this creative work from day one.

    I don’t usually do this but I really want to support the creators of this show and will be buying up the manga (and possibly wallet-raping BD ;_;) as a token of my appreciation that there are still voices willing to make bold advancements in the realm of Japanese animation.

    Shitheads forever.

    • Posted July 2, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      ^^ THIS

      Unabashedly loved this series from beginning to end and enjoyed your weekly rundown, Shinmaru. Here’s hoping for a second season.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Why, thank you! I enjoyed writing about it.

  5. Someone Else
    Posted July 3, 2013 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    Since I have short attention span I didn’t like the slow scenes. However I still liked the series for its uniqueness. And that “end of part one” kind of speaks a lot. I bet there will be a second season and kasuga’s change of heart is what interest me the most

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I’m pretty much skeptical of any in-show announcement of a second season until other sources make it more official. That said, I don’t totally keep up with the news, so perhaps there’s a favorable atmosphere for another season. Who knows?

  6. tf5f89
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    Interesting. The flash-forward actually looked like what happens after this in the manga. At least, some of what I could make out of it did. I actually don’t hope that much for a second season, since I don’t like where the manga goes after this as much as what the show has done so far, and I thought this was a pretty decent ending.

  7. Erif
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Divisive would definitely be the word of the day.

    Before I get into speculating about what that final “flash forward” was in context of the show, I want to say something about the scene in itself because it’s just fucking fantastic. I mean really, Nagahama is one spectacular director for this to be so consistently good throughout, and this final scene almost left me sweating due to the intensity. I just loved how that scene was overlaid with layers of dialogue, eventually becoming so thick and frantic that you can’t make any of it out. I particularly love the part when we see Kasuga’s vision as it begins to blur, just as all the dialogue begins to reach its peak. It reminds me of the beginning of Bakemongatari, where the foreshadowing left me thrilled and pumped for things to come but also utterly terrified.

    And I think that’s an appropriate descriptor of what this scene functions as: foreshadowing. As Sandberm pointed out, I find your interpretation of what the scene is fascinating, but I have to agree with him in that the whole thing is a flash-forward for the next volume. I use the term foreshadowing because I believe “preview” sounds to much like a trailer. But foreshadowing is usually more subtle than this, so rather I should say it is a glimpse of things to come.

    I dunno. I thought this show was brilliant from beginning to end. It’s weird to think that this whole season was just a large exposition for the shitstorm that is about to brew, because that’s what is is when you boil it all down. We haven’t seen nothin’ yet. One of my biggest qualms about coming into this show was that it’d be too fucked up for me; I can only take so much of children doing horrible things to each other. While this season was surely fucked up, it was all reasonable, realistic stuff, nothing too horrific along the lines of Higurashi and the like. But now I’m more worried than ever. :/

    What I’m wondering now is whether this will be a true second season or more of a short break in the same vain as Fate/Zero.

  8. Nazaren
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    As an endcap to the season, I felt everything from the flashback onwards was terrible. It doesn’t stand on its own merits without connecting to a tangible second season.

    As an episode, I loved it, and wish it didn’t go by so fast. The directing and music placement were fantastic. It just felt to me that it was an odd place to end the season, anime-wise. I might be completely off-base, as I haven’t read the manga

    Enjoyed the weekly coverage. Thank you!

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