Aku no Hana Episode 1: A Fateful Encounter [First Impressions]


Just another anime nerd with above average taste.

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10 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    I can’t believe you stole this opportunity from me! ;), I too was a cynic. The art style immediately threw me (probably because I’m so used to big bright eyes and pink gravity defying hair), but as the episode went on I actually came to like Zexcs innovations. I was shocked by how much people hated it! I’ll admit though, when Saeki is playing volleyball and there’s a girl in the background with a hilarious smile plastered across her frozen body and face, I couldn’t help but laugh. The world just feels so… dead. It’s like the characters are the only living thing in this painted world. But I digress.

    I actually loved the opening and ending songs! Hell, I’ve been playing that opening on loop for like two hours xD. I thought that it was really out of place at first, but after seeing how you’ve described it I can see exactly why they included it.

    And on a final note, I think you’re really going to love this anime. I read through the manga, just to see what it would be like n all, and anyone who read it is going to love seeing a ‘certain scene’ being acted out and rotoscoped! It (the entirety of the manga) gets pretty dark and I spent most of the time screaming ‘What?!’, but again, I think it’s going to be awesome and you’ll probably enjoy it.

    How could you take this away from me! ;)

    • Tenderfoot says:

      Sorry/not sorry for stealing this one from you! :P I hope you’ll at least enjoy my coverage of it to make up for it. I knew once I saw the creative team behind it that I just had to have it (I love Detroit Metal City and Mushishi).

      I agree that the animation takes a little time to get used to but I think it really works in the animes favor in the end. It’s an unconventional story, so why shouldn’t if have an unconventional animation style to match? Sometimes it does look awkward though, like the part you mentioned, and other times when you can tell that it’s just a long pause on a still frame and nothings moving.

      I’ve actually read a little less than half of what’s available of the manga so far, and you’re right that I do love it, and there are several scenes that I’m really looking forward to seeing (“a certain scene” included). When you think about the fact that actual people had to act all of this out already so they could animate over it, it just adds another level of messed-up-ness to it. There are definitely scenes that I think would be pretty uncomfortable to stage, even for an actor. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing where they take it!

  2. Vantage says:

    *raises hand* I’m one of the people who prefer the original manga’s character designs – but not because the anime version is so drastically unique. I felt that the bishoujo look that Nakamura or Saeki was drawn with in the manga may have depicted them as pretty on the outside, but it provided a jarring juxtaposition to their true, twisted nature that made the series an even more groteque depiction of humanity and the loss of moral/social values. Character archetypes are savagely ripped apart at the seams, revealing what truly lies underneath.

    But hey, that’s just my two cents xD

    • Tenderfoot says:

      And hey! It’s a perfectly valid two cents. I can see where you’re coming from. Maybe it’s because when I think of stereotypically “pretty” characters, I think of anything by CLAMP or Sailor Moon or more typical “shoujo” titles (with all that long hair, sparkles, big eyes etc al), so that I don’t really see Nakamura or Saeki as being really bishoujo in the manga artwork. But that’s just my personal view. There are certain scenes in the manga that make them look very cute (? pretty? Idk) but a lot of the time for me they just look…plain. So far, I think the anime has done a good job in just one episode of making Saeki at least seem very pretty, in a more human/”real” way. Some of her smiles, like when she’s playing volleyball, were really charming, even to me.

      I would argue that, as long as the anime can still convey the base feelings behind those more “pretty” moments, the juxtaposition between that and their true natures will still be shocking. Maybe even more so, since those character archetypes being taken apart won’t look so much like archetypes, but real people, which for me I think is the more savage of the two. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where the series goes from here :).

  3. Linzz says:

    Personally, I could have loved this show more if it only were made into a live action series instead of vectoring every actor that played that role. Although this kind of animation is new to me and I am kind of interested on how they manage to vector a lot of people and recorded those motions to use in an anime. It’s quite the great shock and it does look weird but that doesn’t really change the fact that this show is probably one of my most anticipated ones with deep mysteries.

    Still, this animation style doesn’t change the fact – no matter how unique it is – that a lot actually hated it and wished another production company had taken Aku no Hana instead. XDD

    The story sure is intriguing – too much – especially that flower yet to bloom. I haven’t really read the manga but as far as comments on the show is concerned, they say it started out great. So, I look forward for more of this.

    • Tenderfoot says:

      I don’t know if live-action would have been a good route for this to go down. There are certain upcoming scenes, and even some this episode, that unless you’re like the worlds best actor there’s just no way you’d be able to pull it off seriously and not have it become 100% cheese and/or horrible. And while it is sad that so many people hate it so much (which just seems like such a waste of energy to me. There’s a lot of better things to hate out there) I’m still glad that at least a handful will keep watching.

  4. MCAL says:

    I have no problem with the fact that the animation and art are different than the manga. That isn’t the problem. The problem is a majority (There are several exceptions) of the time everything just looks horrendously ugly. Saeko is a character whose beauty is a plot point, but how am I supposed to believe that when 90% of the time she looks like an ogre, someone who looks like they had plastic surgery gone awry. And how can I immerse myself into the atmosphere if I’m laughing every three minutes. It just doesn’t work. So no I don’t mind that Aku no Hana anime is different. However, I do mind that it doesn’t like good at all.

  5. Tenderfoot says:

    Whether something is “ugly” or not is subjective, not objective. I think Francis Bacon’s paintings are ugly, but hey, you might think they’re the most beautiful things in the world. It’s up to the viewer to decide what he or she finds ugly or not. You think “everything looks horrendously ugly” (even the backgrounds? or do you really mean to say “the characters”?), and that’s fine because that’s your opinion, but don’t assume that everyone thinks so as well. For my part, I think that (just like Bacon’s paintings) the so-called “ugliness” of the show is a very purposeful decision in order to challenge the viewer and to better tell the story the anime is set on telling.

    As to Saeki; of allll the characters so far, I think she’s been presented to us as the most beautiful. I won’t say that sometimes her face doesn’t look a bit weird, but that happens sooo often in anime, when the budget fails, or the animation is shit, or someone was just plain lazy (see: Magi, that one episode of Psycho-Pass (actually a lot of Psycho-pass), and countless others). How many anime can you think of, from recent years, that have 100% flawless animation from start to finish, with 0 derpy faces, even in background characters, or shots where the face is relatively small? That haven’t been touched-up for the Blu-ray/DVD release? That can’t be a very big number. Yes, there are certain cherry-picked screenshots of her (as well as other characters) floating around that don’t look that great, but I think of the time she’s been on screen, she’s been the most consistently beautiful. Keep in mind also that this was only one episode, and that Saeki has probably had about three minutes total of screen time. How do you know that they aren’t or can’t make her look “pretty”, by whatever your standard of pretty is?

  6. Mikey says:

    I’ll be honest. I laughed… a lot. That doesn’t bode well for this series. I respect that the director is saying screw you to the haters, but I have to wonder why he thought the animation style would work well with the a majority (Not all of course) of the audience. And why he would hide the character designs for the show until the first episode aired? Not only does that sound strange on paper, it gives the haters more fuel. Also wouldn’t it cost more money to rotoscope? Doesn’t that hurt the production even more. I’m giving this episode a 6/10. Everything else was fine, but the character modeling couldn’t let me take what was happening seriously. Although, the haters are seriously unreasonable.

  7. Noc says:

    I don’t mind the art style. Things can be drawn however the staff likes, and that won’t really impact my feelings on a show (actually it usually helps it, I love nothing if not a variety of art styles- that’s my big problem with companies like KyoANi and JC staff…but never mind that).

    But the animation. My goodness, the animation. As an animator, I’m not saying it’s bad because it’s something different, I’m saying it’s bad because it’s wrong according to everything I’ve been taught. There’s a big unwritten rule when it comes to 2D animation, even when rotoscoping is involved, and that is to avoid mimicking actual human actions perfectly. Why? Because it doesn’t look right! The human body makes dozens of tiny movements every millisecond that the normal eye doesn’t even pick up. Trying to fit those into every single frame of animation is just not a good way to go. Everything looks way too bizarre- too real, and yet too fake because it’s a digitally produced picture trying to do reality’s job. I’m not exactly sure who they were trying to get to, the audience or the animators by making some of us break this rule while the rest watch?

    When I’m a little less jarred by this blatant dismissal of animation guidelines, I’m going to come back and watch this show with all the tolerance I can muster. The realistic art style is refreshing and I’m sure that the story will be something good, so I really want to like it if I can. But for now, maybe I’ll go check out the manga.