“Shut It, You Piece of Shit”; Flowers of Evil, Episode 1

Aku_No_Hana_01

Guess who has opinions about the most controversial anime series of the year thus far? We do! Will you agree? Who knows, but if you’re already here you might as well read on and check it out. What more do you have to lose?

wendeego: This is the sum total of what I know  about the Flowers of Evil manga–boy steals crush’s gym clothes, boy is caught by terrifying yet weirdly intriguing classmate, their relationship spirals down into madness and depravity. Otherwise, I  haven’t even touched the thing, so don’t look to me as someone able to recognize where ZEXCS’s anime adaptation improves (or ruins) the source material. What I can do, on the other hand, is examine this thing on its own terms. Plenty of people on the internet have already blasted the Flowers of Evil adaptation as a disaster, an unrivaled travesty, the equivalent of Dio throwing his rival’s dog into an incinerator (thanks for that image, Shinmaru!) except that Dio is director Hiroshi Nagahama and Jojo’s dog Danny are the expectations of the populace and their hopes for a good adaptation. The series already has a lower rating on infamous ranking site MAL than a great many other shows that are far, far inferior in terms of their ambitions and overall execution. The question, then, is whether this frankly unprecedented surge of anger is justified, or whether it’s a blasphemy against nothing less than pure cinematic art! As it always is in these cases, this answer is probably somewhere in between.

To be honest, it should have been obvious that the Flowers of Evil anime was going to be different from the get-go. The staff made it clear early on that they did not intend to make a straight adaptation of the manga, instead creating their own take upon the material. In addition, it became pretty clear to anyone with good enough investigatory skills that the anime was going to use a form of rotoscoping for its visuals. Honestly, when I heard the news of the Flowers of Evil adaptation, I was excited. The director of Mushishi and Detroit Metal City, adapting one of the most twisted manga of recent years? Sign me up! As the days went by and the air date crept closer and closer, it became more and more clear to me that with the caliber of staff involved putting their stamp upon frankly fascinating source material, Flowers of Evil stood a good chance of being a masterpiece–either that, or a crushing disappointment.

I’ll be frank here: I didn’t hate Flowers of Evil. In fact, after mulling over the first episode I actually respect it quite a bit. It’s not perfect, the budget is obviously very limited and the much-heralded rotoscoping vacillates between being effective and hilariously offputting. That said, while plenty of people have expressed reservations about the art style I’m surprised that few people have pointed out that the set design is fantastic, or that the sound design is seriously great. The atmosphere in the series thus far is really top-notch, more reminiscent of something like American Beauty than something typically associated with anime. There’s a clear sense of malaise that pervades everything in the show, from the claustrophobic atmosphere to the banalities spat out by the protagonist and his classmates, to the fact that the very neighborhood the show takes place in is warped and degraded with rust. It’s simultaneously banal and unsettling, an amplification of the uncertainty that pervades our own lives.

I think people underestimate the purpose that rotoscoping serves as well. Plenty have said that Flowers of Evil should have been a live-action drama, or that it should have been a more traditional animated series, but I honestly think that it wouldn’t have made a very good fit for either. What I find really interesting here is how by striking a middle ground between these two extremes, the series actually opens itself to avenues that would be impossible otherwise. Granted, there are certainly limitations: the haphazard rotoscoping means that the wealth of individual expression possible in live action is compromised, while the possibilities for animated surreality are limited. But I can’t help but see the potential here of a series given weight by the hint of the real, while just enough removed from reality to be exaggerated and strange. Acting in J-drama can come off as forced or over-the-top, but through some feat of wizardry the rotoscoping in this episode made the exaggerations seem totally natural.

I say again that yes, I don’t feel comfortable labeling Flowers of Evil as a success or a failure as of yet. This first episode was obviously a calm before the storm, a chance to set the mood before plunging into the terrors the manga is known for. How well it handles itself in that circumstance will likely indicate where the series stands in my mind. That said, I think it’s significant that for better or worse, the scrappy spirit of the original manga is intact. Flowers of Evil does not care whether you like it or not. It does not care whether you are comfortable. There’s the sense that the staff are going to ride this crazy train to the end, on their own terms, and whether you tune in or not is entirely up to you. This is a show that is less about cultivating an audience and more about making an impact, and while I have serious reservations about this show’s future and whether ZEXCS is up to the task, I do think it’s encouraging that the staff are willing to embrace the source so whole-heartedly. Some have lamented that the anime has already made changes to the manga’s plotline, but if anything I’m excited for what’s coming up. If Nagahama and co. are willing to go this far, I’m almost certain that animating some of the manga’s more questionable content isn’t going to faze them at all. Whether the experiment succeeds or fails, I think we’re in for a wild ride–for better or worse.

illegenes: I would be lying if I said that Flowers of Evil wasn’t my most anticipated show of the season. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t at least slightly jarred by the animation and rotoscoping of the show as well as the static OP and ED, which left an impact on me similar to the book itself. But the more I come to think about it, the more I realize – in the end, that’s kind of what it’s about, isn’t it? Deception of perception.

But first, let’s talk about what we know. We’re introduced to middle schooler Takao Kasugi, who for the most part, leads a relatively normal life. He has friends, he flunks some of his tests, and has a caring family. He walks to school and likes to read books – a lot of books. Kasugi also happens to have a crush on the teacher-favorite, all perfect star of the classroom, Nanako Saeki, and thinks of her as this pure idol who is meant just for him. The first episode doesn’t seem to suggest anything else, except that Kasugi’s life is about to take a change for the worse when he happens to stumble upon Saeki’s clothes when returning to school one day, and gives into a shameful impulse.

What does this really say? Not much! Or so we think. First impressions are everything, and Hiroshi Nagahama seems to understand that with this episode, which is frankly, all about first impressions. Humans, after all, are defined by the way they perceive the world around them. Our opinions are molded by the limitations of the eye – what we see and how we see it – and of the mind, and the way it has taken form through others’ teachings and opinions. We all have blind spots, sources of corruption and deceit. The world is an image that we take in, and since we take it in through a sliver of light and understanding, our own image of the world itself is a lie. We are taught to think that our instincts are natural, not falsified, when in fact, we are simply lying to ourselves. The world – and our own image – is a distortion of our own perception. But through cell phones, cameras, and the poetry of language and human signs, do we give beauty to the cage that we build with our mind and eyes. This is the world that we build, and it’s flawed as it is unique and set to fit the schemes of our own understandings.

Flowers of Evil then, is a reflection of this, both in soul and in appearance. In soul – Takao Kusugi assumes Nanako Saeki is pure. He assumes that she is perfectly, flawless, and kin to being divine. His narration assumes that Saeki has no real voice of her own – he gives her one himself. She is pretty, she gets good grades, and is good at sports; all perhaps true, but only seen in his point of view, not hers. In contrast, Sawa Nakamura is just there. She is defined by the one things she tells her teacher: You’re a piece of shit. Nakamura gives her own voice, and it’s not one of purity, but rather vileness. There are no assumptions here; Nakamura’s personality is ironically the clear backdrop against much of the peaceful and yet false innocence taking place in the episode.

In appearance is a different matter altogether, which makes it even more important as a functionality. If Flowers of Evil is minimalistic in storytelling (and aces in atmospheric buildup), it is only emphasized through clean, irregular, but fluid animation. We have to understand that anime is both a medium and an experience; animation is the flesh, and the storytelling is the core. Whereas live action is limited by real constraints – physics, the camera, acting and style – animation is an instrument that allows for creativity and freedom. The camera can go anywhere; the facial expressions, twisted or deliberately exaggerated to fit certain moods. Subject matter can be manipulated through shape, color, pattern – the world of animation is limitless, formed only in the hand of its creator. With that in mind, Flowers of Evil decides not to opt for flowery imagery. It’s extremely simple, almost crude. But it’s through this designated style that we realize that Evil‘s animation only emphasizes the core, or the the storytelling. The world we see is limited by certain assumptions we have intrinsically built in order to make process things a little easier. Nagahama tells us that our presumptions are bullshit. They cannot be held to understand Flower of Evil‘s ideas; mixing the two would be like mixing oil and water. We are forced to strip away that sense of security, and thus, Evil‘s animation is made to make us uncomfortable. It’s made to tell us that the world isn’t as pretty or simple as we think it is. That our scope is indeed, very limited. It’s also a message to the characters themselves, who move easily through static imagery and detailed setting pictures. The character move realistically because they are in some way, a distorted representation of us. At the same time, they are within their own world, riddled with inconsistencies and misrepresentation, which is shown through the altered design and style of the show itself.

Repeated imagery reinforces the unsettling nature of comfort. What we are secure with is a lie, we just don’t know it.

Is this a bad or a good thing? It’s too early to tell. But to say that the change in animation was unnecessary would be a superficial and limited understanding of what Nagahama is trying to do – which in essence, is what he’s trying to prove. The truth is, Flowers of Evil is very much a personal statement if not a deliberate one, both to the audience and to itself. In a world where we assume things on a fragile system of overly complicated mechanics; in a media where style is praised over substance, Flowers of Evil is a backlash. It is an argument that is upheld by the tools that it fights against. It is presented as a work of internal and external struggle – where characters are fighting with their own limitations of understanding, and where we are forced to fight with our own preconceptions of what the world – and the idea of ‘beauty’ – should be. If that’s something worth yelling about, then so be it. But the fact is that whether you like it or not, Flowers of Evil has already left an impact on you. Should you decide to release yourself from the cave and see an outside world of cruel reality, then you might be rewarded (you might not!). But I think Flowers of Evil is a message about the potential of animation, a warning for us to remember what sort of power it can hold over us and its creator. That’s my ticket to what’s hopefully a smooth ride for the rest of the show; hopefully, it’ll be yours too.

Notes:

  • Steven is unfortunately on the bad end of a stomach bug at the moment, so he was unable to complete his (pretty damn excited) reactions to this episode. Look forwards to his comments and more next week!
  • kuromitsu over on animesuki (best known for actually having read Shinsekai Yori in its original language!) took the care to provide a rough summing-up of an interview of both the series director Nagahama as well as Oshimi, the original author of the manga. It’s pretty illuminating, and also clear evidence that both director and mangaka are on the same page regarding fucking with the audience.
  • Meanwhile, as Celeste pointed out on Twitter, the ED song of Flowers of Evil is actually a remix of an older song by the same band. You can check it out here–it’s pretty neat!
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11 responses to ““Shut It, You Piece of Shit”; Flowers of Evil, Episode 1

  1. Pingback: Spring 2013 Update: Space Bros, LN Adaptations, Crime Edge, Nyaruko-san, and Horizon! | Chromatic Aberration Everywhere·

  2. The anime is a disaster. Form supplants substance, rotoscoping (which has been around forever) is framed as somehow experimental and edgy when in fact it is merely “played” and stale (not to mention horrendously executed in the first episode), and any personal visual stylistic qualities of the mangaka embodied in the lovely expressiveness of the characters in the manga are dispensed with in favor of flat detail-less character simulations (can you call them “designs”? No). The signature of the artist is gone.

    This isn’t some sort of transcendent expression of “minimalist” art that problematizes our viewing habits and in doing so exposes some core meaning that would have been hidden if it had been a traditional work of animation, This is the *absence* of creativity, the absence of an imagination that could take the original vision of the mangaka and produce an anime that raises the mangaka’s art to a new height. It’s a repudiation of the animators art. Don’t buy the desperate claims that this is an experimental tour de force and don’t buy the arguments “traditional animation techniques” could not have expressed the power of the original manga. The Flowers of Evil is animation at its most despair-inducing: it’s animation that has given up on animation itself.

    • Hmm…I’m not sure if Natasha and I agree with this. Steven wouldn’t either I think. Let’s go step by step:
      1. By all accounts, the mangaka is totally on board with the director of the anime adaptation of Flowers of Evil. They showed him the rotoscope footage and he okayed the staff to go ahead with the project. We can argue back and forth about whether the rotoscoping is good or bad or whether it properly expresses the spirit of the manga, but I don’t think you can say it goes against the author’s wishes because from what we’ve seen from interviews, he’s fine with it!
      2. All three of us haven’t read the manga of Flowers of Evil so we can’t say for certain, but from what we’ve heard about the source we’d say that what we’ve gotten is effectively truer to the spirit of the original than your typical by-the-numbers adaptation would have been. We’ve heard the manga of Flowers of Evil effectively carpet-bombs the expectations of both its protagonists and the reader, and thus far we’d say that the anime’s been doing a good job with the same. Judging by the response, we’d say they’ve succeeded (if a little too well.)
      3. Both your response and the sentiments of many seem to reflect on how the character art is “terrible” but you make no mention of the background art, the sound design or the strength of the direction in general. This is understandable, but when criticizing something it’s usually worth examining the whole rather than a single part!
      4. Even in the case that the Flowers of Evil anime is significantly different from the anime, that doesn’t mean it’s bad! Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is so different from its source that author Stephen King disavowed the film, but today it’s recognized as one of the most effective and influential horror movies ever made. Who says Flowers of Evil will be any different?
      5. You’re labeling Flowers of Evil as an unparallelled disaster after a single episode. Have patience! The pace in this episode was deliberate enough I’m betting we won’t have a clear picture of whether this is a success or a failure for a couple more.

      Sorry for the length of the response, but we’ve seen plenty of comments all over the internet espousing exactly the same point of view as you have so we thought we’d take the time to compose a rebuttal to all of those. That said, people enjoy different things for different reasons, and if Flowers of Evil isn’t your thing than that’s totally fine! But describing the show as “animation at its most despair-inducing” is honestly the kind of hyperbole that would only exist on a place like the internet. If you’re going to be critical, we challenge you (all of you) to make better use of your faculties.

      • Thanks for your reply. I’ll follow your lead and go through your points one by one.

        1. Whether or not the artist is on board with this technique or not is not really interesting to me. I never said that the anime technique goes against his wishes, but I did say that it erases the signature of the artist (i.e., his artistic style). Those are two very different statements.
        2. I’ve seen several people arguing in favor of the anime who admit to not having read the manga. That’s an unfortunate admission, especially since so many of those arguments (and this is true of your own argument in your response to me) rest on a belief that this rotoscoped anime is somehow truer in spirit to the original work than a more traditional anime could be. I would make two subpoints here:
        2.a. You are really not in a good position to make that claim if you have not read the manga. And in any case, the underlying suggestion that traditional anime/animation techniques/styles are inferior to this rotoscoping technique when it comes to this story is not a very strong one. The original manga is quite interesting, but there is nothing in its presentation or in its story that is so provocative, so outside the norm, so artistically rebellious, that it exceeds the techniques of traditional anime/animation.
        2.b. If you really believe the argument that traditional anime/animation techniques are inadequate to the job (I don’t of course :-)), and that this rotoscoping technique somehow gets to the true spirit of the original work, you run the very real risk of being asked the following resulting question: if that is the case, and a more traditional animated version of the mangaka’s artistic vision (i.e., one that employs some decent approximation of the mangaka’s original character designs and methods of telling his story) is inadequate to the telling of the mangaka’s story in animated form, then is the original mangaka’s art (which is not experimental in any way) itself inadequate at expressing its own story? In other words, if this story requires the deployment of such an intrusive technique as rotoscoping, doesn’t that imply that the manga would require something equally intrusive from a technical perspective? I don’t agree with that line of argument, but it does sit out there waiting to be asked.
        3. I’ve seen this argument as well (“hey, but the backgrounds and sound design are extraordinary”). First, the technique of rotoscoping that has been employed thus far in the anime is so intrusive, so in your face, it has a drowning-out effect. It is so “loud” that it really detracts from the story itself, let alone an appreciation of the backgrounds and sound design. Second, if one of the props of your overall argument is that the backgrounds and sound design are fantastic so you need to build that into your appraisal …. I don’t know… fine, I guess, but it’s not the firmest of ground to support an argument that this is somehow exceptional anime or truly experimental.
        4. I’m uncomfortable with the parallel here, You’re pointing to one of the greatest film directors of all time after all. And really my argument is regarding the formal decisions of the director here: whatever you might say about Kubric’s film, he’s telling it in a fairly traditional formal fashion – he’s not using, for example, Russian montage.
        5. I’m actually not going to watch any more of the anime. I’ll continue to read the original manga. Also, I’m a bit put off by the argument that apparently has been put out there by the director and mangaka that if you don’t like this anime, well it’s probably because you just don’t get it or you probably only like moe-blob anime anyway. The pretentiousness and arrogance of those arguments is beyond belief (I’m not suggesting you are making these claims btw). I’ve seen tons of anime, I’ve read tons of novels, I’ve seen tons of plays, I’ve watched tons of movies: I’ve seen better than this when it comes to art-for-arts sake, believe me. The Flowers of Evil anime isn’t dada, it’s just a bad rotoscoped rendering of a traditional linear narrative. I’ll pass thanks.

        I do have a couple of final comments, though, regarding the last paragraph of your response:

        You say I’m using hyperbole and that my original comment is exemplary of a type of (low-grade) Internet discourse. I think I have to at least defend myself a wee bit here. I know how to “use all of [my] faculties” when it comes to evaluating fictional works, thanks (I have a degree and an advanced degree in English so I’ve encountered these aesthetic arguments before). Part of my reaction to this whole rotoscoping fiasco, and the arguments I have seen in defense of it, is that they frequently rely on the tried-and-true defenses that have been deployed in the past when an artistic work comes under attack from critics and viewers in general. You sort of use them yourself when you say this anime “effectively carpet-bombs the expectations of both its protagonists and the reader, and thus far we’d say that the anime is doing a good job of with the same.” Basically this is the familiar argument that a particular work of art is “subverting reader/viewer” expectations and that this is a critical and valuable function for it to play. So, if you don’t like this work, the argument would go, it’s probably because you don’t get it or that you are reacting emotionally against the subversion of your normative expectations (your non-self-reflexive viewing/reading habits). To that I say, if I want to have my “expectations” or “preconceptions” really subverted (or carpet-bombed), I’ll go see a film like “Lost Highway” or “Last Year at Marienbad” (or from a literary perspective, I’ll read James Joyce’s “Ulysses”). Neither this anime or the original manga are up to that task (as I mentioned above, the anime is using a method that isn’t groundbreaking or all that new [rotoscoping] and it and the manga are telling a basically linear traditional narrative, involving a topic and storyline that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t really that outrageous or provocative when compared with the long history of really outrageous and provocative works of art). I would argue that this anime isn’t doing that productive type of work; its form merely *alienates* many viewers (and readers of the manga). That is a totally different result.

        • Hmm, I think we still seem to have some misunderstandings here.
          1.) I’m not sure I would agree with this claim; the artist or author of Flowers of Evil made the actual work; and thus, I’d say he/she would understand the intent of it better than anyone else. With that in mind, the fact that he not only approves, but SUPPORTS the visual direction taken in the anime says to me that he thinks it’s appropriate for the story that he wrote. It may ‘erase’ his signature, but I think that by him supporting the anime, he also means to say that Flowers of Evil doesn’t necessarily have to be displayed in only one unique style. Animation, as I said in my post, is something that changes and with it, somewhat of the story itself, but the core remains unchanged if a faithful adaptation, and I think that’s what this anime will be.
          2.) I completely disagree here! Not having read the manga does not make one unqualified to make certain arguments on the series itself. I think it’s VERY important to understand that you shouldn’t base a work on its original source? The anime of Flowers of Evil and the manga are two different things altogether; to compare and say that in order to understand one or to interpret one, you need to have read/seen the other is ridiculous, and is completely untrue. In fact, I have purposely stayed away from the manga for some months because I want to judge the anime on its own two legs, rather than making connections to the manga all the time and have that bias in mind. That said, we don’t believe rotoscoping is ‘truer’ to the work than the original work itself; I reiterate my point that they are two very different styles that should be judged and accepted in their own right and thus seen as two separate entities. And if you think that the rotoscoping is harmful or lessens the message of the story itself, that’s your opinion, but I refuse to see this idea that animation can actually take away from a story. It’s the execution of a story that matters in the end, and so far, Flowers of Evil hasn’t disappointed us in that regard.
          3.) In the same way, I think it’s important to understand that sound effects, background design, etc ARE important and aren’t just being said to say that Flowers of Evil is as experimental as we think it is. I don’t think FoE is experimental, to be honest; there are plenty of other shows that have experimented with rotoscoping, and FoE is not the first. But what I do think is that FoE tries to make a statement for itself and its audience, and whether you choose to listen or not is up to you. NOT watching FoE does not make you any less intelligent than one who watches the show!
          5.) The director has not made these claims! The director has only said that if you are uncomfortable watching this animation style, that’s his purpose. He wants you to feel uncomfortable; whether this has to do with the argument that anime fans flock to moe-ish designs is irrelevant (and created by the anime community, not the director himself).
          I think in the end, it comes down to this: we all have different reasons for watching anime. For me (and for Wendeego and Steven) FoE fits our niche of what we want and admire in an anime, and for you and others, it doesn’t! There’s not an issue there. What I do fail to see is how rotoscoping as a technique itself undermines a message of a show, but this all comes down to how we perceive things. At this point, I think to argue any more would be ineffective, as we both have our own opinions, but we can agree to disagree!

  3. For one thing the studio achieved a lot of discussion around it from ep 1. I actually find the manga design uglier, so I was kinda relieved with this approach. But I’m still in doubt about the outcome of this change in scenes of bullying and emotional turmoil; I’m certainly not a fan of those focused overenlarged eyes with a spherical pov, so I’m relieved that we might not see this. On the other hand, will it convey the same punch? (Do I even want to?)

    I thought at first that this ep dragged its feet, but then I understood that it was needed to build the eerie atmosphere and how boring and grim the reality appears to the main protagonists. I wonder why the lower to higher spot angle was used for the sign and that building (was it their school?). Foreshadowing?

    The ED was brilliant! Unconventional and crazy as it should!

    • As someone who’s only read the first chapter of Aku no Hana, I can say both are aesthetically appealing to me in their own way? The manga obviously has a more anime-like style to it, whereas the anime seems to have more of a realistic edge to it, but I think it’s clear that both series, while retaining the same story, will go about it in a very different style.

      I hear things get pretty fucked up sooner or later, with plenty of emotional turmoil to come, but I’m not exactly sure what changes they’ll make! With only 12 episodes left, and with the show not even having covered the first chapter of the manga altogether, you can count me as intrigued. Needless to say, I think we can rest assured that the show will continue to nail the atmosphere and mood of the series, as they did in this first episode. However, in terms of any new directions to the plot or characterization, I guess we’ll have to wait and see, as a lot of this show has been kept in the dark since the promos aired.

      I’m personally a fan of slow but steady burners, so I’m excited to see where Aku No Hana goes regardless, but I do agree that the ED was simply the best part of the episode. Who knew auto-tuning could be so creepy, and yet so good?

  4. I’m glad to see people talking about other aspects of Aku no Hana, other than its rotorscoping. Truthfully, the first thing that hit me about Aku no Hana was its excellent quality of background art and scene layout, and the masterful way shots are framed. I think that this might be (on my part) because I’d watched other rotorscoped, fully-2D animated films in past, and so I knew the kind of visual effects/deformities/’ugliness’ that characters would have going in.

    Awesome post :D

    • Thanks! You and bateszi are two of my blogging idols, so trust me when I say it means a lot coming from you :)

      That said, I was also pretty frustrated about how so many people who saw Flowers of Evil basically ignored the stellar atmosphere, background art and sound design in favor of freaking out at the character designs. The rotoscoping isn’t flawless and the show still has a long way to go, but I’d think that people would trust the director a little more than that! I think Flowers of Evil could still go either way at this point – whether it be a successful or failed experiment – but I find it amazing that anime fans (who rally so hard for the defense of their favorite shows as adult entertainment rather than “kid’s cartoons”) are still so prone to frenetic backlash against the unfamiliar. Just goes to show the conservatism and insularity of the industry I guess!

  5. Awesome insight guys! This really makes me think about the significance of the visuals from different perspectives.

    One personal note about the visual style: While many people have taken a sort of middle ground on this, neither praising or demonizing, I have to admit I really loved it. I just love stylistic anime, they feel fresh and can be set apart from other series. With this in particular, I enjoy it animation’s distinct fluidity, an aspect that is not so present in many anime. And as Wendeego has mentioned, the set and sound design are just fantastic. It may be off-putting to some, but this episode of Aku no Hana had me totally absorbed.

    • Glad you liked it! Obviously, a show like Flowers of Evil isn’t for everybody, and there’s already a pretty large fissure growing between those who admired the first episode and those who felt let down and even disgusted by it. I think the director’s really playing with fire here, and while I think what he’s trying to pull off could be really interesting if done right (and I think he IS capable of doing it right, looking at his other works) I am worried that he might turn away all of the show’s potential viewers in the process. Even Madoka and Evangelion lured viewers in with promises of giant robots or cute magical girls before tearing them into pieces, and Flowers of Evil’s already started out so grim and outright strange that while I’m fascinated to see where it will go, I can imagine that much of the audience might never return, no matter how much discussion the series initially generates.

      Hopefully I’m wrong! We need more crazy experiments in an industry where great recent shows like Shinsekai Yori have bombed, and while each of these experiments brings the risk that it will be the last of its kind, I can’t hope but wish that Flowers of Evil makes enough of a dent in the industry that people take notice, for good or ill. The director’s expressed hope that the show would leave a “scar” on the viewer, and thus far I think he’s succeeded. And it’s only the beginning!

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