This is a Studio Shaft show, more specifically, it is credited with Shinbo’s name, so many “Shaftisms/Shinoisms” are on display here, such as a head-tilt, a print on a dress that is perfectly aligned regardless of the contours of clothes,rails and a city under construction, amongst others.
The real point here is that a lot of thought went into the construction of scenes here. Some of it is “just” stylistic touches, but some of it has meaning. Such as this sequence, where Rei travels to the Shogi Club, and he’s absolutely dwarfed by the architecture, he gets swallowed up by the environment. A lot of it has to do with pacing, which I’ll discuss soon enough.
Aku no Hana, known in English as “Flowers of Evil” received the 13th spot in my top anime of 2013 post. I am not sure how much I “enjoyed” the show, but it certainly felt unique enough that I didn’t feel like I could avoid mentioning it on the list. Aku no Hana is based on a manga by the same name, which in turns draws its name from Charles Baudelaire’s “Les Fleurs du mal,” a French poetry book. The show’s “protagonist”, Kasuga Takao, reads and prides himself for “getting” the book, which he claims everyone around him is too simple to manage.
Usually I’m wary of adaptations, but I think the series format made Aku no Hana work for me in ways reading it wouldn’t have accomplished, but its failings as well might be unique to the series-form, which I’ll discuss again later. Aku no Hana isn’t a plot-driven, or even a character-driven show as much as it’s an atmosphere-driven show. Not much happens, at least not externally; most of the time is spent on waiting for something to occur, for the other shoe to drop.
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be very few spoilers, but not too many, cause not that much happens ;-))