Tokyo Ghoul started out strong. It had gore, it had violence, it had some of that “I’m going to show you sexy stuff”, all that makes one think a show is trying to pass itself off as “mature”, but is anything but, right? But if you read my notes for the first episode (the only ones I published), you’ll see I actually saw something there, it reminded me of werewolf and vampire stories, and how often they’re used as allegories for sexual awakening, or of growing up. I saw something similar in Tokyo Ghoul’s premier.
The question at the heart of any story about growing up, and also many horror stories.
Now, aside from horror at what the protagonist has become, horror at the world he’s found himself from, which seems to be the tension and hallmark of most psychological horror, this show did indeed have quite a bit of a “shounen battler” feel, which wasn’t the greatest. At least they spent most of their thematic time on the topic of recreating horror, of people replicating what has been done to them, and that the true horror is how people treat one another, how they “Other” each group they don’t belong to, and allow themselves to replicate the atrocities that had been done to them, an endless vicious cycle.
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 ;-))