Aku no Hana – Episode 2

You ready, shitheads?

That first episode was fantastic. Great direction, incredibly organic dialogue, sweet visual style, great “music,” great pacing. Everything worked together to create a massively unsettling and somehow very raw and off-putting atmosphere. I haven’t read much of the manga, so at this point I just have to hope that the story is as smart as this adaptation team is – or that, failing that, they were smart enough to make something great out of its raw ingredients.

Aku no Hana – Episode 2

2:58 – Man, the music in this show is so good! So much tension from the sound alone, though the pacing and our “hero’s” acting certainly help

5:41 – I like how they keep coming back to the same location shots to establish scene changes – they act as touchstones to localize you to whatever else happened at that location, which helps keep you grounded with what the characters themselves must be considering.

6:38 – Wow, this lingering shot of his jaw tightening as he sees Saeki enter is fantastic. There are so many ways this show grounds you in the characters’ emotions and enhances the creepy, uncomfortably intimate mood at the same time.

7:34 – It’s funny to me that the right-hand window seat furthest to the back is actually just missing. Sorry fellas, it ain’t that kind of show!

18:32 – Her face is terrifying.

Sorry I’m not commenting. My comments are: everything perfect. Jesus christ. Unpausing now.

And Done

JESUS CHRIST. My shoulders are tense, my teeth are grinding involuntarily… that was so stressful! I didn’t know shows could do that!

This show’s mastery of tone is just, just, I can’t even talk about it. They are so far beyond my ability to analyze and quantify all the ways the music, the cinematography, the rotoscoping (and this is, at this point, easily far and away the best use of rotoscoping I’ve ever seen – it doesn’t seem like it was just an artistic choice, it seems like the showcould not have worked any other way), the pacing, the running nervous monologue…

This show is incredible, but I’m glad there aren’t any others that are that good at this. My heart couldn’t take the stress.