Aku no Hana – Episode 5

Why am I watching this. I hate uncomfortable things. I generally watch painful-looking scenes through my fingers, and empathize too much with well-written characters to ever enjoy seeing them squirm. And this is probably gonna be the least comfortable half hour of television I’ve ever endured.

…fuck it. Let’s go on a date.

Episode 5

1:00 – Nothing’s even happened and it’s already so uncomfortable I hate this I hate you people Why am I watching this Nooo…

2:05 – I was about to type, “Wow, these distant shots really increase the sense of creepy voyeurism here,” and then Nakamura’s head actually pops into the frame

2:42 – I also really like the way the limited features and fill-ins of more distant characters dehumanizes them, making this world feel even more dead and lonely

3:24 – Wow, never thought I’d describe Nakamura as adorable, but her airplane-secret agent run here is great

4:04 – You’re both middle schoolers, Kasuga. You don’t understand yourselves, much less each other

6:44 – I had to pause and go back to confirm the bookseller did indeed have two mustaches. Badass

7:50 – Was all this dialogue in the original? It’s fantastic – it’s really conveying his passion as a laudable, fully articulated thing. It’s almost improbable that someone so young could articulate the way they love something in a way that makes it so understandable to an outside audience

8:59 – Oh shit, his mustache is just so intense that it curls back over itself. Double badass

11:30 – “Admit you’re a crazy deviant… or I’ll fuck stuff up for you.” Yeah, that’s not exactly how this works, Nakamura. It’s a shame Kasuga only reads poetry, or he might have learned a thing or two about projection

12:32 – That’s quite an evil smile[1]  

15:10 – THIS SCENE AH GOD FUCK I CANT WATCH THIS. I was actually saying, “No, don’t, stop, nooo” at the screen. Gah this show

15:45 – Nakamura is killing it this episode. Her “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me” face is great as well

And Done

AHHHHH FUCK FUCKING FUCK IT. GodDAMNIT, this show is bad for my heart. Jesus that episode was intense, and uncomfortable, and just… well, just really fucking fantastic, actually. I was worried last episode that more overt plot would weaken the atmosphere – this episode demolished those concerns with the most focused and uncomfortable set of unbearable minutes yet. The concept of a classic “spiral into temptation” story where the antagonist is just a screwed-up, confused, very malicious teenager who wants to either destroy someone or at least prove she’s not alone is a great one, Kasuga has a rich and painful interior life that carries a lot of weight on its own, and all the aesthetic stuff is still ridiculously effective. I think this was the best episode yet, and probably my favorite episode of any show this week.