[S2013] Aku no Hana Ep.1

English Title: Flowers of Evil
Season: Spring 2013
Type: Manga Adaptation
Projected Episodes: 13

Generally, I've seen (and read) that most fans of the Aku no Hana manga despise this anime for only one reason- the rotoscoping approach. Rotoscoping is a film process where live footage is traced over frame by frame for use in both live film and animation. Normally this is used for studying movement rather than just for an animation purpose, yet Zecxs decided to use this process to adapt a really creepy manga... was this a good idea? I'd have to say yes as well as no.

Yes: because despite disliking the first episode to no end when I watched for the first time, I went back a few days later and actually enjoyed the episode more. From there I reread the first volume of the manga then re-watched the episode for a 3rd time... and I was thoroughly creeped out. There is a reason this manga is being released in the states by Vertical- it is not meant for the "normal" manga market. People who read Naruto and One Piece are not reading this (well some are, but those people are also reading things like Lychee Light Club, Elfen Lied and even Solanin). This manga is aimed at a market who likes to be creeped out while exploring the human psyche, rotoscoping seems to help with this aim. Now, I can't say that if this was purely animation I wouldn't be as creeped out at the end of the episode (there's a part where a poem piece is read in a really creepy voice... I can't say much more without spoiling the episode) but I have seen another anime that had some rotoscoping- Trapeze. The upside is, that anime combined rotoscoping and pure animation so I do have a good "what if" basis that I can consider.

Here's a pic from Trapeze. You may notice something different between this and the pic from Aku no Hana- there's way more color which lets the viewer know this is anime. This leads me to why I also think that rotoscoping could be bad for Aku no Hana in the long run.

No: simply because (using Trapeze as some research base) rotoscoping an entire show can wear down on the eyes, and also makes this not so much anime but an anime wannabe. I am going to watch a few more episodes before completely dropping this show, but at this point I am skeptical about liking it after having to watch the horrible animation. Trapeze had some color and a much more fluid look... but Aku no Hana is just awkward to look at. There are moments where faces are empty, then all of a sudden eyes appear followed by teeth. Basically, this technique of animation is very inconstant. I think Trapeze was actually traced over, which Aku no Hana is made by throwing love footage into a program- so Xecxs is cheating.

I can't say I love this anime... yet. I am a fan of the manga and like many other fans felt I had been slapped and raped with a banana (in the visual sense) because of the animation approach... yet this approach also seems to work after rewatching an episode more than once but that can also be a downfall. I don't want to have to watch an episode of anime more than once to be ok with it. Well see where the anime version of Aku no Hana goes.

Oh, you want to know if I liked the episode. Honestly, I actually don't but I can see this turning into a series I can like more. Zecxs animated one of the anime that got me into watching anime that has not received an English language release- Mushi Uta. While that series is disliked by most mainstream anime fans, I for one am not mainstream. I like anime that's different and makes me think. The Aku no Hana manga already does that, now I just have to wait and see if this adaptation helps to make me think as well as enjoy a story.

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