Yeesh! That’s all I could say after watching the first two episodes. Before anything, I have to talk about the animation style used in this anime adaptation based on the manga. Lurking the web I can tell that several fans of the manga are totally against the rotoscope animation utilized in this psychological and angst driven story. Actually I don’t think it’s the rotoscoping that’s the problem but actually the execution of it. Movies like Heavy Metal or Fire and Ice used rotoscoping beautifully, the attention to detail of each frame being carefully drawn out mimicking the exact performance of the live action actor. In Aku no Hana the animation quality seems a bit lack luster with a lot of skipped frames which sorta looks more like an amateur art school project. But I feel like it’s animated this way for a reason. The atmosphere of the anime that gives off a very off setting vibe mixed with these visuals that just make you feel uncomfortable was what the studio intended. Not only do the characters experience a form of disconnect from the life they live in but we the audience get to experience that first hand with both the animation and the overall creepiness one gets from watching this.
Alrighty then it’s plot stuff time! Aku no Hana is a doozy of story, it follows the life of Takao Kasuga. He’s somewhat of a bookworm spending a lot of his middle school life reading books in class. He doesn’t read typical middle schooler books but rather reads literature based on the Symbolist movement, particularly Charles Baudelaire and his book Les fleur du mal(The Flowers of Evil) which is where the story got its name from. Now I’m not big into literature nor am I familiar with the Symbolist movement, but the gist of both stories is that they try to embrace the dark side of humanity. This isn’t however some kiddy Tim Burton-esque interpretation of dark themes but rather just a blatant demonstration of the darkness that resides in all of us. Moving back to the plot, Takao being heavily influenced by the decadent works Baudelaire, he is placed in a usually comical situation. He stumbles upon his crush’s P.E. uniform one day after school while he was alone looking for something he left in their classroom. Since every story needs a conflict,a starting point and a relevant motive to the plot to instigate such behavior Takao ends up taking home the uniform. Mentioned earlier, these types of situations in anime are usually comical in nature but this story takes a more dark approach to a somewhat juvenile mistake. So not only is he conflicted with taking the uniform but he also gets caught by one his classmates, the strange Sawa Nakamura. To put it bluntly she’s an anarchist. She hates authority and doesn’t mind blackmailing Takao into doing her bidding. So far that’s all that has happened, Takao gets caught by Nakamura and then the two of them form a contract. And if you’re a fan of a particular anime, you would know that forming a contract with someone is usually a bad idea.
Well to wrap things up, I’ll just tell you all what happens at the end of the 2nd episode. So after forming a contract together, Nakamura orders Takao to meet her after school in the school library. The conversation before hand was that Nakamura was going to help Takao apologize to his crush Nanako Saeki for taking her uniform, you know in order to clear up his conscience or something. So what ends up happening, not only does Nakamura and Takao show up but so does Saeki. Apparently Nakamura went and told Saeki that Takao had something to say to her. Just like a deer in headlights Takao freezes up and is unable to speak. To make him feel more uncomfortable, Nakamura ends up shoving him towards Saeki where he ends up bumping his head into her chest. The episode ends with Saeki walking away in shame.
The story builds up really slowly and in retrospect is uneventful at the start. But after reading the manga immediately after watching the first two episodes, I gotta tell yah, you’re in for quite a clusterfuck of things to come. Mentioned earlier I talked about the creepy atmosphere evident in each episode, the creepiness factor is amplified at the end of each episode thanks to the ending theme.
On a side note:
What is the darkest themed anime you’ve ever encountered? I know there are a lot of anime that sensationalize themes like gore and the like. I’ve yet to encounter an anime that goes into the depths human psyche in a very human way. Most of them approach it metaphorically but here in Aku no Hana its more of a first hand approach. ’til next time my few readers.
Well the Spring Anime season just started and boy is the lineup… well it’s a lineup. To start the season here on NUR and to keep in lieu with all things gaming, I give you Devil Survivor 2: The Animation. So this is the anime adaptation of the 2011 3DS game in the Shin Megami Tensei series. I personally haven’t played the game so I’m going into this show with no expectations. Thankfully enough the first episode was awesome and is now apart of my personal “to watch list.” Anyway, I may have not played this particular game in the series but I have played Persona 3 and the Megaten MMO and all of those games share similar cyber punk and demon summoning themes. The weird thing about the show for me was that I felt like I watching a darker version of Digimon and/or Pokemon. Yeah I know it’s really lame to compare shows just because of certain similarities but the Digimon vibe was strong in this show.
Now those of you who have played the game already know the overall plot, but for those of you not in the know or need a refresher well here’s a few things to note. This time around the protagonist is given a name, Hibiki Kuze. So you have Hibiki, his friend Daichi Shijima and their classmate Io Nitta get into a disaster that pretty much shuts down the whole of Tokyo. Before the event that pretty much trashes Japan, Hibiki is introduced to a website called Nicaea by Daichi. Nicaea is a website that’s popular among teens because of their “death face” videos. Videos that show how either you or your friends die. So it just so happens that Hibiki, Daichi and Io were waiting for a train in the subway then receive an update from Nicaea on their phones showing that they were about to die from a train getting derailed which oddly enough happens and they seemingly die. But they’re given a second chance at life as the Nicaea app on their phones ask them if they want to live. Choosing “yes” they manage to climb out of the rubble of the train crash somewhat unscathed. Just as they were to collect themselves, one of the train crash victim’s phone begins to emit an ominous light which summons a demon. They end up getting saved by similar demons summoned from Io and Daichi’s phones, turns out that they have a new app installed on their phones for the sole purpose of summoning these “demons.” So that’s the gist of the first episode, I mean there’s more to it so why not check it out for yourself? If you don’t mind waiting a week for a new episode without having to pay for a membership, you could totally check it out on Crunchy Roll.
On a side note:
If you could have an app on your phone that could let you summon anything, what you would summon? I know what I’d summon:
What? A guy can dream.
So this week on the Anime Midseason Recap I give you Tamako Market. A little slice of life anime mixed with a smidgen of a fantasy element follows the titular Tamako as the daughter of a Mochi(rice cake) maker in a small shopping district in Japan. The tiny bit of fantasy comes from the character Dera Mochiyucky, a strange talking bird from a “Southern Island,” on a quest to find a bride for the prince that he serves. An even stranger tidbit besides the quest and the fact that he can talk like a normal human being is his ability to project messages ala R2D2 from his eyes. Now this plot is lightly touched upon with small hints in some episodes referring to it. Now the actually meat of the show, the slice of life aspect stem from Tamako and Dera’s first encounter which was in a flower shop where the owner mistook a sleeping Dera as an exotic flower. Now Tamako herself is basically a “stock-main-moé-character.” She’s ditzy, passionate about something she loves (making Mochi with her family), generally nice and goodhearted all around and obviously cute. You might say to yourself “why does this sound very familiar to (insert moé anime title here)?” Well that’s because the show is produced by Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) renowned for their various moé animes like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On! or their most recent hit Chunibyo Demo Koi ga Shitai! There’s not much left to say about the show other than to go watch it yourself. But if you’ve never seen a KyoAni anime or just don’t know what to expect well expect this: lots of cutesy comedy that can make even the manliest of men go “d’awwww!” at the antics of the Tamako Market cast.
On a side note:
On the NUR team there’s one other guy other than myself who actually like these kinds of anime. That being boss man Steve. So if Tamako Market interests you or you want to see how weird the guy who started this site is then check out his video review of K-On! that he did a few years back. Be warned, Steve cross-dresses.
Here’s part 1 of the footage we got from MAGfest 11 (2013!) Enjoy!
Part 2 coming soon!
Music Provided by
Happy Holidays from all of us from NUReviews! As a special treat, we got Nyanners to do a promo for us! Also, Banjo Kazooie is tuff ;__;
Check out Nyanners @ http://www.youtube.com/user/nyanners
Everyone’s favorite awkward girl (known as Spaghetti-tan in some circles) is getting her own anime series! Announced in it’s third manga volume, ‘Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!‘ (No Matter How You Think About It, It’s Your Fault I’m Not Popular) is green lit for TV.
A synopsis from Anime News Network: The slice-of-life gag comedy centers around Tomoko Kuroki, a girl who thought she would be popular when she went to high school. However, she was in for a rude awakening, for cruel reality is not like the otome games (romance games for female players) she played.
No word on when it will air or which animation studios with be animating it.
Well, this is some news that caught me off guard. Another Shin Megami Tensei spin-off is getting an anime. This time, it’s Devil Survivor 2. Here’s a synopsis for the game: “The setting of Devil Survivor 2 spans the whole country of Japan. It tells the story of Japanese high school students who received an email from a website foretelling deaths. Mysterious creatures invade the country, and the students enter a pact, enabling them to summon demons. The plot may unfold differently depending on the player’s actions.”
I personally haven’t got the chance to play the game yet, even though I do own a copy of it. I did get half the endings for Devil Survivor Overclocked, which I thoroughly enjoyed. So now would be a good time to start up DeSu2.
You can check out http://ds2a.jp/ for some preview clips of the anime. You can also check out http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2012/12/07/142/ for some more images (warning: it’s all in Japanese).
Posted in Anime, Television, Video Games
Tagged anime, Announcement, Atlus, DeSu, DeSu Overclocked, DeSu2, DEVIL SURVIVOR 2 the ANIMATION, Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei, smt