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I don't think I've ever seen a series receive such a negative response after just one episode. It appears some of my theories regarding Aku no Hana's reception were right, but for different reasons.
Being an avid manga reader, you get to enjoy the perk of knowing what you're getting into with most anime adaptations. You know whether the story is something you'd like, if the artwork is pleasant and if the studio is a right fit amongst other things. After reading the first four or so chapters of Aku no Hana, I was shocked but in the back of my mind intrigued by what could come from an anime adaptation. If not for that, watching people's reactions would be a side benefit of sorts.
Even I couldn't foresee such a huge uproar, and for a reason I didn't predict. Clearly the use of rotoscoping was not well-received by the fans of the manga as demonstrated by review after review on MAL, slamming the series. As of 7.52 PM GMT, Aku no Hana hold a rating of just over 5. Clearly the vast majority of anime fans can't get past the rotoscope or are simply peeved at the choices made by the director, who by the way is sticking to his guns on this one.
So, what about me? Was my decision to blog this series episodically a terrible idea? Absolutely not.
If you can simply look past the rotoscoping, you get to appreciate the fantastic directing behind this endeavour. Each frame just feels right, and makes use of the live-action look the series has undertaken. That said, it still feels like an anime, and never strays too far into the other side. Accompanying the style of direction is a slow pace, which fits in with the slow-moving and mundane life of our male lead almost masterfully. Rotoscope or not, the episode definitely built up a strange mystery for itself and left us questioning - those who haven't read any of the manga - where the story could possibly go. We don't actually have much to go on in terms of plot, but for now it works in the series' favour.
One thing that was evident was the build-up to something perverted. Aided by the background music, we get the feeling we're going somewhere depraved and unthinkable. We're not sure what it'll be but it definitely feels like you may be left feeling violated. Just with the build-up I've started to feel uncomfortable, and that makes me excited; twisted but that's how it is. For Aku no Hana that could be considered a compliment.
Now going back to the issue of rotoscoping. For me it wasn't an issue, but rather an interesting change from the what could have been a direct adaptation of the manga. One of my problems with the manga was the character designs, which quite frankly added to the bad after-taste the manga left me with. The almost faceless characters make it easier to get into the story, without feeling disturbed by the art style. Of course there's also the fact that this style makes Aku no Hana closer to a live-action than any other anime out there and that somehow feels appropriate, given the focus on human nature we'll be getting in future episodes.
Aku no Hana will never be a crowd pleaser. Considering the source material it never stood a chance, but the first episode made that even more evident. Whilst it captured the essence of the source material, it isn't an easy task to look past the animation. Nevertheless, if you can look past the animation then I hope you'll agree with me when I say we're in for something special.
Aku no Hana OP
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