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I wonder how many of you actually stuck with Aku no Hana for its second episode. Something I don't usually speculate, but I'm guessing not many of you did.
Before I get the ball rolling, let's address what I assume is still the elephant in the room: rotoscoping. No, I don't have a problem with it, and the second episode confirms it. I suspect those who did have a problem with it, wouldn't have changed their minds since this episode was more of the same, if not a little worse than the first episode in terms of rotoscope use. Now that I've talked about that, let's move on to talk about what went down in Aku no Hana's second episode.
In terms of animation, it was a slight step back. With the series being done 100% in rotoscope, it's even easier to see the flaws in animation. Where Aku no Hana's flaws were most visible in this episode was the flow of movements, which just didn't feel as fluid as they should have been. This might just be a case of needing to adjust to the series, although it's something that makes me a little worried. Aku no Hana was never going to win points for animation, but I'd still prefer if it maintained a certain level of quality.
Minor complaint over now, so let's focus on the plot development. It's become clear with this episode that the series has no intention of rushing through the source material. Instead, it takes the time to develop our understanding of Kasuga and see the beginning of his relationship with Nakamura. Since their very odd relationship will become a big part of the story, it only make sense that things aren't rushed.
Believe it or not, I can somehow see where Kasuga is coming from. Mind you, I don't get the act of stealing girls P.E clothes but I understand that boys, and especially middle school boys, do stupid things because of girls. It's an awkward time in their lives, which is not made easier by doing stupid things like this in the heat of the moment. Interestingly enough, this act of adolescence tends to be interpreted as deprived, sick, sexual behaviour even though the male students have no problem with discussing this in a rather sordid demeanour and then chastising the guy who actually stole the clothes.
And that was just the filer. Even with this type of blunt and crude discussion going on, Aku no Hana had something else in store for us. Nakamura's blackmailing would have been any other event, if she didn't take so much joy in toying with Kasuga about what she saw him do. It's not so much what she did, but rather how she did it: with a big, excessively creepy, grin on her face. Then of course was the case of her embarassing Kasuga in front of Saeki, but that's just the teaser for now.
This episode of Aku no Hana signifies the beginning of the master and slave relationship between Kasuga and Nakamura. The extortionist is quite the character and believe you me, has more tricks up her sleeve. The atmosphere is still very dark, in a sluggish way which works with the pacing very well as we slowly dive further into darkness. The episode has set up the relationships, and now it's up to the series to capitalise on them.