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Full disclosure: this was the episode I was waiting for to make my decision regarding Aku no Hana.

When I first checked out the manga, a part of me wanted to see the reaction people would have to the library confrontation scene between Nakamura and Kasuga.  Not because it's an important turning point in the series but because the scene is a perfect example of just how dark Aku no Hana was willing to get.  A scene filled with such depravity, it makes one question one's humanity.  A scene that left me speechless the first time I witnessed it, and made me equally uncomfortable the second time.

That's not the only thing the scene accomplished.  Perhaps the more important achievement was properly introducing the immensely terrifying Nakamura as the female lead of Aku no Hana.  She's definitely not like any "heroine" I've met, and I doubt there are any as open as her.  Since her first few words to Kasuga involved the phrase, "I too am a deviant/hentai" you get the impression that she falls into a slim margin of characters whom we rarely encounter in anime and manga, and I suspect she'll be playing a big role in Kasuga's development.  Can't say what sordid deeds that may involve, but she does seem up to the challenge of bringing out his dark side.

For all the twisted moments these two have already had, there was one moment of pseudo-innocence.  The scene by the river was a moment free of discomfort and uneasiness which the series prides itself on.  It's this uneasiness and, for better a word, dread that keeps the atmosphere as a force to be reckoned with.  Because of this, it was a nice momentary change to see Aku no Hana as something other than the frightening look at the evil within our hearts.  Of course this was momentary and it was back to the dark side once it was over, but it was lovely moment nonetheless.  A little far-fetched to call it romantic development at this point, but I can't deny feeling a strange relationship is developing.

After three episode, I like Aku no Hana but I don't love it.  Had this series been done in normal animation, the impecable directing and atmospheric imposition would be evident.  The use of backgrounds, music and monologues in the series are done with such detail, it achieves symbiosis with the commentary on the human psyche that we see.  On the other hand, I find the story is moving a little slowly.  In three chapters we haven't achieved all that much, and it's been a forgivable factor because of how well everything else was being done.  I find myself wondering what's next and if the slow, downbeat pace will continue forever.  These things aren't necessarily bad, however they'll determine if I stick with the series for much longer.

For now, Aku no Hana is still as brilliantly creepy as it was in the first episode.