A quote I read earlier today during the airing of Aku no Hana caught my eye.
The story feels like, “We took this out of the universe most of your anime happen in”, and it really works. #akunohana
I think this sort of mindset is required in order to be able to stomach the “uniqueness” of Aku no Hana.
Too much time is being spent arguing about the graphics and animation style of this show or how different it looks compared to the manga, so let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about the effect of this show’s uniqueness, in relative to the show and to its original content.
The direct consequences of being unique cuts both ways. This show sits on a fine line between thematic creativeness (that attempts to coincide with the concept of the “beautiful ugliness” of human souls) and jarring laziness.
It’s like an art exhibit which contains absolutely nothing in it. Some people call it art. Other decry it for being bullshit, laziness to express “actual” art. Of course, the concept of “actual art” lies in the eye of the beholder. Most people correlate “art” with a certain required amount of effort, not unlike the production of any well-received TV show or movie…but things as simple as the chemical decomposition of green chlorophyll due to colder weather is regarded as a work of art done by nature as well.
Whether one statement is true over another is not for me to say, nor is it relevant. My point is that when faced with something that’s right on the border between creative and poorly-made, people have a wide range of tolerance levels, which stem from the ambiguous subjective perception of “art style”. The numerous for/against posts and threads for this show all over the web exemplifies this behavior quite well.
In relation to the original content, this attempt at making the adaptation its own art form leads to a negative impact on some aspects of its presentation. A lot of people have been using the word “realism” to supplement their supporting arguments; not only do I dislike the usage of the term to describe anime in general (save for very rare occasions), but for this particular case the “realism” reduces the shock value.
A post in the Aku no Hana tag here on tumblr which received plenty of notes had a sentence that read: "Our protagonist is a high school student…” There’s the issue. These characters are in middle school. Realism in the setting doesn’t quite apply here. While this series is a fascinating exploration into the dark depths of the human psyche, the fact that the characters are in middle school makes the events that transpire all the more horrifying. This art style eliminates that distinction.
Although, an interesting counter to this is that the perception of these characters as somewhat older makes the events in this series more feasible in reality, which could be considered as scary in its own right. But would conveying a message of realism really be the right move in this case?
The amount of conversation this show has incited is quite a spectacle. The nearly universal 1’s on MAL is one thing, although it seems to be panning out slightly. I haven’t experienced a highly anticipated show (at least, among a good-sized niche group) that bombed this badly in quite some time. But a series like this, which is controversial from content alone, is meant to incite debate and heated discussion. In that sense, I guess this show succeeded.
Spring 2013 Appreciation(?)