Aku no Hana Episodes 8-13 Review

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So here we are, end of the Spring-Summer cour for anime, and I just finished Aku no Hana’s 13th, and seemingly NOT final episode. I immediately rushed to my laptop, opened it, and I’m about gush hard about what I just witnessed. If you’re unfamiliar with Aku no Hana, be sure to read about the first half of this series here.

Aku no Hana is, as I previously said in the first half review, an ambitious series. Ditching the manga’s art style for a more distinct and somewhat controversial look, it’s captured a more realistic depiction and believable motif. This is not a huge fantastical setting; it’s to be a believable Japanese setting, so the rotoscoped approach is appreciated. And continuing that ‘controversy’, the eighth episode opens with one of strongest 6 minutes I’ve ever seen: nothing but walking between Nakamura and Kasuga. As a somber piano piece overlays the scene while they’re hand-in-hand, the two walk home and depart from one another for their own beds. It’s exceptionally well done and poignant considering what had just happened. The scene’s bookended by Nakamura pleased with their destruction, Kasuga weighing everything he’d done and preparing for the inevitable explosion come the next morning at school. But in those 6 minutes, the two are oddly the happiest they’ve been in a long while.

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Unfortunately, as wide-eyed as I was for the remaining half of Aku no Hana, the later episodes failed to surpass that opening segment. That is, until episode 13, but more on that in a bit. Episodes 9-12 proceed as Kasuga starts questioning (again) what he truly wants from life. Saeki is able to overlook everything Kasuga has done after he comes clean with her, after Nakamura blows it all into the open, of course. But Kasuga seems to be second-guessing himself. Does he really like what Nakamura has done for him? Does he still really love Saeki? What is beyond the hill? Everything slowly ramps up to a climactic 13th episode, wherein we not only get a startling recap, but an interesting tidbit of things to come.

That’s right; it looks as though Aku no Hana will be returning in the future to continue the sordid love triangle of Kasuga, Nakamura, and Saeki. And if the quick flashes of content and major utterance of screams with overlapping dialogue are any indication, it will be utterly insane! And you can bet I’ll be there come its premiere. Aku no Hana was a pleasant surprise this season, and I’m all for it getting a second season, though I’m not above going out right now and reading the manga to tide myself over until then. There’s no outright confirmation we’ll be getting a second season; neither Zexcs nor other sources have said so as of this review, but I’ll be sure to let you all know. This is a series you need to have patience for and an appreciation for subtle acting and delivery. It can ramp up drastically from time to time, but it’s a slowly paced show, and patience will be your friend in the end.

[Written by contributor Curtis Stone]

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