Monday, 17 June 2013

Flowers of Evil - Episode 11

Following all of the drama of last week's episode, its time for our three main players to "enjoy" the long drive home in a police car after their various escapades.

However, we don't dwell on the immediate aftermath of this for too long - aside from a cutaway shot to see the reaction of Takao's parents, both at the news that he's been found and when they learn of at least some of his recent activities, we zoom forward in time by a month for the remainder of the episode to see what has changed in that interim period.  On the surface, perhaps not much - Nakamura is still causing trouble, albeit to a greater extent than before, and Saeki is still viewed as an object of beauty by the boys.  It's Kasuga, however, who seems to have been completely broken by his experiences - hardly an extrovert before, Takao is now a dead-eyed loner who has nothing to say to anybody, whether it's Saeki or his parents.

In short, Kasuga has effectively given up on life and consigned himself to a lifetime rotting in a town from which, in his eyes, he can never escape.  With his parents paralysed by their inability to know what to do with him and with no distractions in this sleepy town, Takao is very much entering a vicious circle of self-loathing.  Even his dreams won't allow him respite from this state of affairs (as dreams are wont to do), bringing up knowledge that he has buried deep within his psyche about the damage he's done to Nakamura and her trust towards and relationship with him.  Perhaps Kasuga's subconscious knows just the right buttons to press to set him on the road to redemption however, no matter how painful...

I've spoken about this before with regards to this series, and this week's episode proves it again - Flowers of Evil is an absolute master at creating atmosphere.  The obvious highlight of this is Kasuga's dream sequence - surreal, aesthetically striking and rich in visual imagery, and backed up by a soundtrack that only accentuates this further.  Even before this however, the choices and positioning of shots do a wonderful job at depicting Kasuga's isolation and loneliness, as well as the emptiness of the town that traps him, and by the end of the episode you can't help but be drawn into his plight in a way that wouldn't be possible without the series working its craft in the way that it does.  Say what you like about this show's art style, but it knows how to use it, and every other aspect of the series, to maximum effect.

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