Monday, 1 July 2013

Flowers of Evil - Episode 13 (Completed)

We already know what Kasuga is like in the face of temptation (this would be an incredibly short series if not!), so it's no surprise to witness his actions as this final episode begins with our protagonist faced with Nakamura's unlocked bedroom door.

Wandering inside, we find a bare, featureless room, marked out only by some holes in the wall, some clothes and bedding strewn around the place, and what appears to be Nakamura's diary.  Again, temptation soon turns into action as Kasuga flicks through this notebook which doubles as Nakamura's diary, finding within a tale of loneliness and isolation given a window of hope by the appearance of a seemingly like-minded individual.  Of course, that individual is Kasuga, and a slew of blank pages followed by a simple statement of Nakamura's failure to reach the other side of the mountain speak volumes of the events of that time.  Of course, only one person could possibly walk into the room at this moment.

After screaming at Kasuga for a while (and for once she seems well in her rights to do so), Nakamura takes off with Kasuga giving chase and eventually catching up to her.  Even though Kasuga continues to do the right thing, so all he really succeeds in doing is further damage to Nakamura, who rants and raves at him some more.  The real moment of clarity, however, is delivered via a montage of what the future could be hold if these two individuals were to carry on down this path and feed off one another's insecurities.  It's a future filled with disturbing and striking imagery, a pot pourri of violence, rape, lust, love and heartbreak that would ultimately destroy all involved.  It's this realisation that brings Kasuga to his senses - he doesn't want to share in Nakamura's anger and frustration - he wants to save her from it...

As slow and deliberate as much of it was once again, this final instalment of Flowers of Evil was another triumph that showcases what it does best - it's a series that can say so much by saying so little, instead relying on its atmosphere, visuals and ambiance to carry the story in a self-assured way that so many other anime could learn from.  While other series feel the need to bash you over the head with a character's emotions or state of mind, here is a story that can inform you of the same facts with just a few words or even less, instead relying on a sinking sense of dread or foreboding that pervades a scene.

For all of the initial criticism of its art style, the end result from this adaptation is an undoubted triumph - an incredibly powerful look into the adolescent psyche that is a true work of art on account of the way it presents itself.  This is a coming of age story (or at least, a phase of one) that very few would openly admit to relating to, but this is it's true genius - it's a coming of age story that resonates with us all in the most uncomfortable ways possible, and it's this awkward feeling of insecurity that reinforces how utterly true its core tenets are.  As I've mentioned before, I hold out little hope of seeing a second part to this adaptation, but if there's any justice there is still more to come from this story in this particular format.  Even without a second season though, this is a tale that simply shouldn't be missed at any cost.

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