Flowers of Evil ep10: the only wrong choice is no choice
Simpletons get on bike and go… someplace. Perfect, naive girlfriend skips dinner to find them. It rains. Drama. Penis! Butt cheeks! Crying! Police! Most uncomfortable car ride ever. The end.
Can I go now? No?! Fine. Let’s get into episode ten of Flowers of Evil, or as I like to call it, Teenagers Being Extra Simple.
You know, I have to give the characters in this show credit. When they have a bad idea. They have a bad idea! And they go all the way with it. Nakamura says they need to go over “that hill”, and she gets Kasuga to get on his bike and pedal them to “that hill.” Even though it will take them more than an hour to get there, they go. *sigh*
Meanwhile, Saeki is at home with her family, warm and comfy, but not happy. I found it interesting how when she called Nakamura’s home, her dad was surprised that she had friends. I wasn’t surprised though, I just thought it was an interesting peek into her home life. Regardless, Saeki came up with some excuse to leave the house at dinner time, and she takes her bike and somehow figures out the right way to go to chase down our delinquent love birds.
And what happens here is quite simple, but hella dramatic. And you could tell it was coming, because it started raining, too. Writers just can’t avoid using rain to signal drama and sadness.
Saeki pedals her butt off only to finally find a winded (and horny) Kasuga and Nakamura lying aside each other along the road. It’s so sad to see Saeki make her second sincere attempt to get to know and understand Kasuga. She does everything to accept who he is, and honestly tells him that she’s read his favorite book several times and still doesn’t understand it. Nakamura isn’t going to just lay there and let the conversation go her way though. Everything that has happened so far is laid bare at that moment, as she strips Kasuga down to his ankles and tells her about everything he’s done up to now. And still with all that laid bare in front of her, Saeki still accepts it. I would say all this weirdness and drama was touching, if not for how the scene continues.
Nakamura seemingly admits defeat, takes the bike and starts walking off down the road. One way or another she’s going to make it to the other side of “that hill.” But Kasuga breaks his embrace with Saeki, pulls his pants back up (thank God) and chases her down. Saeki wants to know what he wants to do. And Nakamura does, too. Kasuga is forced to choose between the person who cares for him the most earnestly, and the person who seemingly understands him the deepest. And what does he do? He just breaks down, crying and stating that he can’t choose. Which I guess is alright, because like they’ve been doing all season, they make up his mind for him. Saeki basically states that she’s given up on him, and Nakamura takes the copy of his precious book that Saeki left on the ground, and stomp on it, rips it and throws it in Kasuga’s face.
EMOTION! Holy hell! Nakamura finally breaks and shows emotion! Well, this was actually the second time we’ve seen an explosion of emotion from her. The first was when their home room was being vandalized. All this is halted however, when the police show up.
I am genuinely amazed at how easily people find each other in this series. I guess this really is a small town. Is there only one road in and out of this town?
Anyway, it looks like Saeki’s parents are super duper protective – as they should be. At least in America, you have to wait at least 24 hours to file a missing person’s report. Not in Japan, apparently they only need a couple of hours. And after a hilariously awkward chase of Nakamura by one of the cops, we get what may be one of the most awkward car rides in anime history. Kasuga is stuck between two women who just rejected him outright. And he had the chance to be with either. I don’t know how you can fail at life more than him right now.
End of episode.
I really had no trouble gathering my thoughts for this episode, since they basically boiled down to disgust, with a smidgen of respect for the people who put this episode together. Let me explain, the rotoscope technique really worked here, as you could really see the acting and therefore you could see the pain coming through. The animation was devoid of the usual techniques of big, shaky, water filled eyes with lines underneath them to symbolize the disbelief and stress the character was supposed to be feeling. The look on Saeki’s face when she saw Kasuga and Saeki by the side of the road – man, words were unnecessary for that moment. It really worked!
When it came to acting, Saeki really showed through. I would say that Kasuga was above average in his portrayal. And unfortunately for Nakamura, she appeared just as dead pan as ever, though amazingly up to this point, I’d say she had the best expressions. So yes, I will give a slow, dignified hand clap for rotoscoping’s ability to convey emotion.
Where my disgust comes in is with the characters, and that doesn’t necessarily mean I have a problem with the show. The point of this very well may be to draw out feelings of disgust in some viewers. After all, Kasuga is given every reasonable chance to make clear headed choices, and to convey his feelings. The problem isn’t simply resolved though, because he’s a teenager who doesn’t know what he wants – at all! So while it’s understandable to an extent, I still want to strangle him. It’s very important to note that in this episode he admits that he’s empty inside. Right now he’s trying to fill himself up with something, probably a combination of love and attention and naive ideals. But each girl offers him something the other can’t. It’s like trying to materials in a container that react violently with each other, think bleach and vinegar. You’re just doomed if you do it. That’s almost exactly what Kasuga’s trying to do now, and in return he’s gotten nothing good out of it.
And this episode as a whole makes it very difficult for me to judge the progress Kasuga has and has not made. When the series started he had no relationship with either girl, let alone any sense of intimacy. But at the end of this episode, Kasuga has gotten to know both characters pretty well. And they know him to the point that they’re disgusted with him. And amazingly it’s not because of his actions, but because of his lack of them. Saeki throws her all into Kasuga and their relationship and he reciprocates with nothing. Nakamura offers him the security, guidance and kindred spirit he craves, and yet he can’t stop waffling and whining. His weakness colors him as the most callous sort of person.
Man, I need a break after writing this. Just the fact that two women are fighting over this guy is too surreal for me. I don’t even have the energy to start considering the kind of trouble he’s in once he gets back to town.
Quick side notes: obviously I was wrong about the whole waiting 24 hrs things, I don’t think I see any of that in the material I’ve read. Also, it always annoys me whenever most of an episode takes place in the dark. It makes it so hard to edit this images. Most filters just make these night screenshots too dark. Ugh.