Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
“Aku no Hana” as a series has only continued to impress me as time goes on. It has a fantastic albeit simplistic art style, wonderful pacing and suspense building, and characters that have legitimately left me guessing for the past 3 volumes now. It is a thriller in all the right ways, not only building up dramatic moments, but also subtly introducing a number of philosophical and political concepts in a way that makes the story worth thinking about. With that being said, here are my final thoughts on volume six.
The Beginning of the End
The story of “Aku no Hana” has officially reached its halfway point, it looks as though everything is coming crashing down, for Kasuga, Nakamura, and Saeki. At the beginning of the volume, Kasuga has not seen Nakamura for over a week. At this point, while sitting in his room alone, wondering what will become of him and Nakamura, police officers show up looking to ask questions. Kasuga, wanting to protect himself, says he knows nothing, at which point the officers leave.
It is clear at this point that Kasuga is commited to both the vague idea of “the other side” and, much more importantly, Nakamura. We will come back to this.
Kasuga Confronting His Parents
Later in the night, after the police leave, Kasuga attempts to leave his house despite being grounded by his parents. His dad catches him, which leads to the first ever time that Kasuga ever really confronts his dad.
One thing that I missed in my analysis early on was the sort of respectability politics embodied by his parents, and how Kasuga’s initial love of books was passed down to him by his dad, more specifically his love of “The Flowers of Evil.” In this way, Kasuga’s parents are the normalcy and order that Kasuga hopes to escape through Nakamura and “the other side.”
Throughout the volume, Kasuga’s mom constantly wonders what it is she did wrong, why Kasuga turned out the way he did. However, something interesting gets mentioned when
They go to the principal.
After being confronted by Saeki’s friends Ai, Kasuga finally decides to fess up, going to the principal’s office with his parents. While there, he and his parents discuss why exactly he did the things he did.
Almost immediately after learning about Kasuga’s involvement with Nakamura, the principal suggests that Kasuga was manipulated by her into doing the horrible things he did. Given the information that’s been revealed up until this point, the relationship between the two of them does seem really especially manipulative on Nakamura’s end. It is easy to forget that she was the one who blackmailed him in the first place.
However, from Kasuga’s perspective, Nakamura genuinely cares for him and is trying to get him out of a terrible situation, living with a bunch of “shit bugs.” We will come back to this as well.
Saeki’s Final Stand
In one last attempt to keep him from ending up with Nakamura, Saeki visits Kasuga while he is grounded. The two go up to his room and Saeki tells him to turn himself in with almost zero hesitation. Of course, Kasuga gets angry, saying that Saeki does not know what she is talking about. She responds, though, by saying that when the two were holding each other close Nakamura was trembling.
This of course creates a certain level of doubt in Kasuga. After all, if Nakamura really is not who he thought she is, that what is he to do? It ends up not being enough, but as it turns out, what Saeki said was true.
Also of note in this scene is that Saeki has cut her hair to be much shorter. While this might be insignificant, it could be representative of her trying to be more like Nakamura in order to get Kasuga’s attention.
The Big Reveal
Remember how I said in the last post that while everyone is guilty of a lot, Nakamura is certainly guilty of the most? As it turns out, there is a reason.
In the second to last chapter, Nakamura breaks into Kasuga’s home and the two escape. They ride off on Kasuga’s bike and enter an abandoned building, upon which she has him take off his clothes, and then tells him that she would peel off the rest of his skin. After going at him violently, she then collapses on top of him, saying that “shit bugs” and “the other side” are not real because ” ’cause no matter where I go, I can’t get rid of me.”
This scene, along with the last chapter, heavily imply that Nakamura has some kind of mental illness, whether that be depression, anxiety, etc, and that she has not been able to get any kind of help for it. This would explain her angry outbursts and obsession with making others feel bad, because she is largely insecure about herself. It is also outright stated that the two plan on killing themselves together in front of the people at the festival.
There is a lot going on in this volume. The battle for Kasuga is more than lost at this point, with Nakamura having his full, undivided attention. Moreover, Kasuga has made the decision to stick with Nakamura even if it means ruining there future. The two have become a sort of Bonnie and Clyde-esk pair who are willing to risk it all for the sake of each others happiness… at least that is what I would like to think.
The reality is probably much different. Only time will tell, though, so be sure to tune in next week as well when we go over volume seven.
How did you all feel about this volume? Let me know in the comments.
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If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!