Tag Archives: Volume 9

Final Thoughts: Aku no Hana 11

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

In the end, the boy lived on.
What was once his roller-coaster confidence barely making it up the hill
became a stable, boat-ride happiness, as he rode over his shallow fears.
His past became and ocean breeze: ever-present, but uncontrolling, 
and his flower of evil shriveled away in the salty water. 

Absolutely…incredible. From the first page to the last, I had no idea how the series was going to conclude or even if it would stay in the direction it was headed, and yet…I still came out of it enjoying nearly every second of it. Sure, there were parts that made very little sense, both in this volume and others, but there is still a lot of good to talk about. With that said, here are my final thoughts on the last volume of “Aku no Hana.”

Who is Sawa Nakamura?

After finding at her new house, and Tokiwa yelling to get Kasuga a chance to talk with her, the three meet on the beach at sunset. After having asked a series of questions about their time back then, and Nakamura basically responding with “Idk” to all of it, Kasuga becomes upset. Kasuga starts tackling her, at which point he tells her that he is “glad she is still around. Nakamura them tackles him back, but what looks like a violent outbreak turns out to be just the three of them goofing around on the beach, as Tokiwa gets dragged in as well.

Probably what is most striking about this final volume is high school Nakamura’s last line: “Don’t ever come back, you normal man.” There have been a lot of running themes throughout the series, including abuse, mental health, societal outcasts, etc. Why this line stand out, however, is because of the final chapter. It is shown that Nakamura’s perspective during their time in middle school, at least at one point, was that Kasuga was different, was like her. She was under the impression that the two had the same perception. However, it became obvious to her later on that this was not the case, and was like part of the reason she pushed him out of the fire, even if she says she “doesn’t remember.”

While I am on the topic of analyzing dialogue, I should also mention that this series has given me the impression that there is something being lost in translation. While I have been studying Japanese at my university, I do not yet have the amount of cultural knowledge and understanding to even begin to deduce what the missing context might be, so this is all just speculative.

Sawa Nakamura still remains a mystery. From her first appearance to her last, her warped view of the world seemingly has little grounded explanation, but ultimately, I think that comes from

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The Ending.

If I were to honestly complain about one element of the story, even if its mainly in a very nitpicking manner, it would probably be the ending. For what its worth though, I do not even think it is a bad ending. However, I feel like the last two chapters lacked a lot of impact, for a couple of reasons.

The first is order. Having the flashback to Nakamura’s perception of middle school be the last chapter of the book felt a bit off, because it honestly does not tell anything that was not already heavily implied by Oshimi already. If he were going to add this chapter, which it is debatable as to whether or not its worth having to begin with, it feels like it should have been placed sometime right before Kasuga and Tokiwa and went to Nakamura’s new home.

Additionally, having Kasuga begin to write down his story when he wakes up from his extremely vivid dream would cement what appears to be the core theme of the series: that your past does not have to define you provided you are willing to conquer it.

Granted, I could definitely understand the view that having Nakamura’s perspective be the last chapter better fits with the overall tone, but it still feels pretty underwhelming.

A World Beyond the Past

It is over. Everything is now in the past, but not in a way that haunts Kasuga anymore. He has a girlfriend that loves him, a friend that supports him, and a future to look forward to. The second to last chapter reveals where he dreams of having a kid with Tokiwa, along with seeing a few other people from his hometown, including Saeki and her childhood best friend. After he wakes up, he decides to start writing down the events of his life, following the wishes of Tokiwa.

I think another big lesson here at the end of it all is that overcoming trauma does not have to be and individual act. It can be hard to face things or people who have hurt you, even more so when you haven’t seen them in a while. However, if you have someone there who is willing to stick it out with you, it is possible to get through a lot more than usual.


Alright, so I know I said in the volume 10 post that I would be doing a final wrap up of sorts, but, tbh, I am still not sure if that is something that needs to happen. I might just include a brief section in my update post later this week. Otherwise, thanks for reading. If you would like to finish the series with me, consider using my affiliate link below to get “Aku no Hana.”

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Final Thoughts: Aku no Hana Volume Nine

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Sometimes, its hard to tell if its really the eye that's calmer than the storm.
After all, when you've lived with so much noise for so long, silence can be scary. 
Then again, it can be hard to go back to the past you though you escaped,
especially when happiness you worked so hard for feels more fragile than glass.
I guess, maybe, the storm is safer sometimes.

“Change is scary” is a sentiment that even toddlers understand, despite not being able to verbalize it. Doing something new, whether getting a new job, marrying someone, buying a house, can be uncertain, and our brains are programmed to be cautious of the unknown. Today, I’ll be talking about “Aku no Hana” volume nine, where Kasuga arguably goes through the biggest change of the entire series.

Kasuga

There is a lot to say about Kasuga’s character, but the most notable thing is just how depressing he really is. Now, this is not meant as a knock against the story, quite the opposite, in fact, as Oshimi does a great job at portraying just how mentally unwell Kasuga really is.

While walking home on Christmas Eve, kasuga makes his way back to his apartment, only to arrive there and then turn around, walking towards Tokiwa’s house. While standing there Kasuga begins talking to his shadow, and it tells him that he is “weak” and “has always been dependent on others.” He then sees the ghost of Nakamura from his past, and a mansion much like the one in Tokiwa’s novel. From there, he vows to free Tokiwa from the ghosts that are haunting her, recognizing just how similar the two really are.

One frame that really exemplifies this well comes on page 65, where Kasuga looks up inside the mansion only to see two empty shells that look exactly like himself and Tokiwa. Not only does it add to the feel of the scene, which is incredibly horrifying from Kasuga’s perspective, but also serves as a nice symbol of how hollow they both feel, and also how they use fiction to hide away from the reality of their sadness.

He…did it? Huh…

Immediately following this horrific dream, Kasuga goes to Tokiwa’s work and confesses his love to her. After hearing his confession, Tokiwa tells Koji that she can no longer go out with him, and then proceeds to quit and leave with Kasuga.

The whole scene feels like an out of body experience. After all, Kasuga spends the entirety of the series up until this point being unhappy, depressed and scared about both his future and his past. Seeing him finally work up the courage to put his own happiness first makes it feel like another dream that was going to be revealed at the end of the volume. Luckily, though, it was not.

Conquering Fear

The manga ends after a time skip to the end of Kasuga’s second year, with the two of them still happily together. Tokiwa mentions that it would be interesting to see Kasuga’s home town. Kasuga thinks it would just be boring. However, after his dad finds out that his brother is passing away, and needs to return back to Gunma, Kasuga decides that now is the time to face his fears.

What will be most interesting to see in these next two volumes is whether or not Kasuga runs into Sakamura, and whether or not that affects his mental state. After all, he’s incredibly happy about his life for the first time in a long time. Tokiwa is someone who genuinely cares for him, and his relationship with his parents seems to be getting much better. However, despite this manga’s already unpredictable nature, I am willing to bet that he will be much better off on the other end.

Conclusion

Whatever happens in the next volume, needless to say it is going to be interesting, at the very least. I hope you all will join me next week as I continue on to volume ten, where Kasuga presumably ends up back in his home town.


How did you feel about this week’s volume of “Aku no Hana?” Let me know in the comments.

If you would like to get this volume yourself and read along with me, feel free to use my affiliate link below:

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!