Aku no Hana has, at this point, picked up its fair share of admirers. For a show that has so deeply divided viewers over its presentation and writing, it was only a matter of time that a group of fans would emerge. And to be honest, the art style doesn’t really bother me too much anymore. Every show has its own style that makes it unique. KyoAni made its mark with top-notch animation quality coupled with cute character designs, while SHAFT became known for its strange designs and stranger content. Aku no Hana will probably forever be known as that weird anime with the poorly done rotoscope aesthetic, but at least we can appreciate it for doing something completely out of the norm.
With that, we can set aside the topic of the animation quality and actually focus on the plot, which has been taking a progressively awful turn for Takao. The strain of having so much guilt pent-up inside of him as well as having Nakamura harass him is starting to make him paranoid, and decides to finally get rid of Saeki’s gym clothes once and for all. Except…he doesn’t. Geez man, I know you’re paranoid about someone seeing you, but for goodness sake you’re only making yourself stand out more when you’re breathing all heavily while carrying around a bag with a girl’s name on it…
Of course, not getting rid of the bag will serve as his downfall thanks to Nakamura, who arranges for him to meet her in the library after school with an essay prepared about his feelings. Nakamura is dangerous because she is unpredictable. From the moment she first opened her mouth, you could tell she is a walking bag of crazy. She has the uncanny ability to spout of curses without emoting, something that should signal anyone that she might have a few loose screws in her head. He ends up bringing The Flowers of Evil, telling her Baudelaire’s poetry perfectly describes who he is. Obviously, she isn’t too happy.
For once, we see him show some spine as he lets out an outburst on Nakamura. I think any rational or sane man would have been able to resolve this situation immediately by getting rid of all the evidence and claiming innocence. Then again, no rational or sane man would run home with his crush’s sweaty gym clothes in tow and KEEP them in his possession long enough for someone to blackmail him. But since our protagonist is none of these, we will probably see his character develop from an introverted and misunderstood young man into a strong individual over the course of the series. So it’s nice to see this bit of development where he finally speaks his mind.
However, that journey of becoming a strong individual will take a while, as Nakamura strips him down and forces him to put on Saeki’s gym clothes. Now THAT is pure psychological evil. No amount of shock therapy could possibly heal the mental scars that such an act would inflict on anyone. Just how much more abuse can this guy take?
The episode ends with the class blaming Nakamura for someone’s missing lunch money. Group paranoia can be a scary thing especially once someone starts pointing fingers. Of course, Takao just HAS to butt in and say something in Nakamura’s defense. This causes the class to turn on him when he’s accused of liking Nakamura. It’s his worst nightmare yet.