Oshimi Shuuzou’s Aku no Hana is a Love Letter to All Shit Eaters

You’d think that with a summary like this:

Takao Kusuga steals a pair gym clothes of the girl he likes, the next day the girl that sits behind him reveals that she saw everything. Now if he doesn’t form a “contract” with her, she is going to tell.
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We’d end up with another generic, ecchi romantic comedy.

After going through most of his works, I’m tempted to say Oshimi Shuuzou himself may be in an unhappy place, unhappy being an understatement. I can’t say I’ve researched deep enough into the Japanese psyche to present solid evidence to back up this statement but I think his work is enough to speak for itself.

Reading Aku no Hana was quite the experience. Takao Kasuga is a spineless, whiny pervert who loves to read books. But as we go further into the series, the word ‘pervert slowly begins to lose its meaning.

What is perversion? What makes someone corrupt, and does it even really matter? Kasuga’s rejection of these accusations from Nakamura happen over and over again, and every time he’s given a chance to finally be free for her torment, he comes back to her. He can’t cast aside that part which makes him human. He can’t stop being a pervert.

We also have the nihilistic and sadistic Nakamura, a girl who affectionately calls everyone in town a shit eater. She wants to find ‘the other side’ of town, but realizes that she can’t do it. Not very subtle, but you get the gist. She explicitly calls herself a pervert.

I don’t want to pretend that I’ve perfectly grasped the reasons behind everyone’s actions in this manga, in truth– the choices they make are bizarre, almost as if they’re purposely punishing themselves. But what makes Aku no Hana stand above works of the same theme is that none of it feels manipulative. While we don’t always understand these people, the manga progresses in a way where these characters naturally came to these decisions. It’s all about trying to understand why these kids are making such poor choices and how the town they grew up in is somewhat directly responsible for this.

This is the kind of story that’d fit will in between your copy of Snakes and Earrings, Battle Royale and Confessions. It’s all about disillusioned kids, suppressed by society and how it all turns into one nasty cycle of depravity and violence. In short, GOOD STUFF.

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3 Comments

  1. this is absolutly the best manga ever written (thats what i think)

  2. it’s 5:30 in the morning an I just finished watching the anime. I watched the first 10 episodes last night and I couldn’t stop until I had to make myself go to sleep because I had to be up for work in four hours.

    I love this anime. I’m not a fan of reading manga. I was an animator myself so I love to see things on the screen but I do know the difference… the book is always better but I don’t care. In this case I just love Flowers of Evil or how I like to say it Evil’s Flower. I only came across your blog looking for more of shuzou sans works. So I figured I’d say something.

    I like most anime… I own lots of it and have seen more than I own. I’ve written about it and even made a montage of anime… been all over Tokyo living with a friends family on many separate occasions and even worked there. My credentials are solid trust me. I found this anime going through a list like I normally do looking for what’s good and bad of the old and new and I am so happy I found this. This will be one of my all time favorites… MY ALL TIME FAVORITES

    Of all the anime I’ve seen I’m always left with one impression… and that is that anime is not matter the genre good or bad based off of the emotion I feel in the show. It doesn’t even have to have a high budget. But this the feeling has to be there to make it good and Aku no Hana is all feeling. From the very start the mood is set. I was nostalgic for me to see all those images from the small town the story was set in. Anime is always that way for me. I’m always saying “man it really looks like that” but in this anime I’d say “man it really feels like that”

    I only wish this could have kept going on to a part two as it leaves you to believe. But much like other really good ones twelve episodes seems to be it. For example another anime far on the other end of the spectrum I thought was good was HOTD only went to 12 not 13… I thought that anime could have rivaled the walking dead and there were nicely penciled B(. )( .)Bs too which I thought was just the funniest thing… kinda reminds me of those old action/horror B movies that always had some topless blonde runnin around or some cheap shower scene.

    Again Aku no Hana is one of the best and will always be one of my favorites. Damn I was said to see it end but happy to have been a viewer.

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