Analysis: Aku no Hana

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Humans are hardly the pristine, good creatures which we sometimes try to make ourselves out to be, and I’m not just talking about those ‘bad’ people. Each and every person has their own agenda, own goals, own limitations, and own conscience. These traits in turn are displayed not only in those great do-or-die actions which make it into the news, but in everyday interactions and event. Every moment is filled with countless decisions, many of which will affect not only ourselves, but others as well. Needless to say then, not every one of those actions is going to work out perfectly for the entirety of mankind. Therefore, to one extent or another, evil lurks in every man, woman, and child, though it may only significantly bloom in some.

Aku no Hana focuses upon this idea of universal corruptibility. It takes a seemingly innocent child, and slowly but surely shapes him into something dark and twisted; hence the translated title of ‘Flower of Evil’. He supposedly ‘shows his true colors’ or some other inane simplification of metamorphosis which is designed to shock and horrify viewers. Yet, from the first actions of the mistaken youth, audience members are almost forced into the inevitability of the plotline. I mean, if the title itself weren’t blatant, the antagonists desire to literally ‘unleash’ the protagonist’s bestial nature is painfully obvious, as she uses those words and phrases herself. It’s a story about a man becoming what he always was: not something different, and not something wrong. A seed cannot bloom into anything other than the flower it was meant to be. Likewise, the protagonist is doomed before the series even begins, despite some half-hearted efforts to seemingly pull the hero back on the right track temporarily.

But is inevitable fallibility actually realistic? On one hand yes; as I’ve already mentioned, all human beings are bound to have some portion of the ‘dark side’ in them, no matter how hard they try to express otherwise. On the other hand though, an inverse of this situation is just as true. Even the most evil, detestable of beings could, if they wanted, to wake up one day decide to figuratively donate their life to charity. This then, means that the complications of corruption are far from the one-way street which Aku no Hana makes it out to be.

Yes, we all have desires, angst, fear; whatever you want to call it. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are just seeds waiting to hatch into our true form, things are nearly that simplistic. What this series fails to illustrate is the other side of the conversation in which one must ask themselves ‘why’. Why fall to such terrible things? Why perform a felony for no obvious gain? Why listen to a complete stranger trying to manipulate you down some dangerous path? The largest reason why human criminality against one another occurs is because of personal gain. One man seeks to either reinforce his own happiness, or else hinder someone else’s. If there’s no profit, then the action won’t be worth the effort. Even psychopaths do what they do because they feel some form of fulfillment by completing their horrible mistakes. So why does Aku no Hana’s protagonist go crazy? Social acceptance? An innate urge to just go crazy and tear the world apart? Not likely, and hardly believable given the young man’s upbringing. This is your everyday kid, raised in a decent environment with all the comforts of home. He isn’t going to just throw that all away for a girl. Well, at the very least, such a plotline isn’t worth watching. Perhaps Aku no Hana will truly complicate the situation should season 2 ever be made, but for now, it’s a bit too shallow for neither horror nor introspection.

That doesn’t mean we can’t take the mistakes of the show as yet another learning experience though. Sometimes in society, people believe that they ‘must’ do something or another. They ‘must’ be ‘true’ to themselves, and there’s not anything anyone can do about it. You just have to bloom into your fitted place. Unfortunately though, this is wrong. Mankind, and indeed, all sentient creatures have some level of control over their fates. That’s why everyone and everything is so different; even animals have different tendencies and personalities. Instead of a set course, good or bad, we are faced with a wide open plain, and where we go is pretty much up to us. No, we don’t get to choose the various obstacles in our way, or when/where/what kind of predators will come after us, but those things are just that: obstacles, not inescapable certainties. There’s no one right way for any of us, which means we each have the troublesome task of deciding where we want to go ourselves. Self-responsibility sucks, doesn’t it?

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