Flowers of Evil is an ugly anime. Aesthetically, it is offputting, and thematically it is rotten to the core. In a way, it is a kind of anti-anime. A large part of the draw of anime to many of its fans is as a form of escapism – many, many series place their emphasis on creating a fantasy for the viewer, where ideals and characters are pure, insulated from the drudge and dirt of reality. It’s the source of the popular “2D vs 3D” debate, and readily apparent in a number of the medium’s favorite tropes, perhaps most presently visible in the stream of adaptations of seemingly identical light novels. Aku no Hana’s goal, meanwhile, is to identify and tear down fantasy, to tear away the walls of isolating idealism around it and expose the unsightly, ugly reality behind them.
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