Aku no Hana Episode 6: Let Nakamura Be Your Ultimate Life Coach

15 May

By: Stephanie Weirich

God, aren't we all?

God, aren’t we all?

Another week, another Aku no Hana review!  Tuesday seems to be the day these are coming out now guys, though at times they may hit on a Monday.  Part of the issue (in case you were wondering) is that the air time moved to Saturday evening in Japan from Friday which pushes my ability to watch and review back by a day or so. 

But that’s not why y’all are here is it?  No, you’re here for some fiery hot review action!  Review action that’s hotter than a parka clad man in a sauna in the middle of an Arizona summer.  And you’re in luck, because that’s what I have to give you!

Quick recap then: Saeki did not find out about Kasuga’s wearing of her gym clothes whilst on their date, so way to go Kasuga.  So far, your bout with consequences beyond Nakamura has been about nil.  Also, his entire class knows that himself and Saeki are platonically dating and they all, at least all of the boys, give him massive amounts of shit about it mostly due to utter disbelief about this gloomy dude’s ability to charm the not gloomy lady that is Saeki.  

The disbelief is palpable

The disbelief is palpable

Kasuga thinks this is the greatest day of his life until he notices Saeki and Nakamura talking and he immediately remembers that no, my life is never great because of the angriest girl in the world. 

So... What are you guys up to?

So… What are you guys up to?

He later finds out from Saeki that Nakamura has befriended her and said she would cheer on their relationship from the sidelines (she also gives Kasuga the requisite “I want to know more about you, please, let’s slowly build a relationship together speech).  They all eat lunch together at school the next day, and Nakamura acts like Nakamura and people are far more surprised than they ever should be.  The episode peaks with Nakamura telling Kasuga that she became friends with Saeki so that she could know how dirty Saeki is in order to tell Kasuga, including the fact that Saeki wants to fuck Kasuga (her words, not mine).  Saeki sees the tail end of this conversation and is absent from school the next day, because you know that she totally thought Nakamura was confessing her own sexual desire to Kasuga.  The end finds Kasuga nervous and trembling in front of Saeki’s house, her homework for the day in hand.  There he is accosted by Nakamura who is so pleased at the idea that he ran right over to Saeki’s house for a little afternoon delight so soon after she revealed Saeki’s desire to Kasuga.  Priceless.

A majority of this episode is treading much of the same ground as the previous one.  It also feels like a set-up episode meant to bridge the gap between last week’s excellent episode and next week’s.  Overall, not much happens beyond putting people in their right places for what is surely an inevitable conflict between all three of our main characters. 

There are some things worth mentioning though.  For one, I’d like to just take a moment to talk about how much I love Nakamura.  With the exception of her physical assaults on Kasuga, she is like the most absurdly ballsy life coach money can buy.  This part of the story reminds me a bit of the film Hesher, which also features a terrible, violent, assholish fairy godparent type character who manages to bring catharsis and meaning to the life of an emotionally stunted boy.  And like Nakamura, Hesher brings that meaning through tough love.  The toughest love.  He does truly awful things to this boy and his family, and yet, in the end, it’s all worth it.  Whether that part will come to pass in Aku no Hana remains to be seen; however, it has become one of the reasons I keep tuning in.

Tell me more...

Tell me more…

NEVERMIND

NEVER MIND

I would also like to touch on the notion of Platonic love that I talked about in the last review, as it comes up again in this episode.  The concept of Platonic love is ancient—like Roman Empire ancient.  It was then co-opted by Renaissance poets and upheld as the ideal form of romantic love for years.  Any time you read a Shakespearian sonnet you’re basking in Platonic love.  The entire point is that it’s a chaste love, one that is never consummated and that is often unrequited.  It typically transpires between a member of the nobility or upper class and himself, because a lot of the times, the Platonic love was happening from afar.  Because what’s the fun of actually telling the object of your affection about how much you love them when you can hide in a bush, watch them take a walk every day and then write about how ethereal and perfect they were when they took said walk? 

But that’s really the function of Platonic love—it’s a romantic ideal because it is intensely one-sided, wholly built on anticipation and devoid of actual rejection.  It’s also a fairly sexist form of love because it removes all agency from the woman being worshipped.  She has no desires of her own—and in fact, Platonic love hinges on a lack of desire because the woman in the equation is a paragon of perfection and purity.  If she were to ever have sexual desire, she would no longer be worthy of Platonic love and Shakespeare would cease to write his lovely sonnets. 

I HATE SEXUAL AGENCY IN MY WOMEN!

I HATE SEXUAL AGENCY IN MY WOMEN!

This is why Kasuga loses his shit when Nakamura tells him Saeki is down for a little of the old slap and tickle.  For Kasuga’s ideal of Saeki to thrive, and for him in turn to find salvation in her, she has to remain perfect and perfectly sexless.  She has to continue to be less than an actual person, and therefore sexual desire, even if that desire is directed towards him, is not allowed.  How awful will it be for Kasuga when he discovers teenage girls are victims of hormones and sexual desires just as much as boys are?  Pretty fucking awful, I would imagine.

KNOCK THAT OFF

KNOCK THAT OFF

So that’s about it for this episode review.  In other news, I’m completely caught up with the Aku no Hana manga and I am truly impressed.  For the time being, I’m going to keep reviewing just the show, but I’m weighing the possibility of writing about the manga as well because it’s so damn compelling.  Also, if you ever wondered how this series resonates with Japanese teenagers, this happened recently.  Fun fact: reading about that incident actually made one of my Japanese friends want to start reading/watching Aku no Hana. 

And have no fear guys, I’m still hard at work on some longer stuff and will hopefully have at least one of those done by this weekend.

Sound off in the comments and tell me what you thought about this week’s episode or about the series in general!

6 Responses to “Aku no Hana Episode 6: Let Nakamura Be Your Ultimate Life Coach”

  1. Artemis May 15, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    This episode had me really wondering if Kasuga genuinely wishes to see Saeki as a platonic friend for the rest of his life if he could, or if he’s just sexually repressed and refuses to admit that Saeki is/could easily become the object of his sexual fantasies. Normally I’d be going with the latter simply because Kasuga’s a teenage boy, but in a series like this, who can really say for sure.

    • entropypieplate May 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      That’s interesting. I think there is something there in regards to a latent sexual desire for Saeki, but I don’t think it’s a fully formed desire. And I think that in the end, any sexual desire he could have for Saeki, he’s very much afraid of considering everything that has happened and that continues to happen. Also, in light of the gym clothes theft, he has very much turned her into a saintly figure, one that he can find salvation in. That idealization of her seems to me to have completely removed his own sexual desire from the equation. Now he has to keep her pure for his own sake.

  2. Blubs May 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Not sure how close this is, but Kasuga’s hang-ups remind me of the Madonna/Whore complex. Something that we still have over here in the US..which makes no sense to me whatsoever and boggles my freakin’ mind. Why set yourself up for inevitable failure in a relationship. Then again I see fulfillment in a relationship meeting physical, emotional and personality compatibility. Most people only see 2 out of 3 or worse, 1 out of 3 (the one only being physical attraction seen as love).

  3. grassinc May 18, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    Reblogged this on Grass, Inc..

  4. donkangoljones May 18, 2013 at 1:29 am #

    Kasuga’s messed up, Nakamura’s messed up, now I’m just wondering how Saeki is messed up. I have a feeling more sexual repression will be a part of this soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: