Aku no Hana Ep. 1-7: Deviancy and repression

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Eat. Sleep. Reproduce. Eat. Sleep. Reproduce. Eat. Sleep. Reproduce. Eat. Sleep. Reproduce.

An oppressive sense of tedium grips the town in Aku no Hana. The townsfolk, both young and old, shuffle to and fro through their dreary, depressing lives, blissfully unaware of the metaphysical prison they’ve entrapped themselves in (Eat. Sleep. Reproduce). To compound matters, the third step (Reproduce.) is muted. Actually, no. The situation is even worse than one might expect. The third step involves sex, which is taboo. Sex is sinful. It is a potential source of play, and playing can be subversive. Playing might even upset the order of things (Eat. Sleep. Reproduce.). So at the center of Aku no Hana lies two kindred souls, Kasuga and Nakamura, and yet at the same time, ironically, they couldn’t be more different.

Both children recognize the tedium in their daily lives, but Kasuga is a hypocrite. He isn’t, however, a malicious hypocrite. He is a hypocrite only because he is too stupid to recognize the blatant hypocrisy in his own actions. Kasuga’s story almost begins like a parody of your typical affected teenager ranting on Tumblr. Oh, woe is me. No one in this pathetic town understands the depth of my soul or the brilliance of the French poetry I make sure to read in plain view of all my classmates – this way, the others can see how different and ostensibly more sophisticated I am.

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No, bestie, don’t even try to grab at my book. You – yes, you — wouldn’t understand it anyway. What’s ironically funny, however, is that for all this Otherness that our Holden – or perhaps Werther – ascribes himself, Kasuga so painfully wishes he could insert himself into the same tedium that haunts his classmates (Eat. Sleep. Reproduce.). In reality, Kasuga is as mundane as they come, and so are his dreams and desires, his concerns and fears. He yearns for Saeki, the cutest, most popular girl in class, but since the “Reproduce” function is muted – because sex is repressed – this desire becomes warped by platonic, ultimately naïve ideals of purity that is often associated with love. What Kasuga doesn’t recognize is that this abstract ideality of true love flagrantly defies the imperative to reproduce. If he never consumes Saeki carnally, the reproductive function is never fulfilled. Nevertheless, Kasuga fails to recognize this conflicting duality, and what results is a pathetic and impotent masculinity.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Kasuga emotionally flagellates himself for a sexual crime as juvenile as stealing Saeki’s P.E. uniforms; they’re not even panties. In all likelihood, they’ve long since lost any hint of her scent, but here’s a kid who thinks he’s condemned to the deepest circles of hell for the most pathetic example of masculine impulsivity. Granted, the other extreme (rape) is immeasurably worse; you could casually say, “At least that’s all he did; plus, it was still wrong and somewhat perverted to steal a girl’s P.E. uniforms.” Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s not entirely Kasuga’s fault that he thinks he’s some sort of sexual deviant now just because he dared to possess two pieces of sweaty clothing. His entire class, including his teacher, plays a big part in keeping up the game of sexual repression by continually exaggerating the gravity of Kasuga’s thievery.

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The two flimsy garments must then become symbolic; they become symbolic of Saeki’s flesh. Like some twisted anime version of The Silence of the Lambs, Kasuga goes from coveting Saeki to donning her “skin.” Not willingly, of course; the first time he wore her “skin,” he had to be physically forced–… no, sexually assaulted by Nakamura into putting on Saeki’s P.E. uniform. Afterward, Kasuga and Nakamura remain briefly motionless, with the latter on top as if she had been riding him sexually. Both are breathing hard as if they’ve just had sex, and symbolically, perhaps they did. Because the “Reproduce” function has become so muted, so saddled with the weight of sin, everything related to sex has to become a simulacrum instead. Kasuga truly desires Saeki’s body, but the best he can do is to metaphorically don her “skin.” Nakamura wants to assert her dominance over Kasuga by freeing him from his own psychosexual repression, but she merely strips him naked and forces him into Saeki’s “skin” (I am by no means asserting that the sexual assault we see in episode 2 is somehow “no big deal,” but despite being a horrific act in itself, I hope we can sensibly agree that it is not rape.). But before I continue on about Kasuga, Nakamura deserves some attention for she is arguably the protagonist of the story.

Like Kasuga, Nakamura recognizes the tedious cycle of her organic existence (Eat. Sleep. Reproduce.), but unlike Kasuga, she doesn’t desire to become a part of it. She doesn’t wish to submit to her society’s normative gaze. Instead, she wants to play. Nakamura is remarkable in that she recognizes the hypocrisy in the world around her. Everyone tiptoes around sex, but in the end, all their words and actions amount to the same basic desire to fuck and reproduce. It’s the hypocrisy, however, all this putting on airs about pervertedness and sinfulness that ignores any sort of genuine human connection, that seems to disgust her. For Nakamura, therefore, freedom – true psychosexual freedom – lies beyond this paradoxical entanglement between sin and sex.

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The idea of play and sex should go hand-in-hand, but because sinfulness casts a pall over the entire discussion of play and sex, society begins to delineate between normative sex and deviant sex. For Nakamura, therefore, your typical, vanilla, penis-in-vagina sex no longer constitutes play. It is no longer subversive. While it is still a sin for children of hers and Kasuga’s age to engage in such behaviors, such behaviors are still within the bounds of society’s normative gaze. Nakamura’s quest for psychosexual freedom is thus twofold: (1) derive sexual pleasure but (2) do so through actions that fall outside the scope of the hegemonic power relations exhibited through penis-in-vagina sex.

Nakamura’s first notable action in the anime is to defy not just an authority figure, but a male authority figure. This is an important precursor to her almost BDSM-like dominance of Kasuga later in the narrative. Essentially, Nakamura could pretend to go against society’s wishes by pursuing penis-in-vagina sex, but in the long run, she’d only be conforming to the organic imperatives (Eat. Sleep. Reproduce.) that she finds so mundane. Her freedom – her psychosexual freedom – therefore lies in sexual acts in which she remains firmly in control.

(At this point, I should iterate that I’m merely being descriptive and not prescriptive. In suggesting that penis-in-vagina sex echoes the hegemonic power relations between males and females, I am not at all declaring that penis-in-vagina sex is somehow wrong nor am I tacitly approving of Nakamura’s behavior. She is, in my eyes, a monster, but that is irrelevant to her role as the protagonist in the story. In other words, nobody gives a damn what you do in the bedroom.)

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A contrast can easily be drawn between Kasuga and Nakamura. The former constantly bemoans his sinful act of stealing Saeki’s P.E. clothes, but he never discards them (my first thought was to just burn the soiled garments). He continues to hide his crime on a bookshelf as if it was some kind of porno. And indeed, when he secludes himself to his room, Kasuga spreads Saeki’s P.E. clothes out on his bed, then assumes his position over them as if he’s truly on top of the object of his desires. But he’s clearly not, which only makes his emotional self-torture all the more pathetic. He’s so held back by his shame and guilt that he gazes not at a girl’s naked body, but her metaphorical skin. His actions are some parts creepy, but mostly onanistic. He sees himself as some serious sexual deviant, when he is hardly any different than any other boy his age other than the fact that he’s tenfold more pretentious.

Nakamura thus recognizes a target in which she can subdue and toy with through her own intense psychoses. She recognizes the irony in Kasuga’s self-professed deviancy; she’s unimpressed but also intrigued because Kasuga’s such a pushover that he can be emotionally manipulated. And thus she abuses and goads him outside of his own comfort zone, projecting her own urges for psychosexual freedom through his actions. She doesn’t desire the pleasure of literal sex itself, but rather, she desires the ability to feel pleasure on her own terms. So through this dominance of Kasuga, Nakamura is really showing Kasuga what sexual deviancy is all about. After all, re-examine Kasuga’s possession of Saeki’s P.E. uniform. Yes, stealing is a crime, but it is not a sexual crime per se. Ignoring the act of thievery involved for just a moment, what is actually morally wrong about it? For that matter, what is actually wrong about anyone possessing another person’s clothing? We’re not even talking about undergarments. We’re only talking about a P.E. uniform, and although it is certainly true that burumas are sexualized in certain Japanese subcultures, again, what makes that perverted? Could it be that the possession of Saeki’s uniform is only perverted because the “transgressor” derives sexual pleasure beyond the normative means of penis-in-vagina sex?

Nakamura is thus a true sexual deviant because she not only derives sexual pleasure without the literal act of sex, but she relishes the opportunity to defy the imperative to reproduce. Her emotional enjoyment even implicitly defies the hegemonic power relations in place by having a female domineer over a male. Of course, Nakamura’s relationship with Kasuga is hardly ideal. It is, as previously hinted at, abusive and monstrous. We are looking at the idea of “different strokes for different folks” taken to a logical extreme; a sense that these characters are a match for each other because of the mutual personality flaws causing them to feel the rejection of normal society (although Kasuga so badly desires to become a part of it).

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In the seventh episode, Nakamura dares Kasuga to “confess.” Normally – at least normally in Catholicism, anyway –, you confess to your crimes so that you may repent. You confess so that you may reflect on the wrongness of your actions. In fact, this is how Kasuga sees it. He feels the guilt and shame of hiding his “transgressions” from Saeki, and wishes to absolve himself of at least the crime of secrecy. Kasuga is nevertheless so pathetic, however, that he begs Nakamura to confess for him. Nakamura, however, sees the idea of confession differently. She instead brings him to the classroom that they share as students, and dares him to confess his crimes by writing it down on the classroom blackboard. For both of them, the classroom is symbolic; it is a courtroom where a teacher serves as the arbitrator of right and wrong while a jury of their peers judges their every actions. For Nakamura, then, the confession isn’t a chance to repent, but a proud proclamation of her deviancy in a sexually-repressed society. She wields the power of the written word, through Kasuga’s body initially but she eventually joins in as well, against society’s repression and censorship of sex, and confesses all over the classroom, a place of judgment. Yes, it is Kasuga who wore Saeki’s P.E. uniform, but it is Nakamura who made him commit the transgressive act. His confession is therefore hers, and it is no coincidence that the chaotic spraying of ink as if it was a bodily fluid results in both children lying motionless together in the middle of the classroom as if they had just had sex.

If Nakamura bullies Kasuga (this is not to downplay any of her more extreme actions), it’s because the latter needs a reality check. His idealized love for Saeki (“She is my muse. My femme fatale.”) is unsustainably one-sided, and thus inevitably doomed for catastrophe. In saying that, I’m not claiming that Saeki can’t feel any affection for him, but she doesn’t see him. More importantly, however, he doesn’t see her. She’s just an ideal, a concept that he hopes in his heart of hearts that she’ll complete him — that she’ll make him feel alive in this dreary, depressing town. In reality, she’s just another girl with her own set of problems. But can Nakamura be any better for Kasuga? Can he find any happiness in embracing her misanthropic nihilism? It remains to be seen how their romance will play out (I haven’t read the manga series), but it would be hard to imagine that Saeki could ever induce in Kasuga that same sense of euphoria he felt during his “confession” at the end of the seventh episode. On the other hand, Nakamura sees him for what he really is: a lonely, sexually repressed soul. The only problem — hell, the main crux of the narrative — is that she’s not mature enough to guide him to psychosexual freedom without crossing some serious boundaries. So what’s the bottom line if Kasuga and Nakamura are truly destined for one another? Ultimately, human relationships are inherently awkward, fraught with mutual incomprehension and terror, yet worth pursuing anyways.

With all that being said, depiction is not – is never – the same as endorsement. Whether Nakamura’s actions will work for all people in all relationships is not relevant. Whether her actions are ‘moral’ is not relevant. Art is descriptive, not prescriptive.

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34 thoughts on “Aku no Hana Ep. 1-7: Deviancy and repression

  1. some guy

    A quick note: The name “Narukami” is mentioned several times in this article, along with “Nakamura.” Is this an error or some metaphor I don’t understand?

    Reply
  2. alsozara

    That was a highly enjoyable read, I feel like you really nailed all of the key point. I think it’s a really fascinating, sadistic twist on the usual anime high school romance stories we see everywhere in anime. I know you didn’t enjoy the pacing, but I have to say I was never bored watching it, and the end of episode 7 was immensely enjoyable in the anarchic catharsis of it all.

    It’s great to see you writing again, I’ve severely missed your presence on the aniblogosphere. Hope you’re enjoying writing again.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Hope you’re enjoying writing again.

      I always enjoy writing. It’s the anime-watching part that wanes. Oh, I suppose responding to the community can have its ups and downs too. On the bright side, I don’t think I’ve got many readers left so there’s one problem down.

      Reply
  3. striffy

    Good to have you back E Minor- I really missed your analyses. And this is probably not the best question after mentioning that you’ve hardly got any readers left- but could you post another picture of your cat? Please? Pretty please??

    Reply
  4. The Real Sugoi Sugoi

    Welcome back, E Minor!

    It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? You’ve been absent from blogging for nearly half a year, considering that your last post was in January. I was actually kind of hoping that your return to blogging would be a return to your old weekly format where you analyzed one episode per post. But since this post was so well-written, I can’t really complain!

    I’m glad you find ANH intellectually stimulating. I don’t think it would be difficult to argue that it’s the best show of the season (though this isn’t really saying much, considering how every other concurrently-airing show is just ersatz shit).

    One thing that I think you should have talked about was the relationship this show has with the conservatism and authoritarianism of Japanese culture. Part of the reason why the original manga version of ANH is so successful is that it manages to use the medium as a way of providing a serious treatment for some of the more unspoken and socially-forbidden sexual impulses that float around in the Japanese collective consciousness beyond just “Eat, Sleep and Reproduce.”

    After all, as I’m sure you very well know, Japan is a fucking repressive society in that it has so many complicated social hierarchies that its people are forced to navigate and accept. It might not be anywhere an in-your-face type of reactionary as Jerry Falwell or Ted Haggard, but the rules you need to swallow in order to survive in Japanese society are enough to make anyone go crazy.

    This widespread, systemic repressiveness, I think, explains why Japan has come up with more sick fetishes than any other culture I know of. A culture that repressed has got to have a lot of psychological urges hidden underneath the surface. Japan’s inherent conservatism also, I think, explains why the culture has been so slow to make social progress. It’s one of the few countries where revolutionary movements have made no dent in the mindset of the Japanese people.

    Reply
    1. The Real Sugoi Sugoi

      Also, I forgot to add, there is no other cultural equivalent to the Japanese hentai industry’s constantly new releases of rape hentai. No other industry in any part of the world that I know of publishes misogynistic rape fantasy works as often and regularly as Japan’s hentai industry. And furthermore, no other industry is as successful. This, I think, says volumes about the repressed nature of sexuality in Japanese culture.

      Reply
      1. E Minor Post author

        Also, I forgot to add, there is no other cultural equivalent to the Japanese hentai industry’s constantly new releases of rape hentai.

        Bro, there are fantasy rape porn in other countries too. It’s a bit much to say there’s “no other cultural equivalent.” Whether or not there is more rape hentai in Japan than there are rape porn from, say, the entirety of Europe, I don’t know, but again, I am not comfortable drawing any sort of conclusion without some data to back it up.

        Reply
    2. E Minor Post author

      This widespread, systemic repressiveness, I think, explains why Japan has come up with more sick fetishes than any other culture I know of.

      Although I see your overall point, I think this assertion is a difficult one to make. First, I don’t think anyone’s gone around the world to do a head count on “sick fetishes.” Even if you could do such a thing, unless Japan is way ahead of the pack, the distinction is not as profound as it may seem. And can you really go on gut feeling alone and assert that Japan has way more fetishes than other porn-producing countries? Secondly, by calling them “sick fetishes,” there already seems to be a tacit disapproval of said fetishes when you’ve just been railing against Japanese society for its sexual repression.

      It’s also worth considering, I think, whether or not the fetishes are getting undue attention because of this polarizing duality between our common perception of Asian cultures vs. what happens behind closed doors. I mean, how much of this is absolutely sensationalized nonsense? Yes, roricon is disgusting, but is it as widespread amongst the salaryman ojisan as the media reports? Or is roricon primarily an otaku obsession in the 2-D world while Japan’s inclinations for preying on young girls end up being no different than any other first world nation? After all, you often hear about child sex rings being raided and broken up in shady areas like eastern Europe, but rarely from any of the Asian nations. Until we have some hard data — any statistic whatsoever — it is dangerous to just make these assertions.

      Finally, there’s a question of whether or not a lot of these sick fetishes that we see in anime are always the result of sexual repression. Within the context of Aku no Hana’s narrative, sure, but it isn’t always the case if we examine other series. Is Seikon no Qwaser the result of sexual repression? Or is it that anime, garnering its peak in international respect around the mid-90s, suddenly lost its primarily dame-oriented status. And for otaku who took pleasure in debased fandoms, as if it was a badge of personal identity to distinguish them from the normal society that they feel has rejected them, they suddenly felt the need to create more and more outrageous content as a way to keep their subcultures exclusive as possible.

      Reply
      1. The Real Sugoi Sugoi

        > Bro, there are fantasy rape porn in other countries too. It’s a bit much to say there’s “no other cultural equivalent.” Whether or not there is more rape hentai in Japan than there are rape porn from, say, the entirety of Europe, I don’t know, but again, I am not comfortable drawing any sort of conclusion without some data to back it up.

        I didn’t mean to say that there is no fantasy rape porn in other countries. I meant to say — and I guess I wasn’t very clear expressing this — that Japan has *more* rape fantasy than any other *single* country in the world.

        And with all due respect, you can’t really compare Japan with “the entirety of Europe,” because Japan is a single country, while Europe is a collection of dozens of countries.

        It’s true that I don’t have any hard statistics to back me up, but to me the Japanese porn industry does seem to be much more popular worldwide than any other single country that I know of. I mean — in my experience, at least — whenever I discuss with other people about sick fetishes in society, the first country that comes to mind in nearly every conversation I have is Japan. Occasionally, though, someone makes a vague mention towards Eastern Europe (notice, though, how they don’t name a specific country).

        > Secondly, by calling them “sick fetishes,” there already seems to be a tacit disapproval of said fetishes when you’ve just been railing against Japanese society for its sexual repression.

        I don’t see how me calling things like rape hentai a “sick fetish” is inconsistent with my criticism of Japan as a sexually repressive society. I don’t see how you can call things like a love for rape hentai anything other than a sick fetish. There’s plenty of healthy fetishes out there, but getting aroused by the idea of someone dominating the body of another person and destroying their sense of control and autonomy isn’t one of them. It’s inherently misanthropic and sickening. If it weren’t sexually repressed, its impulses would be much healthier due to the fact that it would have more outlets for its impulses.

        And like I said earlier, I think that a lot of this repressed, underneath-the-surface sexuality is a result of Japan’s authoritarian and hierarchical culture. You look at any other culture with similar levels of authoritarianism and hierarchy and you’ll find similar results, whether this is the rural Southern state areas of the United States (that are typically filled with the kind of right-wing Christians who are creationists and are homophobic) or whether it is mid-20th century Germany (a society that is beautifully explored in Michael Haneke’s Cannes Golden Palm Award-winning movie “The White Ribbon”).

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          that Japan has *more* rape fantasy than any other *single* country in the world.

          How do you know this?

          And with all due respect, you can’t really compare Japan with “the entirety of Europe,” because Japan is a single country, while Europe is a collection of dozens of countries.

          That sentence wasn’t an argument; it was an example. If Japan did have more rape porn than the entirety of Europe, that’s not something we would know.

          whenever I discuss with other people about sick fetishes in society, the first country that comes to mind in nearly every conversation I have is Japan. Occasionally, though, someone makes a vague mention towards Eastern Europe (notice, though, how they don’t name a specific country).

          First, that’s anecdotal. Second, it says something that people will immediately think of something like, say, tentacle rape porn from Japan when sex trafficking or child porn rings continue to be daily occurrences in countless nations outside of Japan, but the issue hardly gets the attention it deserves. We can balk at fantasies, but at some point, we need to take a look at what’s actually happening.

          I don’t see how me calling things like rape hentai a “sick fetish” is inconsistent with my criticism of Japan as a sexually repressive society.

          Fetishes encompass more than just rape fantasies. If you merely have a quibble with rape fantasies, you should’ve been clear from the start that you were referring to specifically rape fantasies. When I read your first comment, I thought you were referring to a wide range of sexual fetishes.

          There’s plenty of healthy fetishes out there, but getting aroused by the idea of someone dominating the body of another person and destroying their sense of control and autonomy isn’t one of them. It’s inherently misanthropic and sickening. If it weren’t sexually repressed, its impulses would be much healthier due to the fact that it would have more outlets for its impulses.

          I think there are subtleties and nuances in a private relationship that outsiders are hardly privy to, and if two consenting adults decide to partake in a rape fantasy where boundaries are clearly outlined and respected, it would be presumptuous for us to declare it “inherently misanthropic and sickening.” Do rape fantasies then become “inherently misanthropic and sickening” when they become commodified by the porn industry? That’s a more difficult question I’m not prepared to answer, but I think the issue is still too complicated to paint with a broad stroke. I’m not the type to deny the existence of a rape culture, but nevertheless, it’s not one and the same with rape fantasies, which is something a lot of healthy people indulge in. As such, I think it requires more thought before I instantly dismiss rape fantasies as evil or whatever the case may be.

  5. Rae (@CSrae)

    I’ve considered watching this show, but not really a fan of the rotoscoping used. I might end up reading the manga instead because story does sound original. Original for this season at least.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    I had been looking forward to this review as soon as I saw you were back… Glad to say, I was not disappointed.

    Reply
  7. Killer Queen

    My reaction to the entire thing feels mixed to me. On one hand, I do enjoy Nakamura’s statement on socio-sexual deviancy and we enter the head of libertine… to the point that I almost always connect her to Alex from a Clockwork Orange, as she seems like she is making a droog out of Kasuga. In fact, I won’t be surprised if a part of her interests involve reading/watching A Clockwork Orange…

    But in another hand, Nakamura’s role feels like she simply the Manic Pixie Dream Girl to Kasuga’s dull life, pretty much like a fucked-up Zooey Deschanel who simply wants Kasuga to give in to Nakamura’s whims and philosophies. She doesn’t seem to have much of an reason for her to do so or a reason for her personality entirely other than “she takes it from her mother.”

    Iunno, it’s a great conversational manga, the anime grows on you with the rotoscopes, and the ending of Episode 7 screams me putting in Beethoven and put in A Clockwork Orange quotes every 10 seconds, but the entire plot when removed of its dark energy feels more like a simple slice of life highschool romance about a nerdy young man who got 3 girls to pine over him because of a book.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      But in another hand, Nakamura’s role feels like she simply the Manic Pixie Dream Girl to Kasuga’s dull life, pretty much like a fucked-up Zooey Deschanel who simply wants Kasuga to give in to Nakamura’s whims and philosophies.

      I disagree. The manic pixie girl’s existence hinges upon her male counterpart. She is happy if he is happy. I get the feeling that Nakamura would still be pleased even if Kasuga learns nothing from their interactions.

      but the entire plot when removed of its dark energy feels more like a simple slice of life highschool romance about a nerdy young man who got 3 girls to pine over him because of a book.

      At the same time, however, every story can sound stupid if we are reductionist about it.

      Reply
      1. Killer Queen

        To be honest, how would we KNOW if Nakamura would still be pleased about Kasuga not entering her world? In fact when she was about to leave the classroom before the classrom thrash, she sounds pretty disappointed… And seeing Kasuga break in order for her to come back was the point where she actually’s all “CONGRATUFUCKINGLATIONS YOU HENTAI! YOU GOT WHAT I MEAN” and started dancing and thrashing with him…

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Sure, we can’t really know, but most manic pixie girls don’t delight in sexually assaulting the male protagonist.

  8. H

    Your analysis is a very interesting read, but it leaves me puzzled over why you needed to go to significant lengths in emphasizing your personal non-approval of Nakamura, all the way to calling her a monster. She does not have any kind of intrinsic intellectual or physical power over Kasuga that she’s abusing, she can pretty much only do what he lets her. (For example, he sure as hell was capable of fighting her off when she was undressing him to change into Saeki’s clothes.) With these emphasized disclaimers, you sort of end up coming off as a version of Kasuga – trying to showcase your in-depth understanding of deviancy and then getting the heebie-jeebies of actually being taken for a deviant for your (mere!) analysis… If you’re (merely!) describing, there doesn’t appear to be any pressing need to prescriptively label Nakamura in a parenthetical.

    In any case, monster Nakamura’s final “Hentai.” in episode 7 was one of the loveliest expressions I’ve ever heard in anime… and with so many meanings included.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      1) Forcibly stripping someone naked is a monstrous act. I don’t see how saying so makes me similar to Kasuga in any way.

      2) I wanted to be sure nobody came to the erroneous conclusion that I was defending her actions.

      If you’re (merely!) describing, there doesn’t appear to be any pressing need to prescriptively label Nakamura in a parenthetical.

      3) A few extra words can’t hurt.

      Reply
      1. H

        1) Forcibly stripping someone naked is a monstrous act.

        It’s not as though Nakamura is some vampire or full-body cyborg who can effortlessly overpower and strip someone who’d visually appear to be (at least) her equal size- and strength-wise. If you want to talk monstrocity here, her ability to read Kasuga well enough to know that he wouldn’t put up serious resistance might come closer to that.

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        1. H

          What I’ve said from the beginning is that it was within his power to resist it. If you want to read “he asked for it” into that, go ahead, but that’s not what I’m saying. For starters, he wouldn’t have known to ask for something like that, but “deep down he got off on it” would work – your proper assault victim nearly always does that in hentai-themed works. At least that’s the way I see the author playing it, so why should I argue with his direction.

          Keep in mind that Nakamura not only stripped him, but also put other clothes on him. And the whole thing took her but a brief moment, with no real violence involved. I invite anyone to try this on someone of equal size who actually fights back and see how far you’ll get. The moment Nakamura took the clothes off his hands, she (an official outsider and freak) lost tall her leverage of “I’ll tell that you took the clothes” (which was flimsy to begin with, considering her status).

          In any case, it’s neither my business nor intention to tell you you should approve of Nakamura’s behavior. I just think Nakamura is completely undeserving of being put in the same box with your Joffrey Baratheons and Hannibal Lecters of the world of fiction.

        2. E Minor Post author

          What I’ve said from the beginning is that it was within his power to resist it.

          Feels too victim-blaming to me (“You could’ve stopped it, but you didn’t so…”). Maybe if he had worn skinny jeans, he could’ve resisted better.

          but “deep down he got off on it” would work

          We can clearly see he’s trying to resist. You presume, however, that deep down, he gets off on it just because, you say, it’s par for the course in “hentai-themed” works. Well, this isn’t hentai. And why should a presumption of a character’s desires trump his physical act of resisting, whether or not you feel he should have resisted “harder” — whatever that means. I plainly see that he’s trying to resist. Just because he failed doesn’t mean the crime suddenly ceases to exist.

          no real violence involved.

          What does it take to constitute “real” violence? Are we lacking real violence because she managed to strip him quickly?

          I invite anyone to try this on someone of equal size who actually fights back and see how far you’ll get.

          So a smaller person can never successfully assault a bigger person?

          I just think Nakamura is completely undeserving of being put in the same box with your Joffrey Baratheons and Hannibal Lecters of the world of fiction.

          That’s rather strawmanish. I think her actions are monstrous, but I never said she was on par with a cannibalistic serial killer. It is silly to think I was comparing her to Hannibal Lecter considering the context of the show, the post, and the resulting comments. But hey, had I compared stupidly her to Hannibal Lecter, I would’ve been easily refuted!

        3. higgsbosoff

          More than “getting off on it”, if anything, Kasuga probably felt he “deserved it”. That might indeed have stopped his hand a bit (I am thinking also of a certain manga future episode which maybe won’t be animated where something similar happens again). After all, the entire point is how Kasuga feels guilty and seeks to inflict punishment on himself through the liberating contribution by Nakamura. But “getting off”? Hentai? This isn’t about sex – not in such a straightforward way, at least.

  9. Pingback: The Storm; Flowers of Evil Episode 10 | Isn't It Electrifying?

  10. Tyler Aliens

    I have no link to back me up because I forget the title, but a short documentary on the Japanese sex industry did say that Japan has the whole rape-fantasy fetish shit on lock. They produce more and sell more than any other country on the planet. I’ve been there and as ultra amazing as it is, they still have a long way to go in protecting women.

    Reply
  11. Cliche

    I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t see straight through Nakamura’s tough girl persona.
    If you ascribe “masculinity” to sexual desire and imply that Kasuga is repressing his masculinity, one could just as easily suggest that Nakamura is repressing the “feminine” urge of being an object of desire.
    Alas, your sexism is showing.

    Reply
  12. sonicsenryaku

    It’s a pleasure to see someone who appreciates what a great and meticulously crafted series this was. its a shame we’ll probably never see the rest of this story be adapted like this if even at all

    Reply

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