At the end of Aku no Hana 5, the caption reads “Do you remember your puberty?” Well, thanks to the episode I can certainly recall some of the painful, embarrassing bits that I’d love to forget.
Let’s leave out the deviancy for a moment and look at the date itself. It’s painful to watch. Even if Kasuga wasn’t wearing the gym clothes next to his skin he’d still be a nervous wreck. The only time he gets some genuine life in himself is when he babbles on about literature when they visit the bookstore, and Saeki is clearly bored and confused. But polite. Then there’s the moment in what must be a park, where he makes his confession (for a platonic relationship), where we can finally glance away from Kagusa and watch Saeki’s rotoscoped reaction. What is it? It looks like disgust at first, but she does say “yes.” Or maybe its disappointment that he didn’t do what Nakamura’s been pushing Kasuga to do for the entire date: kiss her. Whatever her thoughts, it appears that the two are, for the first time in the date, happy and connected.
Of course, we have to forgive Kasuga’s behavior to an extent. He’s not only an excited adolescent on a first date with the girl of his dreams, he’s doing it while wearing her stolen gym clothes. This adds a “Will she find out” factor that makes an already nervous, awkward date excruciating. What’s more, Nakamura is hovering around the sidelines watching his every move. Two things about Nakamura in this episode: up to the point where she spills water on the whole thing, she is used almost entirely as comic relief. She zips from one hiding place to another while making weird noises, popping up from behind trees. It’s hard not to laugh, and this show needs the laughter. It reminds me of countless other anime episodes where a couple go on a date and friends or whoever stalk them. Also, is it my imagination or are they drawing her a little cuter these days?
When Nakamura does get proactive and bring out the bucket (in a bizarrely looped sequence that followed a fantasy hallucination of Kasuga’s platonic feelings, the combination of which left me a little dazed), I thought (after my daze) “What did she do that for?” and then it sunk in. The date was over. We won’t get the implications of Nakamura’s interference until next week. Meanwhile, I’d like to say that I am thoroughly sick and tired of the gym clothes business. Burn them, Kasuga, and let’s get on to some other type of deviancy. This brand’s been around long enough that it’s beginning to seem normal.