Aku no Hana – 05

Nakamura Sawa, Kasuga Takao

Kasuga has his date with Saeki while wearing her gym uniform under his clothes. At the bookstore he buys her a copy of The Flowers of Evil. Nakamura orders him to kiss Saeki before the date ends, but instead he confesses to her and asks if she’ll enter a totally platonic relationship with him; she agrees and is very happy. Nakamura splashes water on Kasuga, but he runs away before Saeki can see the uniform. Nakamura tells him he’ll let him have his relationship while she “cheers on the sidelines.”

Kasuga’s first date with Saeki had its share of bumps, but he tried his best to be himself, showing Saeki his favorite bookstore and describing his favorite surrealist authors and generally geeking out over books. He and Saeki spend a lot of time either in silence or small-talking. Yet, despite him vanishing briefly to talk to Nakamura and running off after she soaks him, it’s really not that bad of a date, because Saeki is clearly into Kasuga, and simply enjoys spending time with him, even if they’re not doing much.

We like this decision not to make Saeki Kasuga’s unrequited, unobtainable love. She’s his angel, but she’s very much obtainable…almost too obtainable. We’re not sure she would have appreciated being suddenly kissed, but we do think she might consider it if he asked nicely. He even moves her to tears with his confession, and not in a negative way.

Saeki Nanako, Kasuga Takao

Still, Kasuga doesn’t want to open any kind of floodgates, and more importantly, doesn’t want to give in to Nakamura’s goading, so he proposes a platonic relationship, and to his shock and elation, Saeki is all for it. If only Saeki knew what she was getting into.

We loved the cautious pace and very precise direction of this episode. The nondescript town they walk around is so still and quiet, one wonders how Saeki doesn’t notice Nakamura stalking them. Kasuga squirms a lot in this episode, too, especially when Nakamura is so close to him it looks like she’s on the verge of kissing him herself. She feels his heart racing and it excites her. But is this a girl liking a boy, or a girl liking the power she has over him; so much so that she’s willing to cut him some slack, let him court Saeki, and bide her time until she tears down those walls.

But Nakamura isn’t the only villain here. What Kasuga does (stealing the uniform) and continues to do (not giving it back or fessing up) directly got him into this situation. Nakamura wouldn’t have any ammo if he weren’t guilty of those deeds. He may show his idealized version of himself to Saeki on his date – the Kasuga he shows the world and wants to be, but there’s a kernal of truth to Nakamura’s ravings about his deviancy. Kasuga fears Nakamura, but he fears the deviant within even more, and nothing he can say to himself can comfort him as long as the Telltale Uniform looms like a shadow.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • At the moment Saeki is being portrayed as so pure and innocent compared to the manic, depraved Nakamura. We’re almost positive she’d be absolutely crushed by the news he stole her uni.
  • On that note, Kasuga’s “hallucination” of her as an angel – complete with creepy cherubs – was pretty neat.
  • By giving her his favorite book, perhaps Kasuga’s hoping Saeki will understand him a little better. 
  • “You’re a strange one,” Saeki says of him. Perhaps, but there’s something strange about her too: she’s so…perfect.
  • “I’ll make sure it works out,” Nakamura assures Kasuga. If we were him, we consider those foreboding words.