Aku no Hana “A Crime Against Manga”

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The universally loathed character designs inflicted upon Aku no Hana in its anime adaptation are proving incendiary amongst fans of the original, a well regarded adolescent romance manga formerly known for its elegant art.

The show is described by ZEXCS as “the first ever fully rotoscoped Japanese TV anime,” the producers perhaps having missed the reason no other TV anime had been produced in this format before:

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The original was known for both cute and sexy character designs:

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The fate of this poor manga has inspired a wave of horrified comparisons:

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Why an otherwise promising title has been consigned to guaranteed commercial oblivion with what has charitably been described as an “experimental” style has been the subject of massive speculation – some even speculating that the whole thing is a ploy to generate notoriety for the show.

Other anime of the season have been held up as counter-examples:

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    358 Comments
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    Avatar of GTR
    Comment by GTR
    02:53 09/04/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    I won't be surprised if:

    1) Koreans pick up Aku no Hana to make a live action drama in the near future.
    Korean adaptation = mass commercial success of the franchise in the whole East Asia.

    2) Cartoon Network's Adult Swim salvages the rotorscoped anime version of Aku no Hana.
    It may be a dud in Japan... but some semblance of recognition in North America will make it a commercial success.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:20 09/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Somehow americans might enjoy it, because they won't be offended at the fact that they look like IRL asians. Hell they'd brand it as ''photorealistic'' anime and I'd buy it.
    The bone structure is there, they're real asians. This will lead many otaku to purchase and burn every copy in disgust, though.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:48 16/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    I've got to agree.
    It looks ugly when I saw the preview, but I'm already warming up to it.

    It definitely looks more 'real'.

    Avatar of CDP5280
    Comment by CDP5280
    17:16 07/04/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    A crime against anime as-well.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:33 12/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    From the very top picture I keep thinking it looks like Hank Hill.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:58 07/04/2013 # ! Good (+0.9)

    hate me if you will but i am one of those people where i judge the anime by the art (sometimes though). and in this case Aku no hana is one of those animes. from the 24 minutes i waste on watching this new type of 3d anime shit, i rather use that time to read the original
    my opinion though :|

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:37 07/04/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    If this was an original animation, I bet it would have garnished at least some positive reviews.

    However, since it is supposed to be an adaptation from a manga, it is clearly a failure in that aspect.

    Also, looking at the great character designs from the original manga, you have to wonder whose bright idea it was to use rotoscoping... if it was a ploy to save animation costs, it clearly shows... and why retain the standard background if you are going with rotoscoped characters? It is really distracting to watch.

    Avatar of Kyzer
    Comment by Kyzer
    02:58 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    I think the mangaka suggested rotoscoping. From what I've read, the mangaka wants this anime version to be what he originally envisioned for the manga.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:38 08/04/2013 # ! Good (+0.6)

    The mangaka didn't suggest rotoscope, but he did agree with the producers choices in using it. Him and Producer both decided that the anime deserved a different tone. When the idea was first pitched for the adaption, the producer said it would be better as a Live drama. I'm glad he gave it more consideration. This look like it can be something real special. I got the feeling like Triangle Staff has to be a part of production house after watching though. This is so much like their style, regardless of rotoscoping select scenes being their niches when they were around.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:26 10/04/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    "QUALITY"

    THE
    ANIME!

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:52 10/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    rotoscopeing is a very expensive process, at least it use to be, im not exactly sure now though...

    anime though... what they have a 50-200k an episode budget? that is so not the budget you need for proper rotoscopeing, and it shows in this.

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Myballz
    13:08 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    They must of done Japanese version of Ralph Bakshi style of animation to try to make it look that way which they didn't do a good job of it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:42 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Rotoscoping can be great when it makes sense to use it. Look at the 1983 film Fire and Ice, for instance. They were able to combine the realistic motions of live actors with a fantasy setting that would have required a huge budget to pull off well in live action. They took the best of both worlds, and the result was visually impressive. In this anime's case though, I see no benefit to using rotoscoping. It's a standard real-world setting, so they might as well have just left it live action rather than going through the process of rotoscoping it. I suspect the idea was to attract anime fans who might not otherwise be interested in live action, but since it's based on a manga, it's bound to draw unfavorable comparisons with its source material.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:59 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Don't know about choices made by the producers, nor of the creator. But one would also note that the anime states clearly that this will be a 13 eps series only in the Title Card. Something I've never seen before and therefore leads me to believe that the story will diverge far away from the original to create a complete story which in itself is great. The rotoscoping technique is bold, but is a far FAR a better experiment in showing a story than spamming NINE worthless eps to tell a TWO eps story!
    +
    Looking at you haruhi producer who raped so many episodes to be artsy. The choices made by kyotard these days are confusing and sad now. Sooo many artists wasted daily on sappy crap that isn't even the moe bread 'n butter of that company.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:46 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    It makes a lot of sense judging from the first episode, actually.

    Comment by Anonymous

    No, it's not. Adaptations can be whatever they want to be, and mangaka often request them to take directions that aren't the same as the manga.

    It's all down to how shallow you are about such things. SAO and Shin Sekai Yori were still hugely successful despite all the nay-sayers.

    If you wish to be bothered by this, then you're free to be bothered by it. You don't have to seek validation for not liking it.

    Do PA Work's backgrounds bother you the same way? Probably not, because you're too busy saying "aw, they look like KyoAni character designs!" Don't kid yourself.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:06 08/04/2013 # ! Good (+0.6)

    If you can't stand looking at it how do you think people are going to watch it. If I was weaker of stomach I would have probably thrown up watching the show.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:46 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    you cant compare this to SAO mainly b/c of how they were successful... SAO was eye candy bad development left and right but exceedingly good animation. in fact you compring it to SAO is actually destroying your own argument. SAO was good to look at so people liked it aku no hana is not and so people do not....

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:50 10/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    >Shinsekai was successful

    Good joke, but very few people liked it enough to buy it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:59 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Dragonball Z the movie was an adaptation as well. The author also agreed to it, even though the direction they took was different than the manga.

    Please try to defend that.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:41 09/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    @23:59, the mangaka didn't agree, he had many complaints but they released it anyways.

    Avatar of ntbxp
    Comment by ntbxp
    07:58 10/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Despite I'm not fan of this manga since mecha lover, I'm have the same opinion of you.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:20 07/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    I like the plot but the art is a rather large bit of turn-off. I'll still watch based on the plot alone though.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:25 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    I agree that reading the manga is a great alternative to the time here but why not just do both. I enjoyed watching the 24 minutes and the music made up for the "rotoscoping" technique.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Rare for me to say but the art IS beyond exceptional it makes me focus a lot its not generic damn things all rotoscoped
    Makes you focus less on the characters The Realism is surreal if not the decor dated
    That said I would like the original art more
    Reading through the comments looks like this is something else
    Well I will watch it as it goes down this weird path
    That ending song was also something

    Comment by Anonymous

    OP is a fucking idiot. This is in the least bit a new style. It just hasn't been used commonly in TV animation. Rotoscoping against 2D background has been around for decades. Canada actually has a lot of notable short films in this style. That france film, Triplets of Belleville, one of the most respected animations of the 2000s used this process. The film is gorgeous in and out.

    It was very insightful that they choice to go this route with this anime. I for one am very impressed how much the change of direction influenced the mood of the show. This doesn't look like the manga, sure. It doesn't invoke the feeling that the manga does exactly either.

    But is does feel eerily real. I think the accomplished what they were going for.

    Avatar of ntbxp
    Comment by ntbxp
    08:03 10/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    >This is in the least bit a new style.
    Rotoscoping entire "it" can be called new but
    since WHEN turn it realistic is something NEW?

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:37 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't think people are oblivious to the origins of Rotoscoping. Here in America especially, we are quite familiar with it thanks to people like Don Bluth and Walt Disney who used it a lot. But just because it has been used in a lot of famous movies (The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, The Rescuers, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Anastasia, Titan AE, Atlantis, Treasure Planet, etc), that doesn't mean everyone will agree it is good. I personally thought the style looked strange even back in the 80s when I first saw it as a child. And I still think it looks strange today. Just like I think the overly animated 120 FPS CGI films Pixar/Dreamworks pumps out look unnatural.

    And none of this has to do with the real issue that is making most people mad. The fact that the character designs and overall look of the anime is nothing like the manga. If the manga author really wanted the art to be changed like this, that would be one thing. If not, then its just yet one of a thousand different examples of a production group changing things for the sake of change. And it bit them in the butt.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:41 07/04/2013 # ! Drivel (-0.7)

    Anyone else find this gross overreaction funny in the light of the fact that this is what nips look like in reality?

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:34 08/04/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Are you nuts? Characters are creepy because of uncanny valley not because they are asians

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:29 10/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    those faces.... that chick with the glasses....i...i...

    ..............(oh god)

    DO
    NOT
    WANT!!

    0__0

    Comment by Anonymous

    I agree. I'm sick of the moe-tard crap

    Comment by Anonymous

    You wish, boy. You wish.

    LOL @ all the asspained slanty eyes downvoting.

    Comment by Anonymous

    But isnt that the point?

    Yes, the whole show was creepy...but I think it works much better this way then our standard-cutey-anime-girlies....seriously

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:36 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    The faces are so lacking in detail, you could probably color them differently and they'd look like any other race. Maybe.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:05 09/04/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    That's the thing that's off-putting for me. How did they pull off making rotoscoping look so flat and unhuman? And doesn't that kill the point?

    Comment by Anonymous

    Actually, from a purely medical sense, the bone structure of the characters seem more asian than 99.99% of anime out there.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:29 07/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yes, it's basically all a traced live-action drama.

    Since the backgrounds are astoundingly agreeable, the characters' presence literally soils it with their inherent ugliness and it may be that it was supposed to be like that, with the outro and the original poems giving you clues.

    On the other hand, the backgrounds don't have a life of their own aside from what the characters take away from them.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:07 09/04/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    The thing is that this animation somehow looks unrealistic in spite of the rotoscoping. Probably because of the heavy use of flat shades and the faces looking off-model a lot.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:25 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    none of them were fuckin half-assed soap opera, live action bullshit. hence, the success.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:41 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    3:52, the main issue is not because it is "ugly" ,the reason is why it is so different from the manga style. Monster and Afro Samurai were realistic yet successes.

    Comment by Anonymous

    It's an ugly attitude to denounce something as ugly just because it doesn't look like what you're used to. But it's understandable, so whatever.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:00 07/04/2013 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Rotoscoping is a good technique. Certainly way better than cell-shaded CGI. Not the technique's fault that this turned out looking like shit. They just utterly failed applying it to anime style.

    There have been anime where rotoscoping has been used to great effect without sacrificing any of the stylistic peculiarities of manga like shading and moe-ness of the character art, the most recent example that immediately comes to mind being Macross Frontier.

    I wish they had used rotoscoping in Love Live! instead during those sequences that used CGI, but alas, it's much more expensive to do right in the context of anime.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:20 07/04/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Forgot to mention though that of course it should never be used all the time in anime. You want it for high-motion high-fps sequences like dancing or fighting, but everywhere else it will either look out-of-place or, when extra care is taken not to break the art style, won't yield any results that would be worth the hassle.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:52 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Rotoscoping is cool and underused and all... but I far prefer cel-shading to it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:10 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Rotoscoping and cell shading are not mutually exclusive. The characters are traced onto cells (or their digital counterpart) after all. If the animators make the effort to meticulously re-draw the head, clothing folds and manually re-shade everything according to the character designer's style, it will look a lot better than CGI (see OP's Love Live! example). But yeah, animating everything by hand will always look best.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Rotoscoping is so 1970s, you faggots.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:55 08/04/2013 # ! Drivel (-1.0)

    Or they didn't want to apply it to an anime style, and everyone's just trying to rationalize their distaste for it because "it don't look like what I'm used to, so it can't be anime".

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:25 08/04/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    I rationalize my distaste for it with it looking ugly as fuck. If I want avant-garde art I go to an exhibition or watch some arthouse shit.

    A defining trait of anime style is that it's never employing the aesthetics of ugliness for anything other than humor or actually trying to induce disgust.

    This is only anime in the sense that it's animated and based on a manga.

    I wouldn't be so sure that they were intending for it to explicitly fall outside of anime style anyway, just look at how the hair is drawn in some of these shots.

    Avatar of warjoke
    Comment by warjoke
    20:40 07/04/2013 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    in b4 opinions like ""just because its different doesn't mean its bad".

    seriously...just look at it! it just doesn't work! period.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:20 08/04/2013 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Yeah. There is such a thing as "informed opinion" and "people full of shit who don't know any better".

    I don't think it's unreasonable to question the sanity of anyone who argues that lazily tracing live action is "different and not bad".

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:58 08/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    The lip syncing is really bad. No question, all arguments cease there. But that's all I really have a problem with.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:35 10/04/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    i'm with ya buddy!










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