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Old 2013-04-06, 13:23   Link #301
Dawnstorm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakkou View Post
Except her eyes appeared before her mouth did, just like the guy . But yeah, it does look like the distance to details thing is what they were aiming for, it's just not done well, plus that distance does not warrant that effect imo.
I don't think it's about what you can see; it's more about what you pay attention to, and don't think it's a stretch to assume that, when you start noticing people, the first thing you pay attention to is the eyes. Note that the sound direction does something similar, with the voices becoming louder and the score drifting into the background (unless you have a strange case of tinnitus, you won't have monotonous tremolo strings in your ear all morning).

This concept even transfers to plot. Something you said earlier:

Quote:
I don't care if the entire shot barely lasted a few seconds, it's enough to give the impression of the animators being lazy to not even give the teacher a face for a still shot, moreso since he's not some mob crowd character, he and Nakamura are supposed to be the main focus of the scene.
Yes, from a dramatic perspective. But we're watching daily life. It's a distraction, little else. Mildly interesting, barely breaks the monotony. Events, like people, are supposed to fade in and out.

I'm not sure about this, but if I'm right, the most detailed things would be the ones our protagonist cares about the most: the book, the girls smile, the bag near the end, the framed photograph of Baudelair. (The protagonist's face was also more detailled than usual, near the end. Same with the weird girl's face as she was facing the teacher [while the teacher himself was reduced to an iconic gesture].)

I think the anime knows what to fade in and when very well. I think the anime tries to express point of view through detail-level rather than, say, point-of-view shots. But I'm not animator, and I don't really have an eye for visuals (for example, I didn't even notice the jerky movements, I'm embarrassed to say). It's an impression I had. Maybe someone with a better eye can tell me if I'm wildly off the mark? I'm certainly going to keep looking, next episode.
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Old 2013-04-06, 13:46   Link #302
Haak
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Originally Posted by Blaat View Post
The slow pace on the other hand is what killing my interest in this...
This is the same for me. As much as I dislike the choice in art, I'll ultimately be able to get round that if the plot can grab my intention (haven't read the manga). Instead it just spent half the episode making it look like something ominous was about to happen. No wonder most of the people on this thread are so focused on the topic of the show's art and animation. There's little else to talk about.
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Old 2013-04-06, 13:46   Link #303
DorkingtonPugsly
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Originally Posted by Option01 View Post
As someone who has read the entire released manga series, I think a lot of the design decisions that people are complaining about make sense when you consider the themes of the story.

Aku No Hana is about 3 kids who go a little insane due to the futility of their attempts to reject/escape the mundane monotony of their world. Let me repeat that: [B]Their world is monotonous and mundane
Ahhh it kinda makes sense now. Hmm that's good reasoning. It fits the theme perfectly well. Though I think the passionate scenes are gonna come off weird.
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Old 2013-04-06, 13:59   Link #304
Triple_R
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This show wasn't even on the radar screen for me, but based on sheer notoriety, I decided to check it out.

Well... it certainly is different.

It reminds me of the debate that TinyRedLeaf, Archon_Wing, Akito Kinomoto, myself, and several other people were having here.


My impression is that this anime is going for hyper-realism. It's very gritty. Unlike most slice of life shows, it doesn't remove the grime. It's real life, raw and unedited. It's not idealized at all. In fact, its painstakingly realistic. The male characters come across as very average, everyday teenage guys. The girls are not particularly moe. Even the object of the male lead's affections is only slightly cute, not exactly someone I expect to compete in ISML.

Faces gradually "appear" as they come in and out of focus, much like what would probably be the case if you were also walking around these streets, as a student at this school.

If ever an anime runs afoul of TRL's arguments in that thread I linked to, this one does. Even as I watch this, I have to admit I have a hard time coming up with a good answer to "Why an anime, and not a live action drama?"

So this anime should make an interesting discussion piece. Is it wondrously realistic, and something of great artistic merit as such? Or is it the drive for realism in animation taken too far?


When you combine the gritty hyper-realism of this anime with the eerily ominous BGM, a vague sense of powerfully oppressive bleakness permeates the atmosphere and mood of the anime. The impression I get is that the male lead is trapped in a very dull and repetitious world, and is longing to break free of it to find a more vivid and exciting world. And here is where the object of his affections come in, as well as the "You're a piece of shit" girl.

I'll probably give it another episode at least, as its strangely interesting in spite of (or even due to?) the extreme sense of dullness that permeates its world. It's like the complete and utter anti-thesis to something like Love Live! or K-On. So at a meta-level, I find it interesting.

I haven't read the manga, but I will say that the characters look better in the manga. If basic visual appeal is the goal, the anime should have stuck closer to the manga. But the anime does appear to be doing its own thing, and the ideas behind it are interesting, even if they do ultimately prove to be the anime's undoing.
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Old 2013-04-06, 14:00   Link #305
JKL
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Originally Posted by ahelo View Post
Also damn that ED is creepy. It's autotune at its creepiest
It was effective yes. It reminded me more of text-to-voice software or even a pitched-down, distorted, glitchy Hatsune Miku.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
This isn't even factoring in things like the bad pacing, or the terrible voice acting (Lots of first timers here).
I take it you thought the acting was terrible since it didn't use anime 'type' voices. The dialogue and spacing between words sounded pretty much how Japanese talk in real life, not in anime.
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Old 2013-04-06, 14:16   Link #306
lightbringer
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Originally Posted by JKL View Post
It was effective yes. It reminded me more of text-to-voice software or even a pitched-down, distorted, glitchy Hatsune Miku.
It's like the bastard child of HAL 9000 and SHODAN.

Anyway, as an adaptation this is already a failure, but maybe it can manage to stand on its own. It's certainly creepy and monotonous enough, and the animation studio is showing that they are not afraid to go against the grain.

I don't mind the kinda-Japanese-looking character designs but the extremely choppy animation is starting to annoy me - it's like watching a slideshow.
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Old 2013-04-06, 14:22   Link #307
Reckoner
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Originally Posted by JKL View Post
I take it you thought the acting was terrible since it didn't use anime 'type' voices. The dialogue and spacing between words sounded pretty much how Japanese talk in real life, not in anime.
No I just thought it was terrible. Something like Wolf Children is a successful example of what you are talking about. Here the acting was a joke.
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Old 2013-04-06, 14:27   Link #308
Kirarakim
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
If ever an anime runs afoul of TRL's arguments in that thread I linked to, this one does. Even as I watch this, I have to admit I have a hard time coming up with a good answer to "Why an anime, and not a live action drama?"
I think that is a relevant question. I guess they couldn't get the budget for live action and went with something sort of inbetween. Of course it does as you say make for something interesting.

I do want to point out that the "gritty realism" we are seeing here is not necessarily all that common in live action either. Even when you have a live action story in a realistic setting they go for pretty actors, pretty locales, ets. Even most live action is escapism.

This anime seems to be hitting the audience with actual realism & the mundane parts of life. I don't think the characters and backgrounds are ugly but they are certainly not stylized or pretty.

Like I said before it reminds me a little bit of the idea of neo-realism in film. There they used non-professional actors, filmed on location in gritty and poor areas, and the themes centered on the poor and economic down turn of war-torn Europe. It was true reality.

Of course this isn't exactly the same idea but it gives me a bit of the same feeling when watching this.

But to tell you the truth as much as I think this an interesting idea if they tried to do the same thing without rotoscoping I think I would have been even more of a fan of it. That's not a complaint just wishful thinking.


Anyways I enjoyed reading your post.
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Old 2013-04-06, 14:40   Link #309
ElMikkino
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This has got to be one of the most interesting animes I've ever seen, and we've only had the first episode so far. The animation was certainly jarring at first, but the rotoscoping combined with all the realistic motions made it almost hypnotic, and the audio was also perfectly creepy as well.

The best part is that they don't even try to hide how weird it all is: the scene of everyone walking to school in the beginning, with everyone's faces slowly coming into view was very interesting to watch, along with the guys sashaying down the hallway while they were waiting for the girls to finish changing, and the two scenes with the rounded mirror. It kind of felt like an art house.

There's no denying that not everyone will like it, but being a fan of progressive rock has allowed me to be very accepting to new things and to appreciate all the details, which this anime caters to very well. It still has a long way to go with the characters' personality and the overall plot, but even if they're bland for the entire series, I'll have fun just seeing what the production team does next.

And boy, that ending...I didn't need another reason to love it, but they sure as hell gave me one...
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Old 2013-04-06, 14:51   Link #310
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
I think that is a relevant question. I guess they couldn't get the budget for live action and went with something sort of inbetween. Of course it does as you say make for something interesting.

I do want to point out that the "gritty realism" we are seeing here is not necessarily all that common in live action either. Even when you have a live action story in a realistic setting they go for pretty actors, pretty locales, ets. Even most live action is escapism.

This anime seems to be hitting the audience with actual realism & the mundane parts of life. I don't think the characters and backgrounds are ugly but they are certainly not stylized or pretty.
Those are good points, and I agree. Yes, even live-action rarely goes for a visual approach like this anime has.

The characters look normal. There's no dreamy bishi, sparkling shota, cute imouto, or bombshell beauty here.

"Why is there so much moe in modern anime?" "Why are there no ugly girls in anime?" "Why are characters in anime always so energetic, and sociable?" "Schools are these wonderful idealized places of teenage socializing in anime... why not have a more realistic portrayal of schools?"

Well, folks, here you are! Here's the answer to numerous questions I've read from various anime fans over the years. It's going to be interesting to see how this answer plays out.
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Old 2013-04-06, 15:05   Link #311
aohige
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The biggest, and really the only, problem with this anime is... the fact they're doing this "artsy rotoscope experimental animation" on an existing franchise. And its first entry into animation nonetheless.

You can do anything you want, but if you're gonna take this kind of risk, I'd say just do it on your own original creation... and not on someone else's work. Especially one that's established and already has a base.

Not that I care, I completely despise Oshimi's works. I read two entire series before this and they were some of the worst manga I've ever read... and I've read thousands. But I can understand why the fanbase would not like this decision.
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Old 2013-04-06, 15:32   Link #312
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That whole "it's realistic" or "reality is not pretty" hold as much weight as REAL IS BROWN to me. Look, I don't care, I already all the REAL GRIT I want from my dad's life story under the Khmer Rouge dictatorship, it have murder, it have family extermination with bamboo saws because "bullets were more precious than people", it have children turned murderers and torturers, and it have rape. PTSD and Survivor Guilt are NOT optional.
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Old 2013-04-06, 15:39   Link #313
totoum
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If they're going for the ultra realistic style, what's up with Nakamura's hair? Does she dye it that color?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
I
I'm not sure about this, but if I'm right, the most detailed things would be the ones our protagonist cares about the most
I don't think so, take both these shots of Nanako, both are from the MCs POV, Now Nanako is his muse so if what you say is true then she should be the sole focus of these shots however we have random extras with faces.
What really bothered me in both cases was that the extra's expressions weren't animated and just stayed still which made them really jarring.
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Old 2013-04-06, 16:02   Link #314
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheba View Post
That whole "it's realistic" or "reality is not pretty" hold as much weight as REAL IS BROWN to me.
I honestly think that the "Real is Brown" comparison does a disservice to what this anime is aiming for.

The way a lot of video games executes "Real is Brown" is actually unrealistic, imo. Real life is not that brown. "Real is Brown" is realism through a dark funhouse mirror.

Whereas what this anime offers is actual realism, imo.
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Old 2013-04-06, 17:51   Link #315
Dawnstorm
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Originally Posted by totoum View Post
I don't think so, take both these shots of Nanako, both are from the MCs POV, Now Nanako is his muse so if what you say is true then she should be the sole focus of these shots however we have random extras with faces.
Well, it's not that simple, I think. In the Nakamura scene, the teacher also had a face, yet I got the impression they put way more emphasis on Nakamura's expression (while reducing the teacher to a standard gesture).

At the same time, Nanako mostly looks generic, but they really prettied her up for that smile. I think those are the attention-grab moments, the ones that explain the crush. Mostly, the protagonists crush has little to do with the actual girl, and is mostly internalised (e.g. "I bet she doesn't even know I read this book.")

I have a history of trying to intrepet stuff in ways that make me enjoy the show more, only to realise I'm wrong later, so I'm still not sure I'm onto something, but the moments you show in these shots don't dissuade me. I'm aware of that.
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Old 2013-04-06, 18:40   Link #316
Option01
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Originally Posted by Sheba View Post
That whole "it's realistic" or "reality is not pretty" hold as much weight as REAL IS BROWN to me. Look, I don't care, I already all the REAL GRIT I want from my dad's life story under the Khmer Rouge dictatorship, it have murder, it have family extermination with bamboo saws because "bullets were more precious than people", it have children turned murderers and torturers, and it have rape. PTSD and Survivor Guilt are NOT optional.
I don't know if you've read the manga but the author is not trying to depict the horror of the atrocities you are describing. He is telling the story of people driven somewhat crazy by the monotony and pointlessness of a mundane life that comes with living in the relative safety of a first-world nation.

If you are haunted by the horrors you describe, then indeed this anime is not for you as you would have trouble relating to the character's feelings. They are bored by their safe but meaningless lifestyle whereas I imagine you feel very fortunate to live that way. To someone who has experienced real strife and horror, the kids in this story will seem like spoiled brats throwing a tantrum over not getting a raise in their allowance despite the privileged lives they lead.
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Old 2013-04-06, 18:43   Link #317
Reckoner
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Originally Posted by Option01 View Post
I don't know if you've read the manga but the author is not trying to depict the horror of the atrocities you are describing. He is telling the story of people driven somewhat crazy by the monotony and pointlessness of a mundane life that comes with living in the relative safety of a first-world nation.
Which is exactly why I think this unrealistic ugly visual style is actually detracting and distracting from his message. This world doesn't look normal, it looks abnormal. It looks far uglier than the real world I am familiar with. This just has a bunch of janky blobs flying around the screen.
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Old 2013-04-06, 18:48   Link #318
Marcus H.
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I think Reckoner has mentioned already a potential problem here in future events.

There will be more gritty events in the future, I'm sure, but since the anime has depicted the world of Aku no Hana to be as gritty as the real world, most of the dissonant charm depicted in the manga series will be completely destroyed and rebuilt. (Not gonna mention any specifics to comply with the spoiler policy.)

How would these gritty events be adapted into animation? Would it still have the same grit as the manga, as it is going to be depicted as real as a real life event?

Aku no Hana would have benefited the most from the direction of SHAFT or Shin Oonuma of Silver Link. as shown in Tasogare Otome x Amnesia.
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Old 2013-04-06, 19:37   Link #319
hyperborealis
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I really really liked this. I loved the way the downbeat visual realism enabled the emotional intensity of Kasuga's feelings to stand out. Then there are all the little details that must come straight out of the author's own memories: the mother telling him to drink the milk, since he's the only one who drinks it; the bedroom piled with books on the floor; the father knowing the book his son asks for and having it himself; and the way Kasuga looks at Saeki and then away, since he's too immature to deal with the fact she's returning his look and is interested in him. I also loved Nakamura facing down the teacher: her silence in response to his bluster was chilling. She's right, too--humiliating her in class and not trying to understand why she's leaving the test blank are definite marks of a poop-head.

The show feels edgy, real. I was totally engrossed from start to finish.
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Old 2013-04-06, 20:07   Link #320
Guardian Enzo
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Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
I assumed they were in high school but I didn't realize they were supposed to be in middle school in the manga.
I don't want to say too much, but as we get to the next couple of episodes I think it will become clearer why it makes a difference.
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