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Manga / Aku no Hana

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Saeki-san, I'm sorry.
I'll spend the rest of my life atoning for this crime.
Even when I'm an old man, I'll still be making up for this.
But there's nowhere to escape. Not in this town.
Not for me. The town is surrounded by mountains.
There's nowhere for me to run.

Aku no Hana (The Flowers of Evil) is a dark tale about gym clothes, blackmail, teenage drama and the desire to do something different.

The Protagonist of this tale is Takao Kasuga, a keep-your-head-down middle schooler from the rural town of Gunma, Japan. He has friends, gets less than average grades, and respects his parents. He also a passion for reading books, inherited from his father. Of his many-volumed collection, the crown jewel is the prized first edition of "Les Fleurs du Mal" by Charles Baudelaire.

On an average day much like any other, Kasuga returns to school after forgetting above mentioned book, when he stumbles across the gym clothes of his crush, Nanako Saeki. In an abnormal fit of lust, he steals them and takes them home. The following day, the school lights up with Gossip Evolution as to who the pervert is. Overwhelming shame forces Kasuga to further hide his crime. On his ride home, he is stopped by Sawa Nakamura, residential evil quiet girl and his worst nightmare come true. She knows about his crime and will expose him if he does not fulfill a contract. From there, things get crazy.


The manga, written by Shūzō Oshimi, ended on May 9, 2014 with 57 chapters.

An anime directed by Hiroshi Nagahama and produced by ZEXCS premiered on April 15, 2013. The manga was adapted into a film in 2019.

Now has a character page under construction.

Not to be confused with the Korean manhwa. See also Inside Mari, Happiness, and A Trail of Blood for the author's other work.

This series contains examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Nakamura seems to think so. Kasuga's actions aren't exactly making this point seem frivolous.
    • The only thing Kasuga's friends in both middle school and high school ever seem to talk about is sex, so the manga itself doesn't exactly put the kibosh on this notion. Of course...
  • All Women Are Lustful: The females aren't exactly squeaky clean either.
  • Always Save the Girl: Kasuga's reasoning of why he starts looking for "the other side" in town, to the point of going against his classmates, parents, and even the police, is because he wants to help make the lonely and isolated Nakamura happy. In the end, he fails and he makes no one happy. This contributes to his angst post-Time Skip.
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  • Angst: Loads of it.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Kasuga toward Tokiwa. In the middle of her workplace. While she's on her shift. In front of her boyfriend. God damn, Kasuga. What makes it even more surprising is the fact that IT WORKS!
  • Animation Bump: The rotoscoping used in the anime seems to improve as the series goes on, and the character's facial expressions are more detailed compared to when we first see them in episode 1, particularly with Nakamura.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: As mentioned in the synopsis.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: In Chapter 6, Nakamura delivers one to Kasuga, to the point where he couldn't even talk straight. Definitely not played for laughs.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Plenty.
    • One example is in episode 8, when Saeki asks if Kasuga was the culprit in the the classroom. Although the vandalism covered up his name on the chalkboard, he drew a picture of the flower on his favorite book, which raised her suspicions.
  • Art Evolution: Initially the character art had problems with proportions, and everybody was slightly strange looking, until the 12th chapter where everything normalized. Like the characters, the art direction also becomes becomes darker and more mature.
  • Author Appeal: Kasuga can be often seen reading books that are famous for being absolute Mind Screws.
  • Babies Ever After: Maybe. Kasuga has a dream showing clips of himself and Tokiwa getting married and having a child. He also sees Saeki happily married with a kid. Whether it's prophetic or wishful thinking we'll never know.
  • Batter Up!: Nakamura uses one to destroy the door on Kasuga's house and smash his father's kneecap.
  • Betty and Veronica: Classic case. Kasuga must at one point decide between his sweet, wholesome crush Saeki (Betty) and his violent, depraved contract keeper Nakamura. Though he later finds out the hard way that maybe they aren't so different after all...
  • Big Damn Kiss: Kasuga and Tokiwa in Chapter 51, proving that she is indeed the one he loves.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Saeki, though it's played with since before Kasuga dumped her she was a genuinely nice girl. But being rejected for a girl like Nakamura pushes her over the edge, exposing a pathetic and needy side to her.
  • Book Dumb: Nakamura, who in her first appearance handed back a test with no answers, and gets called out by her teacher for it.
    • Ironically, Kasuga later outright admits even he doesn't understand Les Fleurs du Mal, and just wanted to feel above his classmates.
  • Book-Ends: The first and final volumes of the manga are the same events told from different perspectives (Kasuga and Nakamura's views).
  • Bored with Insanity:
    • Kasuga, in the time-skip.
    • When she reappears post time-skip, Nakamura has calmed down a lot as well.
  • Born Unlucky: Kasuga, full-stop. He doesn't exactly make things better for himself, but that doesn't change the fact that practically every single one of his peers that he trusted pre Time Skip screwed him over in some way.
  • Break the Cutie: Gender-flipped with Kasuga. Saeki gets hit with it hard as well.
  • Break Them by Talking: Making Kasuga feel like a "fucking worm" is the only way Nakamura gets some form of pleasure. Though, talking isn't the only way she breaks him...
  • Broken Bird:
    • Nakamura is later revealed to be a rather dark version of this trope.
    • Kasuga becomes this post-Time Skip.
  • The Bus Came Back: Nakamura in Chapter 52.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Kasuga, once. And Nakamura, daily.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: One of the main themes behind the manga. None of the characters are good at spitting out their feelings, either because of shyness or social pressure that comes from living in a small town, which leads them to performing depraved acts to express them instead. Kasuga liked Saeki but lacked the courage to approach her on his own, leading him to steal her gym clothes, kick-starting the whole plot. Later he was unable to confess that he has them, fearing the social isolation he would face. This leads to Nakamura blackmailing him into forming a pact with her, with it being implied later that she also liked him but was unable to say it as well. Post Time Skip, when he finally does spit it out to Tokiwa (the third girl he's been interested) he does so while she's at work. In front of her boyfriend. The incredible thing? It works. The act signals his growth as a character, finally able to be honest with his feelings.
  • Catchphrase: Nakamura seems to like calling people 'shiteaters'. Or any various combinations of profanity.
  • Character Development: Kasuga starts out as a pathetic boy, at first afraid to admit his sins...then embracing them too much. He even becomes bold enough to talk back to the police, with predictable results. After the time skip, he continues on this path, even managing to confess his love to his new crush, Tokiwa, and becomes more empathetic to the people surrounding him.
    • While at first Nakamura seems like evil incarnate, we learn that she feels just as trapped by the town as Kasuga, if not more so, and just wanted a friend who understood her. Later events cause her to realize the damage she's doing to her only friend. It culminates in her shoving Kasuga off the stage when they're about to commit public suicide, wanting him to live and be normal.
    • Saeki is drawn to Kasuga for his honesty and eventually starts dating him. When she finds out about his pact with Nakamura, she get so desperate that she rapes Kasuga in order to convince him of her love.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Kasuga.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Shit-eating worms!"
    • Nakamura can be rather foul-mouthed while wearing the same emotionless expression on her face.
  • Covert Pervert: Saeki tells Kasuga that she actually liked that he wore her uniform, which to her meant he liked her. She was more upset that he didn't tell her. Later on, when trying to win him back, she rapes him.
  • Creepy Child: Nakamura's clearly got some screws loose...
  • Cruel Mercy: Nakamura decides to congratulate Kasuga in asking out Saeki. Unfortunately for Kasuga, it's only because she uses the opportunity to force him to go on the date while wearing Saeki's gym clothes under his clothes.
  • Date Peepers: Nakamura does this to Kasuga and Saeki in episode 5.
  • Destructive Romance: Kasuga and Nakamura's relationship in a nutshell.
  • Digging Himself Deeper: The Official Manga of The Trope. Kasuga manages to make things worse for himself until the Time Skip.
  • Dissonant Serenity: It is never a good thing when Nakamura smiles, and Kasuga knows it.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted. When Saeki rapes Kasuga, it's played very serious and disturbing, almost like... well, like a scene from a horror manga.
  • The Dragon: Kasuga, during his and Nakamura's search for the other side. Included within this example are several variations.
  • Drone of Dread: A lot of the music in the anime uses this. A low, toneless rumbling sound also shows up frequently to underscore tense moments.
  • Driven to Suicide: Both Kasuga and Nakamura. Both are unsuccessful.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side/Evil Feels Good: Nakamura certainly fits the profile, but eventually Kasuga enacts upon the teachings of Nakamura.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All the main characters seem to have serious psychological problems and are fairly broken inside. Things start getting better at least for Kasuga and his family, after he starts dating Tokiwa.
  • Evil Red Head:
    • Guess who's the only character with red hair. After the Time Skip, Nakamura's hair is now black.
    • Subverted with Tokiwa, the nicest girl in the series.
  • Faceless Eye: The Flower of Evil (see page image).
  • Flash Forward: The second half of episode 13 shows dialogue and scenes from later chapters in the manga and a possible Sequel Hook for a second season, such as a baseball bat being dragged along the ground, and a knife being pulled while at a festival, as well as a lighter.
  • Flower Motifs: The Flower of Evil reappears throughout the manga, sometimes in visual contrast to normal, eyeless flowers and seems to represent the perniciousness of evil impulses, or temptation in general.
  • For the Evulz: The stuff Nakamura forces Kasuga to do. Or so it seems. Later, Kasuga embarks on a campaign of misdeeds to become the "Ultimate Pervert" in order to entertain Nakamura.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Nakamura in spades.
  • Gonk: Kasuga's friends in middle school.
  • He's Back: A very poignant one in Chapter 46.
    Kasuga: MOM! DAD!
    Kasuga: ...I'm home.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Tokiwa says this a couple of times regarding Kasuga.
  • Heroic BSoD: Saeki suffers from one after overhearing Nakamura's Wham Line to Kasuga regarding herself in episode 6. She doesn't come to school the next day, and one of her friends mentions she was crying over the phone.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Kasuga, for obvious reasons.
  • Humanity Is Insane/Sex Is Good: Played with. Nakamura lives by the standard that all people are perverts. She believes that people should learn to just accept their animalistic tendencies, making the world a more interesting place. However, she doesn't outright condone insanity or sexual relations. More often, she wants the highs and emotions that come with these actions.
  • Hypocrite: During her "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Saeki calls out Kasuga for apparently attempting to use Tokiwa as a Replacement Goldfish for Nakamura... when it's heavily implied that she's done exactly the same thing with Koizumi due to his resemblance to Kasuga.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Kasuga views Saeki as this, and at first it seems she plays the trope straight. Later on, this becomes Subverted.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How the three main characters describe their actions.
  • I Just Want To Be Special: The main conflict in the story.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: This is entirely the reason why Nakamura blackmailed Kasuga into their pact, feeling that they were kindred deviants.
  • In Love with Love: Kinoshita accuses Saeki of this for why she cares so much for Kasuga.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Nakamura switches wildly between manhandling/hitting Kasuga and sexually harassing him. And turns out she likes him.
  • Jerkass: Nakamura seems to enjoy torturing and manipulating Kasuga for no other reason than the fact that it's so damn easy to do so. And maybe possibly because she can't express her feelings in a healthy way.
    • Kasuga's friends in middle school are basically just backstabbing assholes.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kouji is kind of a brash dick who doesn't understand Tokiwa and attempts to embarrass Kasuga in front of his and Tokiwa's friends, but it's shown repeatedly that he means well.
  • The Jinx: Kasuga. He certainly is on the receiving end of some bad luck (see Digging Himself Deeper and No Good Deed Goes Unpunished), but he also drags Saeki and maybe the whole town with him as he Jumps Off The Slippery Slope. More directly, his family blames him for his grandfather's death, seeing it as a result of his lack of atonement for his evil deeds.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Episode 7, when Kasuga destroys the classroom with Nakamura. Although he wrote his name on the chalkboard, its covered by paint, so no one aside from Saeki realizes that he was responsible for it, and she only knew because he drew that flower on the book he bought her.
  • Just a Kid: Kasuga's dad uses puberty as an explanation for his son's odd change in behavior.
  • Kubrick Stare: Nakamura, in her first appearance.
  • Lack of Empathy: Nakamura. Or maybe not completely...
  • Last Girl Wins: Tokiwa and Kasuga end up dating, and, as shown later, get married.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Used frequently.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The series is named after Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire.
  • Love Epiphany: Kasuga has one in episode 10 towards Nakamura.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Saeki, Saeki, Saeki...
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Tokiwa shows some shades of this.
    • Nakamura is one played very darkly.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Nakamura, who really enjoys psychologically torturing Kasuga.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Kasuga after the Time Skip.
  • Moment Killer: Nakamura does one to Kasuga and Saeki in episode 5 by running behind him and dumping a bucket of water on his head after Saeki accepts a Relationship Upgrade from him.
  • Nice Girl: Saeki. Probably too nice for her own good. At first.
    • Tokiwa fits this, especially to Kasuga. She mocks him playfully, but it's clear from the outset that she really likes and cares about him.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: When Nakamura's wrongfully blamed for stealing Mayu's lunch money, Kasuga sticks up for her. Unfortunately, this just makes Nakamura seem more suspicious, not to mention that he made it seem like he's interested in Nakamura. It becomes subverted however, when Saeki personally thanks him for standing up for Nakamura, and begins to take an interest in him as a result.
  • Not So Different: Nakamura isn't the only one who finds the setting of this story uninteresting. Kasuga himself finds the town stifling to live in.
  • Not So Stoic: Nakamura, as Kasuga finds out.
  • Odd Couple: Nakamura and Kasuga.
  • Off-Model: As a side effect of its rotoscoped nature, characters facial features tend to appear and disappear at random.
  • Official Couple:
    • Kasuga and Saeki... for all of three or so chapters.
    • Kasuga and Nakamura become one, to everyone's chagrin.
    • As of his Anguished Declaration of Love in chapter 45, Kasuga and Tokiwa are officially dating.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kasuga wears this expression so much that one must be afraid that his face might permanently be stuck that way soon.
  • Only Sane Man: Ai Kinoshita tries to be the voice of reason on behalf of Saeki against Kasuga and Nakamura, .
  • Out, Damned Spot!: Kasuga driven to near madness because of his misdeeds is a non murder-related example.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Kickstarts the plot. Nakamura catches Kasuga sniffing his crush Saeki's clothes, and proceeds to blackmail him.
  • Poisonous Friend: Nakamura towards Kasuga. While they technically aren't friends, her influence on him gradually starts changing him for the worse.
    • And yet compared to his other friends, she was his best choice.
  • Psychotic Love Triangle: Eventually gets to this point with Saeki and Nakamura being the yanderes.
  • Put on a Bus: Nakamura after the Time Skip.
  • Relationship Upgrade: In episode 5, Kasuga asks Saeki to enter into a pure relationship with him. Much to his surprise, and probably Nakamura's as well, who's watching nearby, she accepts.
    • Interestingly enough, he tries to break it off with her at the end of episode 8/beginning of 9. However, she refuses to do so, and seems to care about him despite all the things that seem to be going on in his life.
    • After Kasuga's Anguished Declaration of Love in Chapter 45 of the manga, Kasuga and Tokiwa are now officially dating.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Saeki accuses Kasuga of using Tokiwa as a replacement for Nakamura during her "The Reason You Suck" Speech. But after the events of Chapter 45, it's surprisingly leaning towards a "no".
    • It's implied that Saeki has done this with her boyfriend Koizumi, who looks and acts quite a bit like an older version of Kasuga's middle school self.
  • Rotoscoping: The type of animation used for its anime adaptation.
  • Sanity Slippage: At the end of episode 7, Kasuga seems to be slipping down the morality slope a bit, after he initially refuses to write that he's a pervert and thief on their classroom chalkboard. He then does it largely out of frustration, and seems to be enjoying destroying the classroom with her.
    • Eventually, Saeki follows him as well.
  • Secret Diary: Kasuga finds Nakamura's in episode 13 in her room when he visits her house.
  • Self-Immolation: Kasuga and Nakamura decide to do this at the summer festival. After jumping on a float, they douse themselves with gasoline and grabs two lighters. At the last second, Nakamura pushes Kasuga off the float. Before she commits the deed, her father tackles her.
  • The Shadow Knows/Talking to Themself: Kasuga's epiphany into his dependence on others is personified by a giant shadow.
  • Sex Is Evil: Played with, although it's more like Evil is Sex. Nakamura's idea of perversion has as much to do with her hostility and lack of empathy with everyone as with sex; she sees Kasuga's (sexual) interest in Saeki's gym clothes as evidence that he too is depraved like her. Later, Kasuga and Nakamura embark on an escalating campaign of anti-social acts in order to become the "ultimate perverts".
  • Shared Universe: With Oshimi's later work Inside Mari.
  • Slasher Smile: Nakamura's smile will keep you up at night.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Nakamura manages to pull this off with just a foldable chair, of all things.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Starts to happen to Kasuga around episode 7, after he and Nakamura start trashing their classroom. Things aren't the same after that...
    • Saeki does this as well, after losing Kasuga to Nakamura. Disturbingly, it seems almost in attempt to appeal to him.
  • Small Town Boredom: One of the underlying problems the main characters face. Kasuga's monologues state how the isolated nature of the town disturbs him, the surrounding mountains making it hard to run away, the close-knit community making it hard to hide from people, and the old closed-up buildings making it look like a Ghost Town. Nakamura herself is bored and frustrated with the town as well, with how she doesn't fit in due to her isolated nature. This leads to them seeking "the other side" as an escape from the monotony.
    • After leaving the town post time-skip, Kasuga starts recovering from his insanity. Saeki and even Nakamura also seem much more stable after they left.
  • Snowball Lie: Which occurred because Kasuga was unwilling to admit the truth to Saeki about stealing her gym clothes, and Nakamura uses it against him.
  • Stalker with a Crush: While he doesn't stalk her, Kasuga's inner monologues of how Saeki is "his muse" and getting unnecessarily angry whenever his friends make harmless jokes about Saeki make him lean towards this trope. And then there's his actions of stealing her clothes...
  • Status Quo Is God: A big theme of the story is about breaking away from this. Kasuga is caught between not wanting to break down the status quo, but at the same time thinks of himself as different from his peers. It eventually culminates into his speech about being hollow and empty to Saeki and Nakamura, who represent following society's expectations and breaking away from them respectively.
  • Those Two Guys: Kasuga's friends, Yamada and a character yet to be named.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Saeki says to Kasuga that she wants to be this with him and Nakamura.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kasuga, right the fuck outta nowhere.
  • Trauma Conga Line: This entire series for Kasuga, and to an extent Nakamura and Saeki. Things only get better for them after the Time Skip.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Well, no guesses to as who belongs here, but it's not just Nakamura. Kasuga does some really strange things out of his own free will.
    • Saeki rapes Kasuga. Both of them are in middle school. If you can think about that in-depth for more than a second without needing Brain Bleach, you have some serious mental fortitude. Or you're just sick.
  • Villain Protagonist: Kasuga slowly slips into Villain Protagonist under Nakamura's influence. He gets better post Time Skip.

  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Played With. One can't really say that Nakamura and Kasuga are friends, though it's obvious they're close, and Nakamura spends a good deal of their time together sexually assaulting or violently attacking Kasuga.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 5, when Kasuga goes on a date with Saeki, and asks her to be his girlfriend. She accepts.
    • In episode 7, Kasuga destroys the classroom with Nakamura, after initially refusing to.
    • Episode 10, when Kasuga essentially says he's just an empty shell, and causes a lot of strife between himself and both Saeki and Nakamura.
  • Wham Line: Nakamura says this whopper in episode 6 to Kasuga regarding Saeki:
    Nakamura: She said she wants to have sex with you!
    • Kasuga tries to deliver one in episode 8 to Saeki, when he says they should break up, but he doesn't give her a reason. Instead he just attempts to walk off, but she forces him to stop to ask him an Armor-Piercing Question.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Kinoshita basically says this when she finds out that Saeki is going out with Kasuga.
    "What's so good about that hesitating introverted guy?!"
    • Later when Kasuga fell in love with Nakamura.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kasuga receives this several times whenever his immoral actions are discovered.
  • What Were You Thinking?: Repeated verbatim by Kasuga's parents on several occasions.
  • With Friends Like These...: Sure, Kasuga is capable of feats of spinelessness that would make Shinji Ikari shake his head, but pretty much everyone he's associated with pre-Time Skip is in no way more likable than him. In fact, all of them are... basically even worse.
    • Nakamura goes without saying. She forced him into becoming friends with her, manipulated him, and eventually morphed him into a reflection of her. Though she at least realizes this eventually and prevents him from performing double-suicide with her.
    • His two friends in middle school... aren't much better. One of them is portrayed as a two-faced Jerkass who turns on him constantly. The other is portrayed as a creepy pervert with no respect for women.
    • Saeki appears to be the kindest, most upstanding person in Kasuga's life, even after they break up. Then she rapes him.
  • Yandere: Saeki becomes obsessed with keeping Kasuga to herself, even going so far as to rape him.
    • Nakamura is also implied to be this to Kasuga. She forcibly strips him and forces him to strip himself repeatedly, gets some kind of sick pleasure out of watching him wear Saeki's gym clothes while on a date with her, seems to derive... enjoyment out of inflicting physical pain on him, holds his hand towards the end of their time together, is said by Saeki to be shaking from shock after she learns from her that she had sex with Kasuga, and goes as far as smashing his dad's kneecap with a metal baseball bat when she learns that he's keeping him from her. The classroom vandalism scene also has some sexual overtones and symbolism.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: It's like everytime it seems like Kasuga's caught a break, Nakamura makes an extra special effort to ruin it.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Following Kasuga and Nakamura's public attempted suicide, Kasuga and his family move to another city, and Kasuga is hesitant to even mention his hometown by name. This becomes a plot point when Kasuga's grandfather takes ill and he, in an effort to begin confronting his past, decides to return with his parents.


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