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Inside the Eye of the Storm (Flowers of Evil)

While Kasuga’s classmates sleep peacefully, warm in their beds, a storm of guilt roils his soul with a slow, rolling rumble. Saeki, the girl with whom he’s smitten, is singing Kasuga’s praises, while he tears himself apart over how unworthy he is of such a hymn. So as an act of contrition, Kasuga asks for help from the only person who can — the very force that’s been exacerbating the situation that’s tortured him so.

Kasuga wants Nakamura to air his dirty laundry for him right in front of Saeki, and Nakamura, devil that she is, helps him. In a sentence brought down upon Kasuga more cutting than Kafka’s for those In The Penal Colony, Nakamura forces Kasuga to confess his sins, in writing, on the blackboard a la an elementary school student’s punishment. After Kasuga’s last bit of pride breaks, he fills the blackboard with the chalk outline of the full truth about his self, revealing a true pervert that “stole Saeki Nanako’s gym uniform, rubbed it all over [his] body, wore it on a date with her, and even asked her out while wearing it.”

Seeing in Kasuga a cloud whose bursting bladder has been wrung only of its potential excess in order to allow continued drifting, Nakamura pushes, “Is that it?” Breaking boundaries, Kasuga upsets a chalk drawer and, with its scattered contents, condemns the floor and all who will walk upon it with “shit” and “shit-faces” while howling on his hands and knees. And then the thunderclap: ink, like a blood-let stream black with a starless night, splashes across Kasuga’s hands. “More!” cries Nakamura. Officially sullied and removed of his last vestige of restraint, Kauga runs amok in a tornado around the classroom bloodying everything while Nakamura dances with delight for the chaos of the storm and makes sure nothing is left standing.

Kasuga and Nakamura appear more defiled by ink as the scene flows, so it’s easy to parallel the increasing vandalism with an expression of Nakamura’s corruptive influence on Kasuga. A little more interesting, however, is viewing the stains in the light as an erosion of masks and the appearance of Kasuga’s true skin. In that vein, I’ll reiterate (and rearrange) what I said when I first wrote about this scene: “Is it a celebration of youth? a mating dance? a ritual sacrifice? a rebirth? Yes. All of those things, in slow motion, backed by a bongo-rific version of ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY’s ‘A Last Flower,’ come together for an utterly amazing climax of reckless abandon.”

If this scene is to be looked at as a mating ritual or outright sexual gratification, the composition of the shot (above) is very important. Kasuga’s venting has left him panting, breathless, with his hand Saeki’s soiled uniform (specifically on Saeiki’s invisible thigh). Nakamura, also breathless and panting, is separated by physical distance and the lighter color of the floor from both the uniform and Kasuga, meaning she has no connection with his euphoria. She’s still inside the bulb of the same flower with Kasuga, however, which points to a shared experience. More importantly, one of her legs lies in the flower’s eye — the very symbol of awakening that runs throughout this series. She has managed to corrupt or free Kasuga (depending on your reading), and taking delight in this end result as an almost sexual conquest, she turns to Kasuga and calls him “Pervert” as if a pet name while wearing a huge grin of satisfaction.

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