Monday, February 6, 2017

Review of Scum's Wish Episodes 1-4

Scum's Wish chronicles the mutually exploitative relationship of Hanabi Yasuraoka and Mugi Awaya who use each other as a way to forget about their seemingly hopeless crushes on unreachable teachers at the school they attend. For Hanabi, it is a long smoldering childhood crush on her childhood friend Narumi Kanai who has become her homeroom teacher while Mugi harbors feelings for his former tutor Akane Minagawa the angel-faced music teacher who has become the object of Narumi's affections while Hanabi has become the object of her friend Sanae's desire. While Mugi has a hopeless suitor in his childhood friend Noriko Kamomebata (who reminds me of Shiho Munakata from Mai-HiME) . On paper, this is a cliché added piece of melodramatic goop filled with tryhard edgy seemingly mature exploration of teenage sexuality and the masks we present to each other. In short, the complicated root ball of romantic entanglements is the worst part of the series. While Mugi and Hanabi are not likeable in the slightest Hanabi is snappish borderline codependent and too busy polishing her dream of an idealized Narumi. Who she even still calls Brother wich to those not familiar with Japanese sibling terminology being used as a term of affection among unrelated individuals will think this has some sort of incestuous plotline it does not. Worry not though there are still plenty of emotionally scarring incidents of the loss of sexual innocence to make you more uncomfortable than any implied incest. The only likable characters are Noriko and Narumi everyone else could die in a fire I'd probably dance on their ashes. While Akane is probably the most reprehensible character in the series. The direction in this series is for the most part great at capturing the dark and murky emotions of the characters. Some choices feel a little heavy handed like the imagined childhood self of Hanabi upbraiding her in rain storm or manga panel cut outs that look like badly executed transitions. Mugi needs to developed more otherwise he is just a libido and teen angst while Narumi feels like a character from a completely different series and Sanae is only defined by her relationship with Hanabi. Noriko suffers the same fate but is at least memorable. Of course, this could all fall apart and If anything I am more watching this for Noriko and Narumi than I am Mugi and Hanabi as honestly I don't care what happens to them . This series is the Shigurui of romance series that is it is an unremittingly bleak look at humanity that confuses spectacle and Misanthropy for being profound or truly mature. Awful people having awful sex does not make a work thoughtful or have any kind of deep underlying message about humanity or sexual brokenness in a more general manner. Scum's Wish is more interested in being superficially clever than saying anything deeper than "hurt people hurt people". Unless we are dealing with Akane than we are dealing with a sucking void of moral depravity that the series feels ill equipped to even analyze beyond it's lovingly detailed depictions of lesbian sex, foreplay, and masturbation while framing scenes in stock cliché romance settings with lighting that looks reused from older romance series.

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