Thursday, February 9, 2017

Scum's Wish Episode Five Review

The episode opens up with a younger Hanabi on a swing while her older self-narrates her thoughts on her emotional life and how Kanai allowed her to be able to feel emotions and the scene fading from black and white to color. only to have Hanabi wake up in the aftermath of her tryst with Ebato making the opening few minutes appear to have been a dream sequence. Hanabi and Ebato share a moment together and Ebato exits for the rest of the episode. Only for it to than focus on Mugi and his past with Akane and his Senpei Mei from middle school as well as his thoughts on his relationship with Hanabi. Than switch to Akane's perspective and how boring she finds Kanai until Akane finds out Kanai's history with Hanabi using the pure hearted Kanai as a new way to torture Hanabi. Scum's Wish continues to be the most morally reprehensible series I have seen in recent memory episode five does nothing to really change any of the characters. Hanabi is still narcissistic and self-obsessed as is Mugi and while the interior monologues make for a more cerebral experience, giving the characters interiority does not nescerily make them that profound or complex. It is the same self-absorbed self-loathing interior monologue that the first four episodes wallowed in. While Akane is for all intents and purposes a sexual predator the charcter I kept finding myself comparing her to is Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigaïlov from Crime and Punishment who is known both for his debauchery and also seemingly random acts of kindness. Akane though doesn't even seem to have any kindness in her she simply uses Kanai for her own amusement she is in a word evil and not profoundly so either. In fact for a series that seems to pride itself on being supposedly mature it has no deep understanding of Akane so far. Of the characters Mugi gets the most in the way of interior development and is at least reflective. While Hanabi is seemingly going down the same road as Akane yet never reflects on any of this or practices any kind of moral agency. She is simply drawn to the mutually exploitive relationship that her and Mugi share. In short they are mere puppets on the string of their own character. Of course in the state of nature mankind only desires sin and it's own sinful desires irrespective of harm to others or self. Akane is at least honest with herself Hanabi is only able to be horrified at herself and than run back to the same self-destructive cycle of sex and self-loathing there is no way out and it frankly feels artificial. The entire relationship dynamic between Mugi and Hanabi is an artificial fantasy with characters that frankly feel distanced from their own bodies minds alienated from their own physicality. Evil is hinted at and wickedness is hidden behind the seemingly sweet façade of MS. Minagawa with Kanai poor sweet Kanai only being strung along by this human Succubus. I like Kanai but these characters all lack agency so it's honestly frustrating to watch. I understand self-destructive patterns of behavior but it all feels so forced no one for all the amount of introspection bothers to think outside of the artificiality of their feelings or desires. Scum's Wish simply feels self-important without having anything of any real import to say beyond boiler plate angst about teenage sexuality and an misshapen apprehension of evil without ever exploreing it. Akane's actions are objectively wicked but the series spends far too much time languishing in a haze of adolescent sexuality to answer any of the deeper questions of human evil. I close with a quote originally in reference to the series Boku wa Imōto ni Koi o Suru this pretty sucicnitily sums up my feelings on the series so far if not as a whole. "This smut is repeated over and over until you just want to read some conservative, pedantic pre-Tezuka shōjo manga about how little Chieko became a good obedient wife and waits every day to serve dinner to her salaryman husband because he gets so tired from perpetuating the Japanese economic miracle." – Carlo Santos

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