Scum’s Wish, also known as Kuzu no Honkai, is a 12 episode seinen show adapted from a manga that looks at a high school relationships. Written by Uezu, Makoto (Danganronpa, Fate/Prototype, School Days) and directed by Andou, Masaom (Fairy Tail), each one of the relationships showcased are unrequited.
From the first episode I was captivated by the world of Hanabi Yasuraoka and Mugi Awaya. I found myself wondering if their relationships would pan out. What would happen to the two people that sought comfort in each other, instead of the ones they truly wanted?
Hanabi and Mugi both have an attraction to their teachers, Narumi Kanai and Akane Minagawa. Hanabi has known Narumi since she was younger and affectionately calls him brother. This does feel a bit disconcerting to begin with until you know that it’s not a familial relationship and more a nickname that could be the result from the translation. For Mugi, he’s had an attraction to Akane since she tutored him. In both cases, their teachers started working at the school after the attraction had been developed. Mugi and Hanabi, knowing that the other is also in the same situation, make a “deal”; they will take from each other what they cannot have from the teachers.
The plot becomes more complicated with the addition of Noriko Kamomebata, a girl who has known Mugi since they were younger and always dreamt of being with him, and Sanae Ebato, who developed an attraction for Hanabi after being sexually assaulted on a train. They both have their own unrequited relationships but the anime makes sure to resolve their storylines as well as Hanabi and Mugi’s.
Despite this content sounding like it wasn’t for me on the surface, the way the anime handled its storyline and cast really compelled me to carry on watching.
This anime features a lot of sexual relationships and nudity goes alongside that. However, Scum’s Wish did a good job of not making the nudity feel gratuitous. Although I wouldn’t have watched this show on public transport, it made me feel as though the characters were safe from the camera. Everything was framed respectfully while also being very clear about what was going on in the scene.
However, this is also where my main gripe with Scum’s Wish comes into play. Almost every woman was shown crying at some point during a sexual encounter.
It made me wonder whether the characters were agreeing to encounters because they actually want to or for other reasons. In some ways I felt that’s almost the point of this series. If the one you love doesn’t love you, do you just seek physical connection for the sake of feeling something? Were the tears coming from imagining your partner to be someone they’re not? It’s a question that I feel is left up to the viewer to interpret and it’s nice not being spoon-fed the “right answer”.
I would’ve preferred that technique had been used solely on Hanabi as it’s a lot easier to understand her tears. The fact it was used on so many characters, and those characters were only women, really confuses me.
Scum’s Wish did a good job of setting each of the character’s apart through the use of animation. At some points you don’t see the facial features, but the stature and the hair do a good job of identifying exactly who you’re dealing with. No two of the characters look alike and any passing resemblance is intentional.
I felt all the animation scenes were really lovely to watch, both the high detail, the far away shots, and the day dream fantasy elements did wonderful jobs of showcasing the corresponding scenes. Things were explicitly spelt out when they needed to be and appropriately vague when a sense of distance was required. It really enhanced the storytelling by giving the viewer a sense of what the characters were feeling.
The voice actors all suited their characters in Scum’s Wish with the only questionable one being Akane. She felt too childish at times, but you could say that is also part of her character. Her voice actor, Toyosaki, Aki, you might recognise from Alice to Zouroku where she played Sanae Kashimura.
As for other VAs, Hanabi was played by Anzai, Chika who also played Maki Midorikawa in Sakura Quest. This really took me by surprise as I wouldn’t have known without looking it up. Mugi was voiced by Shimazaki, Nobunaga who was also Haruka Nanase in Free! and Nojima, Kenji (Kenji Tomochika in Persona 3) played Narumi. The cast was rounded out with Izawa, Shiori (Sword Art Online) and Tomatsu, Haruka (Sword Art Online) voicing Noriko and Sanae respectively.
OP and ED
Although I can’t recall the OP song Uso no Hibana by 96neko, I know It complimented the animation perfectly. The only time I skipped watching the OP was when I had already watched two episodes in a row. The OP was very beautiful and gave you a sense of the complexity that Scum’s Wish would delve into. Not everything is as it seems on the surface.
As for the ED and its song Heikousen by Sayuri. Well, this clicked a little less with me. I watched it on the first episode and around every two or three after that. The animation was a lot more graphic than its counterpart and didn’t seem to represent the show very well. I wasn’t a fan of the kaleidoscope effect so maybe that’s part of the problem I had with it. It’s a shame as I felt I enjoyed that song just as much as the OP.
Scum's Wish Overall
I would recommend this show to people that haven’t seen it and haven’t read the manga, with the caveat that it deals with ‘adult themes’. I’m unaware of how it compares to the manga, but after seeing the anime I do intend to read the manga and see how it compares.
The plot of Scum’s Wish was really unique and thought it did a good job of making the viewer feel uncomfortable for the right reasons. It’s a very messed up show in all sorts of ways but if you don’t like nudity in your shows you’ll want to steer clear. Although it has a very adult handling of it rather than the leering, childish angle that a lot of anime has, it’s still something that is present in almost every episode.
Although I don’t plan on buying the series, and neither do I think I would re-watch it, I would be interested to see more of Hanabi and her life after school.