Scum’s Wish Review — Happiness Is a Lie

An awful sex-filled lie!

  • I’m a very romantic guy at heart, which is why I really dislike it when anime fucks up portraying romance. Yes it isn’t the only medium where romance is portrayed badly, but that doesn’t change the fact that a majority of these writers really don’t know how to write good chemistry.
  • And why should they when you’ve got girls like Ren from Re:Zero being one of the most popular female characters in anime? Or when most of the popular anime romance stories come from Mari Okada, a woman whose idea of puberty and teen romance I can easily sum up as “we have feelings. Notice me!” Or when all that comes out of the shoujo genre is either go-nowhere “will they or won’t they” snorefests or whatever you call the ridiculous chastity that went on in Ore Monogatari? Or when promising shows based on critically acclaimed manga like Orange end up shitting the bed?
  • So you’ll have to excuse me for my snarky comments at Scum’s Wish when I read the summary on those season previews. A manga adaptation about two people using each other to satisfy their own loneliness whilst actually longing for their teachers? People telling me that said manga degenerates into a big mess love polygon? The number of ways that could go wrong is so high you could recreate the Eiffel Tower with it.

I swear they might as well have included a laugh track every time a “funny” face is made

  • First impressions weren’t great either. It felt like someone tried to combine Kare Kano with Pride and Prejudice to the point that I swear the characters were participating in bloopers that somehow made it into the final cut. And the fact that the two agreed to never have sex felt like some sort of cop-out in order to market towards a younger audience. Cool visual style with a more natural way of adapting manga panels than March Comes Like a Lion, so I was at least going to stick around for that if nothing else.
  • The turning point came when main female lead, Hanabi, was invited to eat with some female classmates and gets into a discussion regarding how one of said classmates is torn between two boys. Apparently one of them is her childhood friend turned lover who ended up becoming a Makoto Itou-style cheater over time while the other is a recent, but loyal dude who’s not quite as appealing in the looks category and dick size. While any sane person would dump a cheater on the spot, said girl turns out to be a bit off herself when she states that she really doesn’t want to break up with the first dude even though she understands why it’s the right thing to do because of issues regarding her comfort zone, which caused me to go “holy fucking shit, does this romance anime actually have balls?”

There’s a lot of angst in this show, so if you can’t handle that, you obviously don’t play Final Fantasy

  • Scum’s Wish is a romance anime focused on a young snarky highschool girl named Hanabi Yasuraoka and a horny teenage boy around her age named Mugi Awaya, as the two enter a sort of false relationship in order to ease their loneliness while their respective older crushes date each other. A false relationship that is sex-free, but French-kissing and touching morning wood is apparently not crossing the line, which to be fair is kind of tame compared to how some people justify sucking dick is not equal to having sex.
  • The main appeal of the series is how all of the characters involved in its laughably convoluted love polygon – because it turns out that both Hanabi and Mugi have other girls eyeing them and it doesn’t stop there – are a bunch of selfish pricks who try their hardest to make relationships work, even though the futility of it is more obvious than the eventual quality of a video game adaptation made by Hollywood. But at the same time, it’s clear that the show is determined to have its main characters find true happiness at the end of their journey, even if it isn’t the kind of happiness that a mainstream audience would prefer, so it avoids the mean-spirited exploitation found in stuff like School Days or whatever the fuck you call what happened in Yosuga no Sora.

This guy is blind with or without his glasses

  • Every single character has their own unique view of romance and it’s a lot of fun to see those views clash, resulting into some pretty intense dramatic moments and revelations. As a man who supports romance anime where the couple can’t be together due to fundamental differences, I pretty much ate up every climax like it was no tomorrow. Some of said climaxes stretch suspension of disbelief a little, like how the female teacher who is secretly a bit of a manwhore decides that this man who accepts her no matter what may be worth staying loyal for, but this is still anime at the end of the day. I’m finding more and more over the years that it’s just impossible to take what comes out of the medium 100% seriously. You got have something that’s fun for the audience, or else you risk alienating them.
  • Having said that, the shoujo-ai humor used to lighten up the mood during downtime is pathetic. Nothing but a bunch of comedic reaction faces and noises without punchlines at something the characters think is shocking, when in reality it’s just kind of dumb. It’s not distracting to the point of tonal inconsistency, but it’s not funny and it’s frequent enough that you can’t just ignore it.
  • Also, while the show really knows how to use the medium of animation to tell its story with its creative visual imagery and generally consistent animation quality, I would have preferred a lot less narration during the characters’ internal journeys. No, I would not have understood what makes Akane tick without her telling it to me, but I think Mugi flat-out describing his experience with an older girl that we can clearly see is a bit much.

These two kind of look like a brother and sister acting very inappropriate for their age, don’t they?

  • Speaking of Mugi, I admit to having a particular fondness for his character. A young boy who wants a loving relationship with his former female tutor, and even though he’s fully aware that what he’s doing is wrong, he tries his best to convert her through his dick whilst hoping that he can have chemistry with her that goes beyond sex, even though he’s aware that it’ll never work. That’s such a brutally creative scenario for a teenager searching for love to go through, and it really sucked seeing his desires get in the way of his common sense like that.
  • Every other character goes through something similar to a degree, but I think what sells me more to him than the others is how he’s the most active in regards to his feelings whilst being fully aware that they can never come true. I especially loved the end of the penultimate episode when he realizes that once he got his date and his desires stopped being temptuous, he lost the enthusiasm that prevented him from moving on with his life. He goes through a lot of shit beforehand too, but that moment in particular sticks out because you know he’s going to be okay at that point, and he deserved it too.
  • I’m not too proud to admit that the ending made me bawl like a pansy. Well okay, I didn’t really do that. I just felt a ping of deep sadness for a few seconds before closing the file, tweeting my thoughts, and then going off to see the new Ghost in the Shell. Nevertheless, the ending of Scum’s Wish is hands down one of the most perfect endings I’ve seen in a long time due to its combination of understandable logic and sentimental gut-punching, combined with the ending song that sounds great, although I wish the singer didn’t sound like a chipmunk. It almost made me forget that the rest of the finale was a bunch of “well this isn’t bad, but I preferred the finale to Sound Euphonium 2“.

No pain, no gain. Still hurts though.

  • Scum’s Wish is basically the romance anime I’ve wanted to see for a long time. It amalgamates everything good about my previous favorites, adds in everything good about smut manga that you never knew existed whilst toning down the actual smut, and delivers it without feeling rushed or overstaying its welcome. Given the rumors I’ve heard about how the original manga goes nowhere when in reality it goes everywhere, along with my refusal to look up it was the dude who made White Album 2 directing the thing (and yes I know he made Undefeated Bahamut Chronicles too), I didn’t expect much and instead got one of the best gems to come from this medium in a long time.
  • The humor and excessive number of characters involved can suck a sewage pipe, but apparently I’m the only one who cares, and it’d be weird for a show to be that perfect anyways. I know people who claim that Scum’s Wish will destroy the romance genre. Considering how you’d be hard-pressed to match it in terms of quality along with what usually happens when anime tries to capture what makes something good rather than carving their own niche, I can believe them.

Minor Quips

  • Whatever happened to the shoujo anime that had actual fucking like Fushigi Yuugi and Ayashi no Ceres anyways? Yes they were bad, but people actually confessed to each other in them.
  • Do people really think the sex scenes in this anime are gratuitously exploitative? We don’t even get to see anything in them other than pain.
  • Personally, I think sucking someone’s dick is a step above actual intercourse.

3 responses to “Scum’s Wish Review — Happiness Is a Lie

  1. As always, I’m wary of this show being on your favorites list until you rewatch the whole show; same thing when you first watched Death Parade. Hopefully, the humor doesn’t suck away the experience upon rewatch just like Air Master did.

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