If there is one thing that I really respect about Scum’s Wish, it’s that they commit themselves all the way to that tangled web of broken desires and love, instead of chicken out half-way. As a result this show gets much harder to swallow, but leaves you a big emotional impact. This week in particular we follow Hanabi and her descending to hell AKA her path of becoming another bitchy bitch, trying to beat Akame in her own games. If there was ever a doubt that Hanabi wasn’t a “scumbag”, she sure is becoming one now. In this show, characters do realize a lot of things, they all aware that they’re straying in the wrong side of the road but keep pushing forward anyways until everything broken apart.
“I will pretend with you as much as you want. Then you can fall for a fake version of me”
There she goes. Heartbroken after hearing that Narumi-sensei had slept with Akame, Hanabi wants the attention the boys have for Akame, so she determines to use any mean necessary to beat Akame. Everyone knows that Akane is hardly a role-model; she’s a fake. All her worthiness comes directly from the desires of those followers so as long as she isn’t desired anymore; she’s a done deal. Hanabi herself knows that it’s a pathetic decision, but when all the people she have connection with got stolen away by Akame, I can totally see her urge. Starting with Mugi when she decides to take his attention back by suggesting that they should date for real. She then meets Takuya, in this show served as a pawn for both Akame and now Hanabi – Akame’s prey who Hanabi personally connected to the least- in order for Hanabi to test out her own game. The result of course is as painful and pathetic as it gets. There is no real love involved, even no genuine moments together, it’s just plain body heat. All Hanabi does is to fake herself to please Takuya, and this guy isn’t either sensitive or care enough to realize. It’s the win-win game anyways. Takuya gets some comforts behind Akame, Hanabi learns and masters her game. They all basically get what they want.
“Every time I’m touched, I realize that I’m so empty inside”
But by pushing herself for physical means to lure the guys, she simultaneously has to lock her inside up in order to not falling apart. It’s not that Hanabi doesn’t aware she is attractive. I wouldn’t call her character attractive to be completely frank, she just knows how to use her body to seduce boys. It’s pathetic. The attractiveness, after all, should come from the inside and Hanabi’s inside is confused and empty. Feeling sick, feeling unworthy. Feeling empty. Feeling like scum. She’s experiencing a lot right now but expect things to get worse later on, when she uses her fake charms to seduce both Mugi and Narumi. The true question now is when she reaches the breaking point of feeling explode, how would she react then? The child version of Hanabi both present in the best and worst part of this episode. On one hand, I enjoyed the sequence of her conscience fighting with her current dark self tremendously. The visual styles really capture the dark mood of her battling with her head, and look how ironic that is when the child version of her that is more mature and critical, calling her current self “brat”. On the other hand, the flashback of her and Narumi again feels awkward. Here goes daddy issues again and Narumi seriously drags everything down with him.
“I love you enough that I can live with that”
That’s when the idea of “accepting your love ones exactly the way they are” becomes problematic. And yes I’m talking about both Ecchan and Moca in this context. Ecchan becomes more and more dangerous, a crucial factor to manipulate Hanabi to her corruption and she enjoys it. As much as Hanabi desperate to hook up with any guy connected to Akame, she’s still sensible enough to cut-off Ecchan, because she just couldn’t see Ecchan as lover. But that red-hair girl knows all about it and content to be just that: a substitution. She loves Hanabi for both her good and bad sides so she has no problem to exploit Hanabi’s dark side so that she can embrace her even more. That girl is getting even more tricky when she even informs Mugi about Hanabi just to wreck that couple apart (and intend to leave another hickey soon, sly girl!). At the same instance, Moca and Mugi finally have a date so 1) it’s gonna be Mugi descending to hell next week and 2) I will have a chance to discuss my personal favorite theme “the loss of innocence” next week. Will it be embracing the person as they are, even their darkest side, a wise solution? Normally I’m in a camp that say yes but it’s clear that the show proves me the other side of the coin here.
Lastly, it got me thinking so I figure I will address it here, about the emotional response we get from this show. Normally, why would you watch shows that produce negative feelings to you? What’s the quality those shows have that frankly are quite addictive than normal, harmless, feel-good shows out there? I understand shows like “Now and Then, Here and There” or “Grave of the Fireflies” depressing nature because the audience have a chance to get emotional connect to the characters before the shows broke us apart with a hardship of nature (tragedy). Then you have those exploitation medium in which their main purpose is to rape your mind and make you feel disgusting and sick. For example, think of alleged “snuff” film from Japanese movies in the 80s, early 90s (don’t mean to knock them off, as I think they still have their merits). And then we have the ones like Scum’s Wish or Flowers of Evil that fall into the middle of those two (provocative). Here in Scum’s Wish we aren’t really supposed to root for the characters (unlike the first one), as they are pretty unrelatable from the first minute and make more and more extreme behaviors later on. It’s more about we project ourselves to the situations that make us engaging and gripping along with the characters. Everyone has to go through teenage phase, all of us have to go through the uncertainty of self-worth, lust, “true love” at some points in your life so your own experience will reflect greatly to those kinds of shows. I know for sure that If I were in the shoes of Kasuga in Flowers of Evil, I would have turned out just like him, and that feeling cuts me deeply. So my point is this, don’t think of this show as an entertainment piece, think of it as an experience you could’ve gotten, and I think your thoughts on this show would differ greatly. But then again who would want to watch shows that just make you feel depressing?
p/s: I normally just keep my blogging here in this sites as strictly anime-related, but since I’m a movie-buff at heart, I might as well recommend you readers to films that shared the same theme as this series. If you enjoy Scum’s Wish then by any mean check this one out: Breaking the Waves (1996). This movie won the Palme D’or back in ‘96 about a wife that after her husband was bedridden and asked her to have sex with other guys to heal him spiritually, thus come her journey to become a nympho by the public’s eyes and a martyr in her husband’s eyes. I know it sounds devastating to say the least but well, I hope… you “enjoy” it if you check it out.