Leave it up to Scum’s Wish to break some more taboos about love. I’m not gonna beat around the bush here, this episode was magnificent, the way it grabs you in closely and never lets go. I felt emotionally wasted after the episode ended, but for good reasons. We finally have some major developments in the main plot- the premise that was promised in the beginning by our main characters, not tangled by any supporting, third love this time. Mugi confessed to Akane, and Hanabi confessed to Narumi – pretty straightforward. But things won’t end here, mind you, it’s spinning out of control just as messy as everything came before it. Scum’s Wish understands that making characters miserable all the time don’t produce massive impact. After all, if we’re keep going down to the bottom, the only way when we reach there is up. Instead, they give us some moments of genuine feelings between Hanabi and Mugi, before crushing our hope down to pieces. Dang it, Mugi has to f*ck it all up! The fireworks finally appear (for those of you who don’t aware, her name Hanabi literally means fireworks) to signal the storm about to come so I know we’re about to have a thunderous final act of the show.
Let’s start with the newest taboo this show tries to tackle on, relative member’s crush. Now mind you, it’s debatable when it comes to perception on cousin love relationship, even today around the world people still arguing if cousin marriage is legally acceptable or not. I know in Japan this is not uncommon for cousin to love each other, though it’s becoming less and less prevalent now. From where I come from, in contrast, that same topic is strictly perceived as a taboo for example. But let’s move on now since I know that topic isn’t what you come here for. Well, introducing Atsuya- Ecchan’s cousin, that late in a game doesn’t really bode well with me, because I think the show is offering Ecchan a safe way out and a bit unnecessary conflicts on his yet-another unrequired one-side crush. We’re all know that Ecchan tried everything she can to take all she can take from Hanabi physically and emotionally; so that guy is a voice of reason, the guy who would step back and say to Ecchan “You’re trying too hard”. That’s good, mind you, it’s mean some more character development for Ecchan, and I truly think Atsuya inclusion here helps Ecchan to realize the stopping point on her own relationship to Hanabi. From the preview next week we have Hanabi and Ecchan in some random country house so (smirk) prepare for some yuri show time next week. Oh and that Ecchan’s hat!
It’s Mugi and Hanabi who actually share some intimate moments together, and for the first time since they started forming contracts, they acknowledge that they see each other as themselves, not as a substitute for other lover. It’s a major development if you ask me. Before, their relationship was strictly business, consoled each other by way too much touching in other to hide away the pain; but now, they start to have feeling for each other, Hanabi starts to feel and enjoy the warm when they hug. Those are one of the warmest, most hopeful moments in Scum’s Wish and really, hoping for them can get through all the batshit in order to become a normal couple might be our greatest rewards. But I’m telling ya, don’t get your hope up, not because of the mess Mugi had done (I’ll get to that later), but as I keep saying for awhile now, I don’t think they can become a healthy normal couple. What they lack is sharing, especially in regards to their problems. I get that each of them have to face all these personal issues for themselves for their own maturity; but they are unable to share their problems to each other and just kinda let it pass. No. That will never work as a couple.
And Hanabi is the only unfortunate soul to get a short straw here. Both being rejected by her crush, and her partner-in-crime falling into pitfall created by Akame. Hanabi confession is as conventional as it gets, but it’s touching because she can finally let it all out, resulted in her outburst. And that four-eye teacher handles the situation surprisingly well, always stays calm and respects her every words. Kudos the show for handling the sequence with great framing and near-perfect pacing. The other confession though, is as unconventional and (again) taboo-breaking as it could get. Although Mugi is the one who ask her out and confess his love, it’s very clear that Akame is the commander in charge here. Mugi claimed that he knows everything bad about her, determines to change her but he couldn’t help but fall for those sweet words anyways. We actually did see some genuine facial expressions from Akame (or was it not? She’s the liar-master after all), but it’s bad. It’s bad because he has her way too easy, thus he will eventually become one of her prey, never get out of her spider-web. He can never have her by himself, and our Hanabi will always be alone. Forever alone. And our hearts again will be crushed along with her.
p/s: after watching this episode, I had to put on the ED of Flowers of Evil to calm my mind and arrange my feelings. Does that make me a broken deviant who like being tortured and manipulated? So be it.