Miss my last review? Check it out here!
It’s been a couple weeks since we last peeked in on Scum’s Wish, so let’s catch up!
Following Mugi and Hanabi’s attempts at confessing their love to their respective crushes, they were supposed to meet up and console one another. While Hanabi was turned down (as she expected), Mugi was unable to break things off with Akane, seemingly too weak to resist her methods of seduction. As a result, he sleeps with her while telling her that he knows what an awful person she is.
This takes us to the start of episode 9. Hanabi isn’t sure exactly what happened with Mugi, only receiving a cryptic “Sorry.” in a text message and not much else. She feels more alone than ever when Sanae invites her to get away for a couple days at her vacation home in a rural town. Sanae plans on having the house all to herself in an attempt to seemingly win over Hanabi once and for all.
Unfortunately, Sanae’s lovestruck cousin Atsuya derails her plans when he answers the door upon their arrival. Sanae is upset that he ruined their romantic weekend getaway, but Atsuya is rather straightforward when he says that she needs to end things with Hanabi, or at the very least figure out what their relationship is.
After an intimate evening, the girls head out the next day on a shopping date. Hanabi sees a happiness in Sanae’s eyes that she’s rarely seen, and wonders what kind of future they could have together…but her inner dialogue quickly shatters that possibility.
As the day comes to a close, Sanae surprises Hanabi by thanking her for spending so much time with her, and apologizes for being such a nuisance. In an obvious attempt to break things off, Sanae tells her that they can no longer be friends because of the feelings she has for her.
Hanabi, not wanting to lose her best friend, confronts her and pleads with her to stay friends. Watching these two young women hash out their feelings is an effective scene that attempts to put a bow, although a messy one, on their tumultuous relationship over the past episodes. I do wonder if Hanabi realizes the pain she’s inflicting on Sanae by insisting they remain close, and that may very well bubble up before the finale comes around in a couple weeks.
Episode 10 re-focuses the spotlight on Mugi as he continues to tangle with his feelings for Akane. We also get a fresh wave of Akane’s manipulative behaviors. When reflecting on why she likes invoking jealousy in other girls she comments on how she likes to collect their feelings –
In the face of an older and much more experienced partner, Mugi consistently finds himself unable to resist her advances. After he asks Akane out on a proper date and is countered with the fact that it’s “Mr. Kanai’s day”, Mugi is reminded that he’s only one of many men that Akane entertains herself with at any given time.
Mugi does make some progress in being more forceful with Akane, but is unable to break her from her vicious cycle. I understand the general dynamic between Mugi and Akane, but it was already running thin in previous episodes, so rehashing the fact that Akane is this other-worldly seductress and Mugi can’t help but be an idiot around her got old pretty quickly.
Akane then goes on a date with Kanai to an aquarium. She realizes that something’s a bit off about this nerdy teacher not pursuing her. Sure, they slept together before – but it dawns on Akane that she did that because she was extremely intoxicated. Now the power dynamic has flipped and she’s apparently the one pursuing him.
Oh dear, that won’t do at all.
Akane is confronted by another lover on the street later in the date, who openly calls her a “slut who loves men”. Seeing it as a way to break off from the naïve Kanai, she confesses that she is indeed a slut and couldn’t possibly live up to his expectations.
So what does Kanai do? He friggin’ goes full white knight on her.
Kanai effectively tells Akane that it’s okay that she’s a slut and that he still cares about her. Arrrgggghhhh! I’m really not a fan of Akane as a character at this point. It seems like her poor character development is contagious and contaminates any other characters she comes in contact with.
Still, Kanai’s impassioned plea appears to have shaken her a bit, throwing a wrench in her otherwise steady cycle of using and discarding men for her pleasure. What happens when the man doesn’t judge you for it? What happens when you can be who you are and still be loved? There’s an attempt to begin redeeming Akane in the closing scenes but I’m not buying it quite yet. We’ll see how it shakes out.
Overall, while episode 9 did well to wrap up Hanabi and Sanae’s problematic past, some painful decisions in terms of character development and plot caused episode 10 to stumble a bit.
I’m hopeful for the final two episodes – keep an eye out for our review!