There aren't many anime as uncomfortable as Kuzu no Honkai. It introduces itself as a melancholic tale of unrequited love, and quickly transforms into something far more ugly. The characters are relentlessly trampled upon, until, indeed, as the title might suggest, they are reduced to human trash.
It isn't necessary for a story to make you feel happy. There exist a wealth of fiction that, while depressing, and perhaps never even enjoyable, are still valuable for the message they are trying to make.
Kuzu no Honkai doesn't have that message. It is misery for misery's sake, existing almost exclusively to make you feel like crap.
If you found anime such as Aku no Hana and School Days difficult to watch, you might have yourself something of a challenge here, too.
There is seldom a character within Kuzu no Honkai who behaves sensibly or is capable of thinking with any other organ except their genitalia. Hanabi and Mugi are lonely because they cannot be united with their loved ones, and so they seek to find some solace in each other. They can't love each other because they love someone else. They use sexual intimacy as an escape. But they still can't give up on the one they love. And so the cycle, their tedious lives continue.
If that is where the series stood, all may have been fine. But it escalates, and they, and just about everyone else surrounding them, wants more, more, until nothing remains in their hollow lives but sex and sleaze. It becomes impossible to feel any empathy for them and the grief they are constantly plunging themselves into. They're beyond saving. They deserve everything that happens to them. And so I cannot bring myself to care when it tries to play Hanabi as the victim, the tragic heroine. The real victims are Norumi (the male teacher) and Noriko for being deceived by such deplorable people. Love is blind, as the cheesy proverb goes, but in this case they must also be blind in the literal sense.
Most of Kuzu no Honkai's cast is comprised of hypocrites who get upset with their partner(s) for acts they have been committing themselves. They act nonsensically at times, and can change their attitude on a whim, giving up on their love at the end of one episode and then cheerfully encouraging each other to confess at the beginning of the next. They haven't the slightest idea of what they want. Maybe that is to be expected. Love is a tricky thing, after all, and teenagers are at their most confused stage in life. But it becomes a question if what they felt was ever love in the first place when they can so readily find someone else as a replacement, sleeping with anyone who shows them even the slightest affection. It's entirely possible that Hanabi and Mugi only fell in love with their respective partner because they were the first ones to give them that affection. And so how am I to feel bad for the two when their crushes end in disappointment?
While women like Akane undoubtedly exist in the real world (having unfortunately encountered someone similar myself), she is possessed by such an intensely twisted and ugly worldview that it becomes a wonder how she is even able to fulfil her duties as a teacher. She eventually comes to a point of redemption, but makes it quite clear that she is there only to see, to try, potentially ruining a man's entire life merely for the chance of relieving her boredom. I didn't find that heartwarming as it was intended to be - I found it disgusting of her, and that's in the face of all the detestable things she had already done.
The main theme of each episode is who is going to make out with or bang whom. It's an endless rotation, much like a hentai, the characters seemingly unaware of or passive to the concept of cheating, and incapable of guilt. Everyone loves someone else, and seemingly nobody in the world is capable of a happy, fulfilling relationship-- even Hanabi's friends (who are never otherwise shown) are revealed as having their partner cheating on them. Maybe it's a good thing I detest all the characters, as I don't think I would want a character I actually like to be in a story like this. Any time Noriko appeared, the one I disliked the least, I was dreading to see the mess she might be dragged into. And Narumi, while naive to painful extents, is never really deserving of the awful situation Akane puts him through. The only joy you could possibly extract from something like this is some sadomasochistic desire to see everyone in pain and despair. I can't say I possess that desire.
The main rebuttal, I would imagine, is that the characters are meant to be human trash, and so it is okay that they are trash. I could concede to that point, as stories do not require respectable characters. But even trash are human, and so it is expected that they still behave like humans, a detail that Kuzu no Honkai seems so ready to forget.
Sanae, for instance, has such an intense (and frankly creepy) attachment to her loved one that it almost seems a crime for her to not be locked away in some mental hospital. There can at times be a desire to stay with someone you love even when you know you cannot have them or that they are bad for you, but she long crosses the boundary of how real people would react in her situation. There is a difference between being a confused teenager who seeks sexual gratification, and being a psychotic almost-rapist who believes people are their property. If they have done as she does, then they've probably gotten to know prison life pretty well.
It's also questionable why the author decided to complicate things further by giving Sanae someone who one-sidedly loves her as well, considering how little is ever done with them. You could write them out completely and it wouldn't affect much of anything. They exist solely, I would assume, to create more despair, as if the show hadn't enough of that already.
Kuzu no Honkai's detestable cast is, if nothing else, well-realised, thanks to the frequent monologuing and backstories. Each of the main six get their turn to narrate on numerous occasions, which does well to explain their motivations and feelings and to make them feel like proper protagonists rather than mere accessories to the carnage, even if some (namely Sanae) receive significantly less characterisation than others. To merely show two characters having sex or making out with each other is not nearly as meaningful as when it is accompanied by narration. It leaves less to the imagination, but, unlike other intensely uncomfortable and cringe-filled anime such as School Days, gives substance to the scene and makes sense in the context of the characters. When timed with the anime's emotional soundtrack, some of the dialogue can almost feel captivating, and a kiss can carry power, even if it is between two people who really have no business kissing each other in the first place. It's nice to have an anime courageous enough to portray sex in an honest manner, as most use it purely for pornographic purposes, or seem afraid of touching upon it altogether, as if humans are somehow sexless creatures. I just don't think that real people are nearly as defined by it as they are in Kuzu no Honkai.
I'll fully admit that I hated every second I spent watching Kuzu no Honkai, and felt relieved when it was over. This isn't because it is a particularly bad anime, but because it aims to say or do little else but make the viewer feel terrible. It pushes you, kicks you, and then throws another punch to your gut once that is over. It is filled with moments where you want to shout at the characters to stop, to not be stupid. There are times where you will have to pause and take a breather because of all the cringe and madness that is unfolding. Kuzu no Honkai is about as far from a pleasant anime as can possibly be, and it never really aims to fill that gap with much substance or meaning. Its starting and ending points are the same. It wants to say that people are stupid, that love hurts, and more than that, it wants you to hurt, too.
Some people will be fine with that. Maybe they want to feel awful. Maybe they just want to feel emotion, any emotion.
I'll give them that - it certainly makes you feel something.
Have you ever desired something that's not politically correct? Kuzu no Honkai is an anime about desire. The main characters want something that they cant have Hanabi Yasuraoka loves Narumi Kanai her teacher and "brother". Mugi Awaya loves his teacher Akane Minagawa. Unfortunately for Hanabi and Mugi their love is not reciprocal.
Forgive me for any grammar errors, i'm not used to write in english
This is not an usual romance anime. This anime is very original, and in a certain way, unique. There are unforeseeable events and the story grows perfectly.
Perfect, detailed, stunning.
The opening "Uso no Hibana" is a masterpiece, and the
ending "Heikousen" even better. Extremely competent voice actors and an above avarage sound-track.
Deep characters at all, even with only 4 episodes until now (02/02/2017) is possible map their personalities and understand why they do what they do. The only thing that is bothering me is Akane, i cant understand her personalitie at all. However 4 episodes isn't a lot.
I'm really enjoying this anime, as you probably noticed in the course of this review english is not my main language. Even so i'm watching this anime with english subtitles so i can watch this earlier (it takes time to translate into portuguese). This anime is very fun to watch, so absolutely recommend it if you enjoy a deeper and darker romance.
It really touched me in a personal level and caught my attention, characters look like real persons, original story and pretty enjoyable at all.
EDIT 17/02/17 (Episode 6)
Pretty minor spoilers here
Well, as i said before this is an unique anime romance story, if you have seen any romance anime with a similar story just let me know, because until now i know none. Two weeks ago i said that this story is full of unforseeable events, i was not wrong. I have seen much anime, maybe not as much as 50% of you but thruth be told 50 days IS a lot (and i cant remember the name of every single anime i saw), stay, i never saw anything like this in ANIME, you can find similar manga and pretty similar american TV series but there's not a single anime with this premisse, and if there is as i said before, just let me know, like, please.
Ok the story is original, but is it good? It is a well-developed story, you
probably already had that feeling when the story is going to absolutely nowhere, you wont have that feeling watching this. And please, do not say that there is fanservice, if you see Kuzu No Honkai sex scenes as fanserive you are probably a sadistic. Sex in Kuzu no Honkai is DRAMA. Am i going to get horny? Yes you'll, but you wont feel good for this. Sounds strange? Yea that is why this is Story is fabolous IF you are mature enought to understand what is going on so i still with my 10.
I said before that Akane was bothering me, not anymore. She got humanized.
Some people might disagree me, and i cant explain why because it'd be spoiler so i'll explain why i do think she got "humanized". She got drunk and said shit. That's pretty normal for and adult, she is not an agel or a demon she is a person like you and me.
And we still have pretty complex characters like Mugi, Hanabi and Sanae.
Why i cant give this a 10?
Well basically 2 reasons
1 I've seen better.
2 A character like Moca have only one purpose, to suffer. She worked hard her whole life in order to Mugi notice her, and what she gets? Nothing, well nothing actually would be better, she gets suffering. As i said before there's a uforeseeable story but still i cant imagine Moca being happy.
Did “School Days” get a second season? Oh, no, it’s Kuzu no Honkai, also known as one of the most popular and overrated anime series of winter 2017.
Kuzu no Honkai is an exaggeration of the love life experienced by high school students and watching it reminded me of a National Geographic documentary about mating rabbits I saw years ago.
While the show had some very good ideas, it failed in executing them, fact which made the show look more like a trainwreck rather than the “in-depth, mature” series it intended to be.
The plot is inconsistent and poorly executed for the most part employing
cliche ideas, cringe worthy scenes, predictable twists and unnatural actions.
The character cast in itself is poorly constructed and consists mostly of generic tropes that are shallow and one-dimensional, but the inter-relations between them were surprisingly well-done.
Nowadays, shows that feature adolescents thinking about and doing the dirty is considered to be mature and “in-depth”... To be honest, Kuzu no Honkay is your generic drama TV series that got animated, nothing more and nothing special.
The story revolves around the love life of two high school students, Hanabi Yasuraoka and Mugi Awaya.
High school students Mugi Awaya and Hanabi Yasuraoka appear to be the ideal couple, they are both pretty and popular, and they seem to suit each other well. However, outsiders don't know of the secret they share, both Mugi and Hanabi have hopeless crushes on someone else and they are only dating each other to soothe their loneliness.
Hanabi has been in love for a long time with her older childhood friend Narumi Kanaiwho who is now her homeroom teacher, and Mugi is in love with his slightly older former tutor Akane Minagawa who is now a music teacher at his school.
In each other, they find a place where they can grieve for the ones they cannot have and they share physical and emotional intimacy driven by loneliness. This begins their romantic relationship as both of them predictably fall for each other as the story unfolds.
The story is character-driven, linear and fairly unique but predictable, it progresses with the characters at a good pace, showing their inner thoughts and development as well as portraying their dilemmas and questions about love.
Themes such as “forbidden love”, “friendship”, “maturity”, “sex, lies and betrayal” are approached by this show and some of them are fairly well executed while some of them are not.
Kuzu no Honkai explores sexuality from the interesting yet juvenile perspective of high school students. Unfortunately, what could have been a great enlightening experience turned into a revolting experience consisting of watching people as they take some really dumb and weird sexual actions with no clear purpose other than satisfying their primitive needs.
This anime touches the sensitive feelings and problems that most young people go through when they find real love/romance or fake love/romance that they don’t know how to deal with and the problems those feelings can lead to. While I commend the show for taking such an unusual path I cannot ignore the poor manner in which it was executed.
I wish the show would have focused much more on the moral and emotional implications of these love acts, showing and thoroughly analyzing the psych of the characters rather than focusing on poor-taste sex scenes that seemed forced, but that’s just my opinion.
Kuzu no Honkai is the definition of a pretentious show because the main theme is “I’m 17 and I’m deep” and the show expects to be treated as a mature and profound romance series.
Although Kuzu no Honkai has those ambitions, it miserably fails at being mature and rather comes off as pseudo-mature. A bunch of junior high school students try to compensate for their desires, insecurities and unrequited sentiments through ludicrous acts like pointlessly having sex in order to “fill their emptiness”. Is that the best they could come up with?
Also, recall the villainous slutty music teacher who screws around saying she “exploits” men, that is so profound.... I failed to see the “maturity” and “profoundness” of this show.
Scum’s Wish tried so hard to be complex to the point the script became an utter mess.
Why I say that?
Hanabi loves Kanai, Mugi loves Akane but Hanabi and Mugi are together, and Akane and Kanai are together, Moca loves Mugi and Ecchan loves Hanabi and now Hanabi starts to fall for Mugi.
I say it is too complex for its own good, it seems like a clusterfuck of a situation more than anything else and to be honest, it’s dumb and pathetic to see a show try so hard and fail just as hard.
The “friends with benefits” scenario is as cliche as it can get and makes the plot so much more predictable. This scenario consists of the generic course of action where two people decide to have sex on a regular basis and promise to never fall in love with each other and later on they always end up falling in love with each other.
As predicted, after Hanabi and Mugi started having sex they started developing feelings for each other and later on in the show, Hanabi decides to “try to love Mugi”, predictable.
I guess the creator watched one of those cliche movies like “Friends With Benefits” or “No Strings Attached” and decided to do a perverted and twisted animated version of them.
In a sense, Kuzu no Honkai is a jumble of realistic scenarios and life problems which I really enjoyed. It portrays questions and situations some people faced in their youth and could relate to, such as:
“If I could have things work out with him… I’d do it in a heartbeat” - which is very much true, the only thing you want when you are in love is to be with the one you love but sometimes you don’t have the “courage” to take the first step towards that goal and that is unfortunate.
“I’m not sure if I should choose the older man or the athletic student” - also a problem that a lot of women face when they have the option of choosing between money and social security represented by the ”older man” or looks represented by the “athletic student”, in the end, neither choice is based on the feeling of “love” but it is rather based on the feeling of lust or the need to feel secure.
“I’m not sure what is the diffrence between love and lust anymore” - a question that confuses many teenagers but has a rather simple answer.
“It’s not like I like them both so much it hurts but making the choice is a pain” - also a real problem many people face before entering a relationship just for the sake of doing it because they had nothing better in mind.
“It was love at first sight” - as the line says, this “love” can only be based on physical appearances therefore it is superficial and should be called lust.
What I like is that Kuzu no Honkai is an open-minded show in which love has no bounds. Be it student-teacher, lesbianism, incest or childhood friends, nothing will stop the characters from having sexual intercourse based on a moment’s decision.
The idea of exploring same-gender love was actually great, after all, that is what Kuzu no Honkai is supposed to do, but the execution of it was terrible and resulted in a girl-to-girl scenario that was wrong, out of place and furthermore damaged the show.
After seeing Hanabi willingly have “sex” with a female friend after being rejected, I was left pondering that course of action and questioned the creator’s knowledge of the female mind, therefore I proceeded in asking multiple young female friends if they would have sex with a person of the same gender, given the context of being “heartbroken”. The answer was an unanimous “no”.
The characters seem damaged on a fundamental level, desperately wanting the attention of their loved ones, fact which I could not understand.
Hanabi is obsessed over her “onii-chan” to the point that what she feels is not called “love” but “lust”. It is not normal to fantasize about your crush to the point where you have sex with another person while pretending that person is your crush.
I find this “unrequited” love situation grossly exaggerated and forced because it doesn’t follow a natural flow and it is very far from being realistic.
For the sake of the plot, these characters have no common sense, instead of confessing their “love” or silently await the right moment to take the initiative, they decide to screw around and play house with no worries about the consequences of their actions or their future.
When I was in highschool my first and foremost priority was studying in order to pass the university entrance exam, not fooling around and whining about being lonely.
I know I shouldn’t compare anime to real life, but they made the show in a high school setting because they wanted people to relate to it and how am I supposed to relate to such exaggerated, unnatural and hard to believe love problems?
Another important writing screw-up made by the creator was changing the fundamental traits of the characters in very short periods of time, referring to Noriko and Akane.
Noriko is an innocent girl who has built her life around the idea that she is a princess and only thinks about marrying her “prince” and live happily ever after, an innocent girl who suddenly wants to have sex with the prince, basically a “princess” turned into a lusty and deplorable girl in the matter of a few minutes…
Akane, a despicable women who screws around seeking any man’s attention and other women’s jealousy. This woman that is damaged on a fundamental level suddenly changes as Narumi, the “knight in shining armor” touches her soul. It is not only cliche but also unreal, for a woman who only considers men as warm bodies, distractions from a mundane life and basically sleeps with anyone she meets to be changed so easily. Poor judgement on the writer’s part.
There was a saying, “you can’t change a whore into a housewife” and that perfectly applies to Akane’s situation. From all the lack of judgement on the creator’s part I was able to notice a life lesson: If you are pretty, everything is forgiven.
The last thing that bothered me were the imbecilic lines such as: “I want you to be filled with me”; “Getting a man to fall for you is easy”, “It doesn't matter if we are cousins, I’ll never give up”; “You don’t have to stop seeing other men”, etc. and the forced, cringe-worthy scenes when Hanabi was giving a handjob to Mugi, a bunch of idiotic scenes about Akane, etc.
At least I sometimes laughed at how stupid some of the lines and scenes were...
The characters on their own are nothing special, they are mostly self-centered tropes and quite despicable characters that are difficult to relate to or like, but when they are looked at as a whole, it’s a different situation. Almost forgot, there is no character development except for Hanabi and Akane.
What I found interesting is the true strength of Kuzu no Honkai that lies in the character interactions, this show has some amazing relationship development.
Hanabi Yasuraoka, she is a high school student who is in love with her older childhood friend, Narumi who is her homeroom teacher. After finding out that Narumi is in love with another woman, Hanabi enters a “fake” relationship with Mugi to satisfy her loneliness but soon after she has physical relations with Mugi, she realizes her feelings towards him, and as the story unfolds her character undergoes multiple changes.
At first, Hanabi is portrayed as a innocent girl but after she begins her relationship with Mugi she becomes confused and doesn’t know what she is feeling and what she is supposed to feel, as she states, “I can’t even tell the difference between love and lust anymore”.
After finding out that Narumi had sex with Akane, Hanabi decides to “steal” everyone that is under Akane’s “spell” by having sex with them. Fortunately enough, after dating one of Akane’s boytoys, Hanabi realizes that lowering herself to Akane’s level is not the answer to her predicament and hateful emotions, therefore she stops deluding herself by thinking she can beat Akane at her own game. Soon after that, Hanabi begins to isolate herself from Mugi and starts thinking of herself as a “weak” person and a “coward”, having no “self-worth”, this is a difficult time for Hanabi because she feels defeated and inferior to Akane.
As the story progresses, Hanabi slowly recovers from that depressive state of mind and fulfilling a promise she made to Mugi, Hanabi confesses her love to Narumi and gets rejected, event that sets Hanabi free and makes her feel like she can have a fresh start at life.
In a nutshell, Hanabi goes from being a normal girl to lowering herself near to the level of a “slut” but she soon recovers from that downfall and starts to feel miserable about herself only to later regain a healthy way of thinking and decide to stop ignoring her feelings towards Mugi.
My thoughts on her character: Hanabi just wants true love but doesn’t know how to lover herself, yet.
Mugi Awaya, he is a high school student who is in love with his former tutor, Akane. He and Hanabi begin a fake “relationship” to satisfy each other's desires. In middle school, Mugi had already been in a “friends with benefits” relationship with his senior, Mei Hayakawa, who took his virginity.
Mugi is not a dense man but rather clever and observant, he is one of the only men who realized what type of woman Akane really was, he had always been aware of the kind of person Akane was, but loved her nevertheless.
Mugi is reluctant to admit his true emotions towards Hanabi because he already had that kind of “friends with benefits” relation, he fell in love with that person and ended up heartbroken because the relationship had to end. He is still afraid of being close to someone, point that is proved in the scenes where he asked for sexual favors then suddenly stopped as if it was a bad idea, which is synonymous with him wanting to try being in a relationship again but being scared of the rejection he once experienced.
At the end of the series, after he had sex with Akane on multiple occasions, trying to change the way she was, he realizes he doesn’t love Akane anymore so he bids goodbye to her.
Narumi Kanai is Hanabi’s homeroom teacher and older childhood friend.
Narumi is the generic and cliche type of man who is kind, shy, mellow, forgiving, etc.
He is in a relationship with Akane even though he knows she is a “slut” and completely forgives her for it, telling her she “doesn’t need to stop seeing other men” because he loves her enough to accept that part of her.
Even after knowing Akane's true nature, Narumi does not seem to mind and asks her to marry him, which she accepts. Bleh, cliche.
My opinion on his character: He is just an emasculated guy who plays the role of the knight in shining armor that saves Akane from herself. More and I’m gonna throw up.
Akane Minagawa, on the outside, she is a nice, well-behaved woman who is adored by her students, but she actually loves the feeling of winning a man's heart while directly hurting someone else who is in love with that man. She can also be considered a lonely person and a nymphomaniac.
Akane attempts to seduce Narumi like her previous relationships, but she notices that Narumi refrains from touching her, unlike the men in her past, later realizing that he truly loves her. After Narumi asks her to marry him despite of knowing her true nature, Akane begins to take interest in him and suddenly decides to change her ways. Bleh, cliche.
My opinion on her character: This depraved woman thinks she is “exploiting” men when she has sex with them but actually she is the one being used and “exploited”, what a pathetic and disgusting state she is in.
I have a saying that fits this like a glove: “A key that can open many locks is called a master key, but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock.”
There are other characters that are just empty tropes, particularly Sanae Ebato who is the lesbian girl who forced herself on Hanabi, and Noriko Kamomebata who is a deluded “loli” girl that considers herself a princess and dreams of marrying her “prince”, Mugi.
Now, the strong point of Kuzu no Honkai are the character interactions, which I’ve basically described in the paragraphs above, no need in doing it again.
The art is beautiful with surprisingly good character designs, working with a well-chosen color palette that gives a somber tone. The animation is fluid, nothing to complain about other than a few small flaws and the overuse of “hidden eyes”, which are used when they want the characters to reflect a deep emotion.
The opening and ending theme were well-suited for the show, not only being pleasant to hear but also having some symbolism and offering a drama tone. The OST was well-chosen as well, it offers an immersive experience and facilitates the potential flow of emotions coming from the show. The voice actors did a very good job interpreting the characters and their emotions but there were some exceptions to the rule.
I am inclined to say that I enjoyed the show despite its numerous flaws.
The show has failed in many categories but I think it does a fairly good job at showing how cruel love can be. If you are looking for a romance show that is slightly different form the generic “boy meets girl” scenario, give Kuzu no Honkai a shot.
When someone considers themselves or others to be connoisseurs of any storytelling media, there are specific prerequisites expected from that individual that's usually understood without the need to outright state it. These factors can include being well-versed with different genres within the medium in question, to more demanding things, like understanding the construct in which the medium expresses its ideas. But out of all these unspoken base requirements, I think the most important one is something that's usually acknowledged but often taken for granted. That something in question is a hands-on understanding of the subject matter itself.
Without that attribute, an exhausted catalog of
literary knowledge and understanding of narrative tools is rendered almost pointless. Being book smart amounts to nothing without practical experience, or at the very least, first-hand encounters. Think of it this way, knowing about an archetype or trope is only as valuable as understanding what worldly influence caused it to exist, to begin with. Anyone can comprehend a creator's intent all day, but without an inkling of relation to it, all diegetic information could only be taken for what it is at face value.
Now, with that in mind, it's time to take a quick litmus test; ladies and gentlemen, Kuzu no Honkai (Scum's Wish) is average.
Quickly, what was your initial thought after reading that statement? Did you think that was an outlandish claim to make? That Scum's Wish is far from average and that the claim made was purposefully contrarian or, for the lack of a better word, attention-seeking? How can an anime that explore sexual decadents with such unfiltered restraint be considered "average" by any means? Most relationship anime don't even get past first base, so how can that claim be justified?
If you've already come to a similar conclusion regarding Scum's Wish before reading my statement, bear with me, as for everyone else that possibly rattled off something similar to the aforementioned thought process, time to explain why.
One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, The O.C, Dawson's Creek, 90210, Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls; what do these live-action TV shows have in common? Well, for one, they're centered around teens or young adults dealing with relationship drama in very exaggerated ways. And secondly, and perhaps more important as well, they're usually understood by most astute viewers to be conventional television programming. No critical thinker or demanding viewer worth their salt is singing high praises about these shows. The reason why is pretty simple, apart from being well-cultured in several different mediums that is. The discernment for shows of this ilk ties back to that essential requirement I mentioned: having hands-on experience.
If your firsthand encounter with the drama Scum's Wish wraps itself up in is close to none, praising it becomes easy to do. However, if you've ever been involved in any relationship, where you and the party in question were mutually in it for sexual gratification, then what Scum's Wish tries to depict gradually gets more juvenile and diluted with each passing episode. Anyone of the bottled off sexual/sensual encounters it indulges in can be believable on its own, but when meshed together to the degree in which every single character in immediate circles in the show is involved in a daisy chain of intimate depravity—at that point, it becomes wholly unrealistic; almost approaching the point of midday soap opera levels of contrived. This is sensationalized TV drama 101; the quintessential reason for why the phrase "sex sells" remain relevant for mainstay media.
Simply put, Scum's Wish is an animated version of your typical live-action teen/young adult drama TV show.
Now, before we go on any further, let's make this clear, teen/young adult drama shows themselves aren't inherently devoid of substance. There are live-action TV shows like Friday Night Lights and My So-Called Life, and even animated titles such as Nana and Beck that receive widespread critical acclaim for the same kind of things depicted in Scum's Wish. But instead of sensationalizing the subject matter for the sake of capturing audience attention, those shows decide to represent the relationships of the characters in naturalistic ways. The key takeaway here is that those shows did NOT rely on sensationalizing its content. That's the difference between media that use sex in an exploitative manner, and those that incorporate it as just another facet of life in the narrative at hand. Having relatable scenarios don't amount to much if it's unrealistically presented in the confines of the story. The show takes itself seriously, but the situations themselves are vapid at best.
And that isn't even to say that theatrically sensationalized programming doesn't have its place in storytelling media either.
There's no shortage of TV shows that use sensationalism to its advantage; such is the case with TV series like Shameless. A show that purposefully acknowledges the fact that it's all about sex, violence, drugs, and mayhem. And if the namesake didn't already make that clear enough, it "shamelessly" uses these aspects to tell its story. But that's the difference between something that's purposely sleazy like Shameless and the likes of Scum's Wish. One show is self-aware of its overblown content while the other operates with an aura of conceit and pretension.
But enough with the long-winded preamble, let's discuss what the show is all about. Short answer: yearning for others and sexual depravity. Long answer:
For as long as she could remember, Hanabi "Hana" Ysuraoka has been infatuated with her neighbor, Narumi Kanai. Due to their single parent upbringing, from a young age, they had quickly established a sort of family bond with each other, with Narumi becoming a frequent guest in Hanabi's household, to the point where she refers to him as her "big brother." Eventually, this infatuation Hanabi shares for Narumi slowly turn into a romantic interest. And as is the case with any story scenario of this nature, that love goes unnoticed as Narumi has his eyes set on someone else. That someone being the alluring music teacher and predestined rival, Akane Minagawa.
Being the object of affection to any guy that attends Hanabi's high school, Akane has no shortage of men fawning over her at any given time. With her strawberry blonde hair, alluring smile, and an aura that just permeates femininity, Narumi became yet another lovestruck male caught up in her presence.
With Akane and Narumi both being teachers, Hanabi's standing as a student further widens the gap between her and the one she loves, as she watches with each interaction they share slowly chipping away at her chances of ever having him to herself. Left in a state of emotional limbo, unable to do anything but watch as he gradually slips further out of reach; it's here, in this place of solitude that she finds out that she's not alone. A pair of eyes fixated with a familiar saddened gaze reflected in them stare at the cheerful adults as well. His name, Mugi Awaya. She may not know him personally, but that familiar bitter tinge of unrequited love that they mutually share leaves her a small glimmer of reassurance—"I don't have to suffer this alone." And so a pact is made by the pair, one signed with only physical comfort in mind. Sexual relief, mutual resentment, a promise of no strings attached; emotions left harbored off from each other for that promised day. Friends with benefits with only one intent in mind, to eventually gain the affection of the person they truly yearn for.
A tragic, bittersweet, ill-fated romance. A setup that could take on so many avenues of exploration and be successful at all of them if done right. It doesn't have to do much, just simply show the consequence of that kind of entangled emotional dependence as it affects the characters involved. Anything that toxic and shortsighted is bound to cause psychological scarring to anyone that participates. A dangerous game that some of us may have personally felt the backlash for at some point in our lives, after foolishly thinking that we were above the consequences. That somehow the end-result that many faced before wouldn't apply to us. A foolhardy belief that we could handle it where others weren't capable.
A continuous physical/sexual dependence on others will always come with a steep price of admission, whether it's immediately realized or comes on later in life during a silent night laying in bed, as thoughts of it creep in, festering in your idle mind. The foolishness of our now bruised ego, as we reflect on the stupid decisions of our past selves. Hubris in its purest form, with humility being the bitter pill we're made to swallow.
And to the show's credit, it does a good enough job depicting that inevitability. The problem is that it doesn't just stop there, as it decides to go the whole nine yards, and then some. Instead of just settling with a believable depiction to carry this core message, Scum's Wish is too greedy to call it quits. It doesn't just want to depict that scenario; it wants to portray everything under the sun, exhausting every possible love/lust situation imaginable in an attempt to make every possible outcome into an attention-seeking circus act of sexual decadents. And it's because of this, what once started out as a reasonably believable scenario, has now been turned into a ludicrously overblown orgy fest.
Without getting into specific names or details, I'm going to describe the general plotting of this show. And no, I'm not exaggerating here, this is what truly happens:
Person A wants to be with person B, but person B wants to be with person C, and person C only desire attention, and person D wants to be with person C but settled for person A, while person E wants to be with person D, and person F wants to be with person A, and person G wants to be with person F, and person H wants to be with anyone who's willing, and person C uses person H, while person D uses person E, while person J and D use each other, and person A uses person F, and person H tries to use person A... and so on and so forth.
And again, this isn't an exaggeration, this is what actually happens when you sit down to map out the plot for each episode. To say this story is insanely contrived would be an understatement. There are shows with fatalism in it that manage to feel less artificial. Any character that's recurring or has a name in this story is actively trying to bone each other.
There is absolutely nothing realistic about this toxic nonagonal love-web. And it's this web that actively defeats any victory laps the show achieves with any one of the individual stories stuck inside it. This show does have genuine character beats and arcs, but when all that's mired in content that's essentially one big exploitative fuck-fest, it's hard to take any of it seriously.
But to the show's credit, it does dedicate a decent amount of time framing the characters' mindsets so that the audience has an understanding as to what makes them tick, as well as why they carry themselves in the way they do. This is made all the more commendable given that a majority of them have despicable personalities. You don't necessarily have to like them, but you do understand how their thought process operates under certain circumstances. This is the definitive attribute it has over its much more cruddy sibling, School Days, where no time or effort was dedicated to any of the main lead's concubines. Scum's Wish, at the very least, gives the illusion that the characters presented are their own person, as with School Days, they were all just assembly-line fuck buddies. Not that it isn't the same case with Scum's Wish, in due time, they're all just reduced to sexual encounter cannon fodder as well. But with the time given beforehand to at least probe their psyche and reasoning behind their actions, they could still be considered to be "characters" by the end of it.
And speaking of School Days, not surprising enough, this sleazy brainchild was also penned by the same scriptwriter as well, Makoto Uezu. The man tends to over exaggerate everything he writes, and where that proves successful with his efforts in comedy-centric shows, for dramas, they have the adverse effect, as demonstrated here, in Arslan Senki, Akame ga Kill and of course, everyone's favorite, School Days. Adequately written drama is not the man's forte.
And speaking of dramas that became unintentionally funny or embarrassing, Scum's Wish is also plagued with random "comedic" cutscenes that began and ended with no discernable reason or benefit for the tone of the series. This usually occurred after an emotionally heavy scene, having the same terrible effect in the way Akame ga Kill would randomly cut to comedic hijinks after someone gets brutally murdered. Whether we could pin this similarity as another fault of Uezu is unknown, as this might just be a result of what the manga does than what the adaptation might be responsible for. Either way, it's a lousy attempt at levity that comes across as awkward the first handful of times it's used.
Other than that, the actual art and animation of the show demonstrated some thoughtful consideration of how it was constructed. By incorporating panel strips to make scenes flow together—visually emulating manga image tiles—Scum's Wish was able to convey more information by not only accounting for the character's reaction towards a situation but also drawing attention to certain critical moments as they pertain to the people involved within the frame. This allowed the audience to get a general sense of the mood or mindset that's being conveyed by placing a fixated point of interest with things boxed off within the manga panel tiles as it relates to the overall scene. The talented duo behind this thoughtful bit of storytelling was Yukie Oikawa and Masaomi Andou, who's past collaborative efforts together created the technical wizardry demonstrated in Gakkougurashi, where they both made their best Satoshi Kon impression.
Capitalizing off that, the art department showed a keen eye for color placement as well, with cool and warm colors striking a delicate balance, bringing with it visual chemistry on screen. Nothing overpowers the other unless it's done to insinuate a particular mood. An example of which is when they purposely chose to plunge the entire palette in monochromatic blues and dark purples to help give a feeling of isolation, only to use that same coloring technique with soft touches and color highlights to be used for times of intimacy. It's this firm grasp the creators had over color theory that allowed for selective color choices to serve dual purposes under the right guidance.
They also used splodges of ink and watercolor paint during cutscenes to represent a myriad of emotions and ideas, like lustful desire and deflowerment. While done with no subtlety whatsoever, it was still a nice touch. And even when everything was more than likely digitally colored in, they didn't use that for shorthand around adding personal touches, often giving things soft pastel-like textures and occasional color-penciled-in still shots placed throughout for good measure. Even the character designs are an excellent standout, having anatomically believable body proportions that help the viewer buy into their placement as people within the story.
With sharp edits used to juxtapose certain situations and letterboxing being applied to convey certain pivotal moments, every idea here was given careful consideration. Yukie Oikawa's acquired abilities from early documented work on Noir up to now has made this a show with a steady hand for cinematics, even if only on a smaller, manageable scale. And to be honest with you, this overall care given for its presentation might be the most significant saving grace for this show. Without it, the show's gimmicky content would be way more apparent than it is now.
Well, at least for everything within the show, as for the opening and ending themes, however, things couldn't have been more ridiculous had it tried. Starting off with a goofily blaring vocal performance and a flurry of rose petals, the imagery and song throughout the opening were pretty overblown; especially when it hammered home symbolism that felt tacky in comparison to what was presented in the show. But to its credit, the tune wasn't bad on the ears if you just let it play out absent-mindedly. As bad as it may have gotten at times, it doesn't come close to touching the ending theme's issues.
The ending theme's visuals were so blatant and try-hard that they actively made me cringe. It reminded me of Zayn's "Pillowtalk" music video, which is never a good thing since that was basically the equivalent of someone screaming:
"Get it BRUH? The FLOWERS represent VAGINAS and WOMEN'S WOMB... and like SEX and stuff, ain't I clever fam?!"—like no, just stop, you're embarrassing yourself and society. It's the kind of imagery a 15-year-old going through their "emo phase" would create, as they wear their Sid Vicious necklace and blast Linkin Park and Pierce the Veil in youthful revolt. By using a mixture of kaleidoscopic visuals to create phallic images, the whole thing aims for contemporary sex appeal along the lines of an FKA Twigs music video but ends up falling incredibly short. It had the tone of a former Nickelodeon child star trying desperately to break free of their kiddie image by being super raunchy.
Having "mature themes" and being "maturely handled" aren't the same thing. And when it comes to Scum's Wish, this is an applicable distinction to keep in mind, as the show crosses the line thinking they're one in the same on several occasions. And it's perhaps this issue that's the show's greatest downfall, as it relates to one of the bigger pending problems that need addressing; the character's awareness of themselves and each other.
The characters all have this uncanny ability to not only know the inner-workings of their own thought process but also that of everyone around them as well, like if they were all psychology majors. The internal reflection was appreciated, but knowing the mindset and framework of everyone else was a bit ridiculous. Realistically speaking, there should only be two characters in the entire show with that kind of mental capacity, and that were the adults. As a teen, one's ability to discern self and the disposition of others are only achievable on a superficial level. This isn't an "opinion," this is a scientific fact.
I've been in similar situations before as a teen, acting on sexual impulse, but was I fully aware of my decisions to the point of self-reflection? No, because I was horny, not some man musing about life and his choices. This anime treats teens like adults. The phrase "young, dumb and full of cum" isn't just passed around to describe youths for a good laugh, it's an expression born from the fact that during that turbulent time of change in your life, teenagers are shortsighted and driven by impulse. You don't start truly thinking with your prefrontal cortex—the rational part of your brain—until you've hit your early to mid-20s when it has fully developed.
Whenever the characters experience emotional woes regarding their actions, that's natural, and again, commendable for the show for trying to depict that. But it's the moment they all become Dr. Phil that it loses touch with itself and reality.
And I think I've danced around this long enough.
I'm trying my best not to state the obvious here, but fuck it, time to state the ugly truth of the matter. If your closest thing to intimacy is the love you received from your family, with little to no experience in an actual relationship, then what Scum's Wish depicts may come across more realistic to you than what is actually true. If you only watch anime and haven't ventured out to other mediums, then Scum's Wish offerings may also seem more novel than what it is. However, if sexual relationships—especially in the form of "fuck buddies" that this title plays with—are something you've had some passing experience with or hell, if you've seen/read enough other media centering around the subject, then chances are, what Scum's Wish offers to you may be nothing more than animated sleaze.
This anime's value could easily sway in either direction given the experience of the viewer that looks at it. As such, it's a show that's bound to cause contention among those that adore it and others that mock it. Of course, all of this doesn't even matter if you just want to be entertained, because if that's the case, there's nothing here worth reading that would dissuade you in the slightest. But if for some reason you happen to fall into that small camp that dissects and discuss the content they watch, this show would be met with coin toss results.
Your level of acceptance for what the show depicts depends entirely on your tolerance or love for certain narrative decisions. As for me, I don't see any reason to get up in arms about it. If you see it for what it is, there's no reason to get upset.
Scum's Wish lives in a vacuum. Real life is never so perfectly contrived. So instead of focusing on what it mirrors from societal norms, what should be looked at is what it does within the confines of its narrative. And when seen for what it is and not what outside influence it is not, the answer derived is pretty clear; Scum's Wish in its rudimentary form is quite literally animated smut. Meaningful at times but smut nonetheless. That age-old adage "sex sells" that's expressed by everyone, from your critics to your everyday viewer, isn't one to easily shake off. It's a commonly known truth for a reason. Sex in and of itself is not a bad topic to center around. It's a natural act we partake in. The issue is when sex is reduced to nothing more than a meal ticket to get audiences through the front door. At that point, any kind of message the show may have had becomes null and void.
In the end, what saved me from entirely dismissing Scum's Wish was the overall care given for its presentation, the extra time dedicated to at least exploring the characters involved, and the fact that content of this perverse nature is easily digestible on a basic entertainment level. As far as anything content-wise is concerned, it falls incredibly short of any meaningful passages in its narrative, save for the individual pockets of occurrences that get drowned out in all the clutter. When everything is said and done, Scum's Wish is a pretty porcelain vase; something beautiful to look at for a while but when peered into, just turns out to be a hollow shell.
Love is perhaps one of the most complicated feelings in the world. We may all have experienced sometimes in our lives. Whether it’s platonic, romantic, or parental, it’s something that humans feel because that’s who we are. As part of growing up, people learn to understand these feelings. Yet, there are also people who make stories out of their lives from such feelings, in ways that become so twisted and disjointed that they become scum. Welcome to Kuzu no Honkai, a show that gives the characters a chance to grow up.
As a manga reader, I was already prepared although it’s easy to judge by the
premise that the story itself will be saturated with drama. Ever heard of ‘friends with benefits’? That’s pretty much how the premise sounds like. In the beginning of the story, we learn quickly that Hanabi and Mugi are engaged in a “relationship” that seems like those of a happy couple. Yet deep down, both suffers from pain because they are in love with someone else and are only using each other to ease their pain. It’s not hormone that’s driving these young folks into engaging in sex but that they simply want to feel something rather than pain. I have to admit, a show like this definitely takes on a more mature approach at romance than your typical high school rom-com. Make no mistake about it, Kuzu no Honkai is an emotional story that deconstructs romance in many ways more than one.
The character cast is small yet complex because almost every character has their own personal issues. Some are more complex than others as the show focuses on them in their own twisted stories. A primary example is Akane, the seemingly lovable teacher. Yet, as the story progresses, you’ll quickly learn that she isn’t exactly what appears to be. Fans could easily label her as a bitch in sheep clothing and hard to accept. It’s also relatable too as Akane is a type of character that can easily be encountered in real life. That’s what also makes this show more realistic than some others as Kuzu no Honkai demonstrates a lot of realism. Relationships draws a line between love and sex. Can sex lead to actual love? Or is it just sex?
In the meantime, character relationships in the show deconstructs what you’ll find in most romance stories. Yes, there are love triangles but Kuzu no Honkai has characters that uses others to satisfy themselves. Hanabi and Mugi is one but many examples. We’ll also learn in the show of how childhood friends will take the risk of being rejected and hurt. The fact is, no one is really safe of being happy in this series. Happiness is more like an illusionary word in the world of Kuzu no Honokai. Even when certain truths are realized and confessions are made, it is the stone cold truth that brings in even more pain. It doesn’t fall for every circumstance in the show as some characters are more willing to accept reality. However, the truth is still there that makes character relationships in this series seem like a losing battle. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
As you can imagine, the show is drama heavy with a lot of emotions. Jealousy, regret, greed, hopeful, mistrustful, fear, are just a few to name. Action has consequences and this show brings out the worst out of human behavior. Think about it really. Kuzu no Honokai translates to Scum’s Wish as the title references to one’s interest to satisfy their own desires. Most of the characters does this and is drawn by humans emotions. At the core of these emotions is love. However, this show deconstructs love and very few characters actually understands it. Or perhaps there is no real answer because everyone has different perceptions. Narumi (Hanabi’s homeroom teacher) is a rare example in this show where he accepts certain people for who they are even after learning the truth. Still, the truth can hurt doesn’t it?
Yes, don’t expect much comedy or humor from Kuzu no Honkai. It occasionally throws in some comedy from time to time but the majority of the show retains its mature feel. Now, the anime portrays sex as what it is and believe me, there’s a decent amount of it. The manga even has more explicit scenes to illustrate its point. So in essence, this show is not designed for a younger audience but suitable for those looking into a serious yet twisted story. The word ‘love’ doesn’t fit in there as that word is more or less an illusion. Still, I am happy that the adaptation captured the general idea of the original manga. It sticks to its point without derailing from its coming of age feel while inserting human emotions.
Lerche surprisingly did a fairly decent job at crafting the artwork. Character designs look mature especially for the adults such as Akane and Narumi. Ebato has that pure nature lady look that makes her desirable. However, Moca’s character design can be bothersome to get used to as she looks like a child being stuck in a mature world. Be aware that the show has a lot of fan service such as make out scenes, sex, and other suggestive innuendos. One thing I am impressed by the artwork is how there are certain scenes in the show that captures the characters’ expressions at fullest. It accomplishes this with a more detailed visual of their feelings but importantly makes them look impactful.
Soundtrack and music retains a somber tone. It’s a drama heavy story so what else did you expect? It has a feel of melancholy throughout the series along with light instrumental OST. Music director Masaru Yokoyama (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans) does a fantastic job at the directing as expected. The OP and ED theme songs have some symbolism along with a drama-like tone. But in terms of voice mannerisms, this is where it gets sort of mixed. Characters such as Akane and Ebato are really hard not to feel attracted to with their mature voices. In the meantime, I have to mention again that Moca is a source of annoyance whenever she opens her mouth.
Kuzu no Honokai is like walking into a world of twisted desires. It’s like going into a maze with endless doors and no way out. Behind every door is a truth or lie that brings anything but joy. However, I think the show does bring up a good point of showing the realism of love. Examples in this series can really happen to anyone and realistically, it does. It’s part of us being human as there’s no real answer to what love is. Or to put it simply….
Kuzu no Honkai has finished airing and it's been a fun ride, so let's talk about the show.
Kuzu no Honkai is not your tipical romance anime, I've seen many people complaining about it and I understand them (especially after the last two episodes that destroyed my favourite character's personality), as a matter of fact this anime is not suited for everyone: as the title suggest the story revolves around scummy people and their desires, so there's nothing pleasurable to be seen.
Kuzu no Honkai is the story of a girl who discovers her true feelings through sexual growth.
The story's intro is quite interesting: the
two main characters try to find solace in each other because they actually love their teachers. After this some supporting characters are introduced and the story takes a twisted and fucked up turn. If you don't care about romantic relationships you'll enjoy the anime until the last episodes, where everything was rushed and hadn't a proper explanation. But I have to say that I really liked how the show ended, I didn't see that coming. Overall it's not bad.
The art is beautiful and I love the animation: the VN like sequences were pretty good and fit the mood of the story.
However I found the character design a bit bland, the male characters looked very much alike, I swear I wouldn't have recognised them apart without checking their hair colour.
This show has one of the best soundtracks among the animes of the winter season; the piano OSTs were soothing and relaxing. Also the voice acting was ok, nothing bothered me about it.
The characters aren't stereotyped and they undergo some development throughout the show (many of them are really worthy "scum" as the title suggests), but I didn't like the sudden and rushed change of some characters, these changes felt unrealistic and forced.
When I watched the first episode I couldn't handle my curiosity and I read the manga. The anime ended before the manga and I liked it, I was never bored when I was watching Kuzu no Honkai even though my expectations were maybe a little too high after reading the manga.
This show deserves a chance, it's not a conventional romance; if you're looking for something original and psychological and you don't care about ships give this show a try. It is very good in its horribility.
Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish) portrays how we all have a desire, oftentimes bad or “scum” type of desires and how we act upon those desires. This anime is not for the lover of sweet romance because the story is a bit psychological and melancholic. Here’s the reason why I keep watching and waiting for the next installment of the episodes.
I like the narration of the story here. You can see clearly in the story why the character or the story ended up that way because it was narrated very well. Aside from that, after every episode, there is a dialogue/monologue from a character
that would leave you wanting to watch more.
The animation/art is very clean and easy to look at. I usually don’t like fight scenes in an anime because of too much color in it. You could also see that there are times that the artwork will change, like how the expression or color of the eyes will change, suggesting or telling the audience what the character feels or thinks at that exact moment. The part where there is a word written in pink background that suddenly goes black is a very good indication of something psychological. The ending animation is also very well done, as if the stories of the characters where just a glimpse in a kaleidoscope; with just a simple turn, the image changes, so to speak.
The background sounds almost always fits the emotion, scenery, situation and animation. It’s complimenting the story and the art. And about the soundtracks, the dialogue at every ending blended with the entry of the ending song is a total killer.
The characters’ development and personality is also very good. They’re hopeless romantics, melancholic, and desperate and sees the world in only one direction which kind of make the characters more real.
Did I enjoy the anime? I would not wait every Thursday for 9 hours just to watch the next installment if I didn’t! Maybe we all just love to have a little drama in our lives, and Kuzu no Honkai surely satisfy those needs.
I like how the characters were drawn, how the expression on their eyes changes which gives clues as to what the character is feeling or thinking at that moment. At first, I just like the animation, but I think the story is a bit hard to handle. But as I watched the episodes again, I started to like the story. The way the characters think, their being hopeless romantics, and their melancholy and desperation makes the story so real. The characters’ dialogue at the end blended with the entry of the ending song is a total killer.
The only let down is that the story and animation are so mature, I can’t watch it at the living room.
Have you gotten sick of "romance" anime consisting of nothing but innocent teenagers blushing like tomatoes at the mere thought of holding hands yet? Are you sick of seeing "relationships" implying that there may or may not be a confession in the last minute of the final episode and nothing beyond that? Well then Kuzu no Honkai might be for you, because this anime has more romantic progression in its first five minutes than most romance anime do in their entire runtime, and it manages to break one, two, maybe even three taboos in the process as well.
Kuzu no Honkai at heart represents the ugliness
of human emotions and carnal base desires. It looks into the darker side of romance and tackles matters which romance anime basically never does. This is not a story about how to woo your would-be waifu of choice, but rather it deals with issues such as how to emotionally cope with having an impossible unrequited love, reflecting on yourself as a human being and opening your eyes to your own flaws, and considering what it must be like for the target of your unrequited affection if you force your own feelings onto them. It showcases how love truly is blind and that you can end up falling for the wrong person against your better judgement, and you just cannot help but desire them anyway. It is a very depressive and heart-wrenching story throughout, but also psychological and packed to the brim with moral lessons to be learned. And it all culminates in one of the most unique, artistic and legitimately fascinating romance anime I have ever seen.
In many ways, Kuzu no Honkai is effectively the polar opposite of most romance anime. Mind you, that does not mean that it is too much more realistic; in fact Kuzu no Honkai is just as exaggerated except in the opposite direction. While the characters are all (more or less) realistic individually, the fact that they all happen to be such emotionally broken wrecks and that they are somehow all connected in one big messy love polygon at the same time is a bit too implausible. However, realism is ultimately not the main purpose of this story, but rather to provide a significantly less glorified outlook on romance that showcases that love is not always easy and not always as beautiful as anime generally likes to make it out to be.
The first thing I really like about Kuzu no Honkai is how it does not beat around the bush. Whilst most anime characters seem scared to even hold hands with their respective crush, in this anime we have Mugi and Hanabi willingly tongue-wrestling with each other within the first three minutes of the first episode. This then proves to be nothing more than a prelude of what is to come as the anime has a lot of actual sexual interaction between numerous different characters over the course of the story. However, it is also done in a way which makes it seem like it is not really a big deal to have sex, and that it is something merely a natural part of relationships or even done just for the sake of emotional comfort. You are never given the impression that the sex scenes in Kuzu no Honkai are anything perverted or something out of the ordinary enough to freak out about. This is also largely attributed to the very artistic directing of the anime. What might otherwise have been written off as nothing but smut ends up coming across as something poetic and emotional, albeit perhaps not straight-up beautiful due to the anime's rather questionable morals. The visuals make great usage of the original manga's design by actually showcasing a lot of screens with multiple manga style panels instead of normal full screen animation. It is a bit difficult to explain without seeing it with your own eyes, but I personally found it very effectual and artistic, and it greatly helped to set the rather melancholic tone of the anime as a whole.
At heart, the anime is mostly about hopeless affections. The two main characters Mugi and Hanabi are both in love with someone else who they know they can probably never have, and only utilize each other as replacements for their actual crushes. But they are not the only outcasts in this anime as amogst the other people involved in the love polygon we have a homosexual, a man-eating slut, and more. Everyone has some sort of deep-rooted emotional issue as for why their feelings are almost assuredly never going to transcend into mutual love along with their crush, and they all have different ways of trying to deal with it, such as self-denial, clouding of judgement, or just selfishly forcing their feelings upon their beloved regardless of the consequences. This all results in the whole situation becoming increasingly messy and entangled with each passing episode, which makes the story both unpredictable and dramatic, but it also fills you with some sort of sadistic pleasure by watching everyone's worlds continuously come crumbling down, solely to then be able to watch in fascination how the characters somehow try to climb out of the holes they themselves created. It is a pretty typical case of curiosity killed the cat.
The main question you have to ask yourself whilst watching this anime is "what is the right thing to do?" in the characters' respective circumstances. More often than not, the logical answer and the emotional answer stand in direct contradiction to one another. Their heads tell them that they should try to let go of their hopeless feelings of affection, but their hearts say that they have to keep pushing forward, no matter the cost. And really, you cannot say that one option is any more or less "correct" than the other. Is it acceptable to sacrifice someone else's happiness in pursuit of your own, and is it okay to keep feigning ignorance of reality just because the current lie you are living in "feels good"? There is not really a right answer here, as regardless of what you do, someone is guaranteed to end up miserable and unhappy in the end no matter what, and Kuzu no Honkai showcases this dilemma to great effect.
Of course that is not to say that there are not a couple of times where I feel like the writers go a bit too far whilst trying to overplay the misery that Kuzu no Honkai has to offer. Especially Akane--who is arguably the real bad guy in this mess (if you can call her that)--sometimes feels a bit *too* malicious. The way she just casually tries to break Hanabi's heart in the most sickening ways possible time and time again feels like it goes a bit beyond what her own motivations seem to rationally justify that she should want to, and there is also one scene where you can see her sadistically licking her lips the way a second-rate villain from some B movie would do... which seems like they writers are trying to force on the image that "this woman is evil" a bit too directly. That is not to say that Akane does not function as a villain though because she is certainly a character you love to hate, but I cannot help but find the way they reached that goal to have been a bit forced at times.
In the grand scheme of things though, the hiccups of Kuzu no Honkai are rather sparse in comparison to how many good things there are about it. It is an unorthodox and exceptionally well-written show with very interesting characters. It also has some very artistic directing in general and even boasts with having some absolutely superb opening and ending themes. And while the story as a whole might still feel a bit implausible at times, it nonetheless gets its messages across in great fashion. Ultimately, what you are left with is one of the most memorable romance dramas in a very long time, and although it is certainly not an anime for everyone given its controversial themes, I think it is also one of those shows which if you manage to see it for what it truly is, then there really are not very many series quite like it. Overall, Kuzu no Honkai is probably the best romance anime I have seen in the last few years, and one I will eagerly recommend people for a long time to come as well.
Since episode 2 I'm waiting for this anime to just deliver the final blow so I can finally drop it in peace (and for good this time). Not because it's complete garbage… But the way it's going right now, I really don't know for how much longer I can sit through this. Good heavens. Ô_Ó
„Scum's Wish“, more like „Friends With Benefits: The Anime“ is about people being each other's replacements for people they cannot have. Which is an interesting premise, that anime as a medium hasn't explored too often yet, I agree. Nonetheless it's also a premise that can be ruined spectacularly with so little
effort, and I feel like it's already taking that route.
- up until now, nothing but wasted potential. The majority of episode 1 seemed so very interesting, but I feel my expectations shattering more and more with every new episode :'D What expectations? Well I certainly didn't expect a freaking jizzfest, which by now, it totally is. You may think I'm just oversensitive here, when I'm in fact all for anime showing and exploring sexuality more (and better) than it has until now, really. But guys... When an anime that's partially ABOUT physical intimacy makes me cringe whenever there's physical intimacy...it's doing something terribly wrong. I came here to watch characters cope with all the struggles and emotions that may come with screwing around- NOT to actually watch the characters screw around all the time.
Maybe anime's just really bad with sex scenes in general. Still, this one would definitely be a lot better if it reduced its amount of sex ever so slightly and would use that extra time to...idk, maybe handle its core themes a little better instead. For example by exploring the characters' complex emotions a little more deeply/detailed, but whatever.
They're scum, hence the title LOL- No I'm not even kidding, they're all kinda slutty and really unlikable most of the time (especially the main girl and the “antagonist“), - Which isn't automatically a bad thing, I even think it's one of the show's strengths.
When a character isn't just unlikable though, but also starts making fucking dumb or utterly selfish decisions...then I don't want to root for them anymore, I'm sorry. For god's sake, I can't even empathize with the redhead anymore, they managed to ruin the one gay character within just 1-2 episodes. Basically just shortly after I'd even figured out she's gay, so at least I didn't have enough time to hope for a proper character arc in the first place. Joke's on you!
Anyway, onwards to the other (attention-) whores: … Do I even care enough at this point? Dear Kuzu no Honkai, if you want to make me care, you have to show me something more than characters being hopelessly infatuated with one another like, 24/7. Don't they like, do or think about anything else? If so, then show me. If not, they're the most unrealistic and unlikable bunch of twats I've seen in anime :'D I guess we'll just have to wait and see. And hope for lots, LOTS of character-development.
I like it, very much so. I think it's pulling off that novel-y style with the written words and floating images really well. Then there's this lack of outlines, which may look a little weird at first, but I find it very pretty and refreshing :) So luckily, however dumb the story might still get, the art is and will always be beautiful.
It's funny how the opening's the one thing that made me come back after I had initially dropped the show. That's how insanely good it is...!!! I love that song, I love the visuals … so pretty. Why can't the show be more like its OP :') The background music and sound in general are alright as well. Oh, except the kissing sounds. They're horrible.
ENJOYMENT (4/10) ---> OVERALL (5,8/10):
I want to enjoy this show, I really do. Not least because its themes are so relatable and common (to a certain extent). But instead of teaching me stuff, I feel like Kuzu no Honkai is doing NOT A THING the way I'd EVER do it.
So no, I can't get anything from this show (yet), wake me up when I care. Though I can't bring myself to rate it too low either, it's not that bad... Let's just hope it gets more...insightful, meaningful, deeper, whatever. Just make it better! And let's hope the plot isn't actually that predictable as it seems (cos it seems awfully predictable).
From the Writer of School Days comes SCHOOL DAYS 2 Electric Boogaloo. Every so often there's that one anime that the masses throw roses to that I just don't get, Higurashi, Elfen Lied, Sword Art Online, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0.
I'll have to let Scum's Wish (Kazu no Honkai) be a good reminder to really examine the premise of a show more closely before watching. The genres were interesting enough to catch my eye in the first place, romantic drama, psychological and so on it sounded like good makings for a more serious romance after watching the more light hearted and bubbly romance shows that
I loved such as One Week Friends, Yona of the Dawn and Snow White With the Red Hair so the best I could hope for is something like Destiny of the Shrine Maiden (Kannazuki no Miko) but rather I ended up with was School Days redux that mysteriously is trending better than School Days for the supposed "maturity" it has.
The basic concept of two teenagers forming a pact to quell their loneliness should sound and come as a heart breaking romance or the potential of a feel good story where they find the love with each other or learn to accept and move on from their first loves or just face the trials of young love in general, a multitude of ways but the first episode left such a sour taste in my mouth that I only hope for a miserable end to our two little losers who deserve what they get.
Hanabi Yasuroka is in love with an older man who is her teacher but curiously refers to him as her older brother despite no relations and Mugi Awaya likewise is in love with a teacher that appears to be in love with the man who Hanabi is in love with but in reality is a sexual sadist who enjoys using men. Then we're introduced to Noriko Kamomebata who is in love with Mugi and then to Sane Ebato who is in love with Hanabi! Can this awful love web become more convoluted and ridiculous?
Though having no actual romantic ties our two main characters certainly love to get physical enough to have the most casual sex and try to write it off as nothing and love to deny being anything more than cheap friends with benefits. Anime fans laud this show for the "maturity" but casual sex in an anime isn't maturity it's just fanservice that goes a little further than the usual bouncing boobs and panty shots we're usually treated to in anime.
The first episode by itself is a mess in structure jumping between time periods of past and present and the confusing referral of Hanabi's love interest as her brother leads a viewer to believe this may be an incest based anime. In fact I'm convinced that's why is just to give it an incest angle for the incest fetish without having to do incest. The second episode began to narrow its focus but everything keeps jumping around it becomes hard to tell what is ever going on at any given time because of the massive story leaps but by later episodes it begins to take on more linear approaches and calms down long enough to focus on moments when our characters aren't doing tongue action every five minutes.
The animation is very nice looking it is pretty with some interesting use of panel shots replicating the feel of a manga without overdoing it (see 3 Gatsu no Lion for that) but they have a real tendency to abuse the hidden eyes trope many anime do wherein a characters eyes will disappear either to reflect deep emotion or be scary and intimidating for a moment. Many anime as I mention do this from time to time but I can't say I've seen an anime do it so much.
And musically the show's melodic score does enrich the atmosphere it's just a shame it's wasted on such a terrible concept. I can't say any one piece really stands out or underscores moments so perfectly but it does feel suited for the moments at each hand.
Scum's Wish I feel is trying to go for a "so uncomfortable" vibe, which can be done well, one only need watch David Fincher films but the cast of deplorable characters added with the sappy, convoluted over the top writing make this show unbearable to sit through.
This is the most cringey, edgy, 'look how deep and conflicted I am', garbage I've ever set my eyes upon. Absolutely no decency, no self-respect, no genuinety, no common sense, no nothing.
It's just another reminder of a perpetually morally bankrupting society nowadays. Thanks!
Characters are terrible, contrived, unlikable, and honestly just plain disgusting. No, I would not passionately make out with a random stranger as a substitute for my unrequited love. I guess that's just me, though. Throw in bunch of forbidden unrequited love (student-teacher, incest, lesbianism) in and envelop it with 'passion', a.k.a. perversion and you got yourself Kuzu no Honkai. And what's with the
completely out of place and unnecessary comedy? Is that an attempt to bring lightheartedness into this filth? Because it's not working.
Sodom and Gomorrah - the anime.
I would rather watch School Days on repeat and cringe for three days than feast my eyes on this trash for another second.
Unrequited love presents a tiny window of hope on the verge of being shattered by crippling depression and anxiety. To not be able to share yourself with the person who brings color to your world, even worse watch them fall for someone perceived as better than you, is a feeling will that leave your emotions on the brink of suicide as your scum filled obsessions grow too loud to silence anymore.
Kuzu No Honkai is a study on the psychology of unrequited love, how adolescents will make the mistake of equating self worth with sexual desirability and how that can inspire one to make terrible
choices out of desperation. This is not an anime about frivolous sex from horny kids. Kuzu No Honkai offers a nuanced take on the pursuit of love as a group of teenagers attempt to solve a common question that has no answers.
Mugi and Hanabi are the antithesis to your average romance protagonist - acting on their every sexual desire and being honest with themselves at the expense of other people's feelings. Growing frustrated with their unrequited feelings, The 17 year olds decide to use one another as substitutes in order to fulfill their raging desires. Make no mistake about it - this is a narrowminded, lust filled decision that only serves to make their misery even worse, but it's also realistic. Making rash in the moment choices is a consequence of love, and Kuzu No Honkai uses it's characters as a vehicle to explore these mistakes and what can evolve from them.
Mugi struggles with his own self worth, contemplating if hes nothing more than a human pillow for the opposite sex based on his encounters that extended no further than the bedroom. Mugi is an intelligent person who understands exactly what he wants. Just not necessarily how to capture it - a recurring theme of his character arc.
Abandoned by her father at an early age, Hanabi subconsciously looks to patch that void in her heart with sexual partners. She yearns to be desired. To be obsessed over and idolized. This vain personality adds to the authenticity of her character as it's normal for humans to seek confirmation. She is less experienced than Mugi, but a quick learner that changes dramatically episode to episode for better or worse.
Given their issues they could not have chosen worse people to fall in love with - a narcissistic man eater in who is the finest specimen of slutiness that anime has possibly ever seen, and an oblivious innocent sensei who sticks out like a sore thumb among all the other twisted personalities around him. They are the source, if not the antagonist, for the drama in this anime.
As if this tangled web wasn't complicated enough, Mugi and Hanabi are both loved by friends who they don't feel the same towards. Noriko wants her Prince Charming Mugi all for herself, in need of a reality check in the worst way. Sanae is is infatuated to the point of unhealthy obsession with Hanabi. Through her is a well told yuri tale that highlights how difficult it can be for the queer to let go of people that won't reciprocate their feelings.
Kuzu No Honkai offers a balanced perspective with each character being given the opportunity to narrate their experiences. This levels the moral playing field making it clear that no one is being judged for their transgressions, and gives the viewer a chance to dive into their minds to get a better understanding for their choices. By the end it truly feels as if you've lived through these characters decisions - especially if able to connect to any of them personally.
While many will flock to this anime for the sexual innuendo, Kuzu No Honkai isn't explicit just for the sake of it. Attached to every moment of passion is a deep inner monologue on its significance. Rather than the act itself, the rationale and consequences thereafter are emphasized most. There's a large segment of the anime community that took issue with the gratuitous amount of sexual content, seemingly not understanding that sex is the end goal of mutual attraction. If anything romantic works should have more intimacy scenes.
The music is sublime, helping to accentuate the somber atmosphere and offer smooth transitions into important scenes. The opening "Uso no Hibana" has a frantic pace that meshes well with the nonstop drama and helps to narrate the story itself. The final lyrics "I'm in so much pain, I love you so much it scares me" is literally everything this anime stands for. The ending "Heikosen" offers a slower, more intense contrast filled with kaleidoscope visuals that fits seamlessly as the closing credits begin.
I had concerns as to how this anime would translate the heaviness of the manga. Key word had, those concerns were laid to rest minutes into the first episode - Studio Lereche does an admirable job of molding attractive character designs and creating an inviting aesthetic that suits the tone of the story. Director Masaomi Ando uses dramatic pauses frequently in moments of high tension, flashing Kanji across the screen when there's a cut in the animation, and is an expert at using paneling techniques to create flow in scenes. From an design perspective the eyes of each character stood out most - they look soulless, aligning well with the overall theme of narrow minded obsession. The color design is dark, much of the anime takes place in a dim lit room, and the director does a good job of using manga panels to help scenes flow to perfection. Make no mistake about it - this is a gorgeous looking work of art that anyone should be able to appreciate whether you agree with the story or not.
Kuzu No Honkai is the most controversial anime of the Winter season by a mile. There's been loud criticism of the characters being too depressing, lacking realism and making poor decisions. To those critics I must ask - what world do you live in where teenagers aren't indecisive flakes unsure of what they want? Part of being an adolescent is the period of self discovery through arduous trial and error. Most adults aren't able to follow through with all of their promises, let alone high school students who have just entered the precipice of puberty. Rather than give us cookie cutter characters who feign knowledge of the world, Kuzu No Honkai is filled with young people who are actively seeking answers to their problems confused about just where to go next in life. This anime does not lack authenticity - it succeeds as a portrayal of its themes by offering an ample amount of discussion on the minds of each character
Kuzu No Honkai takes an open mind to enjoy. If you go into it with a preconceived notion on how romance should be explored, or how much intimacy should be allowed in anime, you won't like it. If you can appreciate an anime that is willing to go the extra mile in order to explore a topic rarely touched upon in the genre, it can be one of the greatest romantic works you've ever encountered - that was certainly the case for me. In a genre filled with beauty Kuzu No Honkai chooses to be ugly, detailing a love gone wrong from every which angle for the world to see.
Story: 1/10 There's not even a real story there. Just a bunch of stupid teenagers (and teachers too) who're so depressed they need to have sex with each others in every single episode. If you like to change from time to time don't worry they got a different sex pair almost each episode. It's like the author just want to show sex scenes out of nowhere. Ok 1 from time to time but every episode to the point there's not even a story?! No.
Characters: 1/10 All are stupid. Really nothing to save. Absolutly impossible to relate with
any of them. The person I like doesn't like me? Fine I'll sleep with all the rest who'd want me.
Art and sound: 8/10 The only things I actually liked. Really good. Too bad it was used for such a shitty anime.
Enjoyment: 1/10 I really tried but my limit was episode 6.
Overall: 2/10 I couldn't give a higher rate. Really disappointed.
It's been so long since a studio has dared to release an anime like "Kuzu no Honkai". Ever since the creators of Aku no Hana got death threats for their show, studios have been reluctant to include depressive moods and apathy mixed with romance into their anime. Kozu no Honkai takes this exact step, but presents it in a more cheerful fashion that can apply to broader audiences.
If you are a fan of manga such as "Oyasumi Punpun" or "Umibe no Onnako" like me, this is the closest you can get to the same mood and atmosphere in new anime. If you are not, and
just like love triangles, this is a great opportunity to take a dive into the world of unrequited love where people become so mentally tormented that they settle for anything to suppress their feelings.
The characters are mentally destroyed, the detail and art are amazing, story is good(4 episodes in so far) and the characters are great.
I want to emphasise the last point. I am a fan of every single character in this show. If you have ever been in love, you know that the characters are doing exactly what is supposed to be expected when you are head over heels for someone in a realistic way. The anime doesn't make the characters go yandere from love but instead, it makes them weak and vulnerable when they are around their beloved ones.
I hope that this shows popularity will at least spike a small change in the anime business and hopefully we can get more of this type of mature romance anime out in the coming year.
I will probably add a conclusion to this review once the series is finished, but right now all I can do is to enjoy the show :]
Love and lust are two terms synonymous with the young and naive but understood by those who’ve experienced both. “Lovesick” teenagers are often impressionable and irrational, driven by an overwhelming cesspool of hormones and emotions. Love is ambiguous at a young age, and can often be a stifling enigma. Lust is an enveloping, instinctive thirst for a partner’s sexual freedom. Although these concepts can be weighty and complicated, experiencing them is part of what makes us human, and are as intense as any incident we’re likely to encounter in our lives. Scum’s Wish is a visceral, raw and uncomfortable approach to
love and lust, and even deeper, what makes our minds tick from a relationship perspective. Does it succeed in translating the equivocal nature of human sexuality or does it miss the mark?
Adapted by the small scale Studio Lerche (Assassination Classroom), Scum’s Wish takes the concept of a love triangle to unfathomable new heights by adding a dynamic and cunning twist, where love escapes the limelight. What we’re left with is an askew pile of sexual hatred and numbness that is downright unsettling. One night stands, homosexuality, virginity and incest are all covered at some point in the anime’s short 12 episode run, in an attempt to unearth the deepest and darkest fantasies of virtually everyone in the cast. The problem is, to achieve this level of promiscuity, the writers lose the credibility they attempt to obtain due to the dialogue and monologues drowning in a sea of melodrama.
Our main character, Hanabi is in love with her life long “brother” figure Mr. Kanai, who in turn is in love with a fellow teacher, who just happens to be the apple of her classmate Mugi’s eye, so naturally Mugi and Hanabi start a facade of a relationship to help them cope with the unattainable “unicorn” they’ll never be with. Honestly, the whole premise sounds like a joke. Add in an aggressive lesbian who falls for Hanabi within minutes of being saved from a pervert on a crowded subway, a goodie two-shoes lolli who is unfailingly devoted to Mugi’s love and a creeper who’s constantly trying to molest his cousin and the wheels start to fall off the believability. Almost every facet of Scum’s Wish revolves around sex, causing the series to be rather unnerving.
It’s one thing to talk about sensitive subject matter like chastity or innocence in an anime, but when it becomes diluted to the point of omission, the initial argument is lost entirely. Scum’s Wish attempted to bombard its audience with too many sexual themes in too little time, resulting in a desensitized viewership just aching to skip ahead to the “love scenes”. If the point was to shower us in copious amounts of fanservice, it could’ve been done with a lot less effort and cash. If the point was to incite pondering and stimulating intellectual debate about love and its many intricacies, each theme should’ve been handled with care. Instead, these taboo topics become nonchalant and shadows of their former selves.
The characters in the anime are a mix of plausible and irrational. Although I added in the beginning that love can make us do the dumbest things, some of the behavior exhibited by Scum’s Wish’s cast is unbelievable at best. A teacher sleeping with her students has happened before, hell it’s even been in the news. But the way it’s scripted here seems slightly schizophrenic… revenge taken on a girl half your age to shelter your own inadequacies? Highly unlikely. I think Hanabi sleeps with everyone in the show, except the person she wants the most… but you know what, it’s okay because she never went “all the way” with any of them. She’s incredibly dense, despite having an overwhelming barrage of internal monologues throughout the series, describing who she should be with next and why. The real question is, “why do I even care about this?” Mugi may be even worse, but being a teenage dude, his testosterone is probably blinding his potentially intelligent decisions. Mugi and Hanabi’s relationship never really made sense to me, from inception to the conclusion of the series. It felt as though it only existed as a plot crutch, and to allow the writers to slam a bunch of other themes in our face along the way.
I couldn’t care less for the other characters in Scum’s wish. Their sexual struggles always seemed to be the lifejacket keeping them relevant, though I couldn’t get onboard with any of their causes. The empathy just wasn’t there for me. Even Kanai, who I initially perceived to be the sole intelligent, unblinded character in the show succumbed to his libido and broke his innocence eventually. Scum’s Wish tries to shove down our throat that it’s okay to be a slut, everyone’s doing it! But in all actuality, these characters are just playing out the desires our meek and timid selves are too reserved to pursue. And why does every character need to whisper all the damn time? I felt like every line was so soft and overexaggerated.
The animation in Scum’s Wish is top notch, and when incorporated into certain scenes, really made my heart race. If there’s one thing that Studio Lerche nailed (pun intended), it would be the orchestration of the love scenes. Sweat dripping, pulse pounding, moaning and blushing all around make this anime one not to watch with a friend, unless you want some supremely awkward silences or dinner conversations. The character models are attractive and crisp, while the environments (if you even noticed them) are accurate and consistent.
The music is also a high point for me, definitely a soundtrack that fit the atmosphere of the show. Each sexual encounter was brilliantly timed with an epic addition of strings, while the plotting and scheming soliloquies were laden with an equally devious accompaniment. Ironically enough, I didn’t really care for the OP, as it didn’t really flow with the anime at all. A fast-paced JPop song with a relatively melancholy vibe just irked me. The ED was more appropriate, and really captured the tarnished innocence that Habani exuded throughout the series. Slightly haunting, and stunningly accurate. The voice acting was decent, though nothing out of the ballpark necessarily. I did like the apathy echoing through Habani’s voice during her monologues, a nice job for sure.
Overall, Scum’s Wish was a promising anime that became corrupted by the oversaturation of its sexual themes. The result was an uncomfortable, guilty pleasure that is best reserved for watching by yourself, on an introverted, quiet night alone. Those of you less intellectual might want to grab a tissue, though not necessarily for tears… I can assuredly say that this series pushed the envelope of what I might find appropriate to watch in anime, and I haven’t really seen anything like it before. I’d recommend it if you are really into hormonal, melodramatic sexual escapades, or are looking for a show with adult subject matter and want something completely different. I enjoyed it, but not enough to say it’s a must watch… and definitely not the anime of the season. As always, thanks for reading and be sure to check out the rest of my Winter ‘17 reviews!
You can easily say that Kuzu no Honkai (Scum´s wish) without a doubt has been one of the big talks of the winter 2017 season. Either people praise this new angle on a romance story in anime, or are disturbed by the emo depressed characters that does one scummy thing after another.
Well, Scum´s wish for shore manages to separate itself from its siblings in the genres, much do to with that it is including sex as one of the big factors. Because let´s be honest, most high school kids are exploring their sexuality and are not going out for months before they have their
first glowing wonderful kiss (which often is the case in many anime´s). It’s often much less romantic than that. That at least Scum´s wish manage to portray very well – often you don´t need to have romantic feelings or care for the person in question, for physical and intimate contact. Even if Scum´s wish is labelled as a “Romance” anime, there is very little actual romance in it. Other themes such as rejection, unrequired feelings, loneliness, egotism, replacement, sexuality, naivety, desire, selfishness, and jealousy are explored much more than an actual two-sided romance. As for the characters – they truly are scum driven by instincts most of the time, and therefore are very hard to like or understand. At least they are to me.
But the question you probably having, is it any good or worth watching? I will get down to that now.
Story and Character: 3,5/10
The first words that’s comes in mind to me are “Soap opera with an emo-soft porn touch”. As in many anime of this kind, the plot is mostly, if not only character driven. The plot is the character’s actions, thoughts and interactions, therefore I´m bundling the story aspect and character aspect here in one.
That´s not necessarily making this kind of show good or bad, it just is what is. But then all the weight is on the characters and if they fail to do their job to make you feel and care about them... Well, then the whole experience can become much less enjoyable then it could have been. The thing is that most of the characters in Scum´s wish is unlikable and hard to relate to. *light spoiler* Is there a time that you felt so lonely that you slept with your friend of the same sex, even do you are straight, just to feel less lonely? If not, you see my point. *end light spoiler* The characters are very self-centred, lost, egoistic and outright scum most of the time. You have Hanabi (female MC), who is a cute lonely/empty high school girl with a big brother complex and crush on her male teacher, Mugi (male MC), the normal but slightly depressed handsome high school boy with a slut teacher complex and a crush on his female music teacher, Moca, Loli childhood friend with long time crush on mentioned male MC, Ecchan, lesbian friend with a crush on female MC, Akane, said female music teacher with a thing for sleeping with men that have other women loving them (just to get the kicks off their sadness and jealousy), and a Nerdy, clueless and naive male teacher that has a shy personality and a mother complex. And there you have the set-up for this “love” hexagon. Many times, I almost wished for that bad things would happen to them because they kind of deserved it. In the same time, I was kind of enjoying this new input in an anime, you aren´t meant to like the characters. They are deliberately written like that and that´s also what’s makes Scum´s wish interesting in its own way. So even if I really disliked the characters (some much more than others – yes, looking at you Akane), they still managed to make me want to watch them and their drama. Who was going to get rejected/fucked/used/do something randomly humiliating next? This phenomenon made me want to know what weird thing was going to happen next, and to keep watching this emo-soft porn drama week after week. A large amount of the show focuses on the character’s thoughts and reasoning’s. Most of the time it´s kind of depressing emo-philosophical stuff about the unrequired love, loneliness, how a bad of a person he/she is and how they use people, and the wish to change oneself. As mentioned before, the romance/love aspect is almost absent – most of the time there´s about desire and filling an empty place (both literally and figural speaking). And about control and sooth one’s boredom or loneliness. And by doing so getting involved with multiple people without give a shit about their feelings, to fill this empty place in one´s heart, soul, and… You get it. Other than emo-emotional/sexual stuff revolving the characters it isn´t much to the story. So, if you can put up with that, go ahead and watch it. If not, this is probably not for you.
The art and animation is pretty great – it has a certain quality about it. Mostly in form of shoujo beautiful backgrounds and scenery’s. Much effort has also been put on more detailed parts, such as the character’s eyes, with multi-layered colours and lights, or rain drops that’s falls and causes ripples in a puddle. And the blushing and sweating of sexually aroused characters is… hum... very pronounced. The colour palette that is used is very aquarelle with a wide spanning of the colour spectrum. It has a softness to it that is quite a contrast to the characters/story. The character designs are nothing unique or special. They have a pretty common anime standard design. For the animation, it´s absolutely fine, but nothing outstanding either. It has few weird motions and angles, but didn’t blow my mind either.
For the soundtrack a lot of piano/guitar combos are used, with a sadder/melancholic touch to it. Which I suppose matches the mental states of the characters. Vocal songs are used but not that frequently. All over decent in my opinion. The OP is actually pretty good, it´s an upbeat pop song that´s gives of more energy than anything in show itself. The ED´s is also pretty good, and which I think is supposed to reflect all the confusing and mixed emotions the characters are feeling.
For background sounds and such, it does its job but nothing especially memorable. Waring, a lot of slobby kissing sounds are present every episode. That could be a huge turn of for some viewers. For the VA´s (Japanese) I think they did their job pretty well. It would be exaggeration to say that they really brought life into their characters, because the characters themselves appeared pretty lifeless to me. But they did a good job with the character they had to work with.
So, was it any good? Not particularly for me, but Scum´s wish do have something that made me keep watching it and see if there is any progression of the characters and their wishes. Even if I didn´t really felt for the character’s personalities, I still was somewhat entertained by this soft-porn emo drama anyway. Scum´s wish was something new I hadn´t watched 10 shows just like it before, and brought a new perspective to the genres. A little bit refreshing if nothing else. So, I enjoyed some of it, was disgusted by some of it, was irritated of some of it, and was pretty entertained of some of it. I would say, that for me it was worth the watch and I don´t want to charge anyone for my time back.
The unlikable characters both made this show to something new and interesting, and at the same time puts sticks in the wheel for its self. I became somewhat emotional invested in the characters but for the wrong reasons. I wanted bad stuff (some karma please) to happen to them because of their egoistic and often childish behaver. But I definitely can´t call Scum´s wish boring or particularly bad. It still manages to entertain me to the degree of me watching it to the end, and be curious about what was going to happen next. So, I would not recommend this show for everyone, especially if you are looking for a cosy romance story. You aren’t going to find any of that in Scum´s wish. But if you like the genres and want to see something that hasn´t been done before and give a new perspective, go ahead and dig in to the scummy characters of Scum´s wish.
I hope you found this review somewhat helpful and informative. Cheers!
"I hate being alone. Being alone makes me feel empty. I want to sleep with someone."
DISCLAIMER #1: All opinions expressed in this review are mine alone, and you are not obligated to agree/disagree with them at all.
DISCLAIMER #2: Don't be deceived by the genres listed on the left. Proceed with caution if you see dislike any of the themes presented below:
* Forbidden love
* Sex and betrayal
TLDR; Overall rating: 2/10 OR 8/10
I will try and explain, as clearly as possible, the rationale behind the rating above, everything that this anime does right and wrong, and why you should or shouldn't watch it.
Kuzu no Honkai is a
breath of fresh air, a new and unique romance-themed anime that will leave you speechless - just kidding. Kuzu no Honkai is a story about a group of kids playing house, featuring wishy-washy characters in that high school setting we all know and love. Apparently they're calling it seinen now.
The basic premise consists of an intricate love triangle featuring a perpetually depressed flake of a girl, an emo boy-toy, a standard issue onii-chan, a cougar, a lesbian, and a loli. In episode 1, Person-X decides to have sex with Person-Y. Repeat this for 12 episodes with different combinations of X and Y and congratulations, you've finished this amazing series.
Kuzu no Honkai is pretty much a hate-it-or-love-it kind of anime. The problem with this series is mainly how pretentious it appears to be. "I'm 17 and I'm deep" is the theme of the day. When I was in high school, the first and foremost thing on my mind was passing the university entrance exams. Relationships were important but I never forgot my priorities. Of course, that's only me, and you can't compare an anime to real life, but they wouldn't have made it a high school setting if they didn't want people to relate to it. I'll take the liberty to allude to Golden Time here: a similar romantic-themed anime placed in a university setting. For all its flaws, they at least they got that part right, and that made things a lot more real. Perhaps the setting is an unfair point of criticism, but the incredulity of it all was a dampening factor on my enjoyment of this series.
What does this anime do right with the story? For starters, I find its openmindedness towards love quite commendable. Love knows no bounds in this anime: (low-key) incest, lesbianism, lolicon, student-teacher love. Phew! Raunchy stuff.
Average 2017 animu art. However, one interesting thing about the art is how closely it resembles that of a shoujo anime - the suffocating close-ups, the excessive blushing, the simplistic nature of the backgrounds, fluidity with transitions, etcetera. Unassuming at times, allowing the viewer to focus completely on the trainwreck unfolding in front of them.
One redeeming quality of the anime is definitely its music. The one thing you'd expect from the music would be to compliment what you see on screen, as opposed to jarr/seem out of place, and that's what the music did here.
Characters: (Minor revelations/spoilers, proceed with caution.)
With the exception of Ecchan, pretty much everyone is a flake.
Let's start with Hanabi. Supposed "honour student", has a thing for her onii-chan. Is fooling around with three different people at the same time in order to numb the pain of unrequitted love. Enjoys playing the victim card, is easily hussled into sex, and doesn't know how she feels 99% of the time about anything.
Next, the emo boy-toy, who has such a bland personality that you wonder what women see in him at all.
Third, we have a piano teacher who loves sleeping with underrage boys. And yet, Mugi the boy-toy enjoys perpetually jerking his little ding-dong to her, despite knowing what a tramp she is. Attraction to someone's looks is apparently called "true love" and entitles you to mope around 24/7 and wonder at how deep your life is.
Fourth, we have a loli who is actually just a stuck up little bitch. Also an osananijimi who you know will lose just based the trope she represents.
As you can see, there really is nothing likable about any of these characters and you can't really relate to any of them, owing to how bland and pretentious they are. There is no real character development either, apart from little revelations about each ones' true colours, which I don't really consider development.
I can, however, appreciate that this anime has some stellar relationship development. The true strength of Kuzu no Honkai, for me, lies in its character interactions. I keep harping on this, but the roller-coster relationships that characters experience with each other is actually quite realistic, and would have felt a lot more relatable in a university/work life setting.
This anime does not provide an iota of feel-good enjoyability at all. You will feel discomfort, jealousy, cringe, and at times, even disgust. But you'll probably want to keep watching with a grotesque interest that you'd have watching a butcher cutting up a piece of meat.
In the end, Kuzu no Honkai has its good points, but is a painful pill to swallow. Vaguely resembling a B-rate drama, if you derive any more enjoyment out of this than what you'd get from a cheap soap opera, I commend you.
Depending on what parts of this anime you love or hate, you might end up calling this a 2/10 OR an 8/10. I recommend you watch and find out.
We think about life as a story. The politician too – and the gangster. And I would like to believe that both adulterers and the faithful think the same way. Some, perhaps, will make it into a story of triumph. You think, for example, that this isn’t your fate. You have ambitions – and yet you are being tied down to the Earth – to this marriage that you chose out of either some bad circumstance or because you were blind in early love. Either way, the adulterer, wishing to be the hero/heroine of the story, will view it as a conquest of the soul.
I have to do this, because my life will not be narrowed into such a stupidity.
Why is passion such an old theme? Because love has always been messy – so they say. I have not touched the Tale of Genji yet – supposedly the first psychological novel out there – but I hear that it is a great book on love. From what I know from reading bits and pieces of that Ecchi manga – Minamoto-kun Monogatari – it also seems to be a great book on passion and lust (of course, this could be due to the manga’s exaggerations). Love is one of those old themes that has been dealt with everywhere – in poetry & fiction.
So, Kuzu no Honkai falls into that tradition. I watched the first 4 episodes, the reactions – and I also skimmed the manga so I roughly know what happens next. I would say that it is a story about people who like to tell themselves that they are the hero or heroine in their story of love. Hanabi Yasuraoka (whose beautiful voice sends shivers down my spine thanks to the atmosphere combined with the work of Chika Anzai) – believes that her love is important to the point of self-destruction, and she wishes to escape this pain – either by achieving it or momentarily placing it in someone else. In this case, Awaya Mugi – a boy who also suffers from the same crisis.
I think the animation is exquisite. And I’m not just talking about the very very hot sex. The slow pacing mingles with the OST and voice to ensure that you don’t just see the events as mere events – but you feel them as well. You understand that Hanabi is lovestruck because you see the world in her rose-tinted lenses. And when the bouts of depression or loneliness sinks in – the atmosphere is heavier and anguished.
But, as I said – this is the oldest theme. One of the great examinations of Love in any medium has been pulled off by Woody Allen in his film – Husbands & Wives. In that film – there are two couples. The first couple has decided they want to ‘see separate people’ for a while – the second couple, their friends – are shocked by the news. The first couple has been happily married for a long time. So, to the second couple, the fact that so many years still cannot guarantee a constant love – opens up a massive abyss inside them. They, too, find themselves thinking about seeing other people for once. How everything resolves is surprising, maybe even cynical – and yet completely naturalistic. And Allen’s work is amazing because he never lets his characters find rest in their own story – but he always takes the observational point of view to make fun of them. To tell them how small their passions are. He uses his trademark comedy sometimes – or other times he uses very well-placed ‘documentary footage’ where various of the characters are ‘interviewed’ after the end of the story.
Gonensei is also a good exploration. It deals with the same theme. It is an extremely bitter manga, but at times it is also a romantic one. I have talked about it before in various places. One very good element is the fact that it hides the lead characters’ flaws in the viewpoints and interactions of other characters. It also has some very good use of flashbacks, to show hints of these flaws.
Kuzu no Honkai is beautiful – aesthetically – but where does it fall? It talks about the stories of these people. It talks about these stories as though they were the most important things in the world to them. But a dream is a dream to the extent that there is always a reality to return to. And although there may be women who, for example, are truly manipulative and find joy only in manipulation – and it may be ‘realistic – there are larger larger things in the world. I am one of those who tries to keep a restraint on this word – Realistic – simply because a lot of things can be possible in real life, and to that extent there are many things that can take the moniker of Realism. But there are many people who will be quick to say that something is e.g. ‘real as fuck’ or ‘that’s goddamn real as hell’ – when it is real in the sense that it parallels to the story that they have playing in their own heads.
In this world of stories – and in the world where pattern recognition is a constant thing – you may always have the urge to pull certain thing you see into yourself. This is one of humanity’s oldest weapons. It is called Empathy. But a problem is that Empathy is born from perspective, which may sometimes be limited in its recognition. A happy person will find Hanabi’s struggle to be less ‘real as hell’ than a person who has ‘been through it’. The world is large enough to accommodate both perspectives. Furthermore, a person who has ‘been through it’ and doesn’t want to deal with it anymore may find Kuzu no Honkai ‘real as hell’ but they won’t enjoy it because they don’t want to deal with that shit anymore. And there are also those people who haven’t been through it but they have pre-conceived angsty notions of people and think that this is how it all works.
To the extent that we can feel through these characters – is a limited place to ask questions. Questions like – is this a good story? Does it say anything powerfully human? There are some writers who are totally unreal in their writing – but they capture a kind of mood so well that they get to the essence of something human. Kafka is one of them.
What are the questions that the characters of Kuzu no Honkai poses towards us? What is the meaning of violent passion? The primary worldview of Kuzu no Honkai seems to be that it is a beautiful net. You are dragged into it, and the world becomes brighter, but underneath – it is darker. And there are those who do not wish to be caught – so they become the catcher instead. This is a violent Darwinian kind of perspective where the primary theme is eat or be eaten. The only way to win is not to play. Later events in the ongoing manga seem to support this ‘escape from passion’ as the only way out. Is it Buddhist? I have no clue. But this violence of passion is the underlying worldview.
But, therein lies the problem. It is very easy to write of powerful emotions – and hard to write about an escape from them. To write about powerful emotions, all you have to do is to invoke emotional extremes. War is an emotional extreme. Backstabbing and adultery are emotional extremes. First love is an emotional extreme. Because they are so extreme – there are bound to be people who find them ‘real as hell’ – because we remember our extremes the clearest, while forgetting that our life is built from these extremes and a thousand other smaller thoughts. A writer with more restraint always finds a way to be gentler, subtler, and more analytical in their treatment of a theme. You can look to Woody Allen’s Manhattan – for example – where all these passions and emotions play a part in the work, but it also serves to expand upon the theme of a single person’s idealization of his own life. His idealization of a city and of romantic ambitions. The story he is trapped in and cannot escape from.
To that extent, Kuzu no Honkai is better as a whirlpool for you to be trapped in. It’s a wave of emotion that just keeps on coming, and it uses all the power of Shoujo romantic art to maximize on the force. But, I think a good story has to show you the waves, and then provide you with a shore to stand on – to look at the sun.
"Kuzu no Honkai" is the most fucked up show I've seen since "School days". Honestly, this show could be a Hit or a miss for most people. For me, fortunately or unfortunately it was big miss. Although I do appreciate the boldness to create and put out something like this this, can't say I'm a fan of it.
There really isn't much I can appreciate about the anime. It is a cringe-fest of a show with a few okay moments. There isn't much to the story, it isn't very eventful or progressive, it relies heavily on the discovery and the development of the characters, which
in my opinion is it's biggest flaw. There is not a single character I like in this show, Everyone is annoying as fuck and in no way relatable, they're so bland and poorly written, they all just seem like they are different versions of themselves. They are all so fucked up and their actions are so forced and predictable. Their dialogues are so corny and wannabe-deep. When their thoughts are narrated in a first person narrative it is sooo exhausting to even listen to them. Their designs are however not bad and there are a few comic moments that stood out and made them likeable, even if it was for just a moment.
Another huge flaw are the sex scenes, I don't have any problems with sex scenes but here it's just so forced and over-saturated, like there is a mandatory sex scene in every episode which kinda halts whatever this show is going for and gives us a few minutes of just pure cringe. it is just so uncomfortable to watch their movements and listen to their dialogues. They don't even really have sex, it's just boring to watch. If you're reading this and want to watch this show for this kinda content, I would suggest putting your dick back inside and look for something else lol.
One thing I've seen this show being praised for is it's "maturity". Which I strongly disagree, although this anime does seem to have that kind of ambitions, it's stray far away from it or rather comes off as very pseudo-mature. Really, how does a bunch of junior high kids who try to compensate their desires and insecurities through such fucked up pretentious acts come off as mature? It's doesn't, Oh! and don't get me started on the slutty teacher character who does a bunch of crazy things too. It's not mature at all.
The three things that I do like very much about this show are the Animation, Soundtrack and Voice acting. I appreciate Lerche studio's effort to tell this mess of a story as cohesive as possible. There is good detail and clarity in the animation which truly deserves praise.
The soundtrack is really great too. I really like the OP and ED, the BGM switches up at times and can come off as very unpredictable, which played a major role in helping me sit through this mess. One of the BGMs has like a Piano tune kinda similar to Kanye West's "Runaway". That was really good, overall, great job with the soundtrack. The voice acting was noticeably great as well. Like I mentioned before, the anime is dark but it does have some comic moments, the voice actors transition so well at times like these, it's so genuine. Props to the voice actors.
Overall, to me it's a frustrating watch and I wouldn't seriously recommend this to anyone. But there is some hype around this show at the moment, and some people do seem to like it for whatever reason so maybe you will too. If you're confused whether to watch it or not, just check out the first episode and maybe the second one too, if it intrigues you then continue, if you feel like I how I did, then just drop it.
Love and the sexual feelings we have, lust, are complicated and confusing. Much like my overall thoughts on this anime...
Scum's Wish was the break out hit this season with conflicting opinions all over the place from people praising the show as a masterpiece in which it conveys the themes of romance and love in a realistic manner and those who say that it is over glorified and unrealistic. If you were to ask me, I'd say this anime is pretty stupid, and for the longest time I couldn't decided what this anime was going for exactly nor of what to make of it! It
honestly feels like, in a lot of places, it is the second coming of School Days!
The biggest problem I had with this show was its lack of any interesting characters at all, but before I get into that, let's discuss the plot for this show:
Scum's Wish may seem like your typical romance show, but the two main characters who are in a relationship with each other, in fact, do not love each other at all, and lust for different people. Hanabi loves her Onii-chan and Mugi loves his sensei. As the show goes along the two characters begin to bond together, as they begin to form a real relationship whilst trying to come to grips with their unrequited love, while, at the same time, being horrible, scummy people sleeping around with others and using others to get closer to what they want. The characters constantly fuck each other other (no sexual pun intended.) And that's the main aim of this show; to highlight and showcase people at their absolute worst, who do nothing but sleep around and use people for their own agenda's and goals, but here lies my biggest gripe with the show. I find it so boring.
While the plot does try to do something different, which is commendable in its own right, I found everything to be so lacklustre despite the numerous, and rather off-putting sex scenes in the show. I would go as far as to call this show a deconstruction but not a very good one since I don't care at all with what is happening with any of the characters since the anime hasn't given me any reason to care for any of them from the start. All of them are pretty much horrible, disgusting people, and I do get that this is the appeal of the show for some, to watch horrible bastards instead of your typical sugar coated anime girls, but at the same time, since the characters are so unlikable and boring, I found their struggles and problems to be entirely pointless! The characters go around in circles and often the scenarios feel forced and often rather trite at times as well! Not only that but this show is filled to the brim of emotional monologues which always came across as being pretentious in my eyes and a cheap way of sounding deep without trying to convey any themes or ideas in a convincing manner.
The characters are pretty stupid, and end up doing stupid things just to force drama and pad out the episodes. Now, I understand that teenagers do stupid things all of the time, so it would make sense for them to do stupid things, but the amount of times I became annoyed with this show, and face palmed is staggering since there is no catharsis pay off to make light of the dumb decisions they make, and again, I couldn't find investment since the cast was rather dull and one dimensional. The show does present lesbians and bisexuality as well and attempts to present these in a realistic manner, but since not enough time is invested in these ideas they instead feel rather lackluster and are pushed to the side, remaining stagnant with hardly any development.
I've seen some people refer to this anime as being realistic, and while I can't speak for anyone, this, to me, it perhaps one of the most unrealistic romance shows to ever grace the Earth. All of the drama feels rather forced and thus the characters do too. Also, when in real life have you seen a girl lusting after her own brother so badly before? Not in my world anyway...
To be perfectly fair, they do treat the incest subtext matter with some care and respect and it isn't just reduced to being just some fan service for all of the filthy weebs out there and hell, it even gets a decent amount of development to fuel her love, making it somewhat justified, although it isn't handled nowhere as good as something like Koi Kaze.
Each character also makes it a habit of referring as themselves as awful people, which, while acknowledging the fact that they're, it doesn't change them at all, nor makes them inherently interesting because of this. The show really needed a likable character to latch onto, or someone to care for in order to have made the drama more hard hitting, but what we get is a rather dull, and confusing mess without any sense of direction to go in terms of its characters or story. The whole time while I was watching the show, I just felt uncomfortable and the whole show feels trashy, hiding behind the disguise of an emotional drama. It honestly does feel just like School Days in many regards. Now, I'm not someone who thinks School Days was the worst anime of all time, far from it in fact, but it attempts to do the same thing as Scum's Wish - that being a deconstruction of the harem/romance genre while presenting drama and dirt bag characters, and it suffers from the same problem. Since the characters are only presented as being such, it's hard to latch onto them and feel for anything they go through since the show is nothing more than a deconstruction and believes that is enough by itself to carry the show, which it isn't at all. At the very least we get to see all of the cunts die at the end of School Days...if only that would've happened here.
Now, I have to say, Scum's Wish has a great visual aesthetic, with great character designs and even some experimental animation to convey the emotional instability the characters are feeling, and the sex scenes, while awkward to watch since they hardly add anything onto the characters, are well very well animated; as well as the music. The opening theme was great and there is a great variety of music in the show to fit the correct moods, definitely the strong points of the show. The voice actors also do a pretty great job at conveying the emotions of their characters and they do feel pretty convincing as well. I also liked the rectangular boxes that would appear on the screen that cut to close-ups of the characters faces which was a subtle touch at presenting their emotions without relying on forced exposition, and this was a nice addition in terms of visual appeal.
But, when it comes down to it, if we strip these elements all we have is a boring deconstruction with pretentious excuses for deep characters. I do appreciate that the show is trying to do something different, but sometimes, different is not always better. I honestly really wanted to like Scum's Wish, I really did, but the lack of any interesting characters combine that with the fact that I hated every second of it, makes me never want to touch this anime ever again.