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Josh Dunham (@Josh_Dunham)
“…it begs the question, ‘Why was this even made?’”
This episode is dreadfully boring. Akane’s backstory is finally revealed but carries no emotional weight. As fate would have it, her actions stem from ‘not knowing anything else’, a nebulous motivation if nothing else. This explanation is as lazy as it is infuriating, reducing the complexity of human emotion to ‘this is just the way I am.’ Imagine if the complexity of Shinji and Asuka’s relationship from Evangelion reduced to ‘that’s just how kids are’, or the bond that the Elric brothers share stripped of its backstroy and replaced with ‘these two bothers just happen to be extremely close.’There is nothing iconic, nothing striking or provocative about Akane, the series’ main ‘villain’. This will cause the dredge, Scum’s Wish, to be forgotten when the tide of next season rolls in. It’s a crying shame.
Undoubtedly, Scum’s Wish true believers will cry out that this is just a faithful adaptation of the manga – As true as this may be, what value is there is faithfully adapting flawed material? A good narrative should either stand apart from, or be defined by its medium. Scum’s Wish is not defined by its animation, firmly placing it in the latter category as a flawed narrative that was adapted without distinct purpose other than to be adapted. It has no higher message, no conscience or deeper meaning than what is present on the surface level. This leaves no room for the viewer to inhabit, no access for feelings and emotions from the show to be internalized. It’s akin to visiting the zoo only to view sleeping animals commonplace in your backyard. This very same experience and exercise can be done more effective and viscerally at the source (the manga), begging the question, ‘Why was this even made?’
So now Akane finds herself completely enticed by Kanai-sensei and Mugi for their inexperience and innocence. It’s a contrived way of making Akane’s psychopathic sadism appear endearing. The focus has completely shifted away from Hanabi, focusing on this particular love triangle, but of the three, only Mugi has received sufficient character development and screen time to warrant it. It’s curious, because Akane describes how awkward it is being with Kanai-sensei after they’ve slept together and yet pretend nothing happened, but really that awkwardness feels like meta commentary on the show itself. Things are going on, but with no past to back them up, making this side tangent rather awkward in the scheme of the narrative structure, almost like Smash Mouth lyrics sung by Lou Reed.
At this point, this show is going to need a whole lot more nudity and risque displays to hold any attention at all.