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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.
While I disagree with the overall sentiment that this episode was boring and on a more specific level, Akane’s backstory being infuriating due to its bottom line (I find it’s serviceable given the characteristics that they’re shedding light on here) – I enjoyed that Josh soloed this one as it’s rare that one WMC member tackles these weekly segments.
Keep up the good work 🙂
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Its a bit different to the usual praise laden posts about this show. As I’m not watching it, I don’t have any particular opinion about the show (have read part of the manga and it’s been pretty interesting but I’m not very far into it) but I must admit that the character motivation of ‘I just am’ kind of bugs me in most stories so I probably wouldn’t have appreciated that explanation for some of Akane’s actions.
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Akane certainly has been one of the weaker characters of this show. However, her saying it’s the only thing she ever knew does not mean that this is the actual and only reason behind her behaviour. It just means, that she probably never really reflected on her own feelings and behaviour.
Personally I’d say that her liaisons serve as the means of maintaining her self-worth. Beeing desirable and beeing desired by someone else means to her, that she has value. At the same time she seems to be incapable (or afraid of?) ascribing any emotional value to her relationships and partners. Therefore, what determines the ,value’ of her partners is their own desirability to others. That might also explain why she enjoys to elicit jealousy in the people who desire those whom desire her.