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Episode 1 |Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8 | Episode 9 | Episode 10 | Episode 11
“We’ve at last come to the end of the road with Scum’s Wish and I’ve been left wanting.”
Scum’s Wish manages to deliver an ending, but has to bend the laws of time more that Orange to do it. When you have multiple flashbacks and flash-forwards in the same episode of a non-Doctor Who show, you’re in for a rough ride. There’s not a lot for me to say about this episode since it’s so clearly focused around distracting us with everyone else’s happily-ever-after while dragging out the ‘will they or won’t they’ tension between Mugi and Hanabi. Poor Hanabi gets dragged through this episode to see everyone else’s lives moving forward while her’s remains on hold. While I liked how Moca and Ecchan/Sanae’s character arcs ended, the interaction between Akane and Hanabi felt artificial in the extreme. After the ruthless, conniving manner in which Akane forces Hanabi to see her first love fall for another woman, no amount of somewhat friendly banter would feel plausible to me. I dearly hope the manga doesn’t play out in the same way. And while time skips would help explain (in piss poor fashion) how some of these character interactions play out, it beggars belief that Hanabi would simply accept Akane into her life.
When Hanabi and Mugi finally confront each other after the breaking of their promise, the climax of the series and episode feels hollow and unrealistic. These two kids obviously care for each other, have continued to think about each other, and have reached a level of real friendship. I have a hard time believing that they would simply walk away from one another. Partly because they have seemed to possess a genuine chemistry that could mature into a real romance. But more fundamentally because the show doesn’t sell the passage of time necessary for them to arrive at their conclusion at all. Particularly with Mugi, we get practically no further resolution beyond his acceptance of his own shallow feelings for Akane. And honestly, I could care less. He stopped being interesting about 6 episodes ago. The show ends with our two friends with benefits looking off in the distance, obviously thinking about each other, which muddles an already weak ending in a clumsy attempt bittersweet ending. These characters deserved better.
I’ve always taken note of the rapid pace at which the show burned through the manga but never felt like the composition of the individual episodes were rushed until this last episode. Great pains are taken to show us how Akane, “Onii-chan”, Ecchan, and Moca have made peace with themselves and found the wherewithal to move on, but our principal couple have been left woefully unattended, their only consolation a vague sense of closure but without a satisfying denouement. It’s especially frustrating for a show that has demonstrated fluency when portraying the emotional range of it characters for it to have fallen so short in its final hours.
In the end, I can only say Scum’s Wish arrives a level of comfortable mediocrity. The direction felt inspired and banal in turns, the animation had flashes of brilliance but was otherwise merely serviceable, and the writing was in turn both articulate and mundane. In the canon of teenage angst, Flowers of Evil still ranks as my top choice from recent years. Still, Scum’s Wish may entertain fans looking for more of the same. For my part, add it to the already considerable pile of this year’s disappointments.
Josh Dunham (@Josh_Dunham)
“Things happen, but they are of no lasting or significant consequence.”
Rumiko Takahashi often likes to drag out her romance plots. It took over 500 chapters of Inuyasha to finally get a resolution on the Kagome and Inuyasha love conundrum, taking over 10 years to find something resembling a reasonable conclusion. And somehow, Scum’s Wish episode 12 finds a way to make 22 minutes and 54 seconds feel longer than Takahashi’s feudal fantasy. Not an achievement to be commended.
But this is not the first time Scum’s Wish has failed to be heartfelt with genuine and believable human emotion. The visual direction has been lacking for the past few episodes, creating a real detachment from the severity of emotion, but I touched on this with last week’s write-up… So when this week pretended to wrap up multiple character motivations all it succeeded in doing was inducing eye-rolls and exasperated sighs.
All other complaints have been better outlined by Jared, so I have very little to add that hasn’t already been written. I will say, however, that a great opportunity has been missed. The heavy subject matter demanded a serious tone, which captivated me with the beginning episodes, but now it has waned into hardly being worth the time to talk about at all. The story itself is self defeating, with things much in the same state as they were back in episode 3. Things happen, but they are of no lasting or significant consequence. This is a show that will be forgotten by the end of next season, and quite frankly was a waste of time.