Kuzu no Honkai

Title:Kuzu no Honkai
Scum's Wish
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: ANZAI Chika
Animation - Lerche
Hanabi Yasuraoka and Mugi Awaya have both failed to attract the lover that they had each hoped for. So, they figure they'll date each other for awhile, but they have agreed that this is only temporary and they definitely will not fall in love.

12 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 8 9 7 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:3312#1552]
Scum's Wish focuses on teenagers Hanabi and Mugi making a pact together to form a temporary relationship to satisfy their sexual frustrations from unrequited love until they are able to successfully hook up with their love interests. Outside of our main leads, the series also delves into the personal problems plaguing some of those close to Hanabi and Mugi in regards to intimate relationships and how this affects our two leads.

Scum's Wish sticks out from many romance titles in a number of ways. First, it explores the negative ramifications of unrequited love as seen from the experiences of any teenage character in the series. As seen throughout the series, Hanabi, Mugi, and several other characters are shown to exploit the desires and vulnerabilities of those they start sexual relationships with to satisfy the urges and frustrations they have with lacking the ideal companionship they desire. The characters realize with time how flawed it is to have a relationship that relies purely on sexual interactions, how this could hurt any positive relationships they have with those close to them, and gradually learn to find their own ways to move on from these negative experiences to find a romantic relationship they can form more positive connections with.

The second way that Scum's Wish sticks out is that it doesn't idealize the relationships formed by its characters. The characters are believably flawed in how they cope with not having the relationships they want, whether due to inexperience dealing with such emotions or having the obsessive desire to seek companionship through sex. All relevant characters in the series are focused on to show how they met up with and developed feelings for their love interest, as well as showing the negative toll that their issues have on their mental state when it comes to trying to understanding how romantic relationships are supposed to be more than just sexual relations.

The third way that the series sticks out comes in regards to how it treats its sexual content. Scum's Wish isn't afraid to focus on intimate scenes between its characters as they are important in showing how the characters regard sex in their actions toward those they initiate the act with. While certainly not appropriate to show for younger or more sensitive audiences, the acts are tastefully depicted and do well at showing the flaws of many of its characters with how they regard sexual acts.

This being said, Scum's Wish isn't without its flaws. The series can turn off those who can't connect with the actions and decisions made by these characters that I have taken notice of, as there are points where the characters can come off as repulsive and selfish with how they exploit others to satisfy their carnal desires. Personally, I was not turned off by many of the characters in their behavior, though Noriko's character did grate on my nerves at points with how obnoxious her voice acting came off. The only characters that I did not feel satisfied with in their relationship developments came with Narumi and Akane, as the resolution of the relationship came off a bit forced given the issues that Akane dealt with from being a nymphomaniac.

Still, Scum's Wish made for one of the more interesting titles I had a chance of seeing for 2017 thus far thanks to the psychological focus it offers up on the flaws of its characters with handling unrequited love and understanding how there are more to relationships than just sexual acts. It won't be for everyone given its sexual content and how low a number of the characters can go with their developments. But it still made for one of the more better watches I've gotten out of recent anime titles for the year thus far.

Last updated Friday, July 21 2017. Created Friday, July 21 2017.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3312#628]
(Three episodes watched):

The thought occurred to me while watching this show that if you're an viewer like me who often complains about a lack of depth and character development in anime characters, romance anime is probably the best genre to watch, since a lack of action and magic (usually) means the characters absolutely need to be interesting or else the whole story will quickly fall apart. Here we have an intriguing premise--a couple who see each other as little more than 'replacements' for their preferred lovers, and have vowed not to fall in love. But it seems a safe bet that that will happen anyway. It makes you wonder, to what extent do we choose lovers via free will and to what extent do our genes and DNA make the choices for us? Hanabi and Mugi seem like OK but not exemplary people, which only makes them more interesting. Anyway, episode one left me wondering where this story would go from here, and I was gladly willing to watch additional episodes.

The network of who loves who and who knows what and so forth quickly becomes complicated and I quickly came to fear that I had lost track of too much. Two characters look a lot alike and for awhile I mistook one for the other. Going into episode three, I found that I had forgotten some important stuff--like 'who is this girl? Was she introduced in the last episode? I don't remember what her links to the main characters are'. This is probably partly my fault and party the fault of the plot not keeping focused enough. If it isn't kept fairly clear what the states of the various relationships are, I will inevitably become confused and won't be able to summon the concentration to keep track of what's going on. Already, I wonder to what extent Hanabi and Mugi are still devoted to their original, frustrated choices of lovers and to what extent they have already fallen for each other. Twice already the two have almost had sex, which was kind of titillating once but now I worry it is now being used as a cheap shortcut to 'wow' viewers.

What was that I said about romance animes needing developed characters? Hanabi and Mugi were initially given semi-interesting personalities due to the odd relationship they are in--but it seems that since then little has been done to expand them. They--and everyone else--haven't become three-dimensional enough, and as a result I can't care all that much who wins and who loses in the complex web of secrets and betrayals. All the twists and turns which are being added to the plot only confuse me when I'd rather the story concentrated on the male and female protagonist rather than add additional (shallow) characters. If I can't get to know them and sympathize with them, everybody will be scum as far as I'm concerned--and if everybody is scum, who am I supposed to root for? I got the feeling that my confusion would only get worse if I continued to watch, so I decided to drop Kuzu no Honkai. If I hadn't fallen far behind (as usual) in watching this season's anime, perhaps I would have given this show another chance; but I could not afford that luxury.

Last updated Tuesday, August 28 2018. Created Wednesday, January 25 2017.

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