In a world dominated by titles focused on teenagers and young adolescents, it is always nice to find an anime series addressed to more mature audience. “Scum’s Wish” is one of those titles, and accomplishes that by shedding light in a number of concepts considered taboo in Japan (and internationally at some instances) in the most no-pulled-punches fashion.

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Hanabi is a 17-year-old high school girl who has been in love since childhood with Narumi, her older childhood friend who is now her homeroom teacher. He however, does not have any similar notions for her and instead has his looks upon Akane, the new music teacher. Eventually, Hanabi meets Mugi, a handsome older student who experiences the same feelings she does, for Akane. The two of them begin a fake relationship, being completely truthful about the feelings they have (?) for each other and those addressed to their true love interests. Their relationship becomes physical soon, while a number of other characters also come to the fore. Sanae, another childhood friend of Hanabi’s who has been in love with her for a long time, and Noriko, who has the same feelings for Mugi. As the rest of the character’s get their share of story, a number of peripheral individuals are also introduced, with the most central being Takuya, one of Akane’s former students who is in a physical relationship with her.

The most striking element of the story is definitely its sincerity. All of the characters, as most people actually, have both good and terrible feelings and thoughts, but in this case are not afraid to admit them, both to themselves and to the people they share their beds. Furthermore, all of them seem to be both victims and perpetrators on occasion, and again admit it in both circumstances, with shuttering but highly realistic consequences on both cases.

Hopeless, painful, unrequited love is a feeling all characters seem to face at times, but the reaction of the ones this love is addressed to is the aspect that makes the title unique, as all of them seem to be ready to go to extreme and even humiliating actions in order to retain even a chance of being with the ones they love. This perspective of love, the one coming from people others would easily call losers, is rarely depicted on screen with such realism and knowledge about human psyche, and the fact that the story sends a message that this is not a bad thing, and that the insistence of “losers” can actually turn them into winners in a world where exploiting other’s feeling is the rule, is one of the most impressive aspects of the title.

People can be small and petty, and the ones who are on the “dominant” side (the beautiful people if you will, the ones who draw others with their appearance) are, at times, very eager to exploit the ones on the other side, and this part of human character is depicted quite thoroughly, again showing great insight.

The fact that all the characters seem to be both victims and perpetrators, based on the individual they interact with, is the element that carriers the story quite nicely, at least for most of the 12 episodes of the series. Furthermore, apart from the deeper depths of human psyche, Masaomi Ando does not shy away from the depiction of the physical aspect of relationships, as the title includes a number of erotic scenes, even ones of Sapphic nature.  These however, are again permeated by realism, in a tactic that results in much but not extreme sensualism, as is the latest tendency with the fanservice.

The animation follows the realistic paths of the story, with the characters moving as reasonably as possible, without almost any kind of exaltation. The backgrounds are beautifully drawn, again in the same style and the sole fault I found is in the characters, with some of them looking too much alike, (Takuya and Mugi) and some being rather extreme in their appearance (Noriko for example). These however, are only minor faults, and do not fault the generally great aesthetics of the title to the slightest.

“Scum’s Wish” is an impressive title that shows great insight, to a degree that could even described as shocking, and, at last, a title that can be easily watched by people of more than 25 years.

My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia. Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute. In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.