Hana and Mugi recall their younger days, reflecting on how they shaped the way they feel in the present. Coming to a mutual understanding that they may not be special to one another, they toy with the idea of forgetting all their reservations about intimacy. Meanwhile, Akane grows disinterested in Narumi until he accidentally gives her another reason to hurt Hanabi.
As Scum’s Wish enters the second half of the season, a reoccurring theme has taken shape of fear dictating action. This week’s episode reveals where this fear stems from. With the trepidation of being abandoned lingering, these characters cling to who so ever can fill them with a sense of belonging.
Befitting the title, Hanabi and Mugi reflect on the catalysts that have led them towards a self destructive path. As Hanabi mulls over her decision to forgo telling Mugi of Kanai’s feelings for Akane, viewers learn Mugi is already aware of his unrequited love’s unsavory nature. While he likely doesn’t know the extent of her twisted sexual desires, Mugi acknowledges it does exist. Undeterred, he becomes all the more infatuated with the Akane; attributing her behavior as a need for companionship.
While there are past circumstances that likely attributed to Akane’s behavior, it is difficult for me to sympathize with her. It is extremely rare that a character manages to enrage me to the point where my blood boils every time they speak. Given that I have watched series where antagonists have mercilessly slaughtered innocent people, this truly attests to how much I loathe Akane.
Hanabi is gradually, perhaps even unwittingly, being molded by Mugi to satiate more than one of his needs. After his sexual innocence is taken by Mei, Mugi transforms from the person seeking an intimate connection to one tasked with delivering it. In Hanabi, Mugi has found someone who is as sexually dependent upon him, as he was upon Mei. However subconscious his actions are, Mugi is striving to fill the void left in the wake of his youthful exploration.
– Raw, emotional depth in all the major players.
– Akane is possibly the most loathsome antagonist ever.
– All is right with this series, no matter how heartbreaking it is to witness.
With a good bit of time spent on Mugi after his absence last week, this episode continues to explore the emotions of the lead pair. Seeing how their younger selves were shaped by the people they had come to admire allows us to better understand what drives their actions in the present. Especially for Mugi, it’s comforting to know that he’s not really so naive as to think Akane is an angel.
Still, he seems to have this trend of giving up what he wants, like a deep personal relationship, in order to provide others with some kind of comfort. Rather than rightfully despising Akane, he pities her because he thinks she needs someone in her life. Similarly, he gave into Mei and Hanabi because they wanted to fulfill a desire even if it didn’t match with his own. Seeing him then actually call Mei specifically for sexual relief is a sign that he can’t keep being unselfish forever. Thus far though, he has tried to keep Hanabi from being the one that suffers because of that.
In Hanabi’s case, we still see a more pure intent as she recalls a much sweeter memory from her youth that makes her affection toward Kanai make sense. While we may not have seen what made her begin thinking of him in a romantic sense, it seems like a natural extension of what a teenager might feel toward someone who has always been there for her. In having that taken from her, she attempts to move past her naivety about intimacy just so she doesn’t have to feel alone. But there is still a struggle between wanting to discard what remains of her innocence and trying to find a relationship that makes her feel something more.
What will likely drive her over the edge is the continued prodding from Akane. Already growing bored with Kanai, his name slip while they were out for drinks renewed her thrill in toying with him. As much as this feel in line with her character, I can’t seem to get behind her motivations. Her stated goal is to find freedom from the monotony of everyday life, but I have trouble equating what she’s doing with that desire in the same way that I can understand Mugi or Hanabi. It’s as if Akane simply doesn’t feel interesting, to herself or the viewer, if she’s not creating conflict for Hanabi.
The delivery of the final line of the episode similarly felt crude, and may have worked better as something other than a simple state of fact. Crushing Hanabi’s resolve had been Akane’s goal in all this though, and the visible shaking of the frames in the episode’s final moments to symbolize Hanabi’s mental state indicate she had done just that. I worry over how the emotional damage will cause her to lash out, but find myself eagerly anticipating it all the same.
– More insight into Mugi helps to understand his approach to relationships in general.
– Hanabi’s emotions are well illustrated to show her competing desires.
– Akane’s interactions feel sloppy this week – either too blunt or overly unspirited.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party