Scum’s Wish – Episode 9

“Butterfly Swimmer”

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After being blown off by Mugi, Hanabi accepts Ecchan’s invitation to visit her summer house. Expecting to be alone with her friend, Ecchan is annoyed when she finds Atsuya there too. Amid the relaxing atmosphere, she and Hanabi search their feelings and come to an ultimate decision.


KimmieKawaii

The underlying message for Scum’s Wish seems to be: the path to self-acceptance is paved with obstacles. With that in mind, it is starting to seem that redemption is possible for these perverse scum.

While Mugi and Hanabi are products of similar feelings, their chosen paths are diverting. It has become they are foiling, rather than complimenting, one another. Though Hanabi continues to struggle with loneliness, even back sliding earlier in this episode and sleeping with Ecchan, she has begun the process of inner analysis to decipher how her emotions culminate into negative actions. While it can be argued that Mugi also grasps that his attachment to Akane is unhealthy, he is content enough to fully indulge in her twisted world — leaving little room for self-healing to begin.

Image of Hanabi and Ecchan holding each other in the rainI have begun to surmise that Hanabi and Mugi represent the outcome of starting at similar points, yet taking two different paths to reach an end. Despite struggling, Hanabi has begun sorting through the pieces of her life and categorizing what is healthy for her and what she must learn to separate from.  As is the case with Ecchan and Mugi, there are gray areas where certain people impact her in both positive and negative ways.

Hanabi is not the only person to embrace her feelings. Atsuya muddles Ecchan’s plans for a romantic weekend with Hanabi by showing up to their family’s vacation cabin in Karuizawa. Signifying the voice of reason, Atsuya guides Ecchan in realizing that Hanabi’s heart will never truly belong to her. Similarly, Moca seems to have finally moved on from Mugi and has begun to find her ‘true self.’ In a unanticipated, yet inspiring scene, Moca basically implies that Hanabi should ‘suck it up,’ when it comes to her grief over being separated from Mugi.

Image of Moca walking away contentlyMoca’s happiness is indicative of someone who has experienced heartache and bounced back; a coming of age experience. Hanabi is encountering a bittersweet growth; a slow transition of rediscovering oneself after relying on others to abate pain and loneliness. Attaching her feelings to the actions and emotions of others, Hanabi lost all sense of herself, until now. As Hanabi watches Moca bask in her newfound freedom, she has begun to recognize the similarity of their situations. Perhaps Hanabi may even appreciate Moca as a reflection of where she, herself, will ultimately wish to end up.

Good
– Hanabi, Ecchan, and Moca are all on the road to healing; with Hanabi learning to rediscover who she is.
– The plot between Ecchan and Atsuya felt more cohesive this week.

Bad
– I am running out of tissues…


WeekendOtaku

With the final quarter of the single cour series impending, one would expect the loose ends to start being tied up. While I initially though that this episode was too early for Hanabi to make the revelations that she is, the material it covered was best covered before all the issues with her and Mugi are brought to a close.

Image of Hanabi checking her phoneTowards that end, Hanabi’s attempt to reconcile her relationship with Ecchan  shows an effort to come to terms with what happened between them as well. Though spurred on by the hope that she might move on after Kanai’s rejection, Hanabi suddenly finds herself completely alone thanks to Mugi’s actions. She can’t completely trust Ecchan’s motives, but she can’t pass up the opportunity to clear the air either.

The scenes at the summer house are as much aimed at lightheartedness as they are at serious reflection of Hanabi and Sanae’s feelings. Atsuya plays the unwelcome yet clear minded third party in an episode that could have worked just as well for his introduction as the oddly placed sequence last week. He doesn’t tell the girls anything they don’t know – that they need to make the healthy decision regarding one another, but acts as a persistent reminder while Hanabi and Sanae threaten to slide back into old habits.

Image of Hanabi and Ecchan talking about separatingUltimately, their mutual decision to end their physical relationship is Hanabi’s first step toward climbing out of the mess she’s made and learning to place her self worth beyond the feelings that someone else has for her. Even her impassioned bid to convince Sanae that they should still remain friends shows that Hanabi understands that the pain can’t be swept away and that everything that happened is somehow part of her.

Most surprising for her is the small encounter she has with Moca as the school semester starts anew. Still reflecting on the fact that she’s alone, she finds wisdom in Noriko’s playful metaphor about still being able to enjoy a danish that she buys on her own. Moca confirms what viewers surmised at the end of episode seven in that she has matured past the notion of letting a fantasy define her. The pragmatic approach is an eye-opener for Hanabi as she first realizes that she never thought to try being alone.

Image of Hanabi smilingThe hopeful tone at the end of this episode comes earlier than I thought it might, but it means that the series perhaps hopes to reach a positive end rather than a tragic one. Mugi might end up on a different path, but it’s likely that Hanabi will understand that her life doesn’t begin and end with the heartache she once experienced.

Good
– Hanabi sees some real growth, creating hope that her story won’t end in tragedy.
– Ecchan’s involvement isn’t simply brushed aside for plot convenience, nor does it drag on along an already explored path. The episode is a finishing bow to her struggles.

Bad
– Mugi’s short segment is a complete aside. It tells the audience that he’s still in a bad place, but only as an afterthought.


This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party

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