Through the lens of two new characters, we explore new angles on unrequited love in Scum’s Wish. Hana’s childhood friend Ecchan has had a crush on her for quite some time, but she doesn’t want to impede on her and Mugi. Mugi’s childhood playmate Noriko is on a similar boat, lusting over Mugi. Things get incredibly complicated for everyone involved, as we begin to see the facades that they have built crumbling down. They are barely holding themselves together, attempting to keep back these primal desires that they have. This episode didn’t restrain itself when it came to depicting the cognitive dissonance present in characters while they struggled to understand what in particular makes them love the people they do. It was an utterly powerful episode, filled with the raw emotion associated with awkward moments of teenage love.
For many of the characters in the show, they’re trying to understand what love exactly entails. This leads to the deconstruction of their beliefs as they realize they’re not okay with how everything really is. Ecchan’s character is first introduced as someone who seems to care about Hana in a platonic way. When Mugi comes along so Hana and him can walk home alone together, she shrugs it off and even tells her that her boyfriend should come first. Slowly, as the episode goes on, we see her lurking just around the corner, observing the relationship between Mugi and Hana. It isn’t until later in the episode we see that she’s really not okay with just being friends after all. She thought she would just be fine with hanging out with her, but eventually her desires got in the way of her judgement and she forced herself upon Hana.
With the introduction of Noriko, Hana starts to act in ways that are even unpredictable to herself. Noriko is a girl who is absolutely head-over-heels in love with Mugi, to the point of catering her looks, interest, and even beliefs into what she thinks he would like. She practically jumps at him at every opportunity, attempting to separate him from Hana. She’s also the girl that claimed Hana had cheated in a race in the past. Hana gets visibly frustrated, even vocalizing her dissatisfaction at times. She really bears her fangs at Noriko, showing a feisty we hadn’t really seen before when it came to Mugi. The petty jealousy was quite comedic to watch. Hana even asks Mugi, “Why don’t you put her down honestly?” When Mugi asks her why this bothers her, she can’t answer it. The lines are beginning to blur within their relationship and she doesn’t know where to draw the line. What exactly is she okay with? How lovey dovey should they act? Things get especially complicated as we explore Noriko’s feelings through her inner monologue. Noriko’s narration reveals a deeply confused girl, hurting from the realization that she’s recreating Mugi in her mind to fit her needs.
Vulnerability is just something most people struggle with. For these characters in general, they’re at a stage in life where they barely understand themselves, let alone the complexities involved with romance. Teenage romance is just an awkward time. You’re learning about yourself at the precipice of these raging hormones, clumsily trying to convey emotions that are probably new to you. It’s a paradoxical period in time where things can often not make sense. You’re learning how to be vulnerable. How to open yourself to another human being and share the deepest parts of yourselves. Sometimes, this brings about the worst in us like jealousy.
We see these feelings manifest in the entire cast in some form or another. They don’t really get how they’re feeling and you can’t really blame them. They’re struggling to come to terms with why they even love the people they love, but none of the answers they come up with make sense. Essentially, we love the people we love and we can’t just wish it away, even if that’d be the most logical thing to do. No one wants to get hurt in some unrequited love. But love isn’t logical. Mugi knows this fact and it embraces it, saying he would never wish for his unrequited love to have just never happened. However, for Hana, something is bubbling just beneath the surface. As Mugi and Hana give way to their desires, she begins to call Mugi by his name instead of using her brother. This is becoming quite the mess, but I’m loving every second of it.
This was truly a captivating episode, divulging insightful information on the casts’ complex emotional states. The awkwardness can be hard to watch, but it’s beautiful in every way.
— Palpable (`･ω･´)