Scum’s Wish Episode 4: Despicable Characters and The Things They Do

Whew, was this episode of Scum’s Wish a doozy. It’s official — Everyone’s situation has turned into a big heaping pile of crap. There are very few characters that I’ve found despicable in anime, but Akane most certainly takes a place among the list. She’s a scheming, devious lady that gets off on trampling the love lives of those around her. Ecchan deserves an honorable mention with her blatant disregard for Hana’s feelings. I know, I know, this all sounds like I’m being harsh on the characters, so let me be a little more fair and rephrase: They’re both revolting. Akane is by far the worst offender, making Ecchan seem like an angel by comparison. Through the point of view of Minagawa and Ecchan, we learn of the darkness that’s eclipsed their hearts and tainted their views on romance all for the sake of self-preservation.

This episode shows Akane in a different, more poisonous light rather than the innocently bubbly woman she was once portrayed to be. From the beginning, her narration alone showcases just how terribly flawed her view of life is. As she sits alone on the train, we see young boys crowding around her and innocently attempting to grab her attention by sitting next to her. In the past, we would’ve assumed Akane was naïve to the affection of those around her. However, her narration reveals the ugliness that lurks behind her beautiful exterior: “There’s no point unless you’re wanted.” For Akane, her innocence is all an act to strip away the purity of love of those around her until there’s nothing left.

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The very innocent seeming encounters with Narumi were in fact, the opposite. There’s a much colder, harsher reality to her approach. Akane has always been lurking around Hana, waiting for an opportune moment to lunge at what she holds dear. She was always around when Hana was talking to Narumi, looking for the perfect time to plant the seed of jealousy within Hana. There’s nothing that would give Akane more joy than to see the contortions of hatred appear on Hana’s face as she slowly wrings the purity of her love dry. After all, this is nothing new to Akane. She has a long list of victims, with her childhood friend being among her first. Hold up — Let’s pause to think about how ridiculous this whole thing is for a second. I’d like to put this in perspective as I have a hard time wrapping my head around the ridiculousness. What could possibly drive a grown woman to want to purposefully inflict pain on children? Honestly, I’m stumped here — Nothing I can come up with can justify here actions. Her approach to love is sickening and twisted. Akane is a school teacher trampling all over the love lives of innocent students. She has no place in the world of love of teenagers.

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Okay, I get it — Akane is messed up, but clearly we’re missing something here. There’s obviously some issues going on in her life if she didn’t feel guilt or sympathy with her actions. However, I have to draw the line somewhere. This looks like it’s going to be a case of ‘let’s see how messed up we can make an individual and still make the audience sympathize with them.’ Which begs to question — what exactly is at stake for her to take such a misguided approach to love? The only answer I can come up with is that she’s doing this to save herself from crippling self-loathing, but isn’t it all the same? Sure, you might temporarily repair your fragile ego by using another’s, but doing so will only come back to bite you. At this point, you’re not only doing yourself more harm than good, you’re bringing people down with you. Oddly enough, Narumi seems to contrast Akane in his ideals. His approach to love is one focused on the purity of it all. The reasons for him falling for Akane is simple: She reminds him of his mother, allowing him to find some solace in her passing.

For the most part, Narumi has a much more focused and unadulterated sense of love. Out of all the cast, he seems the most grounded (he even calls himself boring). At least for the moment. Scum’s Wish has a way of decorating everyone’s love lives with a tinge of melancholy. If anything, there’s no way Narumi gets out of a relationship with Akane unscathed. Akane has superficial reasons for entertaining him and she’s shown she doesn’t take any responsibility for her actions. In fact, she blames Hana for showing interest in people. Narumi is just a necessary victim for her cause. This all leads up to the crushing moment of Hana walking in on Narumi confessing to Akane in the school music room. The confession was all a painfully calculated plan to destroy Hana, and it partially worked.

The result was a catastrophic turn of events. With Hana basically torn to bits at the imminent relationship between Narumi and Akane, she looked for comfort in Ecchan’s arms. The worst part was that Ecchan knew Hana came to her in a moment of weakness and she took full advantage of it. This is exactly why I find Ecchan to be a despicable character. I sorta felt bad for Ecchan before this episode, but now that’s made no reservations about exploiting Hana, I’ve begun to dislike her.  Taking advantage of your friend when you’re fully aware of the implications is an utterly terrible thing to do, regardless of how much you’re hurting. She willfully violated their friendship.

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The whole situation serves to show that Hana cares more for Ecchan than Ecchan cares for her. Sure, you can argue Hana needed the comfort, but she was also aware of how much she means to Ecchan. She even vocalized that she wouldn’t put to words her discontent. Ecchan took this as the go signal for her, when in reality, Hana couldn’t muster the strength to fight her off; Hana was broken and her heart was bleeding. Also, I’d like to note that Ecchan said something that I felt like needed to be point out. She mentions that she’s getting back at Hana. For what, exactly? Didn’t she just reveal that Hana saved her in the past? At this point, their friendship has gone to a place where there’s no going back for them and they both know this.

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NOOOOO, DON’T CHANGE HANA! Arghjgfghjfhg, why is everyone ruining her.
I have to give a credit where credit is due: Scum’s has me completely entrenched in its world. The fact that I have such strong feelings towards Akane and Ecchan goes to show just how much substance is in the series.  The cast of characters all have believable motivations for their jaded views, with their flaws painted to realistic depiction. I can’t help but sympathize with most of them. I say most because Akane sucks for messing with Hana.

All I can say for this episode is, quit toying with our emotions Scum’s Wish. This series is way to good at knowing just where to tug to get me all choked up in my feels. I didn’t sign up for this (okay, I knew what I was getting into, but still!). I want to believe there’s still some semblance of good in this horribly depressing show. I sincerely hope Hana finds happiness, but with the way things are going, I know it’s just wishful thinking.

 

— Palpable T_T

2 thoughts on “Scum’s Wish Episode 4: Despicable Characters and The Things They Do”

  1. To start with Akane and your question “how can anyone do this to a child”: To her, Hanabi isn’t a child, in fact she said that Hanabi should be “on [Akane’s] side of the game”. Hanabi is extremely popular with everyone, she has the brains, she has the looks – from Akane’s perspective, she should be a queen bee like herself. Surrounded by admirers and basking in their desire.

    The thing is: Akane isn’t primarily a “bitch” or “slut”, driven by lust. When Terauchi took her once more in the morning, she looked so totally disinterested that it was almost funny. What caused this change? She heard that Terauchi had already broken up with his girlfriend. By taking Terauchi, she couldn’t hurt his former girlfriend anymore. THAT is what’s tickling her pickle: Akane is a _sadist_.

    She thrives when she has the opportunity to “exploit” someone. To take away or deny a loved one from someone else. Like she did with her childhood friend. This is why she engineered it so that Narumi’s confession happened in the music room, where she told Hanabi to come after school: She wanted to see the pain and desperation on Hanabi’s face when “Oniichan” confessed to _her_, and she was disappointed when Hana would leave right away. THIS is what she is getting her kicks from: Being more desirable than others, stealing the affections of men and seeing the bereaved girls writhe in agony. A sadist of the truest kind.

    About Ecchan: (repost from MAL)

    There is one thing I’m slightly puzzled about: Why are you giving Ecchan’s so much flak?

    To be honest, I actually liked her reaction. She came out, so Hanabi understands Ecchan’s desires – and, she was willing to give in to them, because she genuinely cares about her. Remember Hanabi’s shocked reaction when Ecchan remarked that Hanabi “was weak to things that feel good”? No, she had sex with Ecchan because she was Ecchan, not because skillful kissing and fingering is feeling good. Even though she can’t reciprocrate Ecchan’s romantic feelings for Hanabi.

    Would it have been better for Ecchan to pretend “oh, I’m just a friend, no hidden feelings here, no no” and returned to status quo ante, locked in her frustrating state of hidden desire? I say no. It wouldn’t have helped herself, and it wouldn’t have helped Hanabi either (who, as she admitted, “filled her void with Ecchan” – the void wouldn’t have been better for either of the two). They wouldn’t have returned to being friends – it would rather have placed a lie between them. As long as Hanabi doesn’t start to mislead Ecchan by stoking her romantic hopes without basis, and Ecchan respects Hanabi enough to only take what Hanabi is willing to give without pressure, I see nothing wrong in what they do.

    This episode also shows that the “inner voice” is genuine from the perspective of the character, but she is not always “correct”. Because Hanabi’s self-flagellation over acting just the same as Akane is _wrong_. It wasn’t anything like that. To a large degree, Hanabi gave herself to Ecchan as a token of love, even though it wasn’t romantic love. Akane doesn’t care about the men who desire and seek her one bit. And – tragically – Hanabi is drawing a fateful conclusion from it: “If I’m no match for [Akane] now, then I’ll change”.

    I’ll admit it, I feel a strong empathy towards Hanabi. I genuinely like the girl – her spunkiness, her intelligence, her honesty and self-awareness, her resilience in the face of adversity, so I respect that she shows determination to overcome her mortal enemy Akane. But, look at her face at 20:09. How is she going to do that? Is this a healthy development?

    And just to mention it: We have yet another hauntingly beautiful new OST piece starting at 15:38. I’ll definitely want the OST when it comes out.

    1. Sorry for the late response! I appreciate the informative post as always, Menta. =)

      As for my description of Akane, that makes a lot of sense, considering after this week’s episode. Sex is just a means to an end for her.

      As for me hating on Ecchan right now, it primarily has to do with how she acted towards Hanabi during her moment of weakness. You can argue that Hanabi was curious and wanted it, but the thoughts Ecchan had during the moment of their sexual encounter was quite alarming. I can empathize with her situation in so far as it really sucks to fall for a good friend.

      You make a solid point about it’s not good for either of them to pretend nothing happened and just lie to themselves. I don’t have problems with what they do either (despite my thoughts about Ecchan at the moment), as long as Hana shows she’s okay with it. They’re both benefitting from the situation and that’s totally fine. I’ll grow to be really disappointed in either if them if they end up hurting each other though. Hopefully their friendship means more to them than that. That said, I hope Ecchan and Hanabi can come out of this without hating each other, but we’ll have to see. This is a volatile predicament for both of them to be in and one bad move can ruin everything they’ve built.

      I’ve really grown to like the inner voices because it helps to see what the characters are going through.

      Likewise about Hanabi. Gah, I just really want her to come out of this emotionally intact, but I know that’s just wishful thinking. There’s no way things are going to end well with Akane constantly poking her where it hurts.

      Indeed, the OST is definitely great! They’ve done a great job with it thus far.

      Again, thanks for the insightful post. As always, I love the comments.

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