Well, if the season is over and I already picked my three favorite anime, why do another review? That was my first thought but these shows need an article for themselves, because it’s rare when you have the polar opposite in two shows that aired the same season. They deserve to be talked about because both are “special” in their own way. Love stories are plenty and while not my cup of tea, I watched these in its entirety. What a disaster. Today we talk about Fuuka and Scum’s Wish.
Fuuka is an adaptation from a manga written by the same guy who made “Kimi no Iru Machi”. Our MC, Yuu Haruna just moved into town, he loves using social media for some reason. In his first day in the city, he bumps with a mysterious girl, Fuuka Akitsuki, who breaks his phone because she thinks for some reason he took a picture of her underwear. They discover later they are in the same school and for some reason they decide to form a band. The childhood friend of Haruna is famous idol and she is love with him. Because why not. I don’t want to write a half-assed summary but is so bland that when I was looking images for this review, I went back to the first episode and discover they set up a lot of things that never paid off or it didn’t come up until much later so it did not matter to the story.
Before ripping apart Fuuka, let’s talk about the things I like. The soundtrack is decent enough, something I would expect from a show where music is the excuse for our characters to know each other and get close to their feelings. During the airing time, it served as an antidote to Scum’s Wish because Fuuka is the quintessential love story. The ones where love triumphs all the hardships and there’s nothing in the world that can stop it. Those are the stories we told ourselves to remind us of some kind of ideal love.
Now the problems with Fuuka. At best is a mediocre love story, where we already know what will happen. There’s nothing original, remarkable or likable about our characters. Fuuka is the typical quirky girl who transforms the life of our loser and bland main character. There were points where they could overcome the tropes and create an interesting story, they were so close with giving us a relationship with the childhood friend or creating a love triangle that could generate tension, but none of the came to reality. Apparently in the manga there is a turning point for our characters in an event so traumatic and upsetting that manga readers were waiting people who only watched the anime see it and probably laugh at their reaction. But that did not happen and I think it was a good decision. Between choosing mediocre and upsetting, I’ll pick mediocre because at least you get something from mocking it.
If you like love stories where there are happy endings and you don’t want to be surprised, I can see the appeal of Fuuka. I don’t enjoy it as much, but I didn’t hate it. Fuuka consists of 12 episodes and it’s available everywhere. Now let’s dive into Scum’s Wish.
Scum’s Wish is the story of Hanabi Yasuraoka. Hanabi has loved her childhood friend and neighbor Narumi Kanai for as long as she can remember, so she is elated to discover that he is her new homeroom teacher. However, Narumi is soon noticed by the music teacher, Akane Minagawa, and a relationship begins to blossom between them, much to Hanabi’s dismay. Mugi was tutored by Akane in middle school, and has been in love with her since then. Through a chance meeting in the hallway, he encounters Hanabi. As these two lonely souls spend more time together, they decide to use each other as a substitute for the one they truly love, sharing physical intimacy with one another in order to stave off their loneliness.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Scum’s Wish was the most aesthetically pleasant show to watch. The art style is beautiful, the composition of all the scenes were on point. You can even say that every lewd scene was a painting. But what is an anime without the story? As I mentioned Scum’s Wish is the complete opposite of Fuuka. A cynical, bitter and “realistic” view of love. Ideal love does not exist, we are creatures driven by pleasure and instincts to satisfy. Our decisions are irrational and not always beneficial to our lives but we keep doing it just to not feel alone. Love is an excuse to fuck each other in all the orifices possibles.
I’m not exaggerating with the description is all over the place when it comes to relationships and the people in them. Hanabi is probably the most “normal” person but for that she will interact sentimentally and carnally with the majority of the cast. Her travel through the complicated tree of relationships in this show goes like something: Platonic Love -> Pity Relationship -> Dependency -> Promiscuity -> No Love -> Self Love. This is done from the perspective of different characters because all of them have either fall in love or just fucked their brains out. I wanted to make a graph but it was so confusing I had to do a quick rewatch to remember who was fucking who. Hanabi is the most sympathetic character because it’s the only where we can understand the motivations of its actions and we root for her and her journey to understand what love is.
Another infamous relationship belongs to the one involving Akane and Kanai. Akane is a slut, but not in a promiscuous way. Her pleasure does not derive from the action of having sex but from the feelings that come afterwards, she want to be desired and hated, her lust is not satisfied until someone else is broken. There is a reason, which is explained in the last episodes (it should have been a longer explanation). But even after knowing all this, Kanai still loves her and sees no problems with her cheating on him. Why, does he want to watch Akane have sex with other men? What a cuc… Not really, Kanai represents a form of love that you usually see in stories like Fuuka, selfless love. He is willing to give up, forgive and accept everything just to have the woman of his dreams. It’s a concept used a lot in love stories because it’s sounds so enticing and romantic, but alas when to hold to scrutiny is a creepy concept. The real meaning is that you will abandon yourself and everything you are so you won’t be alone. It happens and this is masked it as a happy ending.
Scum’s Wish is not a good show. Being gritty and edgy and bringing twists to conventional love stories is not enough to create an interesting story. The main issue with Scum’s Wish is the interactions between our characters. There are times where actions come out of nowhere and are done solely to steer drama. Hanabi, our supposedly main character, almost disappears from the show two episodes before the ending and when she comes back, now she has totally changed out of nowhere. They introduce us to new characters who bring nothing but doubts that are not resolved. The ending was weak compared to the overall plot, fitting for the course they were taking but they stopped taking risks at this point.
If you want to watch another take to love stories in Anime, Scum’s Wish is the show for you, but I should warn you might get disappointed. It promised to be a thought provoking drama and ended up being stale. The show consists of 12 episodes and it’s available where Fuuka is.