Episode 9 of Kuzu no Honkai has finally reached that turning point where the characters are finally accepting the truth of who they are and realize that they are not alone in the world. Everyone around them is just as flawed as they are, full of insecurities and complexes that many times are very similar to their own. In real life, it may take years for someone to come to that level of self-realization, but in Kuzu no Honkai we only have three episodes left and a character who missed the point of this episode. Damn you, Mugi. Damn you and your love for that psychopathic bitch.
Japanese Title: butterfly swimmer
Ecchan and Hanabi’s unhealthy relationship is ‘healed’ in a way from the one person that I accused in a previous review of being out of place. Atsuya, the ever-present cousin, once again finds himself ‘out-of-place,’ but this time it was on purpose and with a purpose. His straightforward demeanor and inclusive behavior played a therapeutic role that undeniably mended the long-worn scars that both girls carried in their relationship. Ecchan still takes advantage of Hanabi’s desires and need for attention by sexually engaging with her, as if passion could magically transform Hanabi’s feelings towards her. What could have easily turned into a sex-cabin for traumatized young children turned into a healing spot for troubled souls; mostly because Atsuya’s empathetic presence brought something that was otherwise missing, a new point of view. Atsuya shows both girls what it means to embrace the scum inside you and how incredibly enlightening it is to be open with your feelings. Atsuya’s purpose was not to play therapist, but to keep Ecchan from being hurt. Yet, his private talk with Hanabi, the insights he shared with Ecchan, his intentional desire not to be in the way, and his unique way of apprehending life gave the girls a unique point of view on their situation. The rain scene was one of the most beautiful moments in Kuzu no Honkai. In a moment of clarity, she realizes that she does have feelings for Ecchan. It’s not love, or friendship, or mutual respect; it’s nothing that can be reduced to tags. It’s a genuine feeling that a flawed person feels towards another flawed person. An exceptional level of understanding that can only be described as a form of unconditional love. It’s not her body or her friendship that sparks that feeling; it’s an empathy that transcends space and time. It’s the realization that people can understand each other without succumbing to fear, the fear the Ecchan finally recognized in both herself and Hanabi. And then came the truest kiss of the series: A kiss between two human beings that shined pure love. No one has to be alone. We are only alone when we fail to embrace ourselves for what we really are so that we can project a truer self to those who matter to us.
Moca’s reaction to Hanabi was the cherry on top of the cake. Their rivalry is still there and strong, but for some reason it felt quite different. No, take that back. Not for some reason. There is a very good reason it feels different. Not that they were both rejected, Moca has an air of…how can I say it…of self-control. She is more aware of herself, and the air between the two doesn’t seem negative, but positive. It’s a rivalry that is now based on a mutual respect. They both know how the other feels, and see each other as equals.
Sex Scene of the Week: For the duration of the episode I was sure I was going to include Hanabi and Ecchan, but then came Minagawa-sensei and her role-playing monologue to ruin everything. The teacher home visit turned into a booty call, and despite Mugi’s clear discomfort, she insists that he calls her ‘sensei.’ That scene was so wrong in so many levels, but it was also sexy in a twisted kind of way. I just hope that the last episodes are Hanabi’s battle against the control that bitch has over Mugi. He must realize that the Akane of his dreams and the one that is offering herself to him are two very different persons.
Themes & Trivia
Karuizawa: Karuizawa is a popular resort town in the mountains near Nagano, Japan. Forests in the surrounding area offer cycling and walking paths along with sites like Kumoba Pond (maybe the lake that Hanabi and Atsuya visited?) and Shiraito Falls. Kyu-Karuizawa, the old town center, is the site of a pedestrian shopping strip and probably the place that Ecchan and Hanabi went shopping.
The anime is going in the right directions in regards to proper storytelling. It started in Episode 1 with a protagonist couple with clear goals and even clearer flaws. It went on providing a psychological profile on every major character in order to understand the reasons behind their actions and better judge the dynamics between them. Three episodes before the final curtain falls, we have most of the cast coming to a mini catharsis that will help them cope with the future; all but two, the woman who in my eyes is the main villain and one of the two protagonists who has surrendered to that inner scum without first acknowledging it. I am very curious to see how the series will end for Mugi.
We have to break free…
Now that most of the characters have come to a sort of a resolution, it’s time to go after the main villain and save the princess, Mugi. Hanabi, Ecchan, and Noriko (not counting the side characters) managed to embrace the scum within, it’s to go help poor Mugi pull out Akane’s humongous breasts before he suffocates from stupidity. Akane is beyond help.
Did you like Episode 9 of Scum’s Wish? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic anime reviews for Winter 2017!
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