Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Scum's Wish Vol. #03 Manga Review

The Willful, Self-Indulgent Joke Called Love

Creative Staff:
Story & Art: Mengo Yokoyari
Translation: David Rowe-Caplan & Megan Denton
Lettering: Erin Hickman

What They Say:
Hanabi and Mugi continue their scam relationship with the confidence that their real feelings are elsewhere. But how will things change when Hanabi discovers that her friend Sanae is in love with her?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
The human heart is a complex machine- and if there is any period of time in which that machine is pushed to the limit, it's high school. The pressure of transforming into who you think you should be often outweighs who you are, pushing any residual feelings and traces of your true self into the darkness. And, as we have learned over the past few volumes, Hanabi's heart is about to shatter and that machine is about to explode.

Hanabi and Mugi may have become closer physically but their minds are still miles apart. It's only a matter of time before something triggers them -- something like running into Akane, the woman Mugi is locked in unrequited love with, out late at night with another man. Mugi, being one of many delusional teenage boys, shrugs it off and says that he's just some other guy that she tutors. Hanabi, on the other hand, isn't so easily swayed.

Perspectives seem to jump around a bit more frequently in this installment as we finally get to see the world through Akane's eyes, albeit for just a short while. As many of us may have suspected, there's a bit more to her than the cute, jovial teacher everyone sees on the outside. In fact, in a sense, Akane can even be seen as the antagonist of the series. Although, one could easily argue that everyone in Scum's Wish is an antagonist and that there is no unified person that we are supposed to be rooting for -- except for Ecchan but that's simply because she is perfect.

Speaking of Ecchan, she swings back into action near the end of this volume, harder than ever before. Hanabi, incapable of dealing with a woman as openly malicious as Akane, is feeling broken down yet again. Sanae, being a bit of stalker like usual, follows Hanabi out into the rain, where she shelters her and invites her home, sparking an insatiable, lust filled night for both girls. Ecchan is clearly tired of being locked in the friend zone and wants more than anything to be seen as a prospective lover. In many ways, she even wants to be used as some sort of sex object. Ecchan is so infuriated by the idea of Hanabi with anyone other than herself that she borderline sexually assaults her in an attempt to bring them closer together.

As if things couldn't get any worse for our main character, Hanabi just so happens to walk in on Kanai-sensei, the object of her affection since childhood, confessing to Akane. And while this was clearly the result of some evil plotting on Akane's behalf, the event lights a fire within Hanabi as she makes a vow to change herself into something much worse than Akane could ever hope to be.

In Summary:
Scum's Wish remains consistent in its ability to use lust as a lure for readers. Slowly but surely, the series is taking a darker turn and the emotions that everyone is trying to hard to hide are leaking out bit by bit. Perspectives shift more than usual in this volume but the general idea and flow of everything don't seem to distract at all in the grand scheme of things. This method of storytelling, expertly utilized by Yokoyari, mimics to spontaneity and ambition of this series -- creating a trainwreck that one can't bear to look away from.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: April 18, 2017
MSRP: $14.99

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