Friday, July 27, 2018

Scum's Wish Vol. #05 Manga Review

Every single one of us is lonely.

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

What They Say:
Twisted love causes problems. Hanabi and Mugi are supposed to be dating, but Ebato's love confession has confused Hanabi. Moka's love for Mugi is still unrequited, a painful thorn hiding beneath the blossoms of love. As all around them people are changing their shape, will their feelings change also...?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Oh man, it's good to be back. After a lengthy six-month break between my review of the fourth volume and this one, I'm more than eager to share some of my thoughts on what is arguably the most well-constructed love-hexagon on the market. Sure, there aren't many other hexagonal romances out there but, even if there were, Scum's Wish would likely have them cornered. Even after its fifth volume, its prowess is shown once again in the form of a wondrously twisted narrative and a meticulously flawed character roster.

When we last left off, Hanabi had taken it upon herself to spark a lust-filled revolution against her now-rival, Akane Minagawa. Dead set on gaining equal footing in the world of sex and romance, Hanabi had turned to the arms of another man involved with Akane -- a college student by the name of Takuya. Takuya, like many of the characters in Scum's Wish, is a creature fueled almost entirely by his sex drive. This becomes increasingly apparent each and every time he tries to force Hanabi into a love hotel with him. Despite contemplating it the first several [out of roughly four-thousand] times he asks, she eventually shuts him down when she realizes that she doesn't have it in her to do something like that with some random guy. Hanabi's desires, at least at this point, are an interesting mix between her obsession with Kanai and the idea being wanted by someone. This idea goes on to parallel the second portion of the manga, which centers on the relationship between Mugi and Moka.

It's no secret how much Moka fawns over Mugi. So when he finally asks her out on a date, she says yes without a second thought. In traditional Scum's Wish fashion, the book swaps over to Moka's perspective where she recounts pretty much her entire existence up to this point. It then becomes clear that her whole 'princess-persona' thing is almost entirely made up. Moka has lived her entire life attempting to be flawless- creating an idealized world in which she can live happily with her prince. The only thing is, she's gone so long living in that ideology that it's become just that -- an idea. Mugi shatters the illusion when he asks her out and, even though it should make her happy, it makes everything seem all the more fake. Moka knows that at least right now, she's a substitute for Hanabi. But unrequited love is a bitch, and so she accepts his advances even though his heart doesn't entirely back them.

Meanwhile, the character we're all waiting to see (Ecchan) lies dormant in the background, waiting for Hanabi to call on her once again. Despite not appearing in most of this volume, Ecchan's presence is almost like a huge cloud hanging over the head of our protagonist. Everything that Hanabi desires (Apart from the whole brother fetish) could easily be obtained with just a simple phone call. The only thing is, she would need to trade away the only friend she has in order to obtain it. The volume then comes to an abrupt end after switching back to the Moka-verse. The date and the dream finally cease to be. And even though she's still questioning herself and her motives, the princess willingly begins to shed her skin.

In Summary:
Scum's Wish regains its footing following the weakest release in volume four. Hanabi and Moka flourish in this book, each going through dramatic shifts in not only their minds but their actions as well. With her descent into madness (Or at least something akin to it) finally beginning, Hanabi's role in this world will soon be amplified as everything around her comes crashing down. The dynamics between characters are as toxic as ever and, in several different ways, we realize once again that Hanabi and Mugi are nothing more but toys for one another. One of the chapters in volume five is aptly named, "I Am a Musical Instrument," which I firmly believe encapsulates not only the themes of this particular book but Hanabi's self-assigned characterization as a whole. 

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

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 7, 2017
MSRP: $14.99

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