Scum’s Wish/Kuzu no Honkai by Yokoyari Mengo

Sometimes I confuse ‘seinen‘ for josei because both deal with mature subjects, but it seems pretty obvious to me that Scum’s Wish/Kuzu no Honkai was written with a male audience in mind.

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SPOILERS

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Yokoyari-sensei knows what boys want: boys want girls who are sexually available, but emotionally distant.

The set-up goes like this: Awaya Mugi and Yasuraoka Hanabi are, to everyone at their high school, the perfect couple.  Each harbors a secret, however. They’re in love with someone else, someone unattainable.  For Mugi, it’s the music teacher at school.  Hanabi wants her ‘onii-chan’ who is thankfully not ACTUALLY her older brother, but someone who functions that way (he might be a step-brother, I’m not 100% clear on that.)  Onii-chan is also a teacher at the high school, who happens to have a huge crush on the music teacher.  Mugi and Hanabi decide to date each other based on their mutual sexual frustration.

As the song says, “If you can’t be with the one you love; honey, love the one you’re with.”

Maybe I’m sexist, but this is where everything starts to feel like a big dude wish fulfillment thing to me, because Scum’s Wish get’s pretty darned explicit.  Whenever the two of them are frustrated over the romance between the objects of their affection, a lot of sexy times ensue. Mugi claims he won’t have sex with Hanabi at one point, but there’s an under-the-covers hand job that happens, so I guess by ‘sex’ he means the traditional tab a into slot b thing. (If that’s the only definition of sex, then as a lesbian, I’m a virgin. And, maybe you think I am, but over here we just call that being a “gold star lesbian.”)

Speaking of lesbians, the story get complicated because there’s all sorts of unrequited love flying around including Ebato (Eci-chan) Sanae, Hanabi’s very best girlfriend who really wants to be a girlfriend of the romantic, rather than platonic, variety.  She was my favorite character, of course.

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D’uh! YOU!!!

Of course, when this question comes up, Hanabi instantly guesses that the answer is “yes,” but never figures it’s her.  So, of course, her next suggestion is, “Let’s have a sleepover!” ostensibly to talk boys, but of course this is torturous for Eci-chan and she ends up kissing Hanabi… who gets a LOT of action for someone not into anyone other than her onii-chan.

But, even this lesbian affair seems to have the male-gaze written all over it. Eci-chan really just wants to get into Hanabi’s pants at any cost, even her self-esteem, because she offers herself as a female version of a sex toy, since she’s found out that Hanabi isn’t all that into Mugi.

I think the other problem I have is with this is the “bad apple,” (that’s her chapter’s title), the music teacher, Minagawa Akane. Her entire chapter is devoted to showing the reader that Akane will sleep with anyone because she has an almost sexually-motivated desire to play people. She especially likes stealing men from other women, which is why she’s working Hanabi’s onii-chan.

Is that gross or sex positive?  Currently, for me, that feels kind of gross.

Like my sense is that the women in this manga are getting kind of a short shrift.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.  There’s something, like I said, that puts me off a bit, yet, I have to admit that I read all 15 chapters available at MangaReader in one sitting.  So… there is a kind of soap opera appeal to it all.

Maybe I should go watch the 12 episode anime or the live-action show?  I guess the anime is available on KissAnime.  You can watch the live action on YouTube.

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