Scum's Wish is available on Crunchyroll's Manga app to premium subscribers, with the final issue available for free viewers. The series lasts 47 chapters.
Okay, fair warning. I am about to spoil this series. I'm not even going to try and hide the spoilers here, because honestly, I need them for specific points I am about to make. If for whatever reason you do not wish to be spoiled, turn back now. The "read more" link is your only chance to stay pure. With that said, let's dive into this controversial and popular manga.
This is a very hard manga to like. No pun intended.
First of all, Scum's Wish is a terrible title for this series. The only reason why it's even used is because once or twice, the lead character refers to herself as "Scum" but that's hardly enough to work with for a title. A more appropriate title is "Screw you Hanabi" because I feel that was the underlying message from day one.
Second, the artwork looks unfinished. Even for a manga, there are so many unfinished, wispy lines, that it takes a second look to figure out what exactly you're looking at. There are too many closeups, too many random shots of nature, and so... much... crying. Even when the characters are not crying, their eyes are drawn half colored, so it looks like they're constantly crying. Every single character except for Narumi looks like they are crying themselves to death, because joining the crying are random shots of hard blushing and little clouds indicating heavy breathing, and that's not even counting the sex scenes!
Third, the premise of the story is one that is very hard to justify.
Two 17 year old kids (Hanabi and Mugi) decide to start a physical, near-sex, foreplay heavy relationship, because they both have a crush on their teachers, can't have them, and want some way to fill the unrequited void this is causing. And that should be enough by itself, but Scum's Wish throws in extra drama and a whole cast of horrible people to deviate from the original idea.
Hanabi is the purple haired protagonist, but you may not know that, as the series drifts away from her from tie to time and nothing good ever happens to her. She has "Daddy left home" issues, a negligent mother, and a deep seated crush on Narumi. Narumi only sees her as a kid sister, so she chooses to get physical with Mugi to fill the void. For the most part though, she's just a crying doormat with no concept of trusting people. She cries and complains of hating being alone, only to push people away and embrace loneliness. She has no idea what she really wants and does not take any control of her own body unless she is in severe pain. She also keeps having random discussions with a crazed version of her inner child, which really don't help things.
Mugi is a self serving man whore. He has virtually no personality, no self respect, and only half respects Hanabi, Noriko and Akane. We have flashbacks to his first sexual experience with his Sempai in middle school, which are supposed to justify his behavior, but they really serve no purpose other than to peddle underage smut. He doesn't realize until too late that he actually is falling for Hanabi, and his stunted emotions do nothing for the story.
Narumi is a doormat, so of course I can see why Hanabi liked him. He's also a friendly, kind but ultimately BAD person. After he loses his mother as a young boy, he mooches food and hospitality from Hanabi and her mother, long after he gets a job as Hanabi's teacher. He is made aware that Hanabi has a crush on him early and often. She makes her intentions crystal clear. So how does he let her down? By having a heart to heart with her? By saying "no thank you"? Nope! How about by reminding her time and again that he is marrying Akane, insisting she be at the wedding and making her handle all of the decorations for his multiple parties for said wedding. What an asshole! He gets what he deserves when he foolishly decides to stay with Akane long after she tells him she refuses to be a faithful lover to him. Oh, shit, that reminds me.
Akane is the actual scum of this story. She is a trampy whore. Really. There's nothing else to her personality. She's rude, bitchy, and makes it a point to tease and harass Hanabi at every chance, even giving her a rose from her bridal bouquet and telling her she hopes Hanabi never finds anybody to fall in love with or marry. She also has sex with Mugi (which might be a crime) multiple times, knowing she will never actually have a relationship with him, and rubbing it in his face that she is still marrying Narumi. She has rampant, unprotected sex with several other men and boys, and yet people give her anything she wants for free. If there was any character who deserved to be killed off, it's her. But sadly, she gets to have wedding parties.
Noriko is barely in this series, and yet so many people seem to like her. She's a pigtailed, immature little princess, who is in love with her childhood BFF Mugi. She offers her virginity to him, but unlike with Hanabi, whose virginity he almost did take, he decides to tell Noriko he won't have sex with her... after stripping her down and coping a feel. We last see her at school, dressed in a wedding gown, and just like Hanabi, nothing good happens to her. Did I mention yet that Mugi is also on my shit list?
Sanae is Hanabi's creepy best friend. Let's be real. She forces herself onto Hanabi in a moment of weakness. Hanabi makes it clear she does not want sex with Sanae, but it happens anyway. Folks, this is rape. Sure, Sanae coerces Hanabi into continuing a physical relationship after the first time, but I'm not looking past this. Hanabi said "NO" and Sanae didn't stop. I have issues with this character. Sanae later dumps Hanabi after making the girl actually believe they could start a girls' relationship, then she starts having sex with her own cousin (ewww) and adopts Hanabi's haircut. Because that's not creepy, right?? She tries to redeem herself by posing as Hanabi's girlfriend when Akane's leftovers try to ask her out, but I'm sorry, that's not enough.
And I just have to ask this. Where are the parents?? Seriously, we get the impression that most of the teenagers live alone, but Hanabi lives with her mother. Shouldn;t the bitch be a little bit curious as to where her daughter is when she keeps leaving home for days at a time? That's not normal. Your kid is barely home, doesn't tell you where she is and on the rare chance you do see her, her clothes smell weird, she looks like she's been in a fight, it's after midnight and she's sobbing. Freaking get out of the kitchen and ask your kid where the hell she's been and with whom!!
The only positive point in this twisted series is that it ends with Hanabi deciding to start over and leave these horrible people behind, even when she knows Mugi wants a second chance to start a real relationship with her. While it may feel disappointing to know that she ends up alone and there is no happy ending, I'm actually satisfied, because again, these are very BAD people.
Scum's Wish is disturbing, focuses on unhealthy relationships and should NOT be considered a desirable story in the least. It's surprising this has earned an anime and a TV drama considering the unsavory subject matter. I can't recommend this one.