I finally caught up on the last chapter of Scum’s Wish today and… it was kind of lame.
Brief spoiler-ific thoughts below.
To put it simply, the resolution was rushed. After not interacting for around ten chapters, Hanabi and Mugi have one conversation and that’s it, the story ends. Even the way the teachers hooked up was really abrupt. One chapter, Akane is her usual femme fatale self, the next chapter she’s suddenly getting married. The final chapter suggests that she’s still a rather mean-spirited person when she tells Hanabi: “I don’t want you to get taken by anyone else.” She’s still a cipher by the end, and that makes her romance with Kanai difficult to buy.
Looking back, this story needed at least a dozen more chapters to flesh out the emotional arcs of these characters, especially considering how much time the manga spent establishing them in the first place. A lot of time was wasted on side characters like Ecchan and Mugi’s childhood friend. (The latter character doesn’t even appear in the final chapter, btw.) It’s all especially disappointing because neither of those characters got much payoff in the end.
I’m glad, at least, that Hanabi and Mugi didn’t get together in the end. Their relationship was a bit too messed up to serve as the springboard for a healthy romance. The story ended with them affirming how much they appreciate and needed each other, but ultimately deciding that they were strong enough now to be able to go their separate ways. Had this been given more buildup, it could have been a rather powerful ending. As it is, it’s a bit underwhelming, although the art does sell the emotions behind their parting really well.
So, yeah. Scum’s Wish. I really enjoyed this manga when I was binge-reading it (as evidenced by my post gushing about it here), but I felt kind of disconnected from the characters when I returned to the series a few months later. Maybe I can’t relate to that “TFW NO GF” theme this manga has going for it. I also can’t really wrap my head around these characters’ obsession with “the real thing” in their relationships. I can’t deny that watching a bunch of distraught people make terrible decisions makes for a fun emotional rollercoaster ride, though.
This manga has some definite strong points. The art looks beautiful, and I really do like how it takes the same-sex interactions between Hanabi and Ecchan seriously. This series was at its best when it explored the complex and ambivalent feelings involved in not-so-platonic friendships.
However, I cannot recommend Scum’s Wish, because there is no payoff in the end. Where did all that angst and pining lead to in the end? Nothing but more angst and pining. Kind of a waste, even if I did see that coming.