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I don’t know how to describe my feelings after reading Scum’s Wish. Is it captivating enough for me to binge read it within hours? Yes. Did I really like it? Not really. Did I hate it through? Not really.

Normally 8 is the number I give when I really like a work and 7 is for work with feelings described above, kinda not here or there but entertaining enough for me to finished it without feeling like a chore. However, a 7 work definitely doesn’t make me feel compel to write about it. Hell, even an 8,9 or 10 work does not compel me to do so. Thus, Scum’s Wish is truly an exception so 7 seems too low but I don’t like it enough to give an 8.

Of course, number rating is all arbitrary but I think it’s a good and tangible way to convey how complicated I felt when I feel the need to reflect my thoughts after finishing Scum’s Wish.

First, the characters are fantastical. What I am trying to say is that they don’t feel real even though the manga tried to lay on thick with primal sexuality that are deemed to be grounded. On one of the author’s note, she described the main theme for the story as “The beauty of otaku’s loneliness” and that’s exactly what it is. It’s just a pure unfiltered fantasy of what an otaku think is loneliness. It’s an exaggeration of real thoughts amplified by ten and it truly read like a fantasy contorted by a Fujioshi. Therefore, it felt very contrived but on one hand, it also has so much edge that it gave a sense of realism because the characters are all so “realistic”.

Realistic with quotation because it’s not true to life. It’s more like the characters are so materialistic and blunt, it gave a sense that they are real. However, it’s obvious they are not real because they don’t act like real people so it’s some exaggeration of realness. To give an analogy, it felt like a fetish hentai. With that, I mean the fetish is god damn true and real, people really imagine this like that but no one really act like the characters in these hentai. For example, thoughts of nurses really turn people on but scenarios in nurse porn are impossible and no one really want to realize them.

That’s why Scum’s Wish created so much dissonance because it’s so obviously fantastical while so successfully convey fragments of what people might think. That’s why it’s truly exceptional. I think this is what people get from Yuri and Yaoi works. Exaggeration of real thoughts, imaginations and struggles yet felt so unrealistic at the same time. It’s a fever dream and it’s kinda pleasant but you know that it’s too detached from reality that it will not create true resonance.

The difference between my feelings on Prison School and Scum’s Wish, even though they seem so similar, is because I understand the fantasy in Prison School but I have no clue or resonance for the fantasy presented in Scum’s WIsh.


I love perverted manga, no not boob in your face ecchi manga but manga that explores the perverse mind. It’s my favourite genre in all kind of media. Sono Sion’s filmography is my comfort food because it’s chocked full of the artistry of being a pervert, an outcast.

I seek fiction because my life is boring because I am boring. I am the perfect self-insert bland male lead – unassuming, generic, nothing spectacular and very very safe -. If you ask 20 people who I am, you will either receive 20 different answers or no answer at all. It’s either because I have no set personality and act differently among wildly different groups, or because I am inconspicuous due to being socially lazy. Part of it is by design because I am lazy, part of it is because I don’t know my real self but the bulk of it is playing it up to social norm. It’s only in fictional work – where things run rampant and my imagination boundless – can I find anything resemblances of a consistent self. The consistent reaction I got from a consistent genre of works shaped the self.

Perverse manga is so fascinating to me because it reflects a very interesting reality. We as a society in whole pretend to have decency but we all have degenerate thoughts inside, or at least I have. I will never admit to being a lazy degenerate who spends most of his day lazing around and jerking off because I want to uphold the correct image that is deemed fit for society. I don’t want to be seem as a hopeless bum.

Am I pretending to be decent? Pretending is probably not an appropriate term because you don’t pretend so consistently for 20+ years. You can’t put yourself through lies and deceits for your whole life. I also don’t think I am acting when I keep dark degenerate thoughts to myself and trying to portray a wholesome lifestyle. If I am lying, it will be torturous but it’s not because the wholesome potrayal of a somewhat upstanding individual is also my true self. However, it feels dirty because it seems like I am deliberately hiding part of my disgusting self with the knowledge that it will only jeopardize whatever I have if I am being too honest. Society is too dishonest and shallow, they focus too much on the indecency of everyone’s complicated self and tend to ignore that you are probably decent 90% of the time. That’s where perverse manga comes in.

Perverse manga such as Prison School runs wild and put degeneracy front and center. They make you question how the author came out with such perverse thoughts when they seem so unassuming on the outside. They are brave individuals that share their most wild and perverse imagination on paper and spread it across to millions of people. They are honest and sincere in this utterly dishonest society ,and I think that’s what struck a chord in everyone. There’s a reason why No Longer Human, a novel that detailed a troubled man who thinks he is putting on a facade to live up to everyone’s expectation, is the 2nd most popular novel in Japan – a very repressive society where everyone has politeness drilled into them regardless of who they are.

That being said, it’s not all true honesty. It’s boldness of honesty hiding behind the abstraction of make belief and that is exactly what is so enticing to me. It’s both honest and dishonest, which in return, perfectly encapsulates the underlying nature of society as a whole. Prison School portrays borderline criminality and degeneracy for laugh without actual repercussions because it can. However, these fantasies are as real as they can be, even though they aren’t acts that anyone could accept in real life. It’s this interplay between reality and imagination – things that you can imagine of doing but will never want to or ever do – that capture the exact formless and seemly indecisive nature of what I am as a person. They speak to me on a deeply personal level and that’s why I hold them with such high regards. It’s a release that can be secretly enjoyed in this highly repressive society. It’s having the cake and eat it too against normalcy while upholding normality.


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