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.