Provocative manga that made its ways into anime and even live-action adaptations are rare. In the case of Scum's Wish (Kuzu no Honkai - クズの本懐), watching the anime simultaneously with the live-action Tv drama is - indeed - a rare feat and a cause for celebration. I'll tell you why.
First of all, the story may not be original, but the way it's being told - based on the first two episodes of the anime at least - showcase something provocative and enticing. There are, of course, 'for adults only' anime, but to have a series that is readily available and aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina block means a lot. Think of the plot for a second:
Popular highschool freshman Hanabi Yasuraoka has been in love with her older childhood friend, now her homeroom teacher Narumi Kanai. But upon seeing Narumi's eyes after seeing the new music teacher Akane Minagawa, Hanabi instantly knows that he is in love with Akane. That's when she met Mugi Awaya, another popular student who is in love with Akane, who was his tutor at middle school. The two made a pact and form a fake relationship to satisfy each other's sexual desire and made a (another) pact that they wouldn't genuinely fall in love with each other. [ Wiki ]
There is already a lot of things going on, just by reading the plot itself. Here we have two attractive and popular students who are in a serious, intimate relationship notwithstanding that they agreed on this 'arrangement' for the sake of satisfying their 'sexual desires'. I get it that each of them is transfixed and obsessed with someone else (the elder love interest), but to stay close together, revealing intimate thoughts and desires, and even engaging in the actual sexual act - they are bound to fall for each other right? Of course, as many young people do, they would deny what is already obvious.
The anime is seductive and inviting and done in the right way. It's not vulgar, but erotic. The caresses, kisses, and lovemaking are hot (for lack of a better word). For many who are accustomed to watching season after season of mecha, comedic school tales, slices of life, detective thrillers and what else, seeing this artsy piece of youth drama focused on sexuality and desire is like a breath of fresh air.
To add thrills, there are other characters who will become involve with Hanabi and Mugi - both sexual and otherwise.
Kanai Narumi, Hanabi's ultimate object of affection may not be an interesting character, but his counterpart - the new music teacher, Minagawa Akane is. Now what we have here is someone who knows she is an attractive woman and would use it to her advantage. To describe her simply as a seductress is not enough since she is also a pretender and a 'nymphomaniac'. Depending on your point of view, you may hate her or love her.
I don't want to get ahead of the story since Ep1-2 of the anime only reveal a portion of what I just said.
I think there is a great deal of curiosity and excitement generated by the anime, that I'm inclined to write about it - at length. When I heard that there is also a live-action drama, then the desire to review it went overdrive.
The young boy - Mugi Awaya - has Dori Sakurada playing on the drama series. Mugi is pensive and insecure, but he knows how to take on Hanabi if he so desires. Any young man on the verge of manhood is understandably horny and Mugi is not an exception.
My first encounter with Kuzu no Honkai was two years ago. I was fascinated by its unusual title and the character, Hanabi, on the book’s cover. This is a story about Kuzu (good-for-nothing people) who don’t hide emotional pain of love. I was instantly captivated by this work written by the remarkable author, Mengo Yokoyari. She is highly gifted with sensitive and beautiful depictions, and the fact the she is a woman is reflected in her work. I wanted to breathe life into a moment between purely-distorted mind and intellect. And now my wish has come true. I’ll plunge into the world of Kuzu no Honkai as Mugi while reflecting on the meaning of this drama adaptation, its value and the weight of my responsibility. [ translated from Japanese by Manga Tokyo, originally appearing in Natalie ]
That's Sakurada for you.
The young girl - Hanabi Yasuraoka - has the relatively underrated actress Miyu Yoshimoto playing the part. For someone who is supposedly popular and exuding a certain sexiness and sensuality, I find Miss Yoshimoto to be the perfect cast. Her previous performance in TBS' Omotesando Koukou Gasshoubu! as the misunderstood Tani Yuria is evidence of her potential as a dramatic actress. On playing the character:
‘This work’s true essence lies inside people’s hearts. Hanabi’s behaviors are just ridiculous. However, she ends up facing herself and climbs out of the state in which her mind was all messed up. I’d like to express that subtly glowing light. Please pay close attention to the characters’ emotional changes.’ [ translated from Japanese by Manga Tokyo, originally appearing in Natalie ]
My opinion is that there are not enough young Japanese actresses today who may want to take on the challenge of playing this rather flirty and challenging character. There is an extensive requirement to do a lot of torrid kissing on the drama series, among others. Did I fail to mention that she is also going to be in a lesbian relationship?
Kudos to Miss Yoshimoto! I am liking her performance so far, but yes, one episode is not enough to make a proper judgment.