Salutations: I wanted to formally introduce myself before I divulge into this feature, my name is Alejandra Elisabet; I’m a: screenwriter, filmmaker, photographer, poet, and content creator currently based in London, I write about numerous topics but today I’m going to discuss how クズの本懐 (Scum’s Wish) deals with the complexity of interpersonal relationships of platonic, romantic and sexual nature as well as the topic of teacher/student relationships from the perspective of high school students and their aforementioned professors.

In my upcoming articles, I intend to discuss where I draw my inspirations and what I pour them into from the perspective of modern and classic literature as well as graphic novels; for this In this particular article, I want to discuss how Scum’s Wish touches on the complexity of interpersonal relationships, both platonic and sexual alongside the concept of what it is to be a replacement lover. and how it affects the individual and all parties involved; I’ve always I have had a strong relationship with novels ever since my formative years. and I’ve had this perspective on them; the literature you engage with, should always be interesting and stimulate your inquisitive side with every page that you turn. The late and great Charles Bukowski once said;

Great writers are indecent people they live unfairly saving the best part for paper. Good human beings save the world so that bastards like me can keep creating art, become immortal. if you read this after I am dead it means I made it...

While it is a crude quote, he aptly describes what it is to be a writer.

I have chosen to discuss is the Japanese graphic novel クズの本懐 (Scum’s Wish) by Mengo Yokoyari; to summarize the manga as aptly as I can; Scum’s Wish is a story about Hanabi Yasuraoka who has been in love with her older childhood friend (Narumi Kanai), now homeroom teacher. He, however, is in love with the new female music teacher, Akane Minagawa. (You can probably see where this is going) Hanabi realizes that Nurami isn’t and never will be in love with her and merely sees her as who she is, a childhood friend and his student; she meets fellow classmate Mugi, a male student facing the same issue; he is in love with Akane (who was his tutor in middle school), Akane doesn’t see Mugi this way, both Hanabi and Mugi make a pact to be in a fake relationship and be each other’s “replacement lover” a lewd coping mechanism to satisfy each other’s loneliness from their unrequited loves in both an emotional and sexual capacity, the pair also make a definitive rule to not fall in love with one another and to end their relationship if their love is returned from the people that they are in love with.

Since reading this novel it has given me inspiration for my personal writing as well as being the exordium to my short film; I can imagine you’re pondering, how has this manga caused such a significant impact? Why did you choose such a nontraditional starting point; it’s rather elementary, I take great pleasure in abhorrent, perfidious, deeply unsound personalities I look back to my final year of college while I was creating my short film I had come to the realization that my female characters had reflected my positive and negative traits; they were also deeply flawed individuals that you wouldn’t completely disparage or disregard because of the aberrant acts that they displayed because in some way there was relatability in their actions (albeit sordid) whilst the audience wouldn’t want to directly imitate their blatantly improper behavior.

Scum’s Wish gave me that foundation to create my characters’ personality types and traits that ranged from: histrionic, antisocial, sociopathic, relaxed avoidant (aka, a dismissive attachment style), dark empath(s), arrogance, unfaithfulness, hedonistic, narcissistic, and so forth; these are all of the twisted, dark, dangerous, unlikeable qualities that we can all possess within while for others it’s out at the forefront. I enjoy what makes a person undesirable, unpleasant, unforgiveable, repugnant… it arouses my curiosity to a great degree; I have the tendency to write about real life and part of real life isn’t just the easygoing and enjoyable aspects of life – it’s the torment, heartbreak, betrayal, dishonesty, chaotic and blatant disregard of those around you, but that is humanity and sometimes the unpleasantness can give us great insight if we lean into it from a curious outlook and standpoint; we can learn from our destructive actions and what the aftermath causes be it destruction or a clear path to begin anew once again.

Another reason for my love of this novel at the time of its release I hadn’t found another manga that touched on interpersonal affairs from a platonic and sexual standpoint that weren’t either overly mature to the point of where it was explicitly pornographic or that it wasn’t for my age demographic (manga has a genre called “Josei” that is targeted to women rather than teenagers and young adults); while the material is explicit in nature; there isn’t a great amount of depth or complexity to them which is where they seem to lose their appeal and ultimately my interest, they’re very surface level explicit which after some time I (and probably most) will move on swiftly and rightfully so; blatant explicit prose is ultimately uncouth unless there is context and reason behind its placement within a novel.

My final note as to why I found this graphic novel to be a great source of inspiration was the act of being a “replacement lover” I found this to be a fascinating concept as equally as it was disturbed the idea that a teenager used adult means to emotionally detach themselves of not being wanted is an interesting approach to take as it depicts the calculatedness of human nature whilst displaying the naiveté of a teenagers actions to what one can image Hanabi feels is abandonment.

During the process of writing my graduate short I pondered on what I wanted to write about, what I wanted to create, and I began to notice that the films with deeply flawed characters to me felt very one dimensional, they lacked depth and what propelled them was either violence, sex, or control.

There is only so much that one can do with surface level superficial characters; if I was going to write someone unlikeable, I’m going to make you question as to why you cannot abide this fictional character rather than your conclusion to be “they’re annoying”; that’s a rather jejune reaction, don’t you agree? One should see them merely for what they are entertainment and solely entertainment.