Image source: @kuzunohonkai_tv on Twitter

Scum’s Wish is a show that practically revels in its negative emotions. It draws from its stars’ most destructive behaviors to create a sort of masochistic paradise for viewers. And while its main pairing is interesting all on its own, there’s one relationship on the periphery that’s especially intriguing: Hanabi and Sanae.

[Note: This article contains spoilers for Scum’s Wish.]

Though much of the drama in Scum’s Wish is centered around Hanabi’s love for Narumi Kanai and the “fake” physical relationship she harbors with Mugi Awaya in order for them to satisfy each other’s emptiness, there are several different layers to peel away if you’re paying attention. The bond between Hanabi and her only friend Sanae Ebato is not unlike some that I myself have had–though without the physical portion of the relationship.

Image source: @kuzunohonkai_tv on Twitter

In episode three, after keeping her feelings for Hanabi a secret as she struggled to decide if she was “in love” with the timid girl or if she just “in lust”–Sanae went and kissed Hanabi to prove her love. The fallout of this action continues in the fourth episode of Scum’s Wish, “Bad Apple!!” which reveals a bit of a darker side to Sanae that you may not have picked up on before now.

When Hanabi’s heart is broken by teacher Akane, it turns out isn’t really interested in her true love Narumi–she’s just playing with him to get a rise out of Hanabi. In the events that unfold afterward, Hanabi is in a dark, lonely place. Sanae, as Hanabi’s best friend, is interested in comforting her. But as Sanae’s deeply in love with Hanabi, she’s got ulterior motives as well. After passionately kissing Hanabi, the two go back to Sanae’s house, where Sanae preys on Hanabi’s emotional state to convince her to have sex with her.

Image source: @kuzunohonkai_tv on Twitter

In a scene full of manipulative conversation, Sanae claims that it feels so good to Hanabi because she loves her. And while Sanae offers to stop at any moment, Hanabi is in no state to refuse. Sanae knows this kind of emotional manipulation will get her what she wants–though it’s obvious some part of her is guilty for doing it or she never would have held back so long. Hanabi, on the other hand, is so broken emotionally that she goes along with the love her “best friend” wants to give her. The two are crying, depressed, and utterly mentally exhausted. It’s clear Sanae is only using Hanabi for her own sexual/emotional pleasure. And Hanabi isn’t even close to knowing what her own feelings for Sanae are.

It’s not an incredibly pleasant scene, but it is a pivotal one in the series and a deeply disturbing moment that highlights just how far Scum’s Wish is willing to go to demonstrate the hopelessness and depravity these poor young couples are going through. Given how many episodes are still left, it will be interesting to see how the series handles this particular pairing, especially since Sanae herself has a potential male suitor as well.

Image source: @kuzunohonkai_tv on Twitter

Personally I’d love to see Hanabi return to Sanae once she’s in a less broken state and have a real heart-to-heart where the two aren’t clinging to physical affection as a crutch. We’re not even halfway through the series yet, so anything can happen, though I have a good idea what to expect from reading the manga series. Whatever happens, one thing’s for sure: It’s going to be a ridiculously emotional ride, so you’re going to want to make sure your tissue box is handy at all times. It’s only going to get harder from here on out.

Scum’s Wish is streaming on Amazon’s Anime Strike channel with English subtitles. 

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