Kuzu no Honkai | Worth Watching?
Is it worth? Who knows! I’ll let you decide, but first, you’ll need to give it a watch 🙂
As a manga reader, I was already prepared although it’s easy to judge by the premise that the story itself will be saturated with drama. Ever heard of ‘friends with benefits’? That’s pretty much how the premise sounds like. In the beginning of the story, we learn quickly that Hanabi and Mugi are engaged in a “relationship” that seems like those of a happy couple. Yet deep down, both suffers from pain because they are in love with someone else and are only using each other to ease their pain. It’s not hormone that’s driving these young folks into engaging in sex but that they simply want to feel something rather than pain. I have to admit, a show like this definitely takes on a more mature approach at romance than your typical high school rom-com. Make no mistake about it, Kuzu no Honkai is an emotional story that deconstructs romance in many ways more than one.
The character cast is small yet complex because almost every character has their own personal issues. Some are more complex than others as the show focuses on them in their own twisted stories. A primary example is Akane, the seemingly lovable teacher. Yet, as the story progresses, you’ll quickly learn that she isn’t exactly what appears to be. Fans could easily label her as a bitch in sheep clothing and hard to accept. It’s also relatable too as Akane is a type of character that can easily be encountered in real life. That’s what also makes this show more realistic than some others as Kuzu no Honkai demonstrates a lot of realism. Relationships draws a line between love and sex. Can sex lead to actual love? Or is it just sex?
In the meantime, character relationships in the show deconstructs what you’ll find in most romance stories. Yes, there are love triangles but Kuzu no Honkai has characters that uses others to satisfy themselves. Hanabi and Mugi is one but many examples. We’ll also learn in the show of how childhood friends will take the risk of being rejected and hurt. The fact is, no one is really safe of being happy in this series. Happiness is more like an illusionary word in the world of Kuzu no Honokai. Even when certain truths are realized and confessions are made, it is the stone cold truth that brings in even more pain. It doesn’t fall for every circumstance in the show as some characters are more willing to accept reality. However, the truth is still there that makes character relationships in this series seem like a losing battle. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
As you can imagine, the show is drama heavy with a lot of emotions. Jealousy, regret, greed, hopeful, mistrustful, fear, are just a few to name. Action has consequences and this show brings out the worst out of human behavior. Think about it really. Kuzu no Honokai translates to Scum’s Wish as the title references to one’s interest to satisfy their own desires. Most of the characters does this and is drawn by humans emotions. At the core of these emotions is love. However, this show deconstructs love and very few characters actually understands it. Or perhaps there is no real answer because everyone has different perceptions. Narumi (Hanabi’s homeroom teacher) is a rare example in this show where he accepts certain people for who they are even after learning the truth. Still, the truth can hurt doesn’t it?
Yes, don’t expect much comedy or humor from Kuzu no Honkai. It occasionally throws in some comedy from time to time but the majority of the show retains its mature feel. Now, the anime portrays sex as what it is and believe me, there’s a decent amount of it. The manga even has more explicit scenes to illustrate its point. So in essence, this show is not designed for a younger audience but suitable for those looking into a serious yet twisted story. The word ‘love’ doesn’t fit in there as that word is more or less an illusion. Still, I am happy that the adaptation captured the general idea of the original manga. It sticks to its point without derailing from its coming of age feel while inserting human emotions.
Lerche surprisingly did a fairly decent job at crafting the artwork. Character designs look mature especially for the adults such as Akane and Narumi. Ebato has that pure nature lady look that makes her desirable. However, Moca’s character design can be bothersome to get used to as she looks like a child being stuck in a mature world. Be aware that the show has a lot of fan service such as make out scenes, sex, and other suggestive innuendos. One thing I am impressed by the artwork is how there are certain scenes in the show that captures the characters’ expressions at fullest. It accomplishes this with a more detailed visual of their feelings but importantly makes them look impactful.
Soundtrack and music retains a somber tone. It’s a drama heavy story so what else did you expect? It has a feel of melancholy throughout the series along with light instrumental OST. The OP and ED theme songs have some symbolism along with a drama-like tone. But in terms of voice mannerisms, this is where it gets sort of mixed. Characters such as Akane and Ebato are really hard not to feel attracted to with their mature voices. In the meantime, I have to mention again that Moca is a source of annoyance whenever she opens her mouth.
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