Over the past two weeks the Winter 2017 season’s shows have been airing their first episodes and the anime community has reacted largely with disappointment. Unfortunately I can’t help but agree with the majority of people and say that original shows this January are a huge let down – though there are some big name titles getting sequels that have helped lessen the issues (KonoSuba, Blue Exorcist and Chaos;Head most notably).
On the one hand we’ve got some bland rom-coms like Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (if that’s even a romance!?) or Fuuka (which I’ve yet to start but appears underwhelming even from the promo material). Then at the other end of the spectrum we’ve got ridiculous fantasy shows epitomised by the abhorrent Hand Shakers (the article on that one will be scathing, I promise).
But this evening I saw the proverbial silver lining to this season in Scum’s Wish or Kuzu no Honkai. Having seen and then ignored the manga on Crunchyroll, I was eager to have a look at what sounded like an interesting premise for anime adaptation.
The story is told from the view point of the high school first year Hanabi Yasuraoka (which in itself makes a nice change – female led stories can good and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). The story is one of forbidden and unrequited love as we learn that the heroine secretly loves her teacher and neighbour who she has grown up with all of her life – a fact reinforced by her nicknaming him brother (or Onii-chan if you’re into that).
From what we see in the first episode, Mugi Awaya appears to be in a similar position admiring an older teacher he has known for several years. The two characters, noticing one another’s situations, enter into a purely physical relationship, creating the perfect outward image, in order to gain from each other what they cannot from the one they really love. It’s also worth complementing Studio Lerche for not censoring the material – despite being in a popular TV block, the sexual references are relevant and add a lot emotion to the characters, particularly to the otherwise cynical Hanabi.
This is an anime that promises to be heartbreaking and I can imagine it will keep me guessing right up until the end – after all, it’s rare that physical relationships are ever able to stay that way long term, regardless of initial intentions.
The one downside for most fans is that Kuzu no Honkai is airing exclusively on Amazon Prime as a result of it’s acquisition of Fuji TV’s Notiamina block (you might remember Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress but the underwhelming Battery was also from the same deal). Although Amazon’s anime offering is still thin on the ground, if you can afford a couple of months of it’s video subscription then I would absolutely implore you to go for to see this show (plus Kabaneri isn’t bad).
When people look back on Winter 2017 it won’t be remember for a lot, but I’ve got a feeling we might just remember Kuzu no Honkai.
If you’re interested, the link to the show is here.