I’m having cold chills right now as I write this piece dedicated to the “villain” of the recently concluded manga/anime series Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish) which probably has the most realistically twisted romantic story so far that I’ve known, Minagawa Akane.
Many consider her as a slut — a despicable woman who never deserves good things in life. Let us not douse ourselves with sacred water as we attempt to act clean so that we can “judge” such characters like her with no remorse. Complaints have come left and right as people get to witness how the story has unfolded, concluded, and actually gave Akane the salvation from and the happy end to the wretchedness of her current life. Although unkind not only to Mugi and Hanabi, who concluded that they don’t want to be saved yet, but also to Sanae and Noriko, fate has saved Akane as the height of her character development delivers the saving grace of the story and the saving grace from total devastation of the heart as it has given the notion that there will always be hope, no matter how bleak one’s situation is, for Akane’s situation and background are actually the bleakest among all characters.
Akane comes from a past where she uncovered the sensations and the emotions that she felt in response of the affections of men and the jealousies of women, which gave her ecstatic feelings. For a time, she has become addicted to it. As Mugi had pointed out, it was puzzling on how Akane hasn’t been stabbed or assaulted yet with people. There is an answer to the puzzle that bugs Mugi’s mind. Society delivered a more cruel judgment to Akane.
She has once remarked that branding is a big deal for her. That remark of hers is not something to be brushed off easily. She has been finding her value, worth, shape, and anything that will define who she is on the men that she’s been with. She finds solace in a man’s embrace, thinking that she was that man’s most precious. However, she knew that such thought would be short lived. It would not be too long for those men to find out that she is somebody that society has been shunning away with a brand of “being a slut” acting as a wretched curse as society pulls its vicious strings of stereotypes and opinions to keep her that way. She’s no sociopath for no reason. She’s regretted those actions by probably a multiple times in the past. She had wanted to get rid of her current ways, but nobody is there to save her. She was shunned away to the point that she has begun to feel disconnected. As a result, she can’t reciprocate the lamentably short-lived loves for at the back of her mind which she revealed to the viewers when she and Narumi were at Atami, it is impossible to love while not expecting anything in return.
Mugi caught a glimpse of Akane’s despair when she said that she wanted to be forgotten by everyone. She probably hated herself at that point. Mugi was moved by the opening of Akane’s inner dilemmas. She revealed herself to be a weak person to Mugi. Mugi, in response, was resolved to protect that side of Akane that he fell in love to, glossing it with the thought that he wanted to change her for the better. However, he can’t get closer to her because he is thinking that she is somebody impossible to be moved. Other men also think the same to Akane, that is why they made her feel a great distance between her and them despite being together. That is why she remained lonely. Nobody was there to save her. As a result, she has converted her wretched ways as her “life’s work”, because her wretched ways are the only things that kept her going. Everytime that she had wanted to change and began wanting to commit and connect, her past self was there to remind her that it is impossible for someone like her.
As exemplified by Mugi, men who do fall and once fall in love to her tried to keep her for themselves and forced her to change. Akane further have felt disconnected because of this, because nobody gives a damn about her and they are forcing her to be someone else.
That is why she felt greatly moved by Kanai’s acceptance that her “life’s work” enters into a turmoil. Society has been rejecting her. Why would Kanai accept someone like her? She is the most wretched creature that she’s known. The contrast between her twisted ways and Kanai’s sincerity is so great. Why is she still deserving for a purest of love from Kanai? That is when she realized that there is still hope after all.
Finally, she is saved. She’s found her definite shape. Hanabi, Mugi, and the others were still young. They have yet to pass their points of no-return. But Akane is presumably also way past that. Her salvation had ultimately served as the story’s greatest grace.