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Scumbag Loser Review

Warning! ahead there will be discussion of abuse, uncensored images of anime gore, and light mention of sexual topic.

I saw some images from this manga a couple days ago and thought it looked really weird and gross but when I looked at some reviews, I was suprised to see that the reviews were mostly positive, and apparently its a horror too. so I wanted to see what it was about. Looks can be decieving after all. I read it all in three hours straight and yeah, looks are decieving in this case.

So, what's it about?

Scumbag loser is about a 16 year old boy named Masahiko Murai, who is deemed one of the biggest losers in his class. But the biggest in his class is Yamada, who's bullied even more relentlessly then Masahiko. One day, Yamada announces he has a girlfriend, which demotes Masahiko to be even more of a loser than him. To avoid getting bullied, Masahiko lies and says he is in a long distance relationship with one of his old friends from middle school, Haruka Mizusawa. Suddenly the next day, Haruka transfers into his class and right away starts playing along with Masahiko's lie, which is already bad enough but it gets worse when you learn that Haruka had been dead for years.

What I like about it

Well first of all, the art. Honestly im not too huge of a fan of the art style but it can look pretty great at moments. Mikoto Yamaguchi is very good at drawing horror, its a shame he only uses that skill of his near the end of the manga. Wasted potential I think, but even outside of horror art, the exageratted expressions are (most of the time) pretty cool looking. Kind of reminds me of soul eater. Sometimes the quality can be a little inconsistent with a few moments of weird anatomy and cheesy looking scary faces but its not super annoying.

Secondly, the most important core part of the manga in my opinion, the portayal of our mc, Masahiko. From the beginning, its established that this isn't someone we are supposed to be rooting for. He's a total creep, a coward, he's selfish, and he looks down on others he deems worthless to society for various, sometimes cruel, reasons. It seemed like this story was going to be about him possibly turning into a better person, but that never really happens. Masahiko has been shown to have been given oppurtunities to do the right time and always puts himself first. Sometimes it's because he doesn't have a choice, but other times he just doesn't because its whats easiest for him in the moment. And this trait of his stays true til the end.

One thing I saw come up quite a bit in some negative reviews is that the ending of the manga is trying to make Masahiko out to be a good person by justifying his actions through means of the abuse of his father and suicide of his mother. I can see and understand that interpretation but personally I feel different. In the ending, it's revealed that the imposter Haruka contained the memories of the real Haruka and all the other people who have been 'changed.' It's revealed that although Haruka constantly degraded Masahiko in middle school, she really did like him. Haruka says to end all of this, Masahiko has to kill her. But doing so will cause him to die as well as he is half 'changed' from an incident that happened earlier on in the manga. He says he will do it, but when he tries he can't because hes too afraid to die. Haruka tells him that theres another way, he has to eat her body which will make him become the new mother of the changed. So he does.

Personally, I didn't see this ending as an attempt to make the reader feel bad for him but to show that if he didn't continue to live for other people and tried to be a better person, he could have had someone in the world that loved him. Everything he has gone through seems more like a reason for his actions then a justification of them, at least thats how i saw it.

Another thing i like is how the 'changing' of people in the story brings up things to think about.

The story's flaws

One thing I think could have been better is if Masahiko was given more freedom to make decisions. Although he does have some, a lot of times he is trapped doing things for Haruka in fear that she will eat him. I feel it would have worked better considering the focus on Masahiko's unchanging morality is if he was given more oppurtunity to do the right thing and even so, still chose what was easiest for him. Or if the author wanted to show him actually change, make him do the right thing. At the end of the manga, you still have the impression that he is the same coward he was at the beginning despite everything, but he was never given many chances to break out of that box.

also not paticurally an issue with the story but just personal preference, i did not like the whole thing with the smells. that was just weird and gross. it made no sense and just makes it seem like the author has a smell fetish.