If you were to disappear tomorrow, would the world miss you? Are there people who need you? Or are you inconsequential? Strange as it may be, Scumbag Loser is a manga that takes a fresh approach in narrating a tale of psychological horror and supernatural mystery.
Scumbag Loser, or as it is known in Japanese Saiteihen no Otoko, is a 2011 manga by Yamaguchi Mikoto. The manga follows the terrifying events surrounding the lead character Murai Masahiko, who is for all intents and purposes considered a "Loser Scumbag" in popular Japanese culture. Masahiko is an otaku who is awkward, overweight, unattractive, and has weird hobbies. His life takes a sudden and horrifying dive for the strange when a beautiful girl named Misuzawa Haruka appears and decides to enter a relationship with him. But things are not all they seem when it comes to Haruka, and with her comes a very dark turn of events.
This series is definitely not your everyday manga. Very often does the story enter into uncanny and even uncomfortable territories, yet in all this there is a very sensual and even heavy message to be told. In some ways it conveys a commentary on the way we as a society and as individuals view ourselves and others. The way the author narrates the story itself is very engaging, and always keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. The storytelling is definitely fluid and always sets itself up for the next chapter. Though some parts may slow down, it is overall a story that is both interesting and full of impact. Though some may argue that the ending could have been stronger, it is sufficient in wrapping up the twisted tale of Murai Masahiko.
The art style is definitely unique and high quality. It is consistent and clean, with nice scene compositions. The main character's design however is especially noteworthy as he is of a much more heavier build than your average anime/manga protagonist. The way the author has pulled off the look of overweight characters is realistic and dynamic. Overall Yamaguchi has nice character designs and definitely brings many memorable scenes to the manga.
There isn't too much to write about the characters as the manga itself is only three volumes long. Most of the side characters appear briefly and illustrate a certain archetype or persona, but the main character does go through quite a bit of development. The reader is able to relate to much of the feelings he experiences over the course of the story, as well as see the changes that take place internally. The antagonistic presence featured in the manga is also interesting. Always shrouded in mystery and utterly unsettling.
Overall I enjoyed this as a horror manga. It is not very long and is sure to offer you a few hours of interesting read. Though it can be awkward because of how completely out there some of the concepts and executions are, it has left quite the impact. For fans of disturbing horror mangas such as the works by Junji Ito or Parasyte, this is a hidden gem that I would definitely recommend.