Happy Sugar Life

Title:Happy Sugar Life
ハッピーシュガーライフ
Overall:Buy
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: HANAZAWA Kana
KUNO Misaki
Beautiful high school girl Satō Matsuzaka believes she has finally found the meaning of love when she begins living with a younger girl. Previously, Satō never refused the advances of any guy around her, but that changes when she meets the girl Shio. The background and age of the mysterious girl are unclear. When Satō is with Shio, she experiences a very sweet feeling, which she understands as love. In order to protect that feeling, Satō is willing to do anything, even if it means committing murder.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)


12-episode TV anime that premiered on July 13, 2018.
Animated by Ezola.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3592#628]
(Three episodes watched):

Based on the title, I initially dismissed this as a children's show, but nothing could have been farther from the truth. This is in fact a fairly disturbing show which addresses all too real problems faced by adults, to such an extent that at one point the thought occurred to me that maybe I would be better off if I didn't watch it. Things got very ugly, and if Satou hadn't managed to thoroughly turn the tables on someone who was harassing her I might have quit. But episode one leaves you wondering if even she is a heroine, since Shio is a missing child who she presumably has no legal right to watch over. Satou has some suspicious plastic bags in a locked room that she needs to keep secret. Something funny is going on, and I found myself wanting to find out just what it was. Whatever Satou is, she's a quick thinking and clever person, except perhaps when the fear of losing Shio-chan gets the best of her. Everybody in this show seems to be messed-up in one way of another, like the teacher who lusts after schoolgirls. But after watching episode one it was one of my favorite shows this season--I mean, last season--perhaps because bad people tend to get what they deserve in one way or another. Episode three wasn't as good, however. Nobody who deserved it got hurt but a number of people who presumably didn't did. The brutality, the sadism, the insanity, the fetishes--all left a bad taste in my mouth. The thought occurred to me that maybe there never will be much of a story and a resolution to it, just more and more of this ugly stuff. I could do without that.

Last updated Friday, January 11 2019. Created Saturday, October 27 2018.
Buy 8 8 8 7 8 9 Ggultra2764 [series:3592#1552]
I went into Happy Sugar Life anticipating its deceptive cutesy mood and aesthetics hiding a more darker side since I seen this pulled before with a few past anime titles like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Puella Magi Madoka Magica (TV). Low and behold, I got something rather unexpected and, at times, uncomfortable to watch with what the series explores with its plot and characters.

Focused on high schooler Sato Matsuzaka and a little girl named Shio sharing an apartment together, Happy Sugar Life starts off being as deceptive as the titles I mentioned above in assuming you think it will be a cutesy slice-of-life title involving our two leads, all the way down to the opening sequence for it not having a hint to the anime's more darker side. Beneath its cutesy facade, Happy Sugar Life is actually a psychological horror series delving into the more depraved elements of humanity and how such things can warp the mentality of those raised under such circumstances. Sato and Shio are characters of such circumstances with what Happy Sugar Life explores of their back stories and how their upbringings each effect them mentally, Sato especially as she does some rather heinous and, at times, deadly deeds to ensure her so-called "happy sugar life" is maintained with her living arrangements and bond with Shio. The exploration of Sato and Shio's characters are nicely done with exploring how dark and mentally jarring their past experiences shaped both of them to develop their bond with one another, at points even getting rather uncomfortable to watch that adds to how effective it shows how the bond may not be one for audiences to be completely sympathetic to.

The addition of other characters to the series is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some like Shio's brother Asahi and Sato's close friend Shouko that make for solid additions to Happy Sugar Life's plot as they start to unravel more about the circumstances surrounding Sato and Shio's predicament, as well as facing their own developments in regards to the circumstances. Others like Taiyou and Kitaumekawa-sensei were a bit too over-the-top with their behavior and actions to be taken seriously and felt mostly like shallow archetypes in the show's exploration of humanity's depravity.

The show also carries with it some issues in regards to its execution. It does take some time for the anime to start picking up steam in exploring Sato and Shio's characters, as we are otherwise introduced to the mentioned over-the-top characters in the series and Sato's actions to thwart anyone getting in the way of her bond with Shio. Also, there are occasions where the show's attempts at trying to come off serious can feel sloppy in their execution thanks to how over-the-top some of the characters come across with their actions, this being especially notable with Taiyou, Sato's aunt, and Kitaumekawa.

Setting aside these issues, Happy Sugar Life is otherwise still a mostly solid psychological horror series whose cutesy facade hides an impactful and disturbing look at how people can be effected from being raised under horrific circumstances by their caretakers. I'd at least recommend checking it out once to see how effective its horror elements and character exploration are.

Last updated Saturday, October 20 2018. Created Saturday, October 20 2018.

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