Episode 8 – Happy Sugar Life


If there was still any lingering doubt about just how willing Satou is to commit murder, the first half of this episode should lay that to rest. It continues directly from last week’s epilogue by laying out the circumstances that led to her occupying apartment 1208, that she was indeed the one who killed (and presumably chopped up) the previous inhabitant, even though the presentation once again implies graphic violence rather than showing it. This particular killing seems more justified than expected, as Shio’s life was unequivocally in danger from him at that point. So there might still be some wiggle room to claim that Satou has routinely been killing in self-defense, but that doesn’t make her any less ruthless.

That first half also fills a crucial gap in the story by finally explaining how Satou wound up with that apartment. The original owner was an artist who turned down Satou’s offer of sex to let her hang out in his apartment, and instead asked her to model for him. Their discussion about love just reinforces what we already knew about Satou’s life before Shio—she had a string of emotionally unfulfilling encounters with boys in search of something that could genuinely be called love. (It also clarifies that Satou sees sex more as a tool than a fulfillment of love.) However, that sense of aimlessness is what attracted the artist to her, as he’s driven to murderous intent when she bringing an unconscious Shio to his apartment and seems truly happy for the first time. Even though that sticks firmly with the theme of everyone being crazy and damaged in this show, it still came off as a cheap and forced conclusion to me. Still, I found the first-person perspective approach, where the artist’s words are distorted out so we only hear Satou’s side of the discussion, to be quite effective. (This series’ experimental direction continues to be a plus!) Now the big lingering question is what circumstances were behind Satou showing up with Shio. I’m guessing Shio got separated from her mother and Satou found her, but given the way this show has operated so far, there could be something more sinister afoot there.

The second half splits off to deal with two pairings. Shoko meets up with Asahi in the wake of her devastating conversation with Satou last episode, and the two comfort each other. As interesting as that pairing could be, especially with Shoko’s regret over not being able to hold her ground against Satou’s attempts to drive her away, the situation with Mitsuboshi is much more compelling. Surprisingly, he’s come to terms with the fact that he’s sunk into depravity and is attempting to claw his way out of it. He might have actually succeeded if Satou hadn’t shown up at the perfect moment and finagled him into doing her bidding – namely, getting Asahi out of the picture. She’s shown before that she has a talent for manipulating people, but the way she twists Mitsuboshi around her finger here is chilling. Still, the house of cards holding up this entire ruse seems all too fragile. It can only be a matter of time until she slips up.

I’ve seen this series described as a study in how damaged people try to cope with moving forward in their lives. That interpretation fits everything this week quite well, especially if the exaggerated monstrousness of some characters is meant to be symbolic of how a victim might see their abusers, hence the surreal and horrific artistry used to depict them. That interpretation also gives the scene between Mitsuboshi and Satou in the restaurant greater meaning, as I couldn’t escape the impression that Mitsuboshi resembled a drug addict who’s trying to go clean but has been dragged back into the scene again by enablers. So the series seems to be trying to straddle a line between sensationalism and thematic meaning. While it’s not succeeding gloriously at that, it’s doing better than many of its peers in faux-cutesy mystery horror.

Rating: B+

Happy Sugar Life is currently streaming on
Amazon Prime.

, 2018-09-04 23:19:18

Content from http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/happy-sugar-life/episode-8/.136224