OP: 「ワンルームシュガーライフ」 (One Room Sugar Life) by ナナヲアカリ (Nanawo Akari)
「砂糖少女は愛を食む」 (Satou Shoujo wa Ai o Hamu)
“The Sugar Girl Feeds on Love”
From the start of Romeo and Juliet, right in the prologue, Shakespeare tells the audience that the titular romance was not going to end well. Of the warring Montague and Capulet families he wrote: ‘From forth the fatal loins of these two foes / A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life’. Even before the play opens proper, huge spoilers, as Shakespeare warns the audience that not only do Romeo and Juliet kill themselves their love was also star-crossed, so they were basically doomed. Such is the way of tragedy, and the more Greek they are the more fatalist they get. When watching we know the hero is going to fall and fall hard, but there is something about their descent that keeps us glued to the tragedy. Happy Sugar Life appears to want to frame itself as that kind of that story, opening cold with a promise of inevitable tragedy. In the preview I described Happy Sugar Life as an oncoming train-wreck, and apparently the anime understands this full well and has decided to show us the flaming wreckage first to tempt us into sticking around to watch the play-by-play dissection of the disaster.
A bit heavy-handed perhaps, but it’s hard to blame Happy Sugar Life for it. Shows about cute girls being happy. There’s no hook in an opening like that; no, Happy Sugar Life knows that i has to sell itself on the crazy yandere. That’s why you’re here and that’s why I’m here. But I hope that Happy Sugar Life is not tempted into pushing that angle too hard. Just as a purely sweet anime is not particularly interesting, neither is a completely bitter one. Instead, Happy Sugar Life is a story of juxtapositions, balancing its darkness and its light against each other to make us question both. Consider all that is in conflict in this episode: the unhinged, Shaft OP against a gentle ED. The pastel palette and soft designs against the adult themes. Even the main characters, Matsuzaka Satou (Hanazawa Kana) and Koube Shio (Kuno Misaki) play against each other, with the former’s name being a homophone for sugar and the latter’s being one for salt. And, of course, they are themselves in conflict with their world, with their seemingly pure relationship at odds with cynical reality.
Why did Romeo and Juliet ultimately have to die in their play? Part of it was the Montague/Capulet rivalry meaning that their love could never be. Part of it was sheer coincidence. Part of it was that they were naïve teenagers and bungled everything. In comparison, how is Happy Sugar Life going to go? Satou is evidently, no fool, and not so naïve that she is not above some pragmatic villainy of her own in the face of evil. And while I may refer to her as a ‘crazy yandere’, is she actually insane? Or does she simply have a purity of vision, and it is the world that has gone mad? I think that will be an ever present question throughout Happy Sugar Life. In Romeo and Juliet, pure, naïve love is celebrated, brings peace to warring houses, and is triumphant beyond death. Happy Sugar Life simply takes that to the extreme. Satou’s love is pure, uncut, straight the to brain. And perhaps ‘pure’ does not always ‘good’.
ED: 「SWEET HURT」 by ReoNa