「融解レイン」 (Yuukai Rein)
“Dissolving Rain”

No no no no no.

I am generally no good at horror. Just do not have the mentality for it. I think a large of this weak constitution is because I want happy endings too much. That is not to say that bittersweet endings do not have their own compelling flavour, but in general I always root for the protagonist to suceed, for good to triumph over evil, for the guy to get the girl. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much never what happens in horror. Horror — proper horror, not just zombie-action flicks — is ultimately about disempowerment, whereas most happy endings are empowering, or at least uplifting. The two run counter to each other. In fact, looking for and yearning for happy endings in horror stories usually leads viewers directly into their trap; the more we seek an escape from the protagonist’s plight (and they’re always in some sort of plight, the harder the despair hits when, inevitable, there proves to be none.

Perhaps that’s why my only emotional response to this episode was, ‘No no no no no.’

Mind you, I more or less knew what was going to happen. It had to happen. Two weeks ago I talked about how even though Satou and Shouko’s friendship ending because of Shouko was heartbreaking, it was probably healthy for Shouko to escape Satou’s vortex of madness. On the flip side, it was also clear that if she didn’t gracefully exit the stage when she had the chance and continued associating with Satou then her risk of a Bad End dramatically increased. Still, I wished her well, especially since her fate was, narratively, tied to Satou’s. If Satou was ever to be turned back to the light side, her only Luke Skywalker was Shouko. Conversely, if Satou turns on Shouko, then her fall will be complete. Of course, we were shown specifically at the beginning of the series that Satou’s story does not end well. Still, I naively hoped that Shouko may somehow escape her destiny. In fact, Happy Sugar Life invited us to hope, to embrace the idea of redemption, teasing us with a possible route to a happy ending. In fact, Happy Sugar Life almost cheats, using all the usual anime tricks to misdirect the audience. It puts on an emotional insert song. It hams up the imagery. And, importantly, it doesn’t show us Satou’s crazy eyes, which we had up to now relied on to be Satou’s warning lights. And then, in a swift act of betrayal, Happy Sugar Life kills Shouko. Happy Sugar Life had always been content with doing its bloody business off stage, but Shouko’s death is entirely bared to us. I must admit, as much as I was prepared for it, the scene still had its effect on me. It was graphic. It was brutal. But most of all, I was chilled by how cold-blooded it was. Many anime deaths are more gruesome, perhaps, but it just goes to show you don’t need gore to be dark.

So Shouko is dead, but of course she is. She was merely human — refreshingly human, in a show like this, but still just human. Satou is a monster, and horror monsters cannot be fought and cannot be defeated, let alone by one armed with nothing but righteousness. On that note, this is the point of no return for Satou, no? She’s crossed the moral event horizon. Killing the artist in what was arguably self-defence is one thing. Murdering your friend in cold blood is another. Satou slew her own salvation with her own hands, and from now now on there is nowhere to go but downwards. I do wonder how, though. Shouko did what she did out of love. Satou will not go down easily, but perhaps there would be suitable irony if she is undone by love in the end.


      1. Given the first couple minutes of the first episode, it doesn’t look like it.

        The whole series is basically “flashback” as it started at the ending from the looks of it and we’re just seeing how it gets there.

      2. If there’s one thing I seemed to notice from this show is the POV changes. It could very well possible that the first few minutes weren’t real but in Satou’s mind, or we missed the critical seconds following the events.

  1. I’ve been wondering for a few episodes now whether Satou was going to drive right over that moral cliff or not.

    So what will happen to the other three who made up Satou’s roster of the hated, obstructive, lying and dirty?

    Shouko was likeable and pretty much the only one who acted like a decent human being from time to time, but I gotta wonder why she snapped that photo when she did.

    1. This was the part in the manga where my stance on Satou went from “I bet she won’t have a good ending” to “I hope she won’t have a good ending”. Amplified a little because I actually recognized Shouko this time… reading chapters as they came out made me mistake her for the other Satou-obsessed coworker

      That being said you have to question why Shouko took the photo. Killed any chance she had at getting out alive right then and there. Off the top of my mind she could have said something about wanting to apologize for how she reacted regarding auntie or acted clueless about Shio. Doubt it’d stop Satou from inevitably doing what she did but some odds are better than no odds, no?

      1. Remember that Shouko didn’t have the benefit of our perspective and would have had no idea that Satou was as crazy as she actually is. After all, who thinks that their best friend as someone who would murder them without remorse? Evidently Shouko believed in a fundamental goodness that, unfortunately, did not exist in Satou.

  2. Saw something like this coming. With death in the background since the start and the ante recently being upped with a murder flashback, it was only going to get crazier. Let’s see just how deep this spiral goes.

  3. I do not know who is worse… Ryunosuke and Caster or Satou.

    Like caster said upon his summoning, true fear is when you give them a glimer of hope and than forcefully take it away from them.


    Scene for scene, moment for moment… This seems like it harkens back to Caster’s summoning scene.


    Fate Zero at least has some form of good endings for their master and servants.

    Madoka Magica was just ambivalently melancholic.

    HSL just doesn’t even seem tohave any of those

    Henrietta Brix
  4. Satou is a human, and it wasn´t right kill Shoko, it will affect her…
    It this the first time that Satou kill somebody close to her in a emotial level.
    Satou has a hard time interacting or understanding her own emotions, it will probably take time for her to understand why Shoko’s death has affected her so much this time.
    Poor Shoko, if she had accepted Satou when she tried to get close to her emotionally, or hadn´t approached, or accepted Satou’s rejection, or had more luck in the time she chose to talk to her, she probably would have survived. Or even if it hadn´t been related to Asahi who was the one who inspired her to keep trying, and also had to take the picture and send it to him (which caused Satou to discover her)… Por Shoko…
    By the way, I make it clear that I’m not defending Satou for killing Shoko, but I admit that I don´t hate Satou or I seem her like a monster without emotions, actually there is currently no character in Happy Sugar Life that I hate, I love them all and I love them both with its pretty parts and its ugly ones (Although I admit that there are many more ugly than beautiful XD).
    For my Satou is a human, who until recently had a life very devoid of emotions and feelings, due to the circumstances in which she grew up, but one day discovered “love”, she began to feel an intense and real emotion for the first time in her life, and for her it is the first time that she is “living” her life, for her to lose that emotion is the same as dying or to be more exact, she is happy to have found something for which she would sacrifice herself to protect.
    Said other way, Shio is unconsciously teaching Satou “to feel emotions”, and Satou is his first time experiencing and learning to “live”, and that is why according to her logic she goes to such extremes to protect her “Happy Sugar” Life. ”
    And I repeat, I am not defending Satou, I only say things from her point of view, since she is not a monster without emotions, she is a human trying desperately to protect what she loves…
    But I admit that killing Shoko will be a mistake she will regret, until now she attacked or killed “horrible enemies” who tried to steal her “Happy Sugar Life”, but Shoko was the closest person she had to a healthy relationship of friendship, and she appreciated it enough to reveal her aunt, something that was not easy for Satou… (Besides, it was close to where Shio was, and her aunt was probably the one who told Shoko where Satou was with Shio)
    Put another way, this is the first time that Satou kills someone very close emotionally to her, it is clear that it will affect her very differently from her previous murders.
    And Satou probably doesn´t understand why it has affected her, since she still doesn´t understand her own emotions.
    The thing is interesting.

    1. It’s not that Satou can’t feel emotions, it’s that she only has two: ‘sweet’ and ‘bitter’. And it is this binary worldview that allows her to do things that people with a moral conscience would balk at. I’m not sure if murdering Shouko will affect very much; once Satou had moved Shouko from the sweet column to the bitter column that was probably that.

      Regardless, it’s not Satou’s stunted emotions that makes me call her a monster. In proper horror, the monster is a fundamental concept. No matter the shape it takes, it acts as the object of fear, and often represents some more abstract darkness that is difficult for humanity to confront. In the case of Happy Sugar Life, Satou plays the monster, and it is her obsessive madness that we should fear.

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