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Happy Sugar Life – 11

「永遠の一瞬を、貴方と。」 (Eien no Isshun o, Anata to.)
“An Eternal Life With You”

Happy Sugar Life did not have to happen. The entire story, with all its death and tragedy, could have been avoided if its characters just acted like normal, balanced people. Just imagine how a perfectly sane Satou would have acted. Upon finding an abandoned Shio, she wouldn’t have tried to find her parents or taken her to the police instead of kidnapping her. Even if Satou took Shio home, she wouldn’t have developed an inexplicable and obsessive love for her. And no matter the affection the two have for each other, there’s no reason for them to lock themselves away to the exclusion of all others. This is how the sane scenario would go: Asahi goes looking for his sister, Satou gladly helps Shio reunite with her brother, Shio happily tells Asahi about the new friend she’s made, everybody has a good laugh over the whole thing. Happily ever after, no need to murder anybody. Instead, at every step Satou chose to play the craziest move possible, and now she has to smuggle a child out of the country. Even before we see the ending, I think we can agree that things have snowballed out of control.

Everything is bonkers. But although I often refer to Satou as ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’, it’s not that she’s lost her grip on reality. She’s not schizophrenic. She’s not hallucinating or anything. She just has a completely different value system than you and I. And so here, at episode 11, the penultimate episode, Satou has to make some attempt to justify herself and what she has done. In the same way that villains always feel the need to monologue their plans to James Bond, Satou also needs an opportunity to explain herself. Sometimes, it’s the villain wanting to be understood. Sometimes, he’s trying to impress upon the hero the superiority of his philosophy. But, of course, there are no heroes in Happy Sugar Life (even if you try to make an argument about Asahi, this is what he is), so Satou’s foil has to be… her aunt. Broken vs broken. And perhaps this is not entirely intellectually honest of Happy Sugar Life. Is it trying to justify all that Satou did because she’s not on the same level as her aunt? If that is the case, I am unconvinced. Sure, I find Satou’s aunt more wretched than she is. My values and cultural background makes me predisposed towards Satou’s monogamy rather than… whatever her aunt’s thing is. But that just makes Satou’s aunt, at best, a strawman for Satou to beat up. Her relative moral superiority does not make her actually moral. The only real moral foil Satou has had was Shouko — and she murdered her. Now that it’s Satou against her aunt, no matter their philosophical differences it still feels like weighing two evils against each other, and I can’t really, in good conscience, wish for Satou to succeed.

That’s likely the point of Happy Sugar Life, to deconstruct the those sappy romances where the power of love is the greatest positive force in the universe and conquers all. In Happy Sugar Life we see that love is very powerful indeed, but nothing good seems to come out of it. In fact, almost everything we’ve seen done in the name of love in this show has been at least creepy and at most horrific. Even Shio’s innocent love of Satou does her no favours, only offering Satou refuge from her own guilt instead of allowing for atonement. And Asahi’s love of his sister has turned him into the same cruel beast as their father.

Next week, though, all of that will be over, for better or worse. Perhaps a story like Happy Sugar Life cannot have a satisfying ending, but it will be an ending regardless. I’m not sure what I actually want to see, though.

September 22, 2018 at 6:57 am
8 comments »
  • September 22, 2018 at 7:39 amzztop

    I’m curious how they’ll wrap up the story, since the manga is still ongoing but moving towards a conclusion (although it’s all still buildup so far there). Will they go anime original? Work off the available plot drafts of the mangaka?

    • September 22, 2018 at 9:49 amArche

      I’m banking on something similar to how the manga will end. This episode sped through some details to get to last month’s chapter which I’d find suspect unless the anime staff is planning on completely winging the finale

  • September 22, 2018 at 10:17 amHenrietta Brix

    https://randomc.net/image/Happy%20Sugar%20Life/Happy%20Sugar%20Life%20-%2011%20-%20Large%2031.jpg

    Shouko may have been brutally murdered by that Satou bitch many episodes ago but it still paint my heart to see this

    • September 22, 2018 at 7:02 pmMockman

      I didn’t pay attention to this moment while watching so I didn’t realise what exactly she was obliterating until I saw your comment here. It was a nasty way to add insult to injury.

    • September 26, 2018 at 5:57 amhaseo0408

      This story has one good and decent human being, that was Shouko! Even with her family problems, she had the key aspect lacking in almost the entire cast and that is sanity. Also, I don´t think is fair to compare Asahi with his father, the boy is traumatized but he´s neather evil nor insane like all the other monsters in this show.

  • September 22, 2018 at 6:59 pmMockman

    I don’t think that Satou is using her aunt as a foil for our sakes. For herself maybe, but I don’t think we know enough yet and maybe her aunt isn’t done being, um… responsible.

    Does Satou has a choice when it comes to this since she hasn’t had much positivity in her life. Who else is she going to contrast her own choices against?

    I’ll add as well, that she needed to do that. Assuming what she said was true, and it wasn’t denied, her aunt played a role in making Satou the monster she is and of helping develop that perverse value system. I don’t think that Satou needed to position herself above her aunt. What she needed was for her aunt to help her, and she was trying to shame, using the word loosely, her aunt into doing so.

    • September 23, 2018 at 6:40 pmPasserby

      Definitely, Satou has had own reasons to confront her aunt at that point. But in essence it’s still her final character appeal to us. Now that we have a full picture of who she is and how she got that way, we can properly judge her, which is something we have to do come the final episode.

      • September 23, 2018 at 11:48 pmMockman

        I agree with that, although I cannot help but feel that there is still some information yet to be revealed. But I didn’t think that Satou was trying to justify her actions to us (or to her aunt). She just needed an adult’s assistance — an adult who would blanche at nothing. Her aunt fulfilled those requirements but how should Satou persuade her to help? With a simple, ‘You owe me.’

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