“Happy Sugar Life”
Something stupid happens here as well, as Satou going back for her ring causes everything to line up poorly. Perhaps Satou must be undone. On the one hand, Satou needs to pay for her crimes. There should be consequences for actions, and Satou’s were grave indeed. Indeed, a satisfied death, some would argue, is an end too good for her and she deserves harsh and karmic punishment. I can understand that. The need for vengeance runs deeps. On the other hand, I’m a complete pacifist and don’t particularly want high body counts in my anime. By that philosophy, I would like Satou and Shio to not plummet to their deaths and instead live. Besides, if Satou does find her utopian Happy Sugar Life and never bothers anyone ever again then that’s… fine? She doesn’t hurt anyone again, Shio’s happy, and everything is wrapped up neatly without further bloodshed. Satou’s still nominally our protagonist after all, and has only ever wanted one thing, and if giving her that one thing means that she no longer has to be a monster then that’s a narrative bargain I’m willing to accept. I’m an optimist (which I am, deep down, buried under the grouch).
There are moral debates to be had here, and Happy Sugar Life could have chosen to swing either way. But in the end, it doesn’t really commit either, and decides to split the difference. Satou dies. Shio survives (but deeply affected by her experience). And I wonder why. I wouldn’t have thought that Happy Sugar Life would kill off a child at this point. And Shio’s is not innocent either; she chose to be complicit in Satou’s crimes. And we can’t at once say that Shio is independent enough to have pushed her family and choose her ‘happy sugar life’, yet not so independent that she is spared while Satou dies. And with that, let’s jump right into the final impressions.
Final Impressions ~ High blood sugar
Conclusions first: Happy Sugar Life was interesting. I don’t regret blogging it. It’s blend of romance of horror is not something we see often in anime. Usually, the yandere girl descends into madness, eventually turns on her own love, and becomes a black widow character. But, not our Satou. Her love remains pure the entire way through. Satou ended no less sane than when she started; Happy Sugar Life was not so much interesting in plunging Satou into the abyss as methodically testing how deep she was willing to dive herself. As such, it was above all else a character study, peeling back the layers of Satou and revealing what she is truly capable of. Each layer is more chilling than the last, but they were all, fundamentally, part of who she was.
Characters outside of Satou were, unfortunately, generally less interesting. Mostly, they were terrible people, or other deliberate extremes deliberately designed to play foil to Satou (which was what made the relatively level Shouko so compelling). Not that Happy Sugar Life had ‘bad’ characters, per se, just that they were never as fully fleshed as Satou, making the world of Happy Sugar Life sometimes feel just a bit too cartoonishly awful. One character I really would have liked moer work on is Shio. Considering how critical she was to the story, a lot of her character was unexplored or backloaded. Consider that this is the last episode and there was still so much exposition about her dumped here. I feel like she had an interesting character arc, going from her dependence on her mother to her mutual dependence on Satou, but in our mere 12 episodes of anime we never got much time to plumb its depths.
So, in the end, I guess I should ask: was Satou evil? Or was she mad? Sure, she did objectively evil things, but madness precludes evil. Even in the rigid letters of the criminal law evil is a mental element, and thus we cannot fault those with mental disabilities. But that is only for the truly impaired, not just those with personality defects. Psychopathy, for example, is not recognised as a mental disability. It’s a personality disorder. So, how mad is Satou? Was she simply a psychopath, and thus deserved a punishment? Or was she mad, and should have been pitied? Or did she see clearer than anyone else, and her purity of vision put her beyond our judgment? Any anime that is able to provoke such questions, I think, must have been successful on some level, no?