Nowadays, the shows I fight to defend are highly misunderstood because their appeal is too specific, causing the general audience to flaunt their standards around like they’re supposed to mean anything. Past examples include Mahou Shoujo Site, Jashin-chan Dropkick and Hand Shakers. Yet, Happy Sugar Life is a different sort of… thing, whose plot setup is about as logically sound as riding a lawnmower during a hurricane, seemingly leaving not but a select, niche appeal for the sickos like me.
A high school girl is basically holding a little girl hostage in a populated apartment complex; she hides
this among her normal daily life of going to school and working part-time jobs. You know, like all teenagers do. If this is your first time reading the synopsis, then you’re probably asking a lot of questions like “Huh?” or “What?” because the basic rules and structure of society suggest that this shouldn’t even be possible. And for me, knowing that much is what made this story interesting--HOW these characters are living such lives, and what will happen when it inevitably shatters. Because there’s just no way it won’t--and the very first scene of the anime suggests that it very much will.
Happy Sugar Life makes use of its own flaws. The sugar-coated scenes of the main characters in their unnatural habitat are not just for show; they’re presented as a true illusion from reality. The conflict is all the outsiders learning more about their lives and trying to tear it down, a plot that snowballs as the situation becomes more and more complicated. A situation known as “reality”.
What’s more, is that the aforementioned little girl doesn’t even seem to be a real character. Shio Koube lives and breathes, but her actual personality is baffling. She’s constantly happy and cheery and trying to do the best she can to help her caretaker. She doesn’t question the life she lives or the outside world she’s prevented from seeing. She is simply “a daughteru”: the ideal child anyone would want to have--no, scratch that. Megumin and Chtholly are daughterus to me, but that’s because they actually seem like real characters, because real characters have flaws. Shio Koube does not. Shio Koube is not a real character, nor a daughteru--she is a pet. A Shia pet, if you will. She exists to be cute and fluffy; you feed her and play with her a bit, and if you can do those two things, then she’s not gonna be a bother to you outside of the occasional natural fuck-up. That’s cool and all, but that’s not how a human child actually acts.
But what’s smart about the anime is that it actually addresses this. Shio’s personality is the result of past trauma that’s she’s forgotten; and as she learns more and more about herself, it starts to crack a little. By the end of the series, Shio outright states that she’s meant to be more than a living object used to draw mental security from, practically breaking the fourth wall by stating she’s a real character who has a functional and realistic train of thought that accurately feeds into her personality.
In other words, Happy Sugar Life was only pretending to be retarded.
Because, with the way it handles its plot by addressing its flaws and nailing its appeal with few problems, I can’t help but think that Happy Sugar Life is actually pretty clever. As dumb and over-the-top it may seem, it was in full control of itself and did what it set out to do.
Suffering, violence, trauma and psychosis. Of course an anime called “Happy Sugar Life” would be about anything but. Characters have very specific, intricately detailed mental issues, so much so that I can’t guarantee the anime doesn’t take place in some sort of high-tech asylum that simulates society as therapy for its patients. The way they’re presented are interesting on their own for what they are, but the main character herself acts in a surprisingly grounded manner.
In the first episode, she verbally beats down her employer over a payroll cut, explaining how she was fully aware of the manager’s schemes but played along for the sake of being nice, only to still be punished. She completely dismantles this person mentally and challenges her, but her tone of voice is what sells the scene. She doesn’t scream or shout, the soundtrack is dark but sparse with details, and the visual direction is simple but effective. It’s not dynamic, over-acted, or over-the-top. This scene could’ve easily been a screaming match between two idiots, but… that would just be silly and unnecessary. Quiet words speak louder than loud words. That’s totally how the saying goes.
Satou Matsuzaka, aka “Holy Shit Is That A Motherfucking Mirai Nikki Reference???” is fully in control of herself, able to function like a normal person in most circumstances. And by “control”, I mean she seems to be keeping a deeper anger pent up within her, choosing not to do any more than what’s necessary. It’s a contrast from the manager in episode one, who fights back with shouting and more body language, among other characters that I’ll get into later. The stability of Definitely Not Yuno’s mental condition is part of the snowballing conflict--as her Title of The Anime becomes harder and harder to keep, her psyche decays, and as her psyche decays, she becomes more and more dangerous.
Basically, if you know what the fuck a yandere is, you know what’s up.
Watching Pink Yandere fall further into despair as the story progressed, as well as her drastic shifts in attitude, are a blast to watch. Hana Kanazawa delivers one of the best performances in her incredibly prolific career, at times sounding completely unrecognizable to me. She’s not just using her Akane Tsunemori serious drama voice, she’s speaking in a tone FAR lower than almost every anime she’s been cast in. And, as a huge fan of Mirai Nikki, you bet your ass I loved episode 11 when she tied her hair back to look exactly like Yuno. Praise be.
The other characters in the series are in various stages of sanity, for better or for worse. The most notable is Satou’s Aunt, who hoardes trash and lets weirdos beat the shit out of her for pleasure. You know, like all loving aunts do. But, like Satou, she’s fully in control of her actions. Rather, this is a matter of one being so deluded of themselves that they believe their behavior to be healthy. AILF (aunt i’d like to fuck) even convinces herself to have a fulfilling role within society, accepting hostility and fucking it out of them. She is indeed quite over-the-top, but the long dialogues she provides make her believable enough to be enjoyable.
And then there’s the lolicon guy… oh boy. This fuckin’ guy. As a result of things happening that cause him to distrust adults, he becomes so fully attached to Shio that he takes passionate inhalations of her missing poster flyers. THIS is the over-the-top character that you’d expect to see from a full edgelord show, and really, your opinion of him just depends on how much you’re into that kinda stuff. To me, this character is no more than a punchline--more like a punching bag, actually, given all the shit he goes through. A full display of maximum disparity and lack of self-control, his actions are so cartoonish and ridiculous that all he ends up doing in the series is suffering. A lot. He’s just a dumping ground for all the negative consequences brought on by the other characters. Overall, not a character to be taken seriously; he stands at the border between Happy Sugar Life being a completely serious drama and a goofy, edgy comedy. I like the mixture of both worlds.
But the crowning jewel of this anime are some of the more psychologically-based scenes. For as weird and silly as the anime can be, there are scenes of actual genius scattered throughout--most notably, the first half of episode eight. It explores the backstory of Satou’s and Shio’s apartment through the eyes of its former resident. All of it is in first-person view with no music, and the resident never speaks. Instead, their moments of “dialogue” are replaced with a glitchy audio clip over a fluctuating black line. The pauses before these clips make noise and their varying intensity fill in the blanks of Satou’s conversations perfectly. It’s a tremendously well-done scene that I would recommend to anyone, even if you haven't seen the rest of the anime.
Sound manipulation is a motif in this series; characters’ voices will become static-y and distorted in key moments to intensify their dark expressions. Several different visual tricks are used for similar reasons--glowing eyes, static, reflections, scratchy lines, lighting, shadows, tactful shot compositions and other things are all deployed for the show’s depraved, depressing and dark moods without overdoing any of them. Meanwhile, happier moments are shown with sparkles, bubbles, clouds and bright, poppy colors; so corny that they’re almost vomit-inducing, and I mean that in the best way possible. Happy Sugar Life doesn’t necessarily excel with animation, set pieces or character designs, but the various tricks it uses to communicate its feelings are excellent.
Similarly, the soundtrack doesn’t particularly stand out, but the sound design is quite good, I’ll say again. Rising violins, static, vocal manipulation and prestigious voice acting get the job more than done. The OP is one of my favorites of the entire year, using a song perfectly toned to this anime with its siren-like guitar riffs and optimistic, upbeat tone, shifting in and out of muttered, paranoid passages. Bizarre, photographed objects float about in the background; a Shio-like angel flies over shadowy figures of the characters, and various trappings by glass jars and thorns lay over Satou as the video glitches with inconsistent timing. It’s easy to see what’s going on in the OP based on a few episodes of the show itself, but it’s communicated in so many incredible ways that the OP never got skipped. The ED is good… for an ED, that is, which is to say not much, but the animation of Satou and Shio is cute, and the song itself is quite touching.
If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that I’m completely and 100% serious in all of my reviews, and I never make any jokes whatsoever, so when I say this is a 9/10 anime, I mean that it should be watched by all eyes, no matter what.
Now, if you’ve ACTUALLY read my reviews before, you’d know I like to play around, that I don’t really care about ratings, that I’m not all that interested in seeing a fully-serious, masterfully-crafted story. But with its combination of surprise turnarounds, smart directing and just the right amount of silliness, I’d truly say that Happy Sugar Life is a quality anime; not just by my standards, but for drama and psychological anime as a whole. Indeed, it is not perfect--some people will be unhappy with some of the characters or not be willing to see how the anime fixes itself down the line. In fact, I myself have room to complain about the teacher not having any real exploration to his character, as well as some scenes that simply would not happen in the real world, such as Satou's Aunt seducing the police officer, as good as it was. A lot of it is conveniently written. The characters aren’t particularly deep and more idealized than realized. But, overall, Happy Sugar Life is FUN. It is an exciting series that takes little time to light its first match, and once it gets going it doesn’t let up until it has burned everything down.
I dearly recommend this anime to anyone who’s into not just edgy comedies, but anyone who’s interested in a kinda wacky psychological drama that even manages to unnerve you a little bit. Perhaps it is not the most effective at what it is, but it is, nonetheless, effective.
Story - 8/10
Art - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Characters - 7/10
Enjoyment - 9/10
Yandere - 10/10
Overall - 9/10
Favorite episode - 8
Favorite character - Satou. Or her Aunt. Depends on how I’m feeling or how horny I am I guess. Pretend I didn’t type that out.
Recommendation level - Medium-high
Mahou Shoujo Site was a fun series from last season. It went so overboard and above what is acceptable that it became nothing less than great series to watch, and in the mean time, managed to offend lots of people -- which is always a plus. I expected the same from Happy Sugar Life, and while it hasn't been exactly as over the top nor has it managed to make people lose their self-control in similar fashion, it did deliver.
Our story focuses around two characters: Satou Matsuzaka, a psychotic lesbian pedophile, voiced by Hanawaza Kana (Hype, ikr). And this assumably 4-5 years-old
child. Satou used to be into guys and also didn't suffer from several different mental illnesses back then. However, now she is really into this 4-5 years-old girl with whom she lives with (and whom she kidnapped), and they together form this supposedly pure and innocent lesbian romance. Real haato waamingu stuff.
However, there is more to life than living in a relationship with a 4 years-old child. At day time, Satou is a working-class citizen, doing real normo shit. In this series universe, normo shit includes reverse-raping men, bullying co-workers, threatening people with murder and torture and of course, serving customers in a restaurant. I know, pretty sick stuff, yuck!
The series values the comfy and aesthetic side of life -- with what I identify personally pretty hard with. My favorite scenes include stuff like Satou decorating the house. Who needs paint and a brush, lol only nobs use such things. Machete and a living person, do some well timed choppity chops and oh my, the walls look like new. Such a pretty look to it. Definitely a real home feel right there. I have heard the saying "paint the mirrors black" but I guess "chop the walls red" isn't too bad either.
The OST consist of nothing but fantastic decisions. Practically these are songs that sound a lot like any random piece from Youtube audio library which people can use for free in their videos. Practically any of the songs could be used by a random content creator who makes guides on how to change a light bulb to your microwave. Imaging this has only added to the experience.
As a conclusion, this is not a series I would recommend to just anyone.Those who have the tendency of finding beauty from stories that were inspired by madness, will have significant chances of liking Happy Sugar Life there were other will only experience bitterness. heh pun
For as long as I’ve been watching anime, there has always been a considerable amount of the community who can find so much entertainment in shows that are “so bad, they’re good.” Whether it be the pandering fan service of shows like Eromanga Sensei, the comically overdone plot of shows like In Another World With My Smartphone, or the laughably edgy situations in shows like Magical Girl Site, the community always seems to find something to enjoy in shows that are simply, undeniably, and blatantly trash. But as the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, and it looks like I’ve found my
treasure in the trash that is Happy Sugar Life.
Let me be clear this exact brand of trash was thrown aside just so a degenerate like myself could come fish it out of the gutter. If you’re not messed up in the same exact ways I am then you should stay away from this train wreck, so I’ll cut to the chase. If you don’t like yuri romance, age-gap romance, or cute girls and lolis, then take your leave. This show is abjectly terrible, so just save yourself while you still can. If you do like that kind of thing, then let’s get into this.
Happy Sugar Life is in the “horror comedy” genre of anime which are technically horror thrillers, if not for the fact they're so bad they just become funny. Everyone and everything is comically over the top edgy for no reason. There’s murder, rape, extramarital affairs, any overused bullet point on the edge checklist gets checked. Everything looks like garbage, the animation is god awful, the character designs are beyond basic, the OST is either boring or actively unfitting, the cinematography is almost exclusively flat-panning shots with 70% of every episode being still frames, and I could honestly keep going because this is a bottom of the barrel production from a nobody studio and staff that looks and runs terrifically bad.
That said, the main character is a cute yandere girl with pink hair, buns, and is somehow voiced by Kana Hanazawa, who is in love with a literal elementary school loli with whom she shares a home, bath, and bed. I am fucking sold. This show may as well be perfect. Watching this week by week was hysterical. The show is worst of the worst, but I got to be reminded there is a real show, actually being made in real life, which features a yuri age-gap romance about a psychotic sex-craved schoolgirl who murders and blackmails anyone who threatens to interrupt her life living with a loli she literally kidnaped and locked in her apartment. I don’t need to elaborate on the concept because only one single thing of note happened throughout the entire show, and I don’t think just because there’s a decent five minute scene at the end of episode nine you should go and watch the whole show, because the remaining two hundred and fifty nine minutes were pure garbage. Any mature person who happens to come across this review can see this show is nothing but mindless self indulgence, so if it sounds like something you can indulge in like I did, give it a watch.
That’s it. Done. Ten out of ten, would watch again.
Thank you for reading. (I know my other reviews are more serious than this, but this show was just far too much for me to handle with a straight face.)
"MUHAHAHA, lookie look how crazy I am -- I'm wheezily drooling over a little girl's picture and screaming like a complete idiot!"
That's pretty much the best way to describe this anime.
The writing is below the level of both David Cage and Uwe Boll's work. "You're less stable than the other girls. I'm an adult. I'm sure I can help you." This is a literal line a character has delivered in this series. Not only does composition repeatedly get dumped in our faces, it has to be in the most awkward ways imaginable.
Happy Sugar Life is anime about a girl named Satou. She had
a past of banging random fuckboys and until she stumbled upon a rare wild loli. She caught it and now she oughta protecc it and attacc random badly written losers from capturing it, but most of all, she doesn't give a fucc about everyone else. In fact, she invariably feels the need to state this.
"Oh wow, these type of characters have never been represented before! This is SO edgy!"
Last time I heard that line it was a reaction to "13 Reasons Why". Just like that series, HSL takes the piss out of mental health, but this is on a whole other level. Each character is constantly forced to state their true nature in the most cringe-worthy ways possible. Now I know anime shouldn't be viewed as film, but this anime just buries the 'Show not Tell' rules in ten meters of diarrhea. One of the characters (NO SPOILERS) is a borderline pedophile, but instead of revealing his nature by his actions they have him immediately drool over the loli's picture without any buildup. Although his way of handling is eventually shown, it gets completely destroyed with crank ass straightforward monologue that makes everything feel cheesy and overexaggerated.
This is something you'd see frequently in a Thomas the Tank Engine episode since the mono- and dialogue is that bleak. If you play around with ADULT themes like these, write this series in a way ADULTS can enjoy (and no, I'm not talking about you angsty teenagers).
What did I miss..? Oh yeah, the main female character is a joke. We get it, she is a strong deranged woman who don't need no men. No need to make her constantly repeat that. I can't believe they wasted such a good voice actress like Kana Hanazawa for this bullshit.
The teacher is a plain imbecile; how does that impulsive moron still have a job and isn't locked up somewhere. I guess the loli is the only character that isn't so hyperbolically written. Well maybe because it is a child, but I can give the writers some props for her.
But then again, every character is written like an incongruous child.
Misc - Art: 6 | Sound: 5
Animation-wise, it's plenty for whatever this series requires. The art and character design, namely the combination of grey tones and vibrancy, decently manage to convey the offsetting atmosphere this series is trying to portray -- nothing wrong with those. Its opening animations and song are probably the best assets this series has to offer. Apart from the opening song, the OST is pretty mediocre.
Aside from the bruises on my forehead I constantly get from slapping it, this series is somewhat enjoyable. It still has you questioning yourself what the fuck will happen next with these poorly written chunks of clay characters my 7-year-old cousin could replicate (figuratively speaking).
Overall Final Score: 3
The audiovisual aspects maybe great, but the context of its plot just pisses me the fuck off. I firmly believe that this series just presents character tropes instead of actual characters. The writers misrepresent real mental disorders to make this show seem as edgy as possible. And finally, as the cherry on top of the cake, they don't possess the skill level to handle such themes.
If you want to see an excellent anime with godly written themes regarding mental health, go watch 3-Gatsu No Lion. That's all there is to it.
After watching the first episodes of "Happy Sugar Life", I wanted to share my opinion with you.
The story starts off quite boring but then develops quickly into something you may not have thought of in the beginning. BUT you have to like these kinds of stories if you don't just pass it. Because I only have seen the first episodes, so let's see if the story stays interesting.
The art is a mixture of bright colors with a gloomy shadow over it. That creates an atmosphere of unforeseeable darkness, which is only broken up in a few moments of "Happiness".
The sound fits most of the
time, but there are moments where there should have been any BGM or better BGM.
Well coming to the characters, you currently only have to remember the two mains, the rest is at the moment not really interesting, but they all are pretty much corrupted in their behavior and doing.
I personally am enjoying "Happy Sugar Life" very much, because like I mentioned before I like these kinds of stories and what happens next is unpredictable, because it can be almost everything.
Overall "Happy Sugar Life" is not happy, it is more horrifying and disturbing, so it leaves you with the feeling of "what has just happened and why?". But it is addicting and you want to see more of it until there is a moment, which will maybe satisfy you.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t know what love really is. She seemingly had no goals in life with a rootless understanding about love. Sleeping with guys and not truly knowing what her life is about, she didn’t know if there was a place to belong. Wondering around the end of abyss of life and not knowing who she can really be with. Then, a child appeared. An innocent child with a face full of life and sugar. Is this a chance to truly discover love? Is it a chance to live a happy sugar life?
As a show that combines elements
of psychological horror, suspense, and thriller, Happy Sugar Life looked deceptive at first glance. Now I admit, I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to shows where we have an anti-hero protagonist. I mean, the first episode speak for itself once you realize Matsuzaka Satou’s personality. She is essentially living a double life – one that is of a normal girl and other being overly obsessive of Shio Kobe. This devotion to Shio is so strong that she is willing to kill others to “protect” her from harm. In Satou's mind, being with Shio equates to happiness.
Despite the complex nature of the plot, the setup of the story is actually very simple. We got Satou who pretty much takes Shio as a partner and isolates her in a place where she feels is safe. It’s an apartment that looks normal on the inside and outside until you realize there may be something much darker going on behind the scenes. The first few episodes is rather cryptic about Satou’s actions including parts where she takes questionable content in and out of the house. Meanwhile, there’s definitely character chemistry going on between Satou and Shio. The duo shares an innocent love chemistry and ritual-like marriage ceremonies on a frequent basis. On most parts, the show seems fluffy during those segments while masking the suspenseful thriller storytelling. Throughout the series, we discover just how far from normal Satou actually is. The show also makes it clear that she will go to any length to protect Shio even if it means murder. Anyone who is familiar with the term ‘yandere’ will easily dedicate her character as such. In essence, Satou is a complex character who sees her idea of love in a twisted way. Regardless of consequences, she will do anything to protect that love. This puts Shio on the opposite end of the spectrum as she is an innocent child. Despite that, she seems to adore Satou and always values their relationship. It’s the sort of child behavior you’d expect from this show.
The more I watched Happy Sugar Life, the more I realized how this show depicts human behavior in some of the worst ways possible. Characters such as Taiyou displays borderline pedophile behavior towards Shio. Others such as Daichi and Satou’s aunt also demonstrate their psychological tendencies in several episodes. With the exception of Shio, only one other character came to my mind who I can say is normal. Her name would be Shouko Hida but I wouldn’t get attached to her easily. In fact, try to refrain from getting attached to most of the characters in this series because their real personalities are incredibly disturbing. Another reason is that some characters will not make it alive. I’m not going to mention it as it’s spoiler but let’s just say that death isn’t uncommon in the story.
As the majority of the series adheres to psychological horror, it’s hard to really root for any single character. The characters Satou deals with are often evil as she is with some being even more twisted. However, I think some of her past can be sympathetic. Satou wasn’t born with evil intentions but events shaped her to become what she is now. The past explores her character in depth and there’s even one episode that explains how Satou ends up where she is now. Narratives in this series is incredibly important as it fishes out a character’s personality to the fullest. Satou is the primary example of this as we see a journey to understanding love in her words. There’s also a character named Asahi Koube in the show with a deep desire to reunite with Shio as a family. But unlike Satou, he doesn’t go to measures such as killing to achieve his happiness. It’s a bit sugarcoated but he is more of a hero than Satou will ever be.
By the time you reach the conclusion of the first episode, I think it’ll become obvious whether or not it’s worth following this anime. Are you the type that love suspenseful horror? Do you favor a story with twisted inhumane characters? Do you want to see if characters such as Satou or Shio really find love in each other in the end? If these are some of the questions in mind, then definitely give this anime a shot. Otherwise, it’s going to be a sluggish ride as every episode builds more and more into the suspense. I personally find this anime unique in the sense that it isn’t truly deceptive yet always makes me anticipate on what to expect next. The character cast wants you to hate them and they succeed without jeopardizing the plot. And to me, that’s a feat that I admire.
Like the title suggests, Happy Sugar Life has a sugary and sweet coloring to its animation style. Studio Ezo’la (one that I never heard of before until this series) bought out its ideas to fullest. It’s vibrant and full of life during moments when we see happiness. Then, there are those dark eerie scenes that brings out the horror of the story. It’s often moody especially in Satou’s apartment where questionable content lies in the dark. As you should expect, this show contains violence that includes murder. The TV version seems to have tone it down a bit as some of the graphic content is done behind the scenes rather than shown directly on screen. Satou is the main culprit of this but there are some other characters that commit sinful deeds. Oh and be prepared for some uncomfortable scenes from the main cast. Taiyou is a guy that I deeply regret watching for his pedophilic tendencies. Good God, erase him from the show. Other character expressions in the series are disturbing to watch such as with Satou’s red predatory eyes or her aunt’s mentally unstable behavior. The light in the dark tunnel is Shio as she brings in sugar, spice, and everything nice.
If you want psychology in this series, you need the characters to be convincing. Thanks to the modern talent of Kana Hanazawa, that is achieved. She’s known for a variety of heroine roles and to play a yandere in this series truly bought out her talent to full. Misaki Kuno is also able to step into the shoes of a child to portray her character’s innocence. The theme songs contain an upbeat mood that contrasts with the tone of the show. It’s very playful and bubbly while the ED theme contains a more melodramatic feeling.
Happy Sugar Life tells the tale of love that isn’t the typical romantic story you’re familiar with. Instead, it crafts psychological horror with a cast of degenerate characters. There are some that you’ll find to be abominations of our society. Yet, this series is far from an abomination. It’s a psychological horror done right with a clear set of intentions at its heart and soul.
First of all, this is my one of my favorite anime of this season so far. I've watched : Bannana Fish, Cell anime, Dropkick-chan, Chio-Chan, Asobi Asobase, Angels of death and Angolmois.
Hanebado, Attack on titan and Grand Blue
This anime however stood out very much for me. Don't listen to all the " This Anime is for edgy 12 year olds" etc... spam. They are obviously the immature ones (with awful taste I might add...). This Anime is a perfect blend of Mystery/Suspense/Horror with warm cute shoujo. And no, this is NOT a Yuri anime, however much it seems like.
*Story/Premise: Is about a broken
girl struggling to live a normal and happy life with a person who showed her true love (caring love not sexual) for the first time ever in her life, under the harshness and unfairness of life and the people in it. This show has the cuteness of slice of life and moe anime, mixed and executed perfectly with dark/mystery and Horror. It'll give you the chills a badass anime with amazing Mikasa eyes does but also give you the warm sweet sugar feeling that a slice of life does. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
What this anime does phenomenally:
- Characters and their psych
-Unique loveable Art style
-Mystery that is especially dark
- Satou is Yandere Queen! (Sorry Yuno)
For me this has great great potential and might even become one of my personal top favorite anime. I'm in Japan rn for a vacation, and once I saw this, Oh hot damn I knew I had to get the manga fast.
Happy Sugar Life (HSL) is a psychological horror about normal people being pushed to their limits. Throughout this show, contrasts are stressed and found in every way possible as I will be discussing throughout this review.
Art 8/10: One of HSL's best attributes.
Studio Ezόla has opted for a pretty basic art style for this Anime. The surroundings or backgrounds are simple, but never feels fake or takes away from the original style, so no points deducted from that. This is the best example of where you can see contrasts being used. In happy or cheerful scenes, the colors used are extremely bright and sparkly. The color
scale also shifts more to red to give that "alive" and "warm" feeling. And on certain scenes the art turns extremely dark. The entire scene gets washed in a blue like hue to give of this "dead" and "cold" feeling. HSL also uses the "eyes are the windows to the soul" saying to its fullest. In some scenes the eyes of the characters change drastically to reflect their inner struggles. Subtle things like the eyes giving of a burning sensation when the characters are engulfed in in anger is a nice touch and is sometimes pretty hard to see unless you look carefully.
There is almost never really on-screen violence in the Anime. The Anime uses visual hints as well accompanying sound effects to make you visualize those scenes for yourself. Which is what makes this Anime a truly psychological Anime.
Sound 8/10: The Opening explores this contrasts theme a bit more. The OP begins with a innocent voice and a happy sounding tone. The Opening then switches to a more deep tone and the singer (Akari Nanawo) sings in a more intimidating tone.
The Ending has an overall calm tone to help with pressure release and the end of the episode.
The OST is subtle but effective, builds tension when it must and sets the overall tone for the scene when needed. In some stages the lack of an OST is also used to give a false sense of security to the viewer before taking you by surprise.
The special insert song used in its respective episode was used to support the visual metaphor of the arc as well as support the feelings of the character the arc focuses on.
Characters 9/10: The characters are all introduces as normal people. On the surface they all look trustworthy. All the characters are in respectable positions and are in some cases even idolized, but then their insanity meter gets turned up to 11 if they are pushed overboard. Contrasts are once again used here, down to the names of our two main characters, Satou (sugar) and Shio (salt). On the topic of names. The names of the characters all have a meaning to what they provided or represents in the Anime. If you are done watching the Anime I would recommend searching the meaning of their names. The characters feel real in the sense they all have the inner struggles that we as humans are fighting everyday. The only part where this subtracts from realism is the fact that so many characters snap around the main character.
Story 9/10: The story is pretty dark. Themes are explored which is not really that common in some Anime. Which once again brings it back to the contrasts. All of the characters are looking for their "Happy Sugar Life." Yet they don't see that by searching for this happiness they keep on leaving despair and once they find this “ideal” life, they are confused as to why they are not happy. The story intentionally makes you empathize with the main character. Which I would say is hard to do as if you take the character out and place them in the real world, this member would be hated. The story does a great job in making you root and care for a really repulsive being. The pacing is not something to complain about. Not too fast and not too slow. The ending was a bit abrupt and for many was a bit distasteful.
Enjoyment 10/10: Why I liked it: The use of all the above discussed means to tell a pretty dark story was something I enjoyed a lot. The overall usage of contrasts was also something that I liked a lot. Studio Ezόla did a pretty fine job in their first Anime and I am looking forward to more of their word if they are to pursue more titles in the future. I have since then bought the Manga for this and the adaptation done by the Studio was pretty good. The ending was also fully original as the Manga stopped around episode 11.
Why You might not like it:
The story is not a Happy Sugar Life. It is a psychological horror that keeps you asking "Is this really OK?", "Are we the baddies?" and "Why am I rooting for this person?" Even though there is never really that much on-screen violence. The Anime keep hinting towards what happened and the means in which this violence occurred. The ending was for some a bit distasteful. The story is about a relationship between a child and a high-school student. I think those are the main reasons you would not like this Anime. I would also not recommend this as a first Anime for someone just starting out, unless they like Horror or similar shows to this.
Overall 9/10: I was really impressed by this Anime. With a totally new Studio and a director which has only directed a few Anime in the past, my expectations for HSL was pretty low. But as the story progressed I could see the effort the director and the animators put in to make this first project a huge success in my opinion.
Before you start watching this masterpiece, you should be warned, you would be seriously disturbed. Like this anime will touch your soul and put a lot of dark stuff inside. I have no idea why all previous reviews gave so low scores. It is like people watching "Chernobyl" (a series for the largest tragedy in atomic energy known to man) and expect it to be fun? It is not fun, neither is this anime, but gosh it is so GOOD!
Art & Music: 9
Story & Characters: 10
The first thing I must point is the professionalism this anime is implemented.
The topics it focuses on are not only domestic violence, murder, but also pedophilia, sexual harassment, kidnapping, etc. Using my experience in anime, I would say there is plenty of points where unnecessary sexualism (i.e. fanservice) could be inserted, completely destroying the seriousness of the topics, but luckily the staff members did not do that. (I did not read the manga, though so no idea if it is told with the same seriousness as anime).
The second thing to point is that while it is SERIOUSLY DISTURBING, the scenes of violence and sexual harassment are conveniently moved as a side point. This disturbing events in this anime are told in a way that the viewer should understand what's happening without everything being explicitly graphic.
And now to the story and characters. No character in this anime is normal. And by not being normal, do not expect someone that just stands out. For example, the main protagonist Satou (female) is in love with a little girl, and ready to (and actually do it) kill in order to protect their love. Her craziness is in counter-position of her love for Shio. But where does craziness comes from. From the first episode we can see how one of the main characters develops fear of older woman which causes his pedophilia, due to being victim of rape by his female manager. And here is where this anime present this as disturbing and not enjoyable. Even for a male, a rape by older woman can really break your mind and soul. The craziness is not something your are born with (not always at least), but something that you can get from other crazy people.
And so we have a story which involves a series of victims domestic abuse, violence, sexual harassment, child abandoning, etc. Each of this twists the mind of the characters pushing them to do stuff, we (the normal people) find SERIOUSLY DISTURBING. But this is where the story becomes beautiful. All this crazy people search for is LOVE - the innocent love they were denied from their parents who beat them or the innocent love that is torn away by a slutty woman. And the desire for love can have CONSEQUENCES, a dark and disturbing consequences. While you watch how the events unfolds, if you have any heart, you cannot help but vouch for Satou and Shio to discover happiness away from all other victims.
As you go through this 12 episodes introduction of the dark world of people with unhappy families and how they individually discover happiness, one of the best and most beautiful thing you can see is the ending. You know this story would not have happy ending, but at least it would be beautiful, and yet you feel this bitter taste in your mouth. It shows what happy sugar life Satou and Shio would have if the events did not end tragically. At this point, for the first time I shed tears for serial killer female pedophile.
So how can you enjoy such an anime? Well, it depends whether you are a normal person, or you are under the influence of some seriously disturbing event in your past. In case you are a normal person experience some love issues, this anime could be a wake up call telling you "you know nothing about love issues". If you are not normal... (sorry)... I hope this anime gives you a glimpse of hope and happiness.
In conclusion, watching this reminds you that bad things can happen in the world. And for some, the bad things happen in their own homes. This anime reminds us for all those taboo subjects we are aware of, but we do not speak about.
P.S. The OP really cuts it for this anime. While it is nothing special, it completely resonate with the anime. The song is super cute, until suddenly become just a mumble-jumble of world in a voice that reflects the craziness perfectly. Then it returns being a cute song again.
A psychological anime is good if it can make the watcher feel unorthodox. A horror anime is good if it can make the watcher feel scared and afraid. This anime qualifies the two spots nicely and perfectly like putting a pencil lid into your mechanical pencil.
Story : 9/10
Two girls, stay together, supernatural, illegal and scary stuffs happens. Psychological plot, great story development. Makes me get goosebumps and/or afraid in all episodes. Respect.
Art : 9/10
Good art, good quality, nice.
Sound : 8/10
Catchy, Cute(scary) opening, satisfactory background musics, effects, etc..
Problem : Shio's sound is kind of annoying sometimes.
Character : 10/10
some characters emotions defy their looks. Truly psychological. 10/10.
Enjoyment : 9/10
I enjoyed(?) this anime a lot. Made me felt blank at the end, but that is to be expected. And I expected to feel this ever since I began the anime anyways.
Overall : 9/10
Fun, I guess? Yep. I love this, got heart attack in every episode. How could I dislike this? There's also Yuri. But somewhat made it felt WRONG. Oh well, my mind is messed up right now. So I'm off to rest.
This show provided everything I want in anime: social commentary and metaphysical/ philosophical questions. Many reviews look at it at face value, when it should be analyzed for what its trying to say.
Nearly all the characters in the story are phycologicly scarred and 'twisted', which turns some people off, most of them are not seen after their introduction and are presented in a morally open way. Such characters are shown to have a multitude of faces, and their role in the narrative primarily comes down to the idea that more people than you know have had a painful past and that more people have morally
inappropriate hobbies than it would seem at first glance. The characters presented, in the end, serve as a reflection of societies hypocrisy (as the show says itself multiple times).
While many classify Shio Kobe as a 'loli' she is in the story just a child; there are no sexual urges or relations to her in the story. It might be perceived that Mitsuboshi has some, but its not made evident as what is said is that he wants Shio to 'purify' him (after getting sexually abused by an older woman) and thus just wishes to regain his innocence (just in a overzealous perverse fashion), and by experiencing her innocence regain his.
As hinted at the show makes no moral claims on the characters or actions and presents them in an open, if not inviting, way. This presentation leaves more room for analysis on the shows primary thesis : what is love; and how these actions reflect love.
Analysis aside the juxtaposition used from one scene to another is done fantastically and scene transitions are creative and add to the work and animation. The art and animation completely convey emotions and tone intended for each scene with everything feeling well thought out. The character drawings do feel outdated by modern standards, but isnt overly evident with the animation and color usage.
I would not classify this in the horror genre like others have but more in suspense, slice of life, thriller, romance.
-THIS IS MY FIRST EVER REVIEW ON AN ANIME SO I APOLOGIZE IF THIS REVIEW ISN'T ENOUGH TO CONVINCE YOU TO WATCH THIS MASTERPIECE.-
I have been a fan of psychological animes and mangas because it feels so unique when you watch this kind of genre.
Happy Sugar Life is one of the best psychological anime that I have seen, I have never felt this best feeling since Mirai Nikki (This one's a pretty badass psychological anime too, recommended 10/10).
It's plot is pretty much the same with yandere animes (killing for the person you love, have different personalities, become merciless and be a beautiful and
cute yandere character with twisted mind) .
The story is so good it will make you cry, of satisfaction of course, it ended beautifully and it has some mindfck scenes which will give you goosebumps for the whole 12 episodes.
It's decent and beautiful. :)
The art style is cute as heck but turns demonic in the next second, it's pretty good and has a cute slice of (throat) life feels on it.
It's good. :)
Jesus! The characters bro, they are so damn unpredictable!
Don't let their looks and personality fool you because it will change in a mere second.
First, we have a pervert.
Second, we have a lolicon.
Third, we have a bisexual.
Fourth, we have a MILF.
Fifth, we have a depressed emo.
Damn, HSL have it all! That's what makes it a good anime!
Please, just watch you will know immediately on what I'm trying to say here, just watch and enjoy it! It is WORTH IT!
Thanks for reading this poor review of mine, I know it does not suit your needs on an anime review but I tried my best for this at least.
Thank you very much.
I've left the world of anime for a long time because I became bored with anime presenting me nothing new or revolutionary in terms of their storytelling. It was hard to find a story that offers a unique perspective about life or about anything at all, just a horde of formulaic entertainment that's "good enough" to keep you... entertained. And "good enough" was just not good enough for me. I wanted exceptional.
Welcome to exceptional.
Happy Sugar Life is an anti-romance story that really digs its nails deep into the more taboo meanings of love and what it means to different individuals. The premise would turn
off most people satisfied with a "normal" story: "A high school girl, Satou Matsuzaka, has fallen in love with a young girl named Shio Koube. She struggles to overcome numerous obstacles that threaten to take that love away." Psychotic yanderes with a twisted form of love is nothing new, but what Happy Sugar Life does differently is by really sticking with its main theme of unconventional love and explore how this (usually) superficial thing called "love" can truly mean a lot of different things to everybody.
To explain what I mean, the forms of love explored in this anime are as follows:
1. Love for a small child
2. Love for young boys
3. Parental love
4. Brotherly love
Satou isn't the only psycho in this anime as there are so many other individuals here with their own pursuit of love. And while some of these are forms of lust as opposed to the so-called "true love", people in real life often confuse the two anyway so why shouldn't anime characters? However, while the series spends a sufficient amount of time explore individual characters, the main focus here is still Satou and her journey to discover what it truly means to love another person. And therefore, it's a good time to talk about...
Satou starts out before the story with her heart feeling empty. It wasn't 'till she she discovers Shio one chance encounter that she felt meaning in her life as she began devoting her life to ensuring Shio's safety and happiness in their little castle of glass (a cozy little apartment). As she works hard for the sake of her newfound love, Satou comes across different individuals trying to their own ideals of love onto her in various ways, intruding in her happy sugar life with Shio. But surprisingly enough, there's really not much in the way of violence in how Satou deals with her problems (in most of the episodes anyway). Unlike a true yandere like Yuno from Mirai Nikki, Satou is a far more calm and collected girl who comes up with more civilized forms of strategies to remove people from her life. She also properly reflects on her own ideals and even questions whether if her "love" is the right kind. So altogether, not that unrealistic of a character to be fair.
But what keeps the show is the other characters that also had their perspectives shown to us, along with why they felt like their form of love is justified. Usually, in an anime with a shocking premise like this, it can all too often go downhill in pacing after the first shock-factor episode (Promised Neverland), but Happy Sugar Life keeps the audience engaged using the "psycho of the week" formula, allowing you to journey with Satou together in exploring love and all its meaning.
And in case you feel that these "lovers" are way too weird for your taste, there's even a normal girl in the mix here. Satou's best friend at work, Shouko, is the straight man in all this craziness, trying to do her best to be the best kind of friend Satou could have. She's loyal, compassionate, and not insane, so it helps to balance out the story and also helps the audience to connect with an anchor of normality. She's one of my favorite characters in the story, and possibly also the most tragic one by the end.
In spite of being a clean squeaky clean girl, Shouko and a number of other characters are written realistically flawed instead of being an ideal stereotype. Morally right or wrong, there is always ambiguity to their personal ideals to be found, thus further flesing them into very interesting individuals. Even Satou, whom I was close to hating after she crossed a line in a later episode, I found myself understanding she and Shio's perspective, and why they are so firmly rooted in their beliefs (abnormal or not) and fighting so hard for them, no matter what it takes.
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that even an anime like this has gotten me bored at a few points in the story when it came close to being reduced to yet another conventional thriller. Thankfully, the anime manages to throw new and unexpected surprises that not only serve to shock (which would be shallow on its own), but also add new layers to the characters and subverting your expectations about them. For the parts of the story that try to show what a sweet life Satou and Shio have made for each other, I encourage you to be patient and experience those moments as you would experience a joyous moment with your loved one; those do pay off by the end and resonate the kind of strong and deep bond Satou and Shio share with each other.
At the end of the day, go into this anime with an open mind and forget about your sense of normality for 12 episodes. Then come tell me what you think of Satou and Shio's perspectives and whether if you feel those two lost souls are justified! I would love to hear from you.
At the first few seconds of the episode it shows both characters Satou and Shio nearby a pit of fire. It doesn’t really explain what happened in the scenario, but we could tell from her expression and words how she finally realized how love felt like at that scenario.
Now I wonder what happened at that moment.
In sickness and in health,
through happiness and sadness,
for richer, for poorer,
I promise to love you, Satou-chan,
until death do us part.
It’s one of the sweetest vow’s you’ll every hear from a child, and from how it appears this is Satou’s way of calming herself down after a long
day of work, and her worries. Even though it seems perfect at the moment, she is well aware of the utilities they need in order to survive such as food, utilities, furniture, and clothes. At least she knows the responsibilities she has to do in order for them to live, since from what it looks like she has no support from any of her family or whatsoever.
Oh all those expenses.
She was finally home and well with Shio, she felt happy and more relaxed at this point. She did have her own worries and thoughts on how she has never felt love like this way before, saying that it was different.
Shio-chan gave me the gift of love.
In the end of the episode you see her walking inside a room that’s dark and has a heavy atmosphere, you could tell this was where her sins for her love had started. And it cuts off to the part of a young boy putting up posters of missing signs with the face of the one and only adorable Shio Kobe.
Hello, happy sugar life.
So far I've been intrigued with the first episode and would love to see more of it. This is my kind of anime so.... I'll give it a try!
I've been watching anime for some time, and this is the first time I felt like writing a review of a series. I will try to avoid spoilers as much as I can.
Of all animes I watched, this one must have one of the more unique plots I have seen. I would go as far as saying this is a "high art anime".
The first chapters introduce Satou's life, a hardworking girl who is in "love". Her koibito is Shio, a kid that she apparently kidnapped and locked in her apartment. That's all I will say about the plot, read the synopsis if you want
This show is a roller coaster, with lots of thrillers, twists, lies, and a some horror scenes. I think Ezόla (HSL is the first anime of the studio) did a very good job pacing and keeping consistency, I have only found very small plot holes at the end. It mixes very well unrealistic actions with very realistic behaviors (confusing huh? I never experienced this before). In some instances the most "normal" guy will look the weirdest. I also liked how they treated stuff like domestic violence, work harassment and male rape.
Typical art style that you would find in a slice of life show, round faces, big round eyes, lots of blur, etc. I think this makes a horror show "darker". Overall I think this show's color palettes are very well chosen and beautiful. The cute and happy scenes looked very vibrant and heartwarming, where the creepy scenes were dark with glowing yandere eyes. I also love the faces in this anime, in fact I have a folder with 35 screencaps of face expressions (this is the first time I screenshot while watching anime).
Loved OP and ED. Also random Bleach OST. HanaKana, Kikuko Inoue.
I will just say that I missed shows with good character development. This show does it greatly. Every character feels alive, has its own issues, pasts, and evolution through the series.
Loved MC's personality, I usually don't watch yandere shows, but her character felt very credible (? can't find the exact word). She keeps thinking rationally most of the time, and has real affection for his close friends (sadly they don't). She also doesn't go berserk randomly (killing is her very last option). Much more enjoyable than, for instance, Yuno.
I ended up writing a lot, ups. Overall this was a very refreshing show (I was tired of cliches and forced plots). Binge watched it in one sit, while usually I don't watch anime this way.
The ending was perfect, I would have liked another one (crowbar should have fallen, stapid ring), but it's the most appropriate for the show.
Nearly perfect score for me, 9-10. I wouldn't recommend this to "everyone", I'm sure most people would hate Happy Sugar Life and feel uncomfortable watching it (violence, harassment, rape, murder, kidnapping, lolicons, etc.). And that's fine, this show is very special (hence the "high art anime").
I found this anime much more enjoying then I should.
It builds up a story and drops it with consequences that might turn out satisfying to watch. It contains layers of dark stories and disturbing action done mostly everyone. If you're into things being out of the normal range of human behaviour, this is the anime for you. Bonus points if you like yuri or lolis.
What I found this anime being fun is mostly from the protagonists' ability to do evil things. A cute girl who has a dark side waiting to be discovered by the viewer; all to protect her loved one with anything, but
with responsibility and sanity of her own to try to avoid trouble. It builds up with her punishing "terrible" people one after another, even if they used to be friends or coworkers she's met with her "normal" daily life outside, and dropping it with even darker and darker actions as the anime goes on. I seem to be obsessed with the idea that things get twisted just for maintaining the protagonist's relationship.
10/10 because most parts of it are fun, interesting, and gratifying to watch. The music fits the story and the art style is sweet to the eye. Most importantly, they work together to make the atmosphere fit the storytelling beautifully.
When I first heard about this anime and what was going on in it, I was skeptical about it seeming to be good for horror; I mean you got a yandere and a child. But once you get to episode 5 and you start learning about Shio, you learn all those layers they built into this child and how she's more than just an innocent and caring child.
Satou has a lot to her as well, not being a teen who kidnapped a child cause they love them sexually, but a true love for this girl who brought her happiness when she never received any
to begin with; but I do wish they would delve into more of both her past with her aunt and her love for Shio.
The supporting characters are very interesting as well, from Hida and Taiyo to Sumire and even Shio's mother; but they do need more of a backstory, so maybe some OVAs for the characters will do some justice.
I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to watch horror but want minimal amounts of blood and murder since this is more on the mental and emotional aspect rather than gore. This is obviously not for those who aren't able to fully understand the true story behind this anime and explore the many layers past a teen and child romance.
Even though the ending was very conclusive and overall perfect, I wouldn't mind a second season; maybe with different characters in this similar dilemma, like maybe men where the younger of the two murders to protect his lover.
I overall highly praise this anime and recommend this to newcomers looking for a "little blood as possible" horror anime.
Happy Sugar Life (HSL) fails as a psychological horror.
That is fine.
Don't go in thinking this is going to be a psychological horror, instead look at this more as a mystery drama.
It's not a standard "Problem = Mystery" style mystery, but instead it's got that sort of Another style mystery where you have a problem, but then the interest is figuring out who the characters are, what's happened leading up to here, etc.
It's a drama because everything is a drama. Drama is that blanket term for "things happen, they're not neccesarily fighting, they're not always romance, they're not always [Blank], but they are
This Anime is about our main protagonist Satou, and our macguffin/second-protagonist Shio. By some means our MP has found Shio and is currently living with her despite the fact that she is an actively sought-after missing person. Satou's main drive then obviously is keeping her as a missing person while they have a romantic relationship.
Yes, The lesbian pedophile has a girl locked in her appartment, but the girl doesn't seem to mind.
That's literally as much plot as I can go into without spoiling this, so let's talk actual meat and potatoes.
This is a modern-day japan with normal life, but populated entirely by morally wrong people. Everyone's hiding something, everyone's an asshole. Our macguffin, in one way or another, seems to bring these assholes together and, as they do, they end up having confrontations. All the while you're going to be fed crumbs of information into the actual story, either through flashback, literal digging, or just someone's psychotic episode that leads to them no longer repressing some memories.
All these crumbs of plot start filling in the blanks for the mystery, but then just add more questions ontop of that and bring in more morally questionable situations for you to judge. All up until a breaking point where the current story kicks into high-gear and the mystery is essentially finished so you can wrap up the series and characters that you've spent the past episodes learning about and either loving or hating all with the final drama.
Yeah, I'm vague. That review is boring. Just watch this anime, as much shit as it sounds like I've given it, it's amazing. You're going into an anime where the writers dive into a psychopathic main protagonist and I know how much we all love those when they're not written as high-school vampire scene girls. You're not force-fed psychology 101, you're not shown a murder then beaten over the head with how wrong it is. You're just shown a bunch of relatable human characters who're pushed past relatable at times because you don't want to relate to their fucked psychology.
And just ignore these dudes who watched 3 episodes and started screaming "IT'S EDGY, WHY IS THERE A LOLI, THIS IS GROSS, I'M OFFENDED" because they wanted to voice their opinions on an unfinished anime they decided to immediately wall themselves away from. Watch it and make your own call. It's not like we don't all sit around for 6-12 hours straight binging whole anime series on the weekends anyways.
A rare gripping story disguised as just another moe blob slice of life that won't push you to the edge of the seat, but will have you leaning forward wondering what will happen next. The cast consists of only morally and mentally fucked characters; leaving you wondering who you should actually be rooting for; if anyone at all.
It doesn't have the pleasant surprise of School Live's or Doki Doki's 180 tone change, but nonetheless it's still enjoyable, or at the very least interesting, to watch the darker atmosphere envelope and combine with everybody's favourite genre: cutesy moe blobs.
The sound direction catches you off guard, even
though it repeats a lot of the same effects throughout the show, but still proves to be something that ultimately contributes to the intention of establishing how insignificant certain background characters are, or how brutal certain major events in the story actually play out, or what percentage of deranged certain characters are.
Happy Sugar Life's story as a whole takes one sharp turn to redesign its adorable surface into a darker thriller that will keep hold of your attention while challenging your perception of its unpredictable major cast of characters.
Happy Sugar Life is an amazing story. The story is intriguing from episode one and continue's to up the intensity after each episode. I haven't seen anything else like Happy Sugar Life, it's a truly unique thrill ride. This emotional roller coaster will take you to unexpected places.
The music conveys so much feeling and ultimately really helps tell the story. The shocking themes may seem off putting at first glance but you really have to see it all before you can accurately pass judgement.
With surprises at every turn this Psychological Horror is best in class and contender for one of the
best Anime's of all time. Happy Sugar Life has story that rivals that of even William Shakespeare. It is a unique masterpiece.