What’s the show? Happy Sugar Life, Episode 9.
So what happens in this episode? Arguably the most important thing that’s happened in this show so far.
I take it we’re going straight into spoiler territory right away? Well I’ll mention what happens earlier in the episode first, as it’s somewhat important to the later things. Basically Mitsuboshi tries to convince Asahi to move on and search for Shio in a different prefecture, but he’s not entirely convinced. Later, Asahi tells Shoko what happened but despite this is intending to move-on as it’s the only clue he has. Shoko confesses her feelings for Asahi—those being not quite of love but of admiration for his resolve in trying to find his little sister; she even gives him a hug and a kiss before parting ways.
And after that? For their “anniversary” Sato buys some cake and jewellery to share with Shio and the two have a beautiful and wholesome time together, then Shio suggests they get married as a promise that they will be together—at which point Sato shows the rings she bought at the jewellery store. Enamoured with the idea Shio decides to go out and by some wedding supplies, as they hug on the threshold of the apartment a flash goes off—it’s Shoko and she’s taken a picture of the two embracing with her camera phone.
Oh boy… I’m guessing that doesn’t go down well? Shit. Goes. Down. I’ve never seen an anime shift moods from something so bright and happy to something this, well…
Well what? Are you familiar with the 2013-2015 television series ‘Hannibal’?
I know of it, why is that? She doesn’t eat her does she? Don’t be so grotesque! No the visuals and audio that accompany the sequence as Sato drags Shoko into her apartment is a complete and utter masterpiece—I know I praised the opening scene from the previous episode in last week’s review as being a work-of-art, but this is on a different level. And I feel it’s very reminiscent of the ‘Hannibal’ TV series in that something ~utterly~ horrible happens to a genuinely ‘nice’ character, but I can’t at all be mad at Sato because the scene is so gorgeously constructed and artfully displayed.
You’ve kind of danced around it for a while now, so what happens to Shoko? After a heated discussion (of which we initially here nothing of, instead it’s the visuals accompanied by a haunting spoken-word song) it looks like Sato is going to let Shoko go but as she nears the front door Sato takes her by the mouth with one-hand and drives a kitchen knife into her neck with the other hand. It’s intimate, it’s unflinching and it’s realistic. Shoko digs her nails into the back of Sato’s hands as she desperately claws for life, the blood-drawing scratches on the back of her hand nothing compared to the blood that drains from poor Shoko’s body.
Wow… so a confirmed on-screen kill for Sato— And of a named character who we’d gotten to know and care for too! If it seems like I’m a bit ‘removed’ from the events, speaking of them dispassionately, it’s because I am 100% committed to Sato’s journey. Some may watch this show and get angry at Sato for killing an innocent who was just trying to help a friend, some may want some kind of karmic justice for everything she’s perpetrated. Some may even see her as an out-and-out villain with no redeeming qualities, but for me Sato is my anime Hannibal Lecter—just like in that show I could watch her do pretty much any horrible thing and still be rooting for her. The Hannibal TV series gave us an intelligent, savvy, charismatic mass-murderer whose misdeeds were framed in such artistic ways as to make him a figure of adoration and intrigue and even love. Happy Sugar Life does the same, only on an arguably more intimate and low-key scale, and it’s kinda better for it.
Previous Happy Sugar Life Reviews:
A Sweet Treat With A Dark Centre – Episode 1 Review
Contains Traces of Nuts – Episode 2 Review
Bitter Sweet Sympathy – Episode 3 Review
Closeted Secrets – Episode 4 Review
The Bitter Kiss – Episode 5 Review
Past, Present and Future Tension – Episode 6 Review
Blood Is Sicker Than Water – Episode 7 Review
Filling In The Canvas – Episode 8 Review
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