People With Glass Hearts Shouldn’t Be Alone – ‘Happy Sugar Life’ Episode 10 Review

What’s the show? Happy Sugar Life, Episode 10.

So what’s this episode about? Where previous episodes have been about big moments and tense confrontations and dramatic revelations with bursts of violence between them this is probably the most intensely personal and introspective the show has been and it absolutely needed it after the events of last week.

How so? Well last week Sato killed, Shoko—one of her only friends, because she got too close to the truth and wasn’t accepting of her newfound happiness. I admit I was a little apprehensive to see how the show would handle the aftermath but as it turns out that apprehension was unwarranted as they handle it ~perfectly~! Sato is left in a catatonic state, lying on the floor, basically unable to function because her mind is undoubtedly trying to process what she’s done. Yes, she’s killed before but not anyone she ever cared about. Throughout the first half of the episode we get Shio trying to rouse Sato from her state of inaction while tidying around the house and finding evidence of the violence that transpired all the while her own memories of her mother keep flooding back.

It’s a minor thing but I love how flashbacks are ‘letterboxed’ like this. I know a lot of shows do it but it fits this show very well.

Oh yeah? What do we learn from these flashbacks? Well Shio’s mother was being abused by her husband, she left fearing their lives but the glass jar that is Shio’s mothers heart never recovered, the cracks too deep to be repaired. And I love that analogy they used, not only does it tie into the opening credits but it’s such an evocative and relatable piece of symbolism. Because of Shio’s innate empathy she can see the glass jar people have inside them—even if its just metaphorically. And after being abandoned in a back alley by her broken mother Sato comes across her and they talk. Shio sees a perfect, flawless jar inside Sato but one that’s completely empty and in recognising this emptiness and her desire to fill it with love the first drop of happiness falls into Sato’s jar and well, the rest is history really.

This show has a thing about eyes.

Does Sato eventually recover from her catatonic state? Yes, after inevitably mulling over their next course of action Sato decides they need to leave but unintentionally says some careless things to Shio that provokes her. Sato wants to protect this precious little thing in her life but Shio doesn’t just want to be the one being protected, she recognises how hard Sato works and wants to protect her too, wants to do her part in maintaining an equality in their ‘relationship’—she even says “I don’t want to just be a doll” and then shuts herself away in a room to give Sato time to realise her mistakes. Punctuating it with a childish but devastatingly honest “I hate you”, through the door.

It doesn’t take much for some people to start showing cracks.

And how does Sato take that? Not well—in a very dramatic moment Sato begins to lose her grip on reality and her sense of self as everything she worked hard to maintain starts to crumble. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more accurate depiction of what it feels like when something you thought was a ‘sure thing’ starts to disintegrate, whether it be a relationship or a job or a way of life—these scenes captured that kind of helplessness and beckoning maw of the void better than I’ve ever seen it in an anime. Though thankfully for everyone concerned this drama is short-lived as they reflect on what about each other is important and promise to not only be more honest with each other but share everything which Sato does by confessing the murder as well as her various other sins.

If I had one quibble with the episode it’s that Shio’s dialogue seemed quite advanced for her age, but at the same time it kind of needed to be to progress this part of the story.

Big step. So what are your overall thoughts on this episode and anything else you wanted to add? There’s almost no forward plot momentum in this episode but considering how wild the previous two episodes had been we absolutely needed this time for the characters to assess who they were and who they are going to be moving forward. I loved the use of the glass jar metaphor to symbolise a person’s heart and more than that I loved how intimate and personal this episode felt. More than any time before these felt like people being broken, betrayed and then finding a way to build themselves up again and move forward in life and the way this show did it was pretty much flawless.

It’s hard to believe this is this studio’s first anime, it’s frequently breathtaking.

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
Til Death Do Us Part – Episode 9 Review


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