Happy Sugar Life: Disturbing, Controversial, Well Executed

by Tito W. James

Happy Sugar Life is a psychological horror anime about a seemingly harmless girl with disturbing secrets.

Satou Matsuzaka has a habit of sleeping with one boy after another, but doesn’t really feel anything for them. But when she meets a young child named Shio, she’s convinced she’s fallen in love. Despite Satou’s innocence, there’s nothing she won’t do to protect her life alongside Shio, including murdering anyone who gets in their way. Where did she find this girl, and how long can their relationship work?

Happy Sugar Life, is an anime where viewer discretion is advised. There isn’t any graphic violence or sexual content shown on screen, but what is implied is horrifying. If the premise is too creepy for you, I wouldn’t recommend watching the show. But if you’re in the mood for a sharply written psychological thriller, then read on.

If you watch this anime, you’re going to Hell. It’s that simple.

Many shows have been described as a rollercoaster. Happy Sugar Life is the only anime worthy of this comparison because it leaves its audience shaking in their seats as if they were on a rollercoaster. While watching the show, my jaw dropped, I cursed out loud, and my stomach turned. Happy Sugar Life delivers literal “edge of your seat” suspense!
I was impressed with how frightening the show was able to be without showing anything disgusting. Trash bags, a missing-person flyer, and jar of sweets–the simplest objects take on grisly new meanings as the viewer slowly pieces together the mystery of Matsuzaka and Shio.
Matsuzaka acts as Shio’s captor and protector by defending her from sexual predators while also keeping Shio a secret from the authorities. Every time the noose gets tighter, Matsuzaka is able to wriggle free like the slipperiest of eels. I was torn between wanting Matsuzaka to get caught, and also wanting to see what she would do next. I haven’t encountered an anti-heroine this riveting since Hatou Manabu.

If you’re a fan of seinen anime like Future Diary, Another, and When They Cry, then this show is for you. Happy Sugar Life is a gripping thriller that will leave you panicking at every turn and dying to know what happens next. The creators have great respect for the audience and their characters by avoiding cheap thrills and exploitative content. The juxtaposition between cute art and disturbing material is what makes the show both beautiful and terrifying.

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