Happy Sugar Life Episode 4
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Happy Sugar Life ?
In previous episodes, the series played coy about whether or not Satou actually was committing any violence. Episode 4 seems to have put an end to that. We don't directly see Satou commit the eye-gouging mayhem, but the implication of the red-splattered camera and the later picture of the crime scene tell us all we need to know. (It's not like her victims were innocent, but still, that's pretty extreme.) Of course, there's also that scene of her trying to wipe blood stains off the wall of the unused room, but the question remains of who the blood belonged to.
This episode also smoothly works in a few other juicy clarifications. Scenes from Satou's past of an abused woman that I had previously thought was Satou's mother now seem to be of the aunt that Satou was living with after her parents died – and as far as her school knows, she still lives with her now. Shio's flashbacks are inching us toward a better understanding of her past, suggesting now that she may have willfully separated from her mother. Her own disturbed reactions to blood call into question if she perhaps witnessed her mother being killed (perhaps by her father?). There's still a lot to decipher on both fronts, and the pacing on these revelations remains strong.
Less impressive is the reminder that Mitsuboshi has become a real degenerate over Shio, and him witnessing Satou carrying her off is sure to have unpleasant consequences down the road. The out-of-the-blue revelation this episode is the epilogue scene that indicates one of Satou's female coworkers at the maid café has been sniffing her uniform while partially undressed. To my recollection, her attraction hasn't even been vaguely implied prior to this, nor has she had any distinctive interactions with Satou; it was a different coworker who playfully asked Satou to marry her earlier in the episode. Still, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise at this point; we've had a predatory older woman, a predatory male teacher, and a burgeoning pedophile, so one more stalker hardly registers.
Through all this, the focus remains on Satou. The dichotomy that splits her seemingly innocent side from her psychotic side has never been depicted more sharply, and the lengths to which she's going to protect her temporary peace and joy come out even more starkly when she installs a door lock so Shio can't get out on her own again. This puts a darker tone on their relationship, even as their interactions continue to seem perfectly innocent. That Innocent joy masking deep dark undertones continues to be the series' main strength and selling point.
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