Herald Anime Club

The Herald Anime Club Meeting 71: Happy Sugar Life Episode 1

Meeting Date: 7/15/2018

Disclaimer: The Herald Anime Club discusses shows as they’re airing. Naturally, there will be spoilers for a given episode. You have been warned!

Samantha Ferreira: Hi everybody, and welcome to the Herald Anime Club! I’m Samantha Ferreira, and I’m here with L.B. Bryant this week
L.B. Bryant: Hello!
Samantha Ferreira: It’s a new season, which means it’s time for an all-new show! This week, we’re talking about Happy Sugar Life Episode 1: “No, no, God no, why?”
L.B. Bryant: So I have to ask, what didn’t you like about this show? I actually enjoyed the first episode. There were some squicky parts, but for the most part it was appropriately dark and twisted which is pretty much what it said it would be on the advertising.
Samantha Ferreira: Honestly, there’s a good amount, for me, the biggest being that you have a girl who’s literally grooming a child to be her bride, portrayed without the slightest hint of irony
Samantha Ferreira: Like, I get that it’s a horror show, but this segment, which in itself is absolutely horrifying, was treated as the big positive aspect.

L.B. Bryant: Yeah that was the squicky part I referred to but you knew about that going into it. This series made no effort to hide that it was going to have that aspect to it.
Samantha Ferreira: Honestly, I can’t even call it “squicky” – I found it downright creepy, and not in that awesome John Waters way
Samantha Ferreira: It’s a matter of portrayal, like… I’ve been around the block. I’ve seen a ton of horror flicks in my life, even those who did go in this direction – and you have to kind of set these things up properly, lest it becomes fetishistic. They just didn’t do that.
L.B. Bryant: I can see that point but I just didn’t have the same issues with it that you did. *shrugs*
L.B. Bryant: Like I said, it squicked me out a bit but as the episode progressed I found myself getting into it. Particularly in the last few moments when we see those three trash bags tied up with ribbons.
L.B. Bryant: And the MC sitting there between them blissfully happy with her “Happy sugar life”
Samantha Ferreira: It’s the fact that it just sets up a pedophilic fantasy as the main source of comfort for our lead. The main source of positive emotion comes form the fact that Satou literally kidnapped a child and is grooming her. And it’s a shame, because there were some genuinely cool moments – the sadistic maid cafe owner, the fact that she literally chopped up the owners of the house, the whole exchange in the boss’s office, where Satou blackmails her boss… those were beautifully framed and paced

L.B. Bryant: Yeah, I loved the whole second half of the episode.
L.B. Bryant: But I can see how the first half is problematic enough.
L.B. Bryant: Like I mentioned, I just didn’t have the same reaction.
Samantha Ferreira: mm… This is just one that bugged me.
Samantha Ferreira: Like… it’s… I’ve seen this movie before
Samantha Ferreira: Not literally.
L.B. Bryant: I got what you were saying.
Samantha Ferreira: And it’s a shame – I wanted to like this one, and really – it could have been something I’m gushing over if they framed the big problematic elements a bit better
L.B. Bryant: I think I’m going to stick with this series for another couple of episodes to see where it goes. I’m intrigued.
Samantha Ferreira: I’m going to give it another episode to see if it gets better… for now, though… I’m kind of skeptical.
L.B. Bryant: I don’t blame you.
Samantha Ferreira: Because beneath that, under the fetishy veneer, there’s some good, creepy stuff here
Samantha Ferreira: The segment in the office was brilliant

L.B. Bryant: I really enjoyed that scene.
Samantha Ferreira: The part with the bags, as you mentioned – fantastic
L.B. Bryant: Indeed. :)
Samantha Ferreira: Heck – I’ll even applaud that the show called out workplace sexual harassment – that’s freaking awesome. I just wish they framed that last bit better. Like… I jokingly compared this show to Shadow Star Narutaru in the build-up.
Samantha Ferreira: And, really, it could go there – Narutaru went to similar levels of “what the hell am I watching”
L.B. Bryant: It’s a little early to hang the Narutaru sign on this series IMO
Samantha Ferreira: True. That didn’t start going absolutely bonkers until the halfway point
Samantha Ferreira: The worm part still makes me cringe
L.B. Bryant: Ugh, please don’t make me remember specifics about that series lol
Samantha Ferreira: lol
Samantha Ferreira: That really was amazing horror.

L.B. Bryant: I’ve spent many years and hours of therapy trying to forget that I ever saw it :)
Samantha Ferreira: Therapy? bah. I show this to people on Bad Anime Night! :D
L.B. Bryant: That’s because you’re an evil bitch. lol
Samantha Ferreira: Damn straight. ????
Samantha Ferreira: I still remember that night I showed everybody that scene. I made spaghetti for everyone. Then I grinned as they watched, and they looked at me with that cheshire cat smile
L.B. Bryant: lol
L.B. Bryant: Of course you did.
Samantha Ferreira: Hehe. And really, with some tweaks, this could become another show where I can inflict it on people.
L.B. Bryant: So question, are going to stick with this show for the club or do we want to save ourselves and abandon ship now?
Samantha Ferreira: I’ll give it one more episode.
L.B. Bryant: Sounds good :)Samantha Ferreira: And know that I will probably inflict this on people even if I hate it. :p
L.B. Bryant: hehe the otakusphere has been warned
Samantha Ferreira: lol yep. Anyway, any final thoughts this week?
L.B. Bryant: Let’s see how deep this rabbit hole goes :)
Samantha Ferreira: Indeed. Let’s see if this descent into madness does some interesting things
Samantha Ferreira: Anyway, have a great night, everybody!
L.B. Bryant: Night!

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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