Satou lives a perfect life. She’s the most gorgeous girl at school, and all the boys fawn over her. She goes through them like candy, but suddenly starts rejecting all advances. We find out Satou has met the love of her life, Shio. Salt to Satou’s sugar, they spice each other’s life (Literally; Satou is Japanese for sugar and Shio is Japanese for salt). They love each other so much, the much younger Shio moves in with Satou. Their nightly vows of love are sweet and endearing. But where are Satou’s parents? What’s behind the padlocked door? And who is on that missing persons poster?
If neither the plot synopsis nor the front cover didn’t cue you in, this isn’t a slice-of-life romance. Satou has kidnapped Shio, and the lack of a guardian is a key plot point. What we get instead is a horror story about love. As Satou tries to earn money to support Shio and her, she meets a variety of people. Each character has a different view of love, and their views come out in sick and twisted ways. If you think Satou is off base, just wait until you meet the people standing in her way.
The characters are well thought out, Satou especially. We all want that happy sugar life; the difference is that Satou believes it actually exists. She believes in it so much, that she’s willing to kidnap her love; it’s young love taken to the extreme. While I would have liked to see more of Shio, what we do get of her is good and I expect we’ll be seeing more of her if the ending is any indication.
What sells the underlying creepiness is the use of moe character designs. I’m not a person who likes moe; I find it usually serves as a cheap tactic to cover up lack of character depth. But Happy Sugar Life uses moe’s manipulative qualities as a weapon. By looking all cute, the horrible actions people take become more frightening. This is all set in the real world too; no Junji Ito supernatural shenanigans are the cause. It’s just broken people that need love, and will do anything to get it.
This manga had an anime adaption last summer that I missed, but I’ll have to go back and watch it. This is a very compelling read and I need to see what happens next!
Satou Matsuzaka doesn't seem to care about much, moving through boys and casting them aside like so used candy wrappers. All that changes, though, when she meets Shio. The little girl changes everything for Matsuzaka. Is this love...? If it is, then it's love through a very warped prism as the high schooler demonstrates there's no atrocity beyond her when it comes to protecting the object of her deranged affection.Add to CartLearn More