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YMMV / Happy Sugar Life

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Does Satou truly love Shio, or is she just In Love with Love and using Shio as an outlet for her emotional instability? Shio herself questions Satou on this, taking offense that Satou told her that she needed her to simply smile for her.
    • What exactly is the nature of Satou and Shio's relationship? They profess to be lovers, but the furthest their "relationship" goes is a chaste kiss. Meanwhile, several parallels are drawn between Satou and Shio's mother Yuuna, and Satou is ultimately replacing Yuuna's role as Shio's caretaker, but their "engagement" in the last third of the series, as well as Satou being able to manipulate Mitsuboshi by playing on his obsession with Shio, suggests that their feelings cannot be explained as entirely platonic, although the former could also be a case of Shared Family Quirks since Asahi made similar wedding recitals with his mom before she was born. The director of the anime adaptation, for his part, believes Satou's love for Shio to be more familial in nature but concedes that there might be elements of both. The Manga on the other hand, especially the extra stories released well after the original run ended, makes it clear that their relationship is very much romantic.
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    • Does Satou truly see Shouko as a friend? When Satou took Shouko to meet Auntie, was it a cynical ploy to get Shouko off of her case or was Satou trying to open up to Shouko and felt genuinely hurt when Shouko rejected her?
    • Whether or not Shouko truly is one of the few sane characters in the series. While she has no hint of a mental disorder, she believes that she alone could free Satou of her troubled life even though Satou clearly did not want her snooping in her business.
  • Awesome Music: The opening for the anime called "One Room Sugar Life". It is a unique song which blends the saccharine-feel of the art style of the series while also showing glimpses of its dark underbelly.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Satou herself. Many view her as incredibly tragic because of her backstory while others argue that in spite of it, she is still a manipulative, remorseless girl obsessed with another girl 7 years younger than her. Her murder of Shouko is also divisive. Many view this as the moment Satou became truly evil whereas defenders suggest that Satou was in the right because Shouko was technically being hypocritical when she claimed she would accept her regardless.
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    • Shouko. Many find her as one of the only forms of levity in a show reeking of psychopathic characters and she is also often shipped with Asahi because of her doting on him. However, others believe that she is a shallow character who is a pushover for a duration of the anime. In the events of her death, the fanbase was also split. Many consider this to be Satou ultimately shifting from an anti-villain with sympathetic qualities to a full-fledged villain deserving of a slow, brutal death. Other fans have pointed out that Satou had a somewhat justified reason for killing her because Shouko had hesitated in giving her a definitive answer when she asked her if she'd remain her friend despite meeting her aunt.
    • Taiyou Mitsuboshi. He is seen by some as a sympathetic figure due to his traumatizing experience. However, others disagree, viewing him instead as scum because of his obsession with Shio, stemming from the above. Case in point: fans of the series are divided over whether - because of said obsession - his subsequent rape, at the hands of Satou's aunt, is justly deserved or unfairly cruel given his preexisting trauma as a rape victim.
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    • The rest of the sympathetically portrayed Kobe family gets a lot of this too. While many fans do want them to reunite with Shio because terrible circumstances and poor planning drove them apart, and they do seem to make a conscious effort to take her back, many others think that they're being single minded and selfish to do so, citing their inability to create a stable home and their mental issues as justification for Shio staying with Satou. This ignores the fact that Satou lives in a similarly unstable environment and she has her own mental issues, the only true difference between them being that Shio wanted for nothing in Satou's care and genuinely loves being with her.
  • Broken Base: Whether or not Shio is fine in Satou's care. Many cite the fact that Shio's birth mother abandoned her one day, thus removing any insinuation that Satou kidnapped her. There is also the matter of whether or not Asahi or Yuuna are in any condition to raise a child, as the two can barely survive on their own. Others point out that no matter how well Satou treats Shio, she is still a criminal and her actions could bring their so-called Happy Sugar Life down any time.
  • Complete Monster: Even in a setting populated by characters existing at different levels of sanity, this despicable duo stands out as truly depraved:
    • The nameless manager of the Princess Imperial restaurant seemed at first to be a Benevolent Boss, but in actuality is a self-absorbed, vain woman who revels in the attention her employees give her. When Satou Matsuzaka joins the restaurant, the manager's ego is bruised upon overhearing Taiyo Mitsuboshi asking Satou out on a date. Luring Mitsuboshi into her office, the manager traps Mitsuboshi in her cabinet, raping him repeatedly for a week to force him to love her. She also tasks her employees with sabotaging Satou's work as punishment for her catching Mitsuboshi's interest. A woman obsessed with maintaining her "kingdom," the manager left a permanent impression on Mitsuboshi, being responsible for his pathological fear of older women.
    • The father of Asahi and Shio Kobe is a wrathful, short-tempered force of pure rage. Upon meeting a young Yuuna, he raped her out of blind anger at her accidentally bumping into him. Being forced to marry her after getting her pregnant, he relentlessly abused her and Asahi, raping the former repeatedly. Not caring one bit for his family, he leaves his family penniless after receiving his inheritance, only to become worse after spending it on himself. After his wife and daughter escaped the house, he subjects Asahi to five years of torturous abuse, going as far as to rip Asahi's fingernails off in a mixture of annoyance at his son's insolence, and a morbid curiosity at seeing how much pain Asahi could endure. Appearing as a shadowy entity in Asahi's subconscious, his father was a demon both figuratively and literally.
  • Diagnosed by the Audience: Shio displays some potential signs of having some kind of disorder. With symptoms ranging from dizzy spells and intense bouts of fear and anxiety that leave her curled up holding her head on the ground, to hallucinations of her mother with her face scribbled out speaking to her. It's uncertain at this point what her actual condition might be, though PTSD and such are potentially on the table. Near the end of the story though, she unambiguously displays symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome, best shown when she defends Satou from her brother and ditches him in favor of her happy sugar life with her abductor even after said abductor died, which lingers all the way to 8 years later.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Despite kidnapping and falling in an obsessive love with an eight year old along with killing her best friend and burning the upper room of the apartment down with innocents inside, fans still see Satou as very sympathetic, especially since she's the only one who can properly care for Shio at current, and her backstory explains her personality. This is further compounded by the fact that Shio was outright abandoned by her mother, thus removing any insinuation that Satou is holding her against her will and that their relationship is purely non-sexual. None of this changes the fact that Satou is still over-protective and murderous, and if you believe her relationship with Shio is romantic then the age gap between them is still absurdly high.
    • Satou's aunt, commonly referred to as Auntie. Many fans love her for her crazy (and surprisingly humorous) antics and some cite her as being pleasing to the eyes minus her bandages. This despite the fact that she raped Mitsuboshi and later set the upper room of the apartment on fire of her own volition.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Satou's aunt is regarded by many as their favorite aspect of the manga and anime namely because of her darkly hilarious mannerisms as well as for initially being the primary candidate of who was likely in the body bags Satou had in the first few chapters.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Technically more "cute," but Satou. She's pretty and is actually fairly well-endowed, but uses her feminine charm in several instances to get what she wants such as when she forces her teacher to help her dispose of the body bags, and luring one of the assailants from Episode 2 towards her before gouging the eyes from him and his accomplice.
    • Auntie speaks in an alluring tone of voice and aside from the obvious bandages, she is actually beautiful. Her establishing moment even consists of her giving a police officer a taste of Marshmallow Hell when he was notified of a disturbance.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Any of the heartwarming moments between Satou and Shouko become this after Satou murders her.
  • Iron Woobie: Asahi... oh god, Asahi. Born when his mother was raped by his father, Asahi sacrifices himself to allow his mother and sister time to escape the abuse. After enduring five years of brutal torture by his father — up to and including having his fingernails ripped off — Asahi adjusts his goal of getting his family back together to finding his sister. Throughout the series, Asahi loses everything in Satou's hands despite his best efforts; Shouko, the only person who vowed to be alongside him murdered by Satou and his morals lost when he tortured Mitsuboshi and found himself no different from his abusive dad. Even after Satou dies and there's nothing left between him and Shio, Stockholm Syndrome has already kicked off fully and denies him the win. Finally as the Extra Life chapters reveal, while Shio manages to stand up independently with a decent living standard (though her sanity is half-gone for good measure), Asahi is left wandering the streets being terrified of lost animals that might end up like his sister. He might have iron-hard willpower and determination, but it's useless when it's too little, too late.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Taiyou Mitsuboshi. At the start of the manga he's relatively normal and sane, but when he asks Satou out for a date and gets declined he was lured into the manager's office and is subsequently trapped in her cabinet and raped for a week, immensely traumatizing him that he becomes obsessed with Shio, believing that her "pureness" could cleanse his soul. Unlike Satou's ambiguously romantic relationship with Shio, he's obviously approaching her with sexual undertones and comes across as creepy than anything, then was blackmailed by Satou and Asahi in succession. Then he gets plunged into rock bottom when Satou's aunt rapes him, cementing him traumatized and despondent for life. As creepy as he is for viewing a literal child in a sexual manner, it's not hard to feel sad for him when the whole manga is his journey from a relatively sane and innocent man to a traumatized and likely suicidal wreck.
  • Happy Sugar Life: Satou Matsuzaka is a high schooler who—after becoming enamored with the young Shio Kobe—will go to any length to protect her "happy sugar life" with her. While presenting herself as friendly in public, Satou is in truth a skilled manipulator who blackmails others into doing her dirty work under the threat of ruining their livelihoods. When Shio's brother Asahi comes into the equation, Satou ropes a despondent Taiyo Mitsuboshi into her scheme to lure Asahi into another district by exploiting his psychological trauma. After reluctantly killing her best friend Shouko Hida, Satou adjusts her scheme yet again by deciding to pass off Shouko's corpse as her own and tasks her aunt with burning the upper level of the apartment to cover her tracks. Satou realizes the real meaning of love as she falls to her death and selflessly shields Shio with her body, dying in her place. Despite her extreme methods, Satou is the person who ultimately ensures Shio's well-being in the future.
  • Moe: The characters have an incredibly cute art style that have a saccharine masquerade hiding behind the macabre nature of the series. Both Shio and Satou are incredibly adorable as well.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The nameless manager of the Princess Imperial restaurant kidnaps Mitsuboshi and raped him repeatedly for a week. Her actions deeply traumatized him to the point that he lusted after Shio, believing only she could make him pure again.
    • Shio and Asahi's father was revealed to have crossed it earlier in his life when he raped Yuuna when she was sixteen-years-old, merely because she accidentally pushed him .
  • Shocking Moments: Shouko's death at Satou's hands in Chapter 23 of the manga and subsequently episode 9 of the anime firmly establishes that Satou is a Villain Protagonist and not some innocent girl looking for love.
  • Squick:
    • No matter how you look at it, and how much of their 'love' is shown through more domestic acts, this remains a story where a high school girl has kidnapped a child under the pretense that she is in love with her.
    • Satou used to sleep with lots of men before she met Shio. Since she's 15 at the start of the story and per her admission she's been "with millions of boys before", it's likely she's been selling her body when she's younger.
    • In Chapter 2, Satou comes home crying about how she only wants sweet happiness. Shio responds to that by repeatedly smooching her on the lips, because she had ate some chocolates earlier and thus her lips had a sweet taste. The scene is played to emphasize Shio's childish innocence, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a kiss between a teenager and a small child.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: The sheer depravity of a handful of characters, the premise being a relationship between an younger teen and a child, as well as the story ending with what's pretty much a doomed outcome for anyone bar Shio (and probably Satou), may make some viewers hesitant to get invested in the storyline.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • While Satou's reasons for being the way she is are explained (like how she lost both of her parents and was made to live with an aunt who was clearly unfit to raise her), this nevertheless does little to lessen the fact that she commits horrible actions; the most damning being murdering Shouko due to suspecting that she might go to the police to notify them about Shio's whereabouts.
    • There are plenty of people who thought Shouko had her death coming to her when she couldn't keep consistent on her promises with Satou. She hesitates when Satou shows her her aunt at first, and while she doesn't tell the police about Shio, she still took a picture and sent it to Asahi and then proclaimed that she'd never snitch. There's also a case that she's just too good and too naive for trying to "help" Satou by explicitly pushing all of her Berserk Buttons.
    • All of Yuuna Kobe's heartbreaking backstory is somewhat undermined by some readers due to her hurtful outbursts towards Shio due to stress and her eventually abandoning Shio on the street Satou finds her on.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The manga is a cesspool of psychopathic characters, with Satou herself having abducted a child, and it deals with rather heavy themes such as domestic abuse, stalking and rape. Despite this, the manga ran in a shonen magazine.
  • The Woobie:
    • Shio. Having been abandoned by her mom on the streets because she literally couldn't afford raising 2 children was bad enough, but then she got picked up by Satou who treats her as less of a free human being than someone to groom and smother to her content so she could fill her own inner void. At the end, Satou died saving her from the fall and she was left all alone broken and her innocence effectively destroyed, much to Asahi's shock. If there is a person who needs a social worker or therapist, she is definitely one of them.
    • Yuuna Kobe is the estranged mother of Asahi and Shio who got her life ruined out of literally nowhere. When she was 16-years-old, Yuuna was raped by her future husband after she had innocently bumped into him, giving birth to Asahi. Being forced into a marriage she didn't want, Yuuna was the subject of continuous domestic abuse by her husband's hand, and he repeatedly violated her, being dismissive of whether she consented or not, one time which impregnated her with Shio. It's not even over after she poisoned her husband; fearing that she would become the same monster that her husband was, Yuuna left her daughter in the streets after convincing herself that she was unfit to raise her.
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