Is it just me or is Kana Hanazawa on a roll this season? Cells at Work, Phantom in the Twilight, Steins;Gate, Layton, this show. Maybe I just think that is the case because she’s one of my favorite seiyuus ever but damn, I wonder how busy she is now. While I would argue that the best performance she gave this year was as Yorimoi‘s Shirase Kobuchizawa, I think her work as Satou in Happy Sugar Life is proving to be mighty entertaining. At first glance, it seems like a typical role for the actress but whenever Satou snaps, you get to see her evoke a more deeper and apathetic sounding voice. Frankly, I wish Hanazawa got to play more sinister characters so hearing her portray Satou is becoming a joyous occasion.
In terms of characterization, there’s also something about Satou that I find compelling. There’s a strange joy to be had watching her outsmart other off-kilter individuals. Last episode gave us the manager, this episode reveals that one of Satou’s teachers, Daichi Kitaumekawa has the hots for her. At first, I thought she was going to resort to blackmail again but I love how she instead creates a power play on the teacher. She still threatens to expose his actions but she also makes a masochist out of him to make him do her bidding. It proves to be a smart move since she has him dispose of whatever those bags of her contain, thereby directing the crime to him if it was ever discovered.
This probably isn’t the last we’ll see of Kitaumekawa-sensei. I mean, if Mitsuboshi showed up again (God, his Shio crush is somehow more disturbing than Satou’s), then anything’s possible.
By all means is Satou a crazy girl but there appears to be an origin behind her personality. This episode offers a flashback involving her mother and it’s safe to say that it was a relationship that must’ve gone south at some point. Perhaps that’s why she felt apathetic towards the concept of love until Shio came into her life. For that matter, I wonder if her love for Shio is even romantic at all. Maybe it’s more familial in nature if it happens to tie to the mother in some way. Of course, I’m saying this with all the creepy stuff put to the side…
Speaking of which, the tone is a strange quality in Happy Sugar Life. One moment, you have Satou dealing with someone trying to out creep her, the next you have Shio cleaning the house. It’s weird seeing these moments together in a sequence though even weirder is that it doesn’t feel terribly jarring to me. Perhaps it’s because of the context; Shio may be adorable onscreen but you can never shrug off the fact that she’s practically living with a stranger who took her in. It’s the false sense of levity and security that allows these scenes to gel with the more overtly horror-driven content just fine.
So far, I’m liking Happy Sugar Life. If there’s one thing that I hope to see from this show, it’s maybe getting more explicit about what kind of lengths Satou will go to keep Shio all to herself. The end of this episode has her run into Shio’s brother and the implication is that she’ll use that crowbar to kill him. Because it is the cliffhanger though, I get the impression that this is a bait and switch. Still, I think Satou revealing her truest colors is a matter of when and not if and I’m curious enough to keep checking for now.
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