Last episode was quite the doozy as Satou murdered Shouko who was, by far, the most normal person and relationship Satou ever had in her life. It was a point of no return, proving that Satou truly has no limits to how far she’ll go to protect the life she created for herself and effectively discard a lot of what little humanity she had left. What was the follow-up, you may ask? Absolutely nothing of consequence happens…uh, what?
Look, this episode isn’t awful but it does feel out of place. It’s a weird feeling to have too as up until now, I did find Satou’s victories to be pretty satisfactory. But in the case of Shouko’s death, you’d think there would be a fallout of some kind. At least with Shio, the one innocent person caught in this mess, her reaction to Satou’s crime would’ve been interesting. Surely, she’d be horrified. But no, it turns out Shio’s disapproval is simply the fact that Satou didn’t admit that she’s been murdering behind her back. Not the actual dirty deed itself; just lying about it. You got to be kidding me, Happy Sugar Life.
Maybe the joke’s on me since you do find out that Shio has just as many issues as Satou does. Turns out, both of these girls suffered from some really bad parenting. And to be fair, the stuff with her mother itself is pretty decent. Why the mother was in such financial disrepair and refused to go outside is beyond me but it was interesting to learn that she never truly recovered from her husband’s abuse. She’s paranoid, easily agitated, and gradually, she resorts to the same physical tactics her husband uses as she struggles to raise Shio. In that context, abandoning her could almost seem like an act of mercy though it appears that intent was to outright get rid of the girl. It’s not a perfect scene; I still find the occasional scribbles on her face downright silly but it was compelling which is the least I could say about this episode.
Really, the big issue is that Shio just seems too morally sound to be completely okay with someone confessing the homicides she’s done. In the same flashback I mentioned earlier, Shio tries to give a pep talk to her mother about not taking initiative when something clearly isn’t right. She doesn’t fully understand the big picture but she’s perceptive enough to know that something isn’t right. And when you consider the violence she has witnessed, the idea of taking someone’s life must seem morbid to her and she’d react to it badly. So knowing Shio and seeing her become distrustful of Satou keeping secrets from her, you’d think her reaction would be more than just nod and say “okay” when Satou admits what she’s done. If not disgust, at least have her criticize Satou for doing such things. But no, there’s not even that. The one person who could actually make Satou feel bad (and we have see it happen before) and she basically hands her a “Get out of Jail Free” card for her actions. You got to be kidding me, Happy Sugar Life.
The stuff with Asashi does look pretty promising…even if the image of him dragging a baseball bat across concrete is unintentionally hilarious. I suppose he’s the final threat in this story. Still, this episode feels so anti-climatic as a follow-up to one of the most daring and sinister acts committed by this anime’s protagonist. I’m not really against Satou winning in the end. If anything, stories that compel you to follow someone you otherwise wouldn’t can make for a really compelling experience. But maybe don’t make the journey too easy for that character.
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