A very generic soundtrack for a not-so generic story
I promise, one day I will do an anime where I can talk in-depth about the soundtrack, but today is not that day. Apart from a starkly contrasting OP and ED there is very little to talk about with sound. The background music is quite generic, and the sound effects aren't anything to write home about.
There's a whole lot of story, but very little storytelling
There was a lot of potential for storytelling, but instead Happy Sugar Life tended to either open up an entirely new sub-story, or expand upon a story very little.
Along with Satou and Shio's main storyline, there is also Shio's backstory, Asahi's main story, Asahi's backstory, Taiyou's story, Satou's backstory, and also little sub-plots which take up less than half an episode, such as the ones with Satou's teacher. However, as all of these need time to be developed, none of them really develop fully, and detract slightly from the main storyline.
This is fine in the manga, as different chapters can be of different lengths, I believe chapter 1 is 72 pages and solely on the main story, whilst one of Asahi's stories is just 10 pages of a larger chapter, but there are chapters which are just 30 pages long. However, in an anime you are restricted to the length of the episode, meaning you either have to drag it on into the next episode, or cut the story short, and for some of the side-stories, which are important to the main story, they chose the latter, which meant the main story felt a little less than it could have been.
The artwork has its moments, and definitely aides in the storytelling
Up until I wrote that header I had put the score down for 7. But after thinking about it, the artwork in Happy Sugar Life is definitely worth more than 7. With the way the characters interact with their inner-demons, to the symbolism used with sweets and happiness, there's a lot more to the artwork than first meets the eye.
If you caught a random clip of Satou just talking to one of her friends, or Shio, you'd think it was just a generic anime. But when you get to murder scenes, or scenes where someone is going a little crazy, the artwork changes dramatically, without feeling off. The only thing I wish that they would have portrayed better in the anime was a scene before Satou kills her friend which in the manga looks like the image below, but the anime skips over completely.
I don't know if these were words that were said whilst they were arguing, the words wished to have been said, or what. But whatever it was, this being omitted made that entire scene a little less dramatic.
And finally, the characters
We'll start off with
Yuno Gasai Satou Matsuzaka, the main character. Satou doesn't know what love is until she meets Shio, upon meeting her Satou's heart opens and is flooded with sweetness. Satou will do anything to protect that sweet feeling in her heart, and Shio who makes it happen. If that means killing a few people, so what, right? Other than a few murders, and keeping someone else's child, Satou is a good girl. She has a few issues, but who doesn't?
Shio Koube lives with Satou, and helps maintain Satou's Happy Sugar Life. She's full of energy, and has a smile that would light up anyone's day. Although she always seems happy, Shio also has some mental issues, after her not-so-great upbringing she occasionally has flashbacks which appear to cause her immense pain.
Ruining everything, there is Taiyou Mistuboshi, our second lolicon character (after Satou), who wants nothing more than to have Shio cleanse him... Yeah, he's a weirdo. I think he was designed to be as hateable as possible, from his perfect looks to his disgusting personality, and if that's the case then he's a perfect character for that role.
The final character worth mentioning is Asahi Koube, Shio's older brother. Living on the streets looking for Shio, he never gives up hope that Shio is alive. He could go home, live with his mum, and try to start a new life, but instead he fights on, looking for the moon of his life; Shio. Although there are other side characters who get just as much attention as Asahi, I think he is more worthy of mentioning, as his whole character is designed perfectly, looking like a ne'er-do-well whilst also having the largest and most pure heart, in my opinion, of the entire cast.
Honestly, I wasn't expecting this would be the next anime I reviewed. As I said earlier, I only learned of its existence this week and lost most of Saturday to it. But it was worth it! I doubt I'll touch on a shonen anime again for a while though, as they generally don't interest me. Depending on how far I get through the other series I have been watching this week, the next review may be a very stark contrast to this one. But it will have, at least from what I have seen so far, 100% less yandere characters - which is kind of sad, as they are my favourite dere. But until the next time, matte ne!