Don’t let the adorable cover fool you. Happy Sugar Life manga has psychological pain, trauma, some violence, and a yandere girl at the center of it all. Happy Sugar Life deals with love and the various expressions of it and obsession. Many characters are stuck in their fantasy of what love and care entail and do not respond well to reality, like yandere Satou Matsuzaka. Happy Sugar Life Volume 9 is disturbing without depicting graphic scenes as Satou plans her escape with missing girl Shio Kōbe.
Tomiyaki Kagisora writes and illustrates Happy Sugar Life Volume 9 with translations by Jan Mitsuko Cash and lettering by Chiho Christie. The English-translated volume is courtesy of Yen Press. Everyone is converging on the same location now. After struggling to find Shio’s place, Taiyō Mitsuboshi shows up at Satou’s aunt’s apartment. Satou’s not there, but her aunt is present, to Taiyō’s misfortune. Asahi Kobe is on the way to the apartment building thanks to the photo Shōko Hida took—which caused Satou to kill her.
Satou appears remorseful since Shōko was her friend, but she will not let anything risk her and Shio’s relationship. Happy Sugar Life Volume 9—the entire series—is disturbing because it centers on a high school girl, Satou, in love with a little girl, Shio. Thankfully, Satou and Shio’s relationship is not sexual, but it is still unhealthy given Satou’s upbringing and her inability to understand there are different types of love.
Satou is not the only one hanging her hopes for pure love and sweet life on Shio. Taiyō thinks Shio can purify him after the assaults he suffered. And Shio’s brother, Asahi, believes reuniting with his mom and sister will make life perfect too. The purity the characters seek is mental. Because of what they’ve all experienced, their minds are no longer happy and light. Their innocence snatched away too soon. For everyone around her, Shio retains her innocence, despite the trauma lurking inside her. Many of the characters do not see it because they only see what they want from her.
None of the characters have a healthy understanding of relationships and love. The recurring theme is adults’ roles in traumatizing children as well as dirtiness and purity. Satou craves love, in the sense that she never loved anything, because of her aunt’s warped idea that love means accepting anything. Affection, abuse, it’s all the same to her. So when Satou tells her that they will never see each other again in Happy Sugar Life Volume 9, there is no reaction from her aunt beyond the usual smiling, creepy expression.
Satou and Shio did escape at first. Had they kept going, that would be it, but Satou left her ring in the apartment. So Satou and Shio collectively decide to go back to get the wedding ring before Satou’s aunt torches the apartment. When they try to exit the building, that’s when they run into Asahi, and he is livid. He discovered Shōko’s body in the apartment after all. So escaping the building is no longer an option; Taiyō’s at the aunt’s apartment, and the aunt has set fire to Satou’s apartment. The situation is dire.
Happy Sugar Life Volume 9 continues the disturbing psychological story and raises the stakes for Satou and Shio. The story in the manga is a fascinating look at the damage adults cause, how different kids process trauma, and what lengths some will go to find their happy, pure love. This manga is not for the faint of heart. There is an anime based on the series and the opening song encapsulates the sweet appearance with the creeping darkness.