Anne Happy, Vol. 1

By Cotoji. Released in Japan by Houbunsha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Manga Time Kirara Forward. Released in North America by Yen Press.

There is a sort of subgenre of school life manga that flits across all genres, be it shonen, seinen or shoujo. This is the ‘separate class filled with special students’ genre. They can be special in the bad way, as with Assassination Classroom’s 3-E class of low-graders, special in a superpowered way, with both Medaka Box’s Class 13 and Class -13, or special in the doomed way, as with many a survival game manga where the class finds itself in a situation where they all die one by one (Battle Royale, Dangan Ronpa, etc.). And now we have Anne Happy, a mostly lighthearted comedy about a group of girls who are all ‘unlucky’ in some way, be it poor health, misdirection, or what have you. The title character (though not, oddly, the protagonist so far) is Anne, a girl whose bad luck is SO bad that it almost comes out the other side.


Our heroine is Ruri, who at first seems out of place in this class, till we realize that she has a fetish for the construction sign of a cartoon worker who directs you to move out of the area. I hesitated to reveal this, as honestly it’s the best joke of the volume, and it’s really the only thing keeping her in the class at all, as otherwise she’s a fairly normal, if dour, young girl. Anne is just like you’d expect from a series like this: overly upbeat and peppy to an unreasonable degree, whether she’s being picked as 49th most lucky in a class with only 40 people in it or accidentally falling into a river and almost getting mauled by a bear. There’s also Botan, who is the ‘calm airhead’ sort (apologies if I call her Mugi by accident) whose body is so fragile that a mild handshake can break all her fingers.

Everyone in this class has been put there supposedly to change their bad luck and find happiness, which mostly seems to involve a series of endurance tests given by their semi-sadistic teacher (who seems to have a split personality). There’s a sense that Anne is worse than the others – she is the title character, after all – and at one point she loses her hair clip and her luck turns to negative fifty zillion. Honestly, though, the plot is mostly an excuse for a series of school gags based around goofy, unlucky girls. We also meet Hibiki, a tsundere sort who seems to be in love with her Takarazuka-esque classmate Ren. I assume that everyone will get to know each other better in the 2nd volume.

This isn’t really a must-read, even for fans of comedies like this one. But it’s pleasant enough, and there weren’t many points where I was irritated or wanted to stop reading. And, aside from a few jokes about Botan’s chest, there’s less fanservice than you’d normally expect in a title like this, possible as Kirara Forward lacks that sort of thing in general. Anne Happy falls into the category of ‘Not bad, will try another volume’ for now.

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