"Happy Café" is a lot what "Twilight" would be if it was about cooking instead of vampires. And no, that's not the complaint it likely sounds like I just made. Not that I want to give much credit to Stephanie Meyer's poorly written and executed vampire series, but in concept it was working with a formula that was historically sound and provided room for lots of conflicts. The fact that Meyer didn't make the conflicts as interesting as they could be doesn't mean these same conflicts can't be explored better in other areas. "Happy Café" is about a 16 year old teenager named Uru.
Uru lives on her own because her mom got re-married to a new man and - feeling that she would just be imposing on the new couple - volunteered to get out of the house and a nice job. This goes to show how different Japanese culture can be, as most American parents have to push their kids out of the house. Uru goes to work for a cake and sweets restaurant called the Café Bonheur. For which she wanted to work for since she saw how happy it made some people to eat the sweets. Problem is the two guys that run the place are irresponsible and unfriendly as they can be.
Well, this isn't completely true. Ichiro is a fairly nice guy who has no problem with Uru. He has a problem of falling asleep when he's hungry, but who's perfect right? The one to watch out for is Shindo, who is unfriendly and demanding. Despite this he appears to have a nice side to him, and besides he's Uru's new neighbor so she might as well get used to having him around. The first volume of "Happy Café" doesn't provide the viewer with any groundbreaking material. It's pretty obvious that there's going to be a love triangle between these three characters, and the series isn't even shy with leaning in the favor of one of the boys already.
The artwork is typical uninspired shoujo art, and I swear I've seen these characters more then once before. But the storyline is sweet for all it's simplicity and the characters have enough likable traits so that they weren't annoying or anything. The only thing I found really odd was how little time was spent on the food itself. Which - considering how it keeps the place in business despite the lackluster service - seems to be worth talking about more. While I wouldn't call this a great start it is cute for what it was and I enjoyed the read, so I'm going to give it a minor pass. There may be more rewarding reads out there, but once in awhile you just have to go with the flow on something fundamentally simple as "Happy Café."
Happy Cafe is a fluffy, light-hearted romantic comedy. The series is generally mellow, with the insecurities of the three main characters providing equal parts angst and sweetness. The three main characters are well developed with fun idiosyncrasies and a bit more depth than your typical shoujo manga, which is what makes this series stand out. Uru, the female protagonist, also has a bit more spine than your typical shoujo manga heroine and the focus on happiness (rather than romance) leads to stories … more
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Romance and happiness blossoms at the Happy Cafe! Uru takes her mother's remarriage as an opportunity to work part time at the Happy Cafe. There, she befriends Ichirou and Shindou, two of the most unsociable guys she's ever met! To make matters worse, it turns out that Uru is not exactly meant for the waitressing world, as she's a huge clutz. But as this hilarious shojo tale unfolds, true happiness - and even true love - lurk just around the corner.