Anne Happy♪ – 04

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The gist: Hibari, Hanako and Botan are assigned ‘punishment’ homework in the form of a treasure hunt of sorts. They must photograph Botan having a good memory with friends, Hibari smiling and Hanako at the gate of dawn with the flower of happiness.

Meanwhile, Hibiki and Ren follow them around town, mostly without a clear objective, until Hanako’s bad luck thrusts the 5 together in a date-like romp around the town garden, ultimately to find the flower of happiness.

 

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This week, we learned that Botan actually really likes squid. At least, it’s a recurring theme. We also learned all 5 girls will be good friends and have a happy, if not unlucky, time in high school together.

There were few, if any jokes. The animation was even less energetic than usual. The dialog was slow and the characterization was pleasant, but without anything to make it interesting.

Verdict: unless you absolutely must see sadly every safe school girl friendship show, there’s nothing here for you. I for one, am happy that the girls are happy and will quietly drop it off my schedule…

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Anne Happy♪ – 03

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The gist: Hagyu Hibiki and Ekoda Ren formally become main characters. Hibiki-chan is an awful human being who constantly gets lost, is a klutz and and infatuated with Ren. Ren’s only trouble seems to be her willingness to be near Hibiki.

Along with Hibari, Hanako and Botan, they are subjected to a bizarre set of game show style games, by Timothy and the Teacher, 500 meters under the gym. Nothing makes sense, all of the jokes repeat what we’ve seen before, although I a bizarre LSD tripping balls context.

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I can’t even process how weird this episode is. If there’d been violence, it could have been Dengenrompa. As it was, I don’t know why the writers felt it necessary to change the formula from ‘silly unexpected things happen to girls in a bland high school setting’ to bland high school girls in an unexpectedly silly setting.

And I have no idea why their teacher (and probably Timothy) is evil? Is this supposed to make the girls even more unfortunate for being in a program dedicated to their misfortune?

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Should you watch it? If you strip all the weirdness away, Anne Happy has 5 core jokes: Botan is injured by everything, Hanako always loses, Hibari is bashfully along for the ride, Hibiki is always lost and Ren is deadpan. Those jokes were told at least 3 times for each character during this episode, which isn’t compelling.

I may give this show another week but I’m not hopeful.

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Anne Happy♪ – 02

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Hibari, Hanako and Botan are joined by Thomas, the… school’s sentient robot bunny, who’s been tasked to observe and record the misfortunes of these particularly unfortunate girls. Despite his over the top bunny in a tuxedo design, Thomas is fairly neutral by anime conventions: he’s not especially mean, nor nice, nor does he have lazer eyes or any special powers. (except for being impossible for Hanako to catch and pet)

Because I find the android cutsey character type annoying and often inexplicably anachronistic, I am thankful for his tame presentation. That said, there’s really no real reason for the character to be a robot bunny at all if he has no powers or weirdness…

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Anyway, our girls’ unluckiness continues to be measured. First they answer basic questions about hobbies and skills, then they take a physical examine. Each mini segment reinforces the unfortunate traits we learned last week.

Hibari is relatively unaffected by misfortune, except for her self-imposed romantic obsession with the construction sign Botan isn’t really unfortunate either, beyond her constantly breaking bones, poor musicale strength and lack of flexibility; and Hanako is absurdly unlucky, as she can’t even order items from a vending machine without absurdity happening.

And, of course, she’s the only girl with no boobs!

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Later, the girls explore the school’s clubs. Hibari does well in the cooking club, Botan is repeatedly damaged by the athletics club, and Hanako is almost devoured by a mob of evil pets from the pet society.

The importance here being Hibari’s relative normalness could pull her away from the other girls, the only friends she’s ever had and who accept her for her mild weirdness. In the end, Hibari chooses ‘go home together club’ and everyone lives happily ever after.

Roll credits…

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You should watch this because: As before, episode 2 is charming. The world is weird — and the jokes aren’t always so much funny as just weird — but pleasant, because the characters all like each other and there are really no stakes yet. The bright colors and occasional transparency give it a dream like quality too.

You may not be hooked because: Anne Happy plays it safe. Weirdness aside, the characters are simple and the formula is obviously ‘something weird will happen to them each week.’ Also, that something will probably be Botan being injured, Hanako being attacked by animals, and Hibari coming to the rescue.

It is, by definition, a 3 note show. If you are okay with that, join me. There are far worse comfort foods to snack on!

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Anne Happy♪ – 01 (First Impressions)

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On her way to her first day of high school, Hibari pauses at the bridge that brings her sadness. As she looks down, she sees Hanako hung from the bridge by her uniform’s collar, holding a dog.

“Are you okay?”

“Aside from this dog that’s biting me,” the girl named Hanako replies cheerfully. “and my hair being pulled out, I’m just fine.”

She then falls from the bridge into the river.

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Later, the girls meet Kumegawa Botan, a girl with long pink hair and mental illness. Botan also has bones of glass and is quickly destroyed by Hanako’s friendly handshake. Fortunately, she has a lunchbox full of pills and medical tape.

You see, these three girls are freshmen at Tennomifume Academy’s class 7. Classed 1-3 focus on academics, 4-6 focus on sports and class 7 focuses on…making its students of tremendous bad luck happy.

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From getting lost to being mauled constantly by animals, everyone in this class is unfortunate. Hibari’s own past is not entirely clear but we can assume it’s fairly tragic.

Unhappy presents all of this in happy-go-lucky watercolors, brightly-colored characters and a ho-hum happy recorder soundtrack. The juxtaposition is obvious and it works pretty well.

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However, as much of a smile Unhappy gave me, it never quite made me laugh. The intentional slowness of it all, and the lack of true shock value in the first half, it feels too safe.

Cutesy animals cutely biting cute girls with over the top blood but no meaningful consequences is not really different from cute clumsy girls dropping pies and being flustered about boys in other run of the mill slice-o-life shows. So I’ll have to see where it goes next episode before I commit to watching the whole season.

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