Anne-Happy – Mid Season Review
Original Air Dates: April 7th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Hibarigaoka Ruri didn’t care where she went to school, walking through life without any destiny. Then on her way to the Tennogogune Academy, she came upon a girl hanging from a bridge, clutching a dog. Upon saving this girl, she discovered that she was actually one of her new classmates, the unlucky and perpetually happy Hanakoizumi An. Once arriving at school, the girls learn that they’re in Class 7, a course designed to teach the unluckiest of students how to be happy and harness their talents. An and Ruri meet Kumegawa Botan, a girl so fragile even a handshake shatters her bones. Together they’re all going to do the best they can to live the happy high school life.
Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Anne-Happy’s central cast is generally amusing, if perhaps a bit predictable. We discover that each of the five girls has a singular defining quirk (Anne’s horrific luck, Botan’s brittle bones, Ruri’s misguided love) that the show regularly falls back on. But I fear Anne-Happy doesn’t quite know what to do with each of these character’s outside of repeating the same punch line that each girl comes with. Up until now each episode has generally fallen back on these innate character flaws/humor, with episodes or gags revolving around those ideas. They’re funny stuff, but now that we’ve gotten to know all five girls quite well I can’t help but fear the series won’t evolve, offering us the same jokes over and over again. If that happens there’s a real possibility that Anne-Happy will come to feel stale.
Linny: Hana or “Anne” makes for a great titular character and is definitely my favourite from the cast. I will also be the first to admit that she can be dismissed as yet another ridiculously optimistic and daft moe but the combination of her ridiculous bad luck and her indestructible cheerfulness is adorable. Ruri feels bland compared to the rest of the girls with her main and only shtick being her crush on a poster figure. I have no idea how Botan is still alive given how often she injures herself and how weak she is supposed to be, and her rather out-of-place/extreme self loathing can feel a little weird but thankfully the show seems to be downplaying it in the more recent episodes. You even get a somewhat tsundere character in Hibiki though for the longest time, thanks to her intense dislike of everyone else, she comes off rather unlikeable. You even get a gender-ambiguous character in Ren for those who like a little yuri shipping in their shows.
Tom: Anne-Happy’s brand of slice of life is wholly unusual, offering up a world that’s abstract and absurd in its very nature. Who has ever heard of a school teaching students how to have better luck? Despite its setting, Anne-Happy is divorced from reality enough that purist slice of life fans may not come out of Anne-Happy satisfied. It’s got plenty of odd ball humor, and unusual world elements that might easily turn viewers away who aren’t as ready to accept Anne-Happy’s undercurrent of surrealism. It’s enjoyable, and has been quite amusing up to this point, but isn’t really what I’d call slice of life.
Linny: I’d mentioned how Hibiki was initially unlikeable due to her extreme animosity towards Ruri and by default, Botan and Anne. The show takes its time and it’s a few episodes before we have a Hibiki centered episode that lays out the whole reason for her anger. It seems like a weak explanation but hey, tsunderes gotta tsundere, amiright? The show also tries to go for your emotions by telling some sweet and tender stories in an attempt to really nab the moe fans, but a lot of these stories feel either unconvincing or a little too surreal.
Tom: Anne-Happy wasn’t at its best early on, and the humor has indeed improved as the series has gotten further into the season, but I still fear that Anne-Happy doesn’t know how to expand on its characters. Episode six is the first episode to not focus on introducing us to the dynamics of our cast, instead opting to thrust our heroes into a circumstance and allow them to play in a sandbox like scenario. It was decent, and carried forward by a few solid laughs, but it doesn’t way-lay my fear that Anne-Happy is doomed to stagnate in the second half of the season. Sure we have five characters to jump between and alternate to help stave off the problem, but if every character boils down to a certain type of gag will that really be enough? I still have some hope that Anne-Happy will prove me wrong, and you certainly shouldn’t walk away from what is a generally enjoyable comedy based on my fears for the second half of the season. What’s there now is certainly worth a look in.
Linny: It doesn’t have the best first episode but it does get better as it continues. If you aren’t into moe though, the show doesn’t have the strongest comedy and the strange premise means that the events occurring are usually completely unbelievable which does help the comedy but hinders the show from winning over anyone who dislikes hyper exaggerated characters and stories.
Tom: Anne-Happy’s visuals scream with joy; bright, washed out colors paint the screen, keeping the whole thing feeling soft and innocent. It wants you to know that you’re just here to have fun and won’t be treading into darker, depressing territory. You’re here to laugh and like it.
Linny: As a moe based show, Anne-Happy is one of the better offerings this season and certainly does a great job of making its cast cute and adorable, even utilizing chibi styles whenever and wherever appropriate.
Tom: I want to make it clear Anne-Happy is indeed funny, particularly if your range of humor encompasses the more absurd, surreal humor Anne-Happy has to offer. But be warned that Anne-Happy might not have the legs to remain entertaining throughout the back half of this season. If it can’t find a way to evolve and elevate the humor it’s established during this first half, it’ll easily become stale and repetitive.
Linny: My favourite part of Anne Happy is the ED..and no, I don’t mean that I like it best when it’s over, it just happens to have one of the cutest song and animation to match the cozy and happy feel of the music. However, I too am worried about the shelf life as halfway through I find myself growing tired of the same gags repeated endlessly. It’s still my pick of the season when it comes to moe but it definitely is going to be one of the more forgettable ones despite its eclectic premise.
Anne-Happy is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.