Anne-Happy – Review
Original Air Dates: April 7th, 2016 – June 23, 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.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Anne-Happy’s visuals are as bright and vibrant as its absurd setting and colorful characters. This series is oozing with pleasant vibes that can bring out a warm smile. Anne-Happy isn’t perfect however. Each of the main five girls have their own unique shtick, Botan who’s as fragile as glass or Anne who’s a total clutz, etc. Once you get a handle on each characters’ main source of comedy Anne-Happy can almost feel formulaic, making sure to touch on each characters shtick a couple times an episode. It’s not the only source of humor Anne-Happy is capable of, but sometimes it feels like Anne-Happy relies on its tried and tested humor a bit too often.
Linny: Put pure and simple, you are getting yet another moe comedy. Cute girls with odd quirks that define them wholly and completely. The quirks in this case are weird indeed, with the uniting and common factor being that they’re all some form of bad luck. That said, Ruri’s, her infatuation with a construction sign, seems less like bad luck and more like sheer weirdness. The quirks are also the main source of comedy and story, so they can get old soon even though they do start off amusing for their sheer oddity. Even though we start by focusing on Ruri, it’s Anne who steals the show. Anne is one of the cutest characters thanks to her infectious enthusiasm and happiness but she’s also a character you’ve probably seen a hundred times before this. For those of you who like ambiguous gender bending and ‘princely’ girls, you will be happy to know that you get Ekoda Ren, who is the embodiment of charming prince like beauty. Her visual design and her voice actress really do a great job of portraying that and is sure to make her one of the fan favourites.
Tom: At times the characters do manage to break their molds, generating humor beyond their one note gags that are baked into the series from the start. These moments are great, breathing new life into the humor, especially late series once we’ve become familiar with each of the girls. In these moments the series manages to spin new angles of humor on Anne’s clutzy nature or Botan’s constant injuries, but sadly, it’s fleeting and the series often retreats to the safety of its more well worn comedy.
Linny: The show also feels like a classic moe comedy because of how the girls seem to keep getting themselves in more and more fantastical situations in the attempt to be funny. Starting right off the bat, the idea of a school having a dedicated class just to raise the luck of its students seems silly and illogical in so many ways. Both the girls and the school are always over the top even when dealing with normal sounding situations like homework or exams. Of course, this isn’t surprising but it’s also just reinforcing how Anne-Happy is yet another moe comedy that takes things to the extreme for the sake of comedy but risks becoming predictable in the effort to always become more and more outlandish.
Tom: I actually disagree slightly with Linny here. I feel what keeps Anne-Happy feeling fresh is the gradual building absurdity of events. Anne-Happy is an absurdist slice of life, constantly treating the viewer to stranger and more wacky events that help to thrust our heroes into every increasingly absurd situations. It helps to keep things feeling interesting even when the show’s character humor becomes dangerously predictable. However, it does have the added side-effect of pulling Anne-Happy further and further away from the Slice of Life genre it’s already barely in keeping form with. That means people who are seeking a more traditional Slice of Life series, interested more so in events grounded with reality, should stay well and far away from Anne-Happy. Reality has no business here.
Linny: While there are several gags and scenarios that will have you shaking your head in disbelief, there aren’t many jokes in the series that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. On the other hand, it has several sweet or weird moments that will have you consistently cracking a smile of delight. It’s more of a mild pick me up despite its outrageous premise and elements, the kind that may not leave a lasting impact but might make you feel better when you’ve had a long and stressful day.
Tom: Anne-Happy, at its heart, is fluffy. A cutesy and adorable romp that takes quite a few absurd and outlandish turns, but gradually loses its surprise. It’s a feel good show, with no greater message or character arcs to provide a more substantial experience. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable, Anne-Happy brought a smile to my face more often than not and while the series did grow close to losing me as it dragged on, I feel its twelve-episode run ends at a perfect place. If you’re in need of a series with more meaning, or significant character development Anne-Happy never becomes that, content to try and make you laugh a little and smile a lot.
Linny: For those who really enjoy moe high school girls, Anne Happy is just bursting with them and while it isn’t one of the best, it’s competent enough to please and entertain most viewers who just want a stress free and cutesy show. There isn’t a lot of plot though it does try to get a little emotional every now and then and the absurdity levels just keep rising with each episode. What’s intriguing and a little random is that amongst all the comedy and moe, the show also has randomly dark segments like some characters staunchly at odds with our poor protagonists, or others hiding a darker side or secret which the show keeps bringing up towards the second half of the season but never confirms or explains. If you’ve been dying for a new moe, Anne-Happy is one of the best of the season but if you want a really amazing one, it might leave you disappointed.
Tom: Despite all its flaws I find myself more than willing to recommend Anne-Happy as the bizarre little slice of life that it is. It hits all the right beats and while the comedy gradually teeters on predictable it’s not until after you’ve grown to enjoy the warmth and happy feelings its brought to you with its quirky ensemble. Or maybe I’m biased since the finale had a major reference to my all time favorite Mobile Suit Gundam 0083. Who can say!?
Anne-Happy is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.