Given my unwavering love for the Slice of Life genre and a cute aesthetic, it was a no-brainer that I would watch Anne Happy. Previously known for Non Non Biyori, Kokoro Connect and Baka to Test, Studio Silver Link brought us another show to add to the list of charming and heartwarming experiences.
Lovable and engaging character personalities
Not only are the main cast visually designed to be as adorable as possible, their personalities and small quirks about them contribute towards the development of the viewer-character relationship. A common accusation of high school slice of life shows is that each character has one single thing that defines how they act for the entirety of the show. Fortunately, this isn’t the case for Anne Happy. Admittedly, the Japanese comedic use of repetition is prominent in the show’s humour and is definitely a hit-and-miss process. However, to say that the show relies solely on singular character tropes simply isn’t true. This is avoided most frequently by mixing in other characters to create unseen dynamics so that the audience doesn’t get the feeling of “I’ve already seen this”. Constantly being thrown into new and unique situations, the cast are often split apart into pairs which are varied throughout each episode. I found that no two characters clashed in a way that wasn’t entertaining for the viewer, personally I worried that Botan and Ren’s dynamic wouldn’t work very well but a certain episode completely blew that idea out of my mind. If you’re open to see Anne Happy as more than a standard high school filler show you’ll subconsciously start to love the cast and (for me) that was the driving force making me want to come back for more each week.
Surprisingly adventurous situations
If you think this show is going to be a boring high school show with repetitive scenery you’re sorely mistaken. In almost every single episode we’re taken on a journey to a completely new and gorgeous place with the excuse of “the school is crazy so don’t worry about it”. A surprisingly small amount of the show takes place in the classrooms of the school which is one of its biggest strengths. When you have such a talented animation studio and Shin Oonuma as director, the last thing you want to do is limit yourself to a bland setting that the audience has seen hundreds of times before. Anne Happy takes the audience to wonderful and beautiful places showcasing their stunning colour palette to craft some truly breathtaking scenes. The imagination and creativity that’s displayed is pretty impressive and it’s difficult to pick out faults in the show’s visuals as a whole. Obviously the show isn’t trying to execute some larger message so it’s pretty standard as far as visual direction goes, but the way each shot is framed excellently demonstrates everything the show is about. It’s a message that’s been done before, but this show executes the idea of taking your flaws in stride to find joy and happiness through them.
Enjoyable and lighthearted (albeit repetitive) comedy
While the humour works well and I personally enjoyed the over the top antics of the main cast, it does find itself to be repetitive at times. While obviously a small nitpick, viewers find time and time again that this medium has a tendency to repeat jokes and ideas expecting them to be funny every time. There are certain recurring jokes that I did find were well executed like Botan’s accident-prone nature. However, the big reason I think this works so well is because it’s often a conclusion to a section. At the end of a conflict the viewer is often met with a still frame of broken bones with one of Botan’s one-liners. This works effectively multiple times as the joke is usually in the conflict itself being varied and original which is then topped off with something we expect – given that it’s a large staple in her character. The same idea goes for Hanako’s one-sided love for animals, her being attacked by small cats and so on is used as a finalisation of a skit rather than the main bulk of that scene’s humour. On top of that, every skit is transitioned by a chibi-styled card which, for the most part, will either show what happens a few seconds after the scene has ended or what’s happening to another character off screen. These small one-liners are charming enough to be cute and appreciated while still being clever enough to not feel overdone or cheap.
It’s much more than just “cute girls being cute”
While I admit that Anne Happy does lack an intense overarching plot-line filled with plot twists and nail biting action, it doesn’t really need any of that. If the PV demonstrated Trigger esque fight sequences then I would be upset at the laid back and easy going style the show goes with. But it didn’t. This show knew exactly what it wanted to be from the start and we got what they promised and more. Honestly I expected this show to be more akin to Kiniro Mosaic or Gochuumon… but it’s a lot more active in its episodic format. It showcased more focus on the characters learning to mesh with each other being put in rigorous and sometimes dangerous situations. You wouldn’t see the main cast come into contact with a live grizzly bear in most high school comedies I can tell you that much. As someone that went into this show expecting exactly what my title says, I was pleasantly surprised with how much depth, detail and care was put in to each member of the main cast. While it wasn’t the kind of show that I would lose sleep over, I was always ecstatic when the newest episode was released which is exactly what you want to feel from a happy-go-lucky show like Anne Happy.
It would be unfair for me to say that I am completely unbiased towards these kind of shows but if you can appreciate shows that aren’t constantly intense and in your face then I would highly recommend Anne Happy. The show blends character development exquisitely into its comedic style and it contributes greatly to the outcome of the show’s crazy and unpredictable conflict situations. It finds a comfortable middle ground between not being as slow paced as Tanaka-kun and not quite being as fast paced as Sakamoto desu ga. Not to say this show is inferior to those two, merely finding different ways to execute its humorous misadventures. Anne Happy is a charming show conveying the exuberance of youth and how a common trait (even as negative as unluckiness) can bring together the most unlikely of friends.