It is a golden rule of anime that any show based upon an adult visual novel/video game is going to be dire. We are happy to announce that Artland’s 2006 fantasy “Happiness!” does nothing to buck this trend. It is awful. It has aged terribly and looks every inch the fact that it was made 17 years ago. Story? Well, it is based in a magical Mizuhosaka Academy where normal kids and mages rub shoulders. Thankfully a lot of obvious Harry Potter cliches were avoided but this has little else going for it. Main protagonist is Yuuma Kohinata a kid seemingly without magical powers and a bit of an attitude about those who do. Haruhi Kamisaka is a magical girl he meets at school. The show bumbles along for most of the season without having any obvious story to tell. We thought for a moment that it might turn into a bit of a harem show but this plot line gets ditched early on. It is full of ditzy girls doing ditzy pointless things. Their eyes are enormous as are the bows yet the animation itself is quite plain with little originality or visual interest. The couple and their various friends do all the obvious things kids do in these show and you could honestly fall asleep for ten episodes and miss nothing you have not seen before. After that point it descends into ill-though-out gibberish. It garners little or no empathy for the characters most of whom have no interesting back story or personality whatsoever. It is sentimental, bland and slushy enough to make you puke. Your brain will be repelled even having to think about it. The finale is atrocious. We grimaced in real pain through the embarrassingly bad ending. We watched it so you don’t have to. So, don’t. For God’s sake don’t watch this. You have one life. Do not waste a second of it on this. Please, please take it out and shoot it.
This story was not so much bad as it was just bland. It took half the season before you even discovered there actually was a conflict. Yes, it's true that hints were present and you can look back and see them as precursors but you can't see any of that until it's finished. The 1st half of the series seems like it's supposed to be some kind of liberal utopia where everything is wonderful except for very minor issues cleared up by episode end. Once the conflict is exposed, it takes half of the remaining season to discover what it actually is. In the end, I gave it a rather mediocre rating because it wasn't really bad but there is so much more out there which is so much better. I do wish there was a category for music, though, because the tunes they use are really quite catchy, even if the English words are kind of thrown into the song in an apparently random but rhythmic manner. This is labeled as a harem anime but I didn't see ANY sign of harem plot, activity, jealousy, conversation or anything so don't object to this on that basis cause it ain't there.
At it's root this anime is a lovelorn romance or a lost love/found love type of story. What probably holds it back is how the family tragedy caused separation might be hard to follow or be believable and it feels a bit on the low budget side which is evidenced in some scenes in several episodes of the series. Despite those drawbacks, this is a very enjoyable anime. Anyone who likes romances or love stories is sure to find appeal in this series. From the closing credits sequence you are treated to hints about the story with a shadowy figure that could be one of the male students, the true love Haruhi seeks, both one of the students she knows and her love, or it could even represent the unknown in the pursuit of love. As the story develops, you are drawn in by the characters and their interactions. Little twists and turns and some bits of irony are unveiled during the course of the series. By the end, you are treated to how one life affects another and the chain of events that put every one where they are. Some of the explanations are a tad clouded or even unreasonable or at least hard to understand logically as if not everything was fully planned out, but it still works fairly well. The songs seem perfect matches for the opening and closing credits. You dont get to see much other staff than one or two members or other students than the main which makes it feel in part like it is lower budget than the average anime. However, what you do get is enjoyable with bits of comedy sprinkled in mainly involving the class clown, Yuma's best friend, or Haruhi's best friend. They could almost be a comedy duo in another life. It sort of works as a complete series but would have worked better if it was the first season of many and the first season had served as a build up of various characters to serve in succeeding seasons. The very thing that works to make this a sweet simple story could also work against it leaving you either wanting more or how events or characters either effected their environment beyond school or how they might expand the story beyond the school grounds in succeeding seasons.
Perhaps it's strenght is in it's relative simplicity as a love story with elements of magic. Which if you listen to the songs at the opening and close you might comprehend how the title, magic, and love all fit together. It is a cute story and though there is one flawed male character with a bit of a pervy nature, (Yuma's best friend), that isn't inherit in the character Yuma, thankfully. He comes off as mature, intelligent, cool headed, wise, and with a certain sadness reguarding his less than stellar past. Haruhi is an intellect as well being as she is the top magical student on the magic side of the high school. The story opens almost ironically on Valentine's day which has a connection to her past and what she seeks most. You easily understand how little contact one side of the school has with the other. And fate has a strong hand in the events of the series. Maybe it works best as a simple love story in high school.
Plot: "In a world not unlike our own, mages are commonplace and schools are separated between normal students and magic users. Yuma Kohinata is a student at one such school, Mizuhosaka Academy. On the way home from buying chocolates with his androgynous friend Jun, Yuma is given chocolates from school idol Haruhi Kamisaka; things become even more complex once the magic wing of the school has a gas explosion, displacing all of the magic students into the normal section – including Haruhi! Now, Yuma finds himself thrust into the world of magic, and must deal with the various women who vie for his affections; can he juggle his priorities and continue to pass his classes?" (site synopsis)
Story: Sometimes I wonder why anime can be so similar. Seriously, the harem types abound on the market. We have harem animes that revolve around the slice of life genre, we have harem types that focuse more on fan-service than having a decent story or character development even though exceptions exists, and finally we have harem types that feature supernatural aspects, magical girls, magic users or characters with superpowers, and in this category Happiness! has a special place. It has its fare bit of fan-service as well but nothing beyond indecency, it has a sweet love story developed between Yuuma and Haruhi, which in the past they've been childhood friends and a conspiracy led by certain antagonists against Mizuhosaka Academy especially against the magic section. The story of this anime is centered on a normal high school boy named Kohinata Yuuma, student at a high school named Mizuhosaka Academy. One day when on his way home acompanied by Watarase Jun (one of the most weird characters but also one of the most funiest, i mean lol the most beautiful girl in school is infact a guy! the heck!? well in this case this is damn true) Yuma recives chocolates as a gift from Kamisaka Haruhi, a school idol from the Magic Section. From unknown reasons the magic wing of the school faced an explosion and all the students from the magic section are moved into the normal section including Haruhi in other words a tempoarary merge. As the story develops more and more characters are revealed and the main ones are trying to discover their past (wont spoil this stuff). The story is rather interesting, with very few Fan Service stuff (there are but very rare and at briliant moments) but at the begining it gives you the impression of a boring anime since the story development until episode 5-6 kinda stagnates. The only progression is centered around the main couple of the show. The reason why Haruhi Kamisaka entered in the magic section was to make people happy with her magic skills. When she was a child she witnessed a boy performing magic tricks and from that point on she decided to study magic so she could do the same. Fate has it that the two meet once again but since years past and they never meet in the mean time, they forgot about eachother. Sweet but way too predictable, but at least a nice ending which made me rate it a lil bit high but i think the mark is well deserved judging from the rate of enjoyment this show provided.
Animation and Sound: Not bad in terms of animation. The character designs are very well made. Nothing much to complain about it. Also somehow this anime in terms of animation is similar with Sola which had a briliant character desing and directing. The only thing that im not pleased with regarding this anime is the sound. Though the background sounds are average the opening and the ending i didnt like them at all.
Characters: In terms of characters here we can talk about a character development since some other characters appear as the story develops. The main characters or later the main couple Yuma x Haruhi are very well developed and the emotional aspects of this two are shown in detail. Related to characters this anime is briliant and i have to mention that the character and story development are developing simultaneosly. Deeper the story develops more characters show up who have a influence around the ending of this anime. Also another thing i got to mention is about the OVA that i seen which was very funny (spoilers) when Jun was afected by magic and turned into a real girl all the school students especially guys got crazy but only in the end they got to see that even Yuma was affected by magic and turned into a girl (end spoilers). As you can see this anime doesnt lack of comedy aspects.
Overall: Enjoyable, hard to hate, sometimes frustrating but highly recommended. Happiness isnt a masterpiece though because i seen even better shows than this one but it isnt that bad also. It worths watching, its relaxing, funny also with some drama aspects around the end but the most important thing that didnt ruined this anime is the happy ending.
~Enjoy and Cya Around~
Story: The reason why I wanted to watch Happiness! was because I saw Jun Watarase and I thought he was hilarious. I soon realized that it was a horrible reason to watch a series. As awesome as Jun is, he cannot make up for the lack of interest I had in Happiness! Usually it’s a bad sign if you bored from the very first episode. It does attempt to have some type of plot but it just seems so lackluster. It attempts drama but you don’t care too much for the characters. The humor at most will get you chuckle (expect for Jun who is just hilarious). The beginning of the series seems episodic but then a deeper more dramatic twist story line comes up. However, it’s just so lackluster that you just go “eh”. The romance is there but it’s mediocre too. Girl wants to be with guy who saved her when she was younger. The only reason I finished was because I’m currently on streak where I’m trying to finish all the series I’ve stalled. This is what I get for starting a series without much knowledge of series and love for only one secondary character.
Animation: The animation is nice but seems faded for the most part. The character design seems cookie cutter and not too memorable. The demons and the magic were disappointing. The animation was really bad but it was mediocre. It didn’t make my eyes bleed or anything but it’s definitely not memorable. Expect for Jun who is an adorable little cross-dressor.
Sound: Bland, bland, bland. The opening and endings are ok but nothing special. The instrumental pieces may fit some scenes but sometimes just seem not of place. Some of the voices become whiny and really annoying. The rest of the voices fit but didn’t impress. The seiyuus did an ok job. Overall, the sound was pretty mediocre.
Characters: Jun. Everyone is else is either annoying, cliché or forgettable. There was an attempt for development but it seemed overdramatic to me. Either they tried to hard or you just couldn’t take it that seriously. A good thing is that most of characters aren’t too annoying although they maybe be forgettable.
Overall: Your love for Jun can only take you so far. I wouldn’t really recommend this to even someone who likes magic. There are much better, more interesting, and funnier series out there. Frankly, this one is just bland and you don’t feel happy at all. Just bored.