Studious Ruri is running late for her first day at Tennomifune Academy when she comes across the unluckiest girl alive. Bitten by dogs, soaked to the skin because she fell in the river on the way to school, Anne Hanakoizumi doesn’t mind it one bit—in fact, “I’m soooo lucky!” she says with a total lack of irony.
Uptight Ruri can’t wrap her mind around Anne’s unflappable cheerfulness, but the next classmate she meets is even weirder: delicate, glasses-wearing Botan Kumegawa, who’s so frail her bones break when she shakes hands, and so self-deprecating she introduces herself with, “I’m sorry I’m such a useless piece of trash that it makes you want to vomit.”
Their homeroom teacher soon explains that they are in a special class composed entirely of flawed or unlucky students, and their main assignment is to find happiness! At first indignant at being among these misfits, Ruri soon admits her own flaws and goes along with the teacher’s bizarre exercises designed to “improve their luck.” And even if they can’t improve their luck, perhaps they can make friends.
A manga with essentially no male characters, Anne Happy is about cute, awkward girls whose bad luck gets them into cartoony (but never really threatening) scrapes. Every possible bad luck cliché is here: when the heroes go hiking a horde of black cats crosses their path; they fall into a stream; monkeys cut a bridge while they’re crossing it, etc. Anne’s sunny personality is the manga’s heart, but the other characters’ traits are less well developed, such as Ruri’s unbelievable “flaw” that she has a crush on a cartoon safety mascot (presumably because having an actual male character in the story would spoil the intended moé mood).
But the nebulousness of just what luck is (it’s about falling in rivers, not missed life opportunities, apparently) makes it hard to come up with stories; by the end of Volume 1 when the characters are playing a giant board game as a “luck test” it feels like the author is already running out of ideas. On the upside, the art is cute.
publisher: Yen Press
story and art: Cotoji