Jan 21, 2012
-Warning; review may contain spoilers-
Happiness written by Usamaru Furuya is a collection of short stories that will, undoubtedly, make you think about life and the people in it.
The collection of short stories is not just a random collection. They're put together wonderfully, making the reader want to continue on, either wanting to know more of the characters, their lives, the way they think, or because somehow they connect to the stories and how the characters are portrayed. That is how it was for me, I can't promise you`ll have the same reaction, as these stories can be taken differently by the reader. In this case,
I find that the most beautiful thing about the stories. Most Anime and Manga in the 'Slice of Life' genre are stories you could relate to, or based off real life. In this collection we touch on various times in various people's lives; some seem normal at first, or just quirky. However, the farther we delve into their lives and their stories the more our eyes open; almost in the same way that a newborn baby takes in the world for the first time after leaving the womb.
The stories, eight in all, are each touching in their own way. Each story is different, yet in the end they are the same. The people we see, the words they speak which we read, are each special. However, they all have a particular outlook on life, a particular way of thinking and being. Dedication, love, need, hopelessness, enjoyment, sorrow; all these things are here in these stories, each character has them. None of the characters are perfect, nowhere near it. Perhaps this is why I love the collection. Furuya has done a brilliant job in creating the characters; whether based of real people or probing dreams.
The art in the series is not outstanding, it's not breathtaking and stunning. The characters at times look awkward, the style of drawing is old, not generally seen in the newer manga appearing on shelves. It is nice to look at, however. Personally, the artwork in the stories "Song of the Devil" and "Happiness" are favorites, as they're detailed and give the reader a sense of uneasiness, of distaste, and curiosity.The details and shading give the reader a sense of being able to delve into the world, explore it, and perhaps even feel the emotions of the characters, or try to feebly grasp them. That is how I felt while reading this particular stories.
The characters, though many, do not go to waste. Each one develops into something else or something more than what they were. They come to understand one another in one or two of the stories, while in others they come to adore and love one another. I thought in the stories "Lolita #7", "Teased and Stepped on.." and perhaps even "What If?" there could have been a few more details added to the characters, their back story perhaps. However, in the way that the stories are written, and the over all affect, the sense of not knowing is just fine as having that extra fact or two about them.
Overall I enjoyed these stories. They made me re-open my eyes, made me think about myself and the people I knew, if for a brief moment. Personally, I enjoy stories like these. Though they were short; it was in this shortness that I could find pleasure, being able to just sneak into their lives for one moment, for a day, and have that one moment to try and understand them. I think any open minded being would love to read these, as there's a special something to each one that can't quite be found anywhere else.
What did you think of this review?