Jan 19, 2018
strategian (All reviews)
If you like Happiness! as a brainless, fluffy slice of life show and don't want to think about it too much, you might enjoy this.

If you dislike Jun as a character, you will hate this.

If you like Jun as a character, you should hate this.

I enjoyed Happiness! a bit more than most people but it was a while before I watched this. I was always kind of interested in it as Jun was my favourite character so an episode focused around him sounded appealing. He's cute and unabashed and open about his dress habits and he's queer as hell. He's a great character there really isn't much of in anime. So often traps and crossdressers will be reluctant or weirded out by their situation. But Jun is totally happy with it - he owns it. He knows he's cute and he has a thing for Yuma and he makes it obvious. That's why I loved him.

When I envisioned this show I imagined they would run with how Jun had been established in Happiness! - he would be shocked at being a girl, maybe even horrified. As he had expressed basically no desire to be a woman, that'd have made sense to me. He was just happy as who he was.

But what they decided to do was introduce an entirely new and out of nowhere character development - that all along Jun had wanted to be a girl. And that he's elated to become one in this story. This was annoying to me as it kind of undermined what made Jun appealing as a character in the series. But I'd have been willing to accept it had the tone of the episode, or the writing for that matter, actually reflected it. Instead the fact Jun wanted to be a woman is just a kind of throwaway gag. Sure it's a light hearted gag anime...but if that's the case...maybe don't throw in such a weighty topic? Maybe do what I had suggested and not have Jun's reactions be "thank god I'm finally a woman!"

Let me say that I don't think the premise of this story is entirely worthless. I think it could have very easily been handled much better and in a less offensive way. The introduction of the fan club had me certain they'd recover the unpleasantness of this episode with an arc around self acceptance. Jun, in his new body, assures his upset looking fan club that things will proceed as normal. Surely they will seem sad at his change, I thought - surely this will lead to him, in the end, realising he doesn't and shouldn't need to change himself to find happiness?

Nope. Just a throwaway visual gag about him smiling and that making them happy. No one tries to assure Jun he was fine the way he was. Nothing remotely close to that.

The tone gets even more twisted; despite Jun's happiness, his classmates are now overcome with uncontrollable rapacious lust because he has become a real woman (despite not physically changing appearance wise)? And as a result he chooses to foresake his new sex. This is why I said at the start that if you can turn your brain off you might be able to like this. I can't - this is just a horrific piece of writing. Jun learns the lesson of it doesn't matter what you want, give it up because if you don't men will rape you. What? Enjoy watching the original series now knowing all the while Jun is actually utterly miserable because his body doesn't match his gender identity. Enjoy especially all the times Yuma is incredibly callous and insensitive to him!

Getting away from the writing - production wise this is about on par with the original series. The animation is as sloppy but the sound is fairly nice with some tolerable background music. The editing is characteristically snappy and fast paced.

Overall I can't recommend this to anyone, really. It's a rare example of an adjacent property making its source material actively worse. My opinion on the series Happiness! has diminished in light of this and I don't see myself rewatching it any time soon as a result. I'll try to forget this exists if I ever do rewatch.