Tastes great, less filling
You know how you can love one cupcake, and maybe another, but by the third one the sweetness starts to get to you? It still tastes good, but that initial delight of the first bite is fading, and you find yourself wanting something with a little more substance.
Unfortunately, that seems to be what is going on with “Happy Café.” Although I loved the first two volumes, which were little more than light and frothy fun featuring the kind of wacky cast that couldn’t exist outside of a manga, with this third issue the taste is starting to turn. I can’t really put my finger on what it is; Things are pretty the same as the last two volumes. But volume three is somehow less satisfying.
It might be that volume three has no real story, just a sequence of unconnected vignettes. The volume starts out with Uru taking Shindo and Ichiro home for dinner to meet her parents, and the usual misunderstandings occur. Uru’s mom is egging her own to hook up with one of the guys, while her step-father is over-protective. Next up some of the girls at school see Uru walking with Shindo and Ichiro, and after seeing how hot they are the Café Bonheur becomes a hot hang-out which doesn’t please Uru at all. Then it is time for more misunderstandings as Uru goes to visit the Abekawa brothers at their home, and after that Uru’s sixth grade cousin comes to town to confess his love for her. The last two stories are the origin of Ichiro’s strange sleeping habit, and Uru helping a lost young boy find his way home.
Volume three is definitely not bad. There are some great gags here, and Matsuzuki’s expressive artwork is still is good as ever. She has a way of drawing Uru’s smile that gives me an equally big grin every time I see it. The “Lil’ Ichiro” scenes are fantastic, showing Ichiro as a young boy. Fortunately, the Abekawa brothers don’t appear as much so their ridiculously translated accents aren’t there to bother me.
Matsuzuki has created some great characters, and I really enjoy jumping into her world of happiness where there are few problems that can’t be solved by a really tasty treat, but she can’t expect to keep interest up by serving up the same dish every time. Even though the previous two volumes were filled with equally fluffy filler I am ready for a more filling story to begin. I am hopeful that the story starts to pick up with volume four, but Matsuzuki is going to have to go deeper story-wise to keep me coming back.