Happy Mania Volume 2
My, Moyoco Anno’s Happy Mania moves quickly. In the first volume, Shigeta’s problem is “why can’t I get a boyfriend?” Now, after a failed fling with a DJ, she’s loudly insisting she doesn’t need a man and she’s “going to live for work.” Once she gets a job, that is.
She’s still depending on nice-guy Takahashi, though, to help in times of crisis (which with her is every other day) and to take her out and cheer her up. Then her roommate announces she’s getting married and moving out, leaving Shigeta on her own — and unable to afford the rent.
She’s so self-obsessed that the idea that Takahashi might be a good catch (as well as a supportive friend and much better for her than she deserves) is a shocking one to her. And her constant “why meeeeee” complaints are quite amusing. If you’re more mature than she is (not hard), then it’s a fun reminder of “been there, done that, grown up”; if you’re younger, then it’s goofy wishful comedy about the trials of a young single adult (who, for all her complaints about not having a boyfriend, sure seems to have guys around when she wants them).
Shigeta is the star of her own life story even though there are many more interesting lives going on around her. (What’s Takahashi’s story? She speculates about the possibility of a well-off background, but since she’s such an unreliable witness, the reader isn’t sure how much of that is her jumping to conclusions. And her roommate, Fuku, is intriguing from the glimpses we get of her.) Most people aren’t so transparent about their base motives and the way they have a hard time being happy for someone else doing better than they are. Her lack of pretense is refreshing, even if she’d be very tiring and annoying to actually know. And she still doesn’t know herself very well.
There’s one particular panel, when Shigeta is badly coping with the idea that a guy might like her, that sums up much of the series so far: It’s just her head, looking up into the distance, as she thinks, “If they like me that much… there must be something wrong with them!”
Anyway, things eventually get so bad that Shigeta goes home to beg for money from her mother. Mom drags her to a temple, where she meets a former classmate, who’s now a very good-looking guy. Unfortunately, he’s a male version of her, which makes him a stalker. He’s annoying and he never shuts up about his car, but that doesn’t keep her from sleeping with him. Things get scary thereafter, leading to a surprising cliffhanger that grabbed me.