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Book Review < Back

Happy Mania vol. 1

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Moyoco Anno
Publisher: TokyoPop


Here's a comic aimed at an unusual group: women in their 20s. HAPPY MANIA is aimed at the Sex and the City crowd, centering on the romantic misadventures of neurotic, wisecracking Kayoko Shigeta as she looks for Mr. Right in all the wrong places. Along with her cynical, sarcastic best friend Fuku and spoilt-but-sad little rich girl Violet, the series sends them careening through all the bad, wrong choices you could possibly make when looking for the Love of your Life.

Kayoko knows what her bad habits are, what not to do, how not to do it, where not to go - and does them all anyway, only to live to regret it, swearing never to do it again, but you know she will. Sleeping with someone on the first date. Trying to figure out how to get rid of a one-night stand that seemed like a good idea but is anything but in the cold light of morning. Telling the nice guy to get lost, because nice guys are boring. Stealing the hot boyfriend of your friend. Having sex with the guy who looks like he might be The One, only to find out later that he's already in a relationship. Things can really suck, especially when the guy's girlfriend finds out and puts you in the hospital. Sound familiar? Like someone you know? Like the person you meet in the mirror without make-up on first thing in the morning?

The miracle of Anno's writing and art is the empathy she invests in a crazed neurotic like Kayoko. She's borderline nuts, but you can see how things look from inside her head and understand her, even when you would never do what she does in a million years. And that doesn't mean Anno is blind to the self-serving bullshit someone like Kayoko spouts at the same time. The simplicity and elegance of the art not only punch up the emotional impact of the story, but have a beautiful sense of graphic design about them so that each page could almost be a piece of art in its own right.

And in case you haven't pegged on, it's also funny.

Odd that this is literally the only twentysomething romantic comedy comic out there...

-- Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a screenwriter and filmmaker who writes comics when he has the time. He has recently completed JLA: The Age of Wonder for DC Comics, and written and directed Open House, a short film for Studio FP in Italy. His current projects include the forthcoming Blackshirt for Moonstone Books, Anna Passenger, a novel being serialised on Opi8.com, and various film and television projects.


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