Monday, May 02, 2011

Happy Cafe, Volume 7 by Kou Matsuzuki

Uru's school is in the middle of the school festival planning, and thanks to Uru, they have decided to run a bakery/sweet shop as their idea, and it is amazingly popular, which pisses off the third-year class, which is running a host club up on the third floor, especially when they discover that the bakery is more popular than the host club and is being run by Uru. So, to help their own cause, they decide to take her out.

And when Uru's fellow Cafe Bonheur employees, Shindo and Ichiru, show up, the host club leader is even more upset- now the bakery has the attraction of two young men who are just as beautiful as he is! This is insupportable! And when Ichiro and Mitsuka team up to prevent Shindo and Uru from discovering how much they actually like each other, it somehow intersects with the plans of the Third year student, leaving them locked in an abandoned classroom together!

Will Uru and Shindo discover how the other feels during their talk? Is it really true love? And will they ever discover who is behind their imprisonment predicament? When a man who knows Shindo's mother shows up to see him, will Shindo want to find out more about the mother that ran off and left him? And who will win the school festival?

Afterwards. Shindo talks to Uru about his mixed feelings about his mother and the knowledge he could possibly find out about her, which makes her cry on his behalf. But when he hugs her, both of them start feeling strange about it. Uru finds herself feeling attracted to the way he smells, and that makes her stiffen up. From this, Shindo concludes that she doesn't feel the same way he does, and because she is four years younger than he is, he starts feeling like some kind of pedophile pervert, and worrying about the way he feels about her himself.

The book ends with an unrelated story, number one deluxe, about two students, one male, one female, who fight over everything to be the best, even height. But can they get to the true reason they fight, and reveal the emotions they are really trying to conceal within? Or will they continue fighting at cross purposes to each other while not really resolving anything?

I still consider this series to be much like Fruits Basket, in its air of gentle romance. Both main characters seem to be still in the dark about their own feelings for each other, and there is a lot of outside influences that intrude on their romance, but the characters inability to realize what they are feeling for each other is one that irritates me a bit. Perhaps the interference that Ishiro and Mitsuka are trying to run will have the opposite effect and drive them even further together.

Perhaps it is because I haven't read the intervening four volumes, but I am wondering why the two characters want to prevent Uru and Shindo from realizing how they feel for each other. Mitsuku seems to be Uru's friend, as does Ichiro, so what is their beef with the relationship? I just don't get it.

In any case, I am still liking the series, but I want to read the intervening volumes even more now, and find out just what the heck is going on. I'd still recommend the series to fans of Fruits Basket, but I confess I am rather confused right now. Recommended.

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