The Secret Stars of Anime: Anne-Happy

I already talked about how good last season was for slice-of-life shows, and one of these shows I highlighted was Anne-Happy, which also fits the ever-popular category of “cute girls doing cute things”. The catch to this show is that all of the main cast are “unfortunate”, whether it is having bad health, getting lost often, having… questionable romantic interests, or in the case of main character, Anne Hanakoizumi, just having all sorts of unfortunate things happen to her. Case in point, on the way to her first day of school, she tries to rescue a dog on a bridge, only for said dog to bite her and for her to nearly fall off the bridge, until her future classmate saves her.

Just another day when your die has a 1 on every side.

To anyone else, such an occurrence would probably be seen as a day ruined. To Anne, it is a fateful encounter with a new friend.

Add on the fact that the girls in the main cast are put into a class specifically for unfortunate students, designed to help them find happiness despite their circumstances, and you have all the makings of a fun, cute comedy with some genuinely great moments. I will say that the show has some notable flaws, mainly how some of the “happiness class” teacher’s methods seem a bit obtuse as to how much they actually are helping the students, but the strengths of the show outweigh its flaws by a good amount.

Also, the show does have a good core message: your circumstances do not define your happiness. With the right attitude and actions, even the most unfortunate people can find true joy.

If you think about the things in life that can make you happy, many of them are circumstantial events. They range from small events like getting a gift you’ve always wanted to big events like getting married. Likewise, things that make you unhappy also tend to be various events, such as losing an important item or being fired from your job.

It is all too easy to think that “if only”, then we will be happy. “If only I had that job I wanted”, or “If only I were married”, or “If only I can get that ultra-rare card of my waifu in this mobile game”, then we can be happy… and if not, there is no way we can be happy. The problem is, these are all circumstantial events, which creates many issues with regards to personal happiness. These events tend to create a “spike” of the emotion of happiness, after which our emotional state starts returning to where it was before as we get used to the new circumstances. Eventually, you settle into a routine at your job, the intense passion of love fades away, and power creep afflicts your mobile game and makes your ultra-rare waifu sub-optimal.

The real issue with trying to base our happiness on these circumstantial events is that we end up chasing those emotional highs of happiness, like a drug addict searching for his next chemical high. Without that emotional rush, we go into withdrawal and call it “unhappiness”. At least bad events will not bring us down too much as we eventually get used to those as well, but they do reinforce the belief that our circumstances are keeping us from being happy.

Basically, the problem is that we try to find the emotion of happiness, rather than trying to develop an attitude of happiness.

Just like how a bad attitude will eventually make happy circumstances go sour, a good attitude can allow us to be joyful in even the worst circumstances. Anne-Happy provides many lessons on good happiness attitudes, though perhaps the most prominent is Anne’s incredible optimism and sense of gratitude. Her ability to find things to appreciate something in every unfortunate event the world throws at her is quite admirable, and it affects her friends as they also learn to focus more on the good things in life. We too can benefit from optimism and gratitude when circumstances are not the best for us, and when good events do happen to us, gratitude helps make the positive effect of those events last long after the initial emotional high wears off.

There is a lot more one can go into regarding attitude and happiness, and while there are definitely many books one can read on the subject, for Christians, the Bible is the best resource you can find. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, after all, and while we do not always have to act cheerful, we do need to cultivate an attitude that is focused on the goodness of God. After all, He sent his Son to die for our sins so we can be with Him forever; not even the worst earthly circumstance can compare with how wonderful that is.

So if you decide to start watching Anne-Happy, take note of the attitudes of the girls, rather than all the bad things that happen to them. The bad things certainly make for good comedy, but the girls’ attitudes are what will really make you smile, and might even change how you look at your own happiness.

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