- Alt. Name
- Dounika Naru Hibi
- Release Date
- Oct. 2020
- Run Time
- 0 hr. 53 min.
- LIDENFILMS Kyoto Studio
Happy-Go-Lucky Days is a 2020 Slice of Life Drama anime film from one of LIDENFILMS divisions named Liden Films Kyoto Studio. Though this division has created a small number of productions, that doesn’t mean their creations are not worthwhile. At the same time, this film is an anthology and has a runtime of under an hour. However, writing multiple stories within a film or anime series is easy, considering that the term has been around since the seventeenth century. The hard part is making each story entertaining and still building momentum into the next story. The actual question is, can a film that has less than an hour of run time leave the audience with the level of entertainment they crave and deserve?
Love is love. Someday, the pain of being in love will be an endearing memory. No matter who the feelings are towards, no matter what form it takes, all love and lifestyles have the same value. An omnibus anime tells the stories of “The wedding of an ex,” “a student and a teacher at an all-boys school,” and “childhood friends whose bodies and hearts change with adolescence. All these stories have one thing in common, Love and the price we pay for it, sometimes we pay for love in advance, and others, we pay for it when it’s over.
Having a film split into three different sections is nothing new or even further, but inside each story makes it potentially interesting for the viewer. The first story is somewhat charming and extremely common within the LGBT community but rarely gets expressed in movies, let alone anime. A woman is having awkward feelings about being invited to her ex-girlfriend’s wedding. While sitting in a restroom stall, she happens to meet another of the bride-to-be, and by strange coincidence, they hit it off and decide to hook up. If one is new to any boys’ love or vice versa anime, this is the generic material viewers come to see.
The final portion of the film is so long it is divided up into two different shorts. The second short is about a student-teacher romance story. When a teacher is getting weary with the mundane teaching world year after year, having the same outcome, however, these feelings are never expressed due to the teacher being in the closet. While one character is out of the closet, this story focuses on a person who is not and dives deep into his wants and desires. Inside this piece, two pre-teens are stuck in-between the age of not knowing what’s going on with their body and what happens next.
The problem with this fast-paced short story is that romance stories don’t always work when time is constrained to around twenty minutes. While the first short is titled “Happy,” the viewer will most likely not be happy at the end. Though there are sweet and tender moments that the viewers can tell, the writers attempt to make the viewer care for the characters. The viewer can’t gauge the characters, and if they don’t know if they like the main characters, why should they care for them?
The following story starts as a controversial piece but ends charmingly compared to where it could have ended. The story is well written and shows the viewer that nothing is permanent and don’t take one’s youth for granted. While this short story seemed to be the fastest of the bunch, it was appropriately titled “Go,” making it more symbiotic upon multiple viewings. The pacing was better than what one may expect, and the writing seemed to flow a lot easier than the first story. If one is looking for something to see how a short story about what could have been, this would be a great pick.
The last two stories of Happy-Go-Lucky Days are about the relationship of Shinichi and Mika, from the fifth grade to junior high. These two are at the start of their bodies changing, and with that comes weird feelings towards people we may not want to have feelings towards. This story is more sexual than the previous two, but this is more tasteful than anything. It tackles the pseudo sibling relationship and how sometimes actions we make in our own lives can change people’s views. The pacing is very realistic to the characters’ ages and sometimes goes back and forth due to their uneasiness which is rather refreshing to see compared to other series or films.
However, this story did have some significant negative aspects that will turn viewers away if they’re not aware of their watching. For instance, if one is not interested in watching prepubescent kids learn about porn and sex, this is not for them. If viewers are not looking for anything too sexual or too realistic, this may not be suitable for them. Some may find that the entire film may be vulgar and tasteless, but the last two segments are the ones that take the take. Another negative aspect of this story is that it ends with the truth that love is sweet and bitter at the same time.
When it comes to Happy-Go-Lucky Days art style, this is somewhat surprising, and it was terrific. The realistic style mixed with the undetailed physical features makes this film rather intriguing. Some may find this art style to be rather dull or uninspiring, but overall, the way the colors match each story’s emotions seem to mesh perfectly together. Don’t underestimate the generics of this art style fool anyone; this film has very tasteful and potentially loveable characteristics.
The animation production within this film is hit or miss, considering that the film is unevenly divided into three or four different stories. It all depends on the viewers’ level of enjoyment with each piece. Overall, there is very little to say about the production since there is very little production value. The only form of music worth mentioning is the ending theme, titled “Monomane,” which is very upbeat and catchy. But outside of that, there wasn’t anything worth mentioning and considering that the film quickly jumps from one story to another without skipping a beat.
Since this film is divided into three different short stories, the characters’ characters are hit or miss. Within each story, some characters were barebones basic, which is not always a terrible thing. Considering that each segment was about fifteen minutes long, they couldn’t dive into any of the characters. Having the ability to get connected with the characters the viewer is watching takes the story to another level and makes it easier to understand. Without connecting to these characters, the viewer is mainly just watching a one-shot television broadcast that has no value to their eyes, ears, and hearts. Without any solid connection, the film took a nosedive when it came to its characters.
Overall, this film is whatever people want to make of it. At the same time, some may consider this film a disaster which is a fair assessment; perhaps it’s entirely not. This film has many defective parts to it, but if judged individually, and they’d be a decent one shot. Though they’d not be perfect by any means, they have a similar theme within each of them. The theme being love and sex; now, some may be turned off by the sexual side of human nature in all of its forms. This was a decent attempt to showcase the interconnection without crossing any boundaries. Albeit it came extremely close and potentially could have gone into a weird area, the vast majority was engaging in a good way.
Happy-Go-Lucky Days are one of those weird creations that may not have a proper fitting place, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If one enjoys same-sex relationships with and without sexual awakenings, one could see this being an okay choice, though there are plenty of better options. However, if one is wondering who this film would be a good recommendation for, that’s a more challenging question to answer. Suppose one was interested in short segments and doesn’t have the attention span for a long series or a full-length movie. In that case, this may be a good one for them, but making it through the entire film without dying of boredom would be another thing to do overcome.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.