Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Things No One Cares About: Happy Hustle High

Rie Takada has gained a bit of good will back with me via Gaba Kawa. It was well written,had decent characterization and an okay ending. Was it amazing,not particularly, but compared to Takada's other popular works it is brilliant. That may be a bit too harsh to Happy Hustle High,it's insulting but over all just sort of generic.

The story is your typical girl meets boy,boy ignores girl, and then guy and girl fall in love. The basic plot concerns an all girls school going co-ed and how that affects the students. It works for the most part but the plot point never comes up that much after our lead, Hanabi gains rank in the student council. Instead focusing on Hanabi and Yasukai relationship,which is okay, it is a romance story after all. Up till around the mid way point everything is going along fine then Hanabi and Yasuaki finally get together and it all goes down the tubes.

The second half has no idea where it wants to go and like me trying to fill space,and I realize I didn't care about the characters at all. They aren't bad characters per se just boring stock shojo characters. As a result of this revelation,I can't be asked to get invested in the story and I'm left questioning why I even cared in the first place. The problems are a result of the characters being stupid and not in the too broken to fix things way. It's more like The World God Only Knows making up problems that shouldn't be an issue but suddenly are.The story is trying to have an underlying theme and this is where the book goes from meandering idiocy to full blown flaming train wreak of insulting.

Love can change is a common theme in shojo and Rie Takada is rather fond of it in her works. Unfortunately, her use of it is rather insulting and is the biggest problem I have with this book. Hanabi starts out as the brash protector of all her friends and her entire character arc is moving away from this image and style. Becoming less impulsive is fine but however quite a few of the boys have this same problem or similar problems and it's never treated as bad. So it comes off as Hanabi is too boyish and needs to become more girly to be a happier person. 

Hanabi's problems that are less problems and more she's not a girly girl, how dare she. The book has no respect for girls in general, the only girl with any not is Hanabi and her personality is too boyish to be respected by the book. They are all a nameless mass that can't resist the sexy boys that they are now cohabiting and therefore are useless. The boys are just as interested in the girls of the school but are treated as cool people who can look above base urges. The one time the girls stand up for themselves in what is the Shojo equivalent of Rape Squad they are all berated for being silly and that the guys should handle the girl's problems. The way Yasuaki is portrayed does not help the book's case.

Yasuaki arc concerns his fear of women but it's never given much time outside of a few chapters and I genuinely forgot it was a problem till it's magically solved by  having sex with Hanabi. Other than that anything he does is treated as right and Hanabi is being silly for not trusting him. Had he actually expressed his thoughts then they could avoid most of these issues. This could actually be a problem that needs addressed but it's never treated as such and his only change that happens is him stating he's happier. I'm sorry I didn't realize you were unhappy,as you enjoyed surfing and that's about it.I mean he could be, he's not that deep or nuanced.

Sadly these problems are not exclusive to Happy Hustle High but it is a more blatant example of how this can easily fail. It's insulting in what the author thinks of her own gender and her idolization of men. Had they balanced out both sides and making them equally flawed and I could forgive it but it doesn't. It's by no menas a bad series,and got a laugh form me on occasion, but it doesn't excuse the utter banality of the whole mess or the dim view on the female gender.

Till Next Time: Stay Positive 

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