When two mysterious young men walk into the café to declare war, Uru’s passion gets the best of everyone, and they accept the challenge—with one condition: the loser will have to quit the industry for good. However, just before the contest, Shindo sprains his wrist! And when Uru’s mother shows up at Bonheur, will she convince Uru to go back home? Café Bonheur will have to survive through some turbulent times if it’s to stay happy—and in business!
In Kou Matsuzuki’s second volume of Happy Cafe the story picks up right where it left us in the first volume with Uru cheerfully serving customers delicious sweets made by the hands of a seeming-not-so-sweet Shindo. In Café Bonheur things heat up when the Abekawa brothers present a challenge that puts their business on the line.
Within this second volume of Happy Cafe the setting of the story began to evolve outside of Café Bonheur as it brought in new characters from a rival cafe. As a reader I felt that it expanded the cafe from being the main focal point and fleshed out the personalities of the main characters more by having them interact outside the circle of just Uru, Shindo, and Ichiro. Yet again Uru’s mother, Yukie, attempts to bring her daughter back home for good. This time around I felt that Yukie showed more genuine concern about Uru’s well-being overall.
Overall I enjoyed the next installment of this series. As the main characters began to develop I was better able to distinguish Shindo from Ichiro, which during the first volume initially was somewhat daunting if it wasn’t for the two male characters having different hair colors. The introduction of the Abekawa brothers, who also thankfully have different hair colors, as rivals was presented more as pranksters than an actual threat to the business of the cafe. In the least itwas able to showcase to the reader a better image of what the Happiness Town district is made of.
At the end of this volume contains Kou Matsuzuki’s debut work, Estimated Young Man and Girl. It may be a romance one-shot that is full of clichés but it was a bonus. After seeing how much more detailed and fleshed out her current work, Happy Cafe, is in comparison to Estimated Young Man and Girl, I have a better appreciation and longing to see how her art will develop more in the coming volumes.
This may not be the most complex or profound shojo title I’ve come across in 2010 but it is a delightful treat when looking for something light and carefree to read.