The end of our summer project, and the end of an excellent manga.
If you are a (free) Japanese to English translator who would be willing to translate other manga by Kenjirou Takeshita, please contact us via IRC or email me at email@example.com. If you are a translator who wants to do some other series, talk to us and we’ll see what we can do.
I’ve written up a post summarizing my feelings about HW and our work on it. Click past the break (or just scroll down) if you want to read it. Otherwise, please enjoy the ending.
Happy World! is a manga which I truly believe has something positive to teach us. Despite the crude humor, the raunchy characters, and the perhaps gratuitous nudity, Happy World! possesses an abundance of soul that very few other works can even come close to approaching. You see, Kenjirou Takeshita has managed to tell a very genuine story with Happy World!. He has conveyed his message not through any sort of preaching or long, convoluted narrative, but through an ultimately straightforward seventy two chapters of manga.
Within these seventy two chapters, a simple tale of a boy and his angel becomes an epic which spans across the world, an epic which chronicles a history of angels, demons, and humans. Yet, for all of the grandeur of its plot, Happy World!’s ultimate message is something which Elle manages to sum up relatively early on in the story. That message is the fact that, despite everything, we all live in a really happy world. Despite wars, despite terrorism, despite politics, despite genocides, despite murders, despite school shootings, despite natural disasters, despite racism, despite poverty, despite atrocities committed in the name of religion or idealism or anything else, despite everything wrong with humans and the world, the world is, nonetheless, a happy place to live. Perhaps the most poignant illustration of this theme is Takashi’s refusal to shoot the man who murdered his wife, an action which could perhaps be considered justifiable. However. Ruelle gave everything that she had so that the people living on Earth could be happy. With this thought in mind, Takashi spares the man, telling him to never kill anyone again. No matter what… a world where you can forgive the person who killed your beloved is a happy one, right?
And now, regarding some of the more “controversial” aspects of the manga, though I dislike using that term… Happy World! is the only work that I have ever seen deal with the situations of countries located in the Middle East in any sort of manner that isn’t overwhelmingly heavy-handed. The involvement of Palmekia in Happy World! is likely commentary on current events on at least a superficial level, but the aura of genuineness which pervades the entire manga prevents this element from becoming didactic, unlike so many other works from around the world which have touched on the matter. Takeshita also interprets elements of the Christian faith in such a way that their presence is not offensive to practicers of said faith or offputting to those who follow other or no faiths. Of course, angels and demons are rather ingrained in pop culture at this point anyway, but I must say that Takeshita deals with the question of god in quite an interesting manner – the book in the final chapter illustrates this quite succinctly.
Can Takeshita be considered a genius, and can Happy World! be considered a masterpiece? Most likely. However, I am very hesitant to apply such grandiloquent verbiage to either the author or his creation. Happy World! is a work without pretentions, a work which aspires only to espouse itself. The fact that it contains such an overwhelmingly positive – I might go so far as to say profound – message is simply a bonus, so to speak. Because Takeshita does not force his individual truths upon the reader, they end up resonating all the louder. On that point, I would say that Happy World! has touched every member of this group on some level – hence why we were all able to put forth the effort, time, and, yes, money spent to bring it to a wider audience. Personally, I was deeply affected by it on many levels, even though I read essentially the entire latter half of the series raw. But, that is why I had the resolve to see this through to the end, no matter what – I know that it’s the same way with Kefit.
Anyway. This post kind of went all over the place, but I’m really glad that I was able to help bring this manga to all of you. If you felt something – anything – from it, then I couldn’t be happier. I’m sure Kenjirou Takeshita and the rest of the staff here feel the same way. So, please remember – no matter what, it’s a really happy world.