RATING: 2.5 STARSFor me, this wasn't a particularly strong start for the Happy Cafe series. Happy Cafe is a light, bubbly manga with some great promise behind a lack-luster plot and sporadic characters. I'll admit that although Happy Cafe had some really excellent, humorous, cute moments, it didn't have very strong direction when it came to the overall plot of the story. Uru, is sixteen years old and has decided to live on her own for the first time. While walking down the street she passes by two women talking about the cafe they had just stepped out of, excited and happy. Wanting to make people feel that happy Uru asks for a position and is greeted by the two quirky (very, very strange) boys who work there. The major appeal of Uru was initially very off-putting. Her character design skews very young, as this sixteen year old is constantly mistaken for being in elementary school, and you can clearly see why. She is very strong however, and can handle anything except not breaking the dishes. The two guys she works with are also initially very poorly received. Shindo is an crank with a zero tolerance attitude. Even though he's only 20 his personality is that of a grandpa, with a preference of physical violence to motivate others. However, despite these things, he is incredibly adorable at times and charming in his own odd way. And finally Ichiro, he's the strangest of them all with an unexplained sleeping habit that pops up whenever he hasn't eaten something, which is about every other page. Outside of that he doesn't offer much to the story aside from someone for Shindo to beat down and occasionally adding some character back story tidbit. When it comes to the relationships, I was surprised that there wasn't much romance in this as I was expecting, going off the description. Although there is some hinting there wasn't anything significant to that end, no real push in that direction. Otherwise the story was just about Uru experiencing a series of semi-unrelated events to introduce the characters better. With all of that said, based off this first volume, I don't think that this is a series I would go out of my way to read. Happy Cafe certainly has a lot of promise, I can only see the series improving as each character develops more, but I just don't see it being something I would run to. I'll definitely continue with the series if I stumble upon the next book, but it's not something that can compare well enough to the other series I currently have in progress.