Follow TV Tropes


Manga / Happiness

Go To
Makoto Okazaki is your run of the mill high-schooler, a perfect bullying target and a closet pervert. One night he decides to return a DVD to a friend of his and ventures out into the night. He notices a person on a nearby rooftop. The person, a girl, lunges at him before he is able to make sense of this, and bites into his neck, drinking his blood.

As he realises he's dying, the girl offers him a choice: he can die, or he can become like her. He tells her he doesn't want to die, and she smiles. Then she vanishes — upwards, leaping into the sky, and Makoto passes out and wakes up in hospital.

The story follows Makoto as he tries to understand what's happened to him and the instincts and urges it's awakened, as well as the others he comes into contact with because of it — Yukiko Gosho, a kind girl in another class who helps comfort him; Yuki Ono, his chief tormenter, though there's more to him than meets the eye; and at the centre, Nora, the mysterious vampire girl.

A manga from Shuzo Oshimi, creator of The Flowers of Evil and Inside Mari, which ran in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine from 2015 to 2019.

This series contains examples of:

  • The Ageless: Vampires don't seem to age in this series.
  • Art Imitates Art: To vampires, the starry night sky looks like a wild swirl of lights and colours, rather as if it was painted by Vincent van Gogh. In general the moments seen from a vampire's point of view are very post-impressionist in style.
  • Bittersweet Ending: It's not the bloodbath you might expect, but it's not all sunshine, either. Sakurane is dead and the cult commits mass-suicide in despair. Yuki dies, but he seemed to believe he had nothing to live for anyway. Gosho survives to marry Sudo, and they live a happy life together and start a family with the surviving former cultist. Saku eventually escapes captivity once again. Makoto manages to find a way to obtain fresh blood without killing, and does not seem unhappy, but he can't return to his old life and has to wait for Nora to regenerate herself to have any company, a process that takes at least fifty years. His family and Gosho clearly still miss him every day for the remainder of their lives.
  • Body Horror: The vampires captured and vivisected by The Men in Black don't look too good afterwards. Or during, when they're still conscious. Sakurane cutting into his own forehead would be comparatively mild if it wasn't for everything else, including torturing (and very likely sexually assaulting) another character.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: After a while, it's clear Nora chose to turn Makoto rather than kill him because she wants some company.
  • Cult: The Blood of Happiness, who worship vampires in the hopes they might become them. In the meantime, they live communally, grow their own food, don't particularly appreciate the attention of the press, and hold unquestioning, blind faith in their leader. Also, they regularly perform bloodletting ceremonies in order to feed their god — Yuki as a vampire, who's locked in the basement.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Makoto and others can walk around during the day, though it makes them dizzy and weak.
  • Distant Finale: The last issue takes place after every surviving character save Nora and Makoto, being immortal vampires, is dead of old age. The remaining characters look back on the people they met as they walk into an unknown future.
  • The Drifter: The vampires in Happiness are homeless drifters, never staying in one place for too long.
  • Fan Disservice: A pretty girl not wearing a stitch? Sounds nice. The same girl's corpse with her throat bloodily ripped out, or her being tortured by cutting her flesh? Not as nice. It's also hard to be be sure whether Nora is appealing or disturbing — she doesn't wear much (and sometimes she wears nothing), but she doesn't usually bother to clean the blood off, either.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Twice characters commit violence in the buff — in both cases they're vampires, so the emphasis is on savagery and dehumanisation. The first is Yuki, fresh off getting ripped away from his girlfriend and very unhappy about it. The second time, Saku and Makoto escape a lab just after being subjected to painful, torturous experiments and don't really have time to grab anything to wear on the way out.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Both Nora and Saku are very old and have come to terms with what they are after forgetting their human lives. They don't want to conquer or enslave humankind, but they're not especially interested in it either. Saku in particular refers to humans in very dismissive terms.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Makoto tries. He eventually succeeds. Nora and Saku are not examples, both saying they've been around long enough that they've become indifferent to human life and don't discriminate with their victims.
  • A God I Am Not: Yuki tells an entire cult that he's not what they think he is. Unfortunately, most of them don't believe him.
  • Healing Factor: Vampires can heal from practically anything, though it can take time. Saku recovers from being decapitated by a train, and Nora from having her brain removed from her skull. The only one to truly die is Yuki when his entire body is ripped apart and devoured — and he still manages to communicate for a little while after that.
  • Horror Hunger: Vampires, of course, crave fresh human blood. Though it doesn't seem necessary to keep them alive, the urge to drink is very powerful and going without very painful. Makoto successfully resists for quite a while; Yuki doesn't, to the point that he can't stop himself drinking Gosho's blood even though he's horrified that Sakurane cut her throat.
  • In a Single Bound: Makoto and other vampires can pull off massive jumps from rooftop to rooftop.
  • Lady in Red: While Nora's red hood seems designed to invoke another trope, there's definitely the "desire" aspect as well, particularly considering how little she wears under it.
  • Loser Protagonist: Makoto is bullied into buying food for the popular kids on a regular basis. It takes his being turned before he finally fights back.
  • Man Bites Man: Vampires use their natural weapons in a fight — those, of course, being fangs.
  • The Men in Black: A group of them appear in chapter 15 and attempt to kidnap Makoto. They later succeed in capturing him and Nora, and have picked up Saku in the meantime to boot. Their actual goals, if they have any beyond vivisecting vampires, are never revealed.
  • Mysterious Waif: Nora the vampire girl. Even in the end, surprisingly little is known about her.
  • Near-Death Experience: A slashed throat induces one in Gosho; she sees her little brother, who sadly tells her it's not time to see her yet. The character wakes up to discover the building is on fire, but is galvanised to survive.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: None of the vampires actually use the word "vampire". It's a human character who drops it first a fair way into the story; Nora prefers "like what I am". Both of the existing vampires would seem to pre-date modern pop culture, which may explain it.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They are clearly supernatural, but physically and medically seem identical to humans save the retractable fangs. They are only reluctantly day-walking, sense when another vampire is near, and are able to let out echoes that only other vampires can hear. They can also fly, regenerate from almost anything given time if they're old enough, and their victims will turn via the bite unless they're killed first, which a feeding vampire will do quasi-instinctively. They also have a trait shared by vampire bats — one that recently fed well can regurgitate into the mouth of another, allowing members of the species that cannot hunt to be cared for.
  • Religion of Evil: Sakurane creates a cult worshipping the one they call God: the vampire they are keeping locked up in the basement, Yuki.
  • Sex Signals Death: The couple that engages in sex on the page is the one that sees both participants killed painfully by the end of the story. The others, while almost certainly not chaste, keep it implied.
  • Spooky Painting: The picture adopted by the Blood of Happiness vampire-worshipping cult as their icon: a minimalist illustration of a figure drinking blood from a woman's neck using a straw. It's not supernatural in any way, but it is very creepy.
  • Time Skip: The story skips 10 years after Makoto runs away from home and gets captured, Yuki gets taken in by Sakurane, Gosho barely survives her injuries, and the deaths of Shiraishi and her family.
  • Undead Barefooter: Nearly all the vampires go barefoot. The only exception is Makoto, who prefers sneakers — even Yuki coincidentally winds up barefoot after being turned.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Biting is messy and painful, with the victim struggling all the way, and a prudent vampire will finish by tearing out the victim's throat to stop them coming back, to the point where they're written off as animal attacks.
  • Vampire Vannabe: A whole cult of them, the Blood of Happiness. They don't seem all that bad as cults go, partly because they already have a docile vampire sitting in the basement. Their weirdest practice is holding bloodletting masses. It's only their leader who's a genuine monster, and unfortunately they are fanatically devoted to him.
  • What Have I Become?: Makoto struggles to resist his vampire urges with limited success. Yuki doesn't do any better.