Want to be Happy contains two main stories, the first of which is about Kazuhiro, who is dumped by his girlfriend, then promptly winds up entangled with a male coworker. Nikogawa, the coworker, is unabashedly a head-over-heels, love-at-first-sight type of guy. When circumstances have them moving in together, Kazuhiro has to figure out what it means to actually share himself with another person. The girlfriend’s main complaint, after all, was that he’s so emotionally detached.
At least, I -think- that’s what she meant. I don’t know if it’s a quirk of the translation (it does seem awkwardly literal at times) or of the writing itself, but my main problem with this story is that it’s so vague. Significant lines of dialogue are unnecessarily verbose when they could have been pared down for greater impact. Even Kazuhiro’s “love confession,” if it can be called that, is extremely circuitous. Speaking of Kazuhiro, he’s a pretty lackluster protagonist, more or less just going with the flow. I can’t pin down his motivations from his internal monologue; does he actually care about Nikogawa, or is it just easy and comfortable for him to be freeloading at his place and occasionally submitting to sex with him?
I much preferred the other story in this volume, Please Call My Name, wherein a young convenience store worker gets a little more than he bargained for when he starts getting to know the stoic-looking businessman he’d been admiring. The dialogue in these chapters is less tiresome, likely because it’s more direct and not as filled with ponderous introspection. Best of all, these chapters are brimming with comically defied expectations and hilariously awkward sex scenes.
The localization is mostly alright, with only a couple sizeable missteps that caught my attention. On one page, a character was called by a different name, leading me to wonder if I was suddenly seeing a bonus page about a couple in another Koshino book (several stories share a universe, and cameos or bonus omake are not uncommon). On another page, there’s a complete non-sequiter about cats during a bed scene. Tip for yaoi localizers: “neko” is slang for the bottom, or uke. According to the credits, there were six people working on this book. SOMEONE should have been baffled enough by the out-of-left-field comment to question it, and then do the research. With that many eyes on one project, I expect QC to be flawless, and it isn’t. Sure, these are fairly minor quibbles in the grand scheme, but they show a certain degree of carelessness.
I’d give this a middling grade. I quite enjoyed one story, the other less so. My overall reading experience was positive, but still could have been better.
The main story is funny and cute, even though the characters fell in love a little too fast. But the side story sucks, the uke acts like a sex addict the whole time, and the seme seems so impotent. The the uke just went off to sleep with some dude and everything's fine. I took most of the points of for that story. The author could use all those chapters to focus on the main couple more.