Happy (manga character)

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Happy
Fairy Tail, Edens Zero character
HappyFairyTail.png
Happy as drawn by Hiro Mashima
First appearance Fairy Tail chapter 1: The Fairy's Tail (2006)
Created by Hiro Mashima
Voiced by Japanese
Rie Kugimiya
English
Tia Ballard

Happy (Japanese: ハッピー, Hepburn: Happī) is a fictional character who appears in the manga series Fairy Tail and Edens Zero created by Hiro Mashima. He is depicted throughout his appearances as a male, anthropomorphic blue cat who accompanies the main protagonists on their adventures, often providing comic relief. In Fairy Tail, Happy is a six-year-old member of the magical Exceed race who possesses the ability to transform into a winged cat with white, feathered wings, and serves as a friend and partner of Natsu Dragneel. Edens Zero portrays the character differently as an alien cyborg companion of the female protagonist Rebecca, for whom he also functions as a convertible pair of blaster weapons. Happy has made appearances in various media related to Fairy Tail, including an anime adaptation, feature films, original video animations (OVAs), light novels, and video games. He is voiced by Rie Kugimiya in Japanese, while Tia Ballard plays him in the English dub.

Mashima created Happy as a mascot that would counterpoint his previous mascot character, Plue. Since conception, the character had undergone several developmental changes during Fairy Tail's pre-production and throughout its release. Happy's depiction in Fairy Tail has received a positive critical response, with reviewers praising his humor, heroism, and overall role as a sidekick to the main characters. He has placed highly in character popularity polls, and merchandise for the character has been released.

Creation and conception[edit]

Following the completion of Rave Master, Hiro Mashima's initial idea for Happy was to create a "very chatty" mascot character that would contrast with Plue, Rave Master's mascot, whom he had difficulty with writing as Plue did not speak.[1] In the pre-production stage of Fairy Tail, Mashima drew an illustration depicting two cat-like creatures resembling Happy with bird-like feet and feathered wings for arms.[2] Mashima initially named the character after the Norse god Freyr, which he felt was "too much" for the character and changed to something "more suitable".[3] When asked about the creation of his characters, Mashima replied that each character embodies a part of his own personality, with Happy representing how he acts when slacking off,[4] later stating that Happy was based on his fondness of cats.[1] Upon the introduction of Carla, Happy's female counterpart, Mashima's original concept for Happy underwent "a huge change", which inspired the author to write a character arc for him shortly afterward.[5][6] Mashima also mentioned that Natsu and Happy's midair battle against Cobra was "something [he] always wanted to do", commenting that it was the first time Happy had been directly involved in one of the series' battle scenes.[5] In Edens Zero, Happy is colored with a black-tipped tail as opposed to a white-tipped one in Fairy Tail.[7]

Regarding the anime adaptation, Mashima commented that he enjoyed seeing Natsu and Happy "move around", stating, "There's a limit to the effects I can draw regarding the depiction of the magic in the manga, so seeing that in the anime is so much fun, and it looks very beautiful onscreen. It made me realize how fun my characters are when I saw them moving around."[8] He considers Happy to have the best portrayal in the anime out of all the manga's characters.[1] Yohei Ito, the producer of the film Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, described Happy as both "funny" and "really useful", as he "works in cute scenes and serious scenes."[9] Happy is voiced by Rie Kugimiya in Japanese media, and by Tia Ballard in the English dub.

Appearances[edit]

In Fairy Tail[edit]

Fairy Tail depicts Happy as a sardonic member of the titular wizards' guild, and as a companion of the "dragon slayer" wizard Natsu Dragneel,[10] with their partnership eventually expanding to include the newcomer Lucy Heartfilia and two childhood friends, Gray Fullbuster and Erza Scarlet.[11][12] He is a feline creature called an Exceed that exhibits a natural ability to fly by producing white, feathered wings on his back with a spell called Aera,[JP 1][10] while his friendship with Natsu enables Happy to carry him without triggering the latter's motion sickness.[13] In his backstory, most of which is presented in an omake chapter, Happy is laid as an egg by the Exceed couple Lucky and Marl,[14] which is discovered and hatched by Natsu six years before the series' narrative begins; his birth immediately quells an argument the rest of the guild have over the egg, which inspires Natsu to give Happy his name as a symbolic bluebird of happiness.[15]

Later in the series, Happy encounters a female Exceed named Carla, who reveals Happy's heritage to him: they are from Edolas, a parallel world to the series' primary setting of Earth-land where Exceed are the only creatures born with innate magical power, for which they are revered as divine beings.[16] Happy is initially shocked to discover that he, Carla, and 98 other unborn Exceed were transported to Earth-land by their kind with the directive of killing dragon slayers such as Natsu;[16] however, the two later realize that the "mission" is, in truth, a cover-up for an evacuation effort arranged by the precognitive Exceed queen Chagot following her prediction of their kingdom's destruction, with the pretense of hunting dragon slayers derived from her visions of future events.[17] Happy continues to support Natsu and the guild for the duration of the series, which eventually results in Happy helping Natsu become human upon the discovery that he is an Etherious demon created by the dark wizard Zeref,[18][19] and later assisting Fairy Tail and their allies' efforts to trap and eventually kill the evil dragon Acnologia within the defensive spell Fairy Sphere.[20] By the end of Fairy Tail, Happy accompanies his team on a "century quest", a guild mission that has never been accomplished in less than 100 years.[21][22]

In Edens Zero[edit]

Within the setting of Edens Zero, Happy is a feline alien from a planet named Exceed,[JP 2] and an interstellar adventurer alongside Rebecca, the series' female protagonist. During Rebecca's childhood, an orphaned Happy is taken in and named by her. After later being killed by a drunk driver, he is revived by the professor Weisz Steiner as a cyborg with a completely prosthetic body. Happy's robotic features allow him to reconfigure his body into a pair of rayguns called Happy Blasters[JP 3] that Rebecca wields in battle, which fire rounds of non-lethal "ether" bullets to incapacitate targets. Together, he and Rebecca manage an account called "Aoneko Channel" on the online video platform B-Cube, with the pair's goal being to obtain one million subscribers by uploading videos of different planets they visit as members of Shooting Starlight,[JP 4] an adventurers' guild.

In other media[edit]

In addition to the manga and its anime adaptation, Happy makes appearances in various other media related to Fairy Tail. In the 2012 film Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess, Happy joins his team in helping a priestess called Éclair reach her destination;[23][24] he also makes an appearance in the one-shot prologue manga created by Hiro Mashima for the film, as well as its animated adaptation.[25][26] In the 2017 film Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, Happy and other Fairy Tail members are assigned by the king of Fiore to recover the stolen Dragon Cry staff from another kingdom; Happy's fur also turns red for a portion of the film as a side effect of eating one of the local fruit, which persists until he finally breathes fire.[27][28][29]

Happy is also a character in all nine Fairy Tail original video animations (OVAs). In the first OVA, he gives a tour of the guild's all-female dormitory to Wendy Marvell and Carla;[30] in the second, he is depicted as an academy professor;[31] in the third, he is sent six years into the past by a magic book;[32] in the fourth, Happy goes to a camp to support his friends' training for the Grand Magic Games;[33] in the fifth, he spends time at a water park;[34] the sixth is a crossover OVA of Fairy Tail and Hiro Mashima's Rave Master series, where Happy meets Rave Master protagonists Haru Glory and Elie;[35] in the seventh, Happy participates in a penalty game;[36] in the eighth, he tries to cheer Mavis Vermillion up by finding one of her missing belongings;[37] and in the ninth, Happy attends a Christmas party held at Lucy's house.[38] He also appears in every light novel based on the series, including one set in the Edo period,[39] as well as one which is inspired by the Alice in Wonderland novel.[40]

Happy makes a minor appearance in the Fairy Tail spin-off manga Blue Mistral, which focuses on the characters Wendy and Carla in their early membership of the guild.[41] He also features as the main protagonist of the manga Fairy Tail: Happy Adventure, written and illustrated by Kenshirō Sakamoto.[42]

Happy is a playable character in several Fairy Tail video games, such as the 2010 PlayStation Portable action video game Fairy Tail: Portable Guild developed by Konami, and its two sequels: Fairy Tail: Portable Guild 2, released in 2011, and Fairy Tail: Zeref Awakens, released in 2012.[43][44][45]

Reception[edit]

Happy has received positive comments from critics reviewing the Fairy Tail manga and its related media. Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network (ANN) described Happy as "a misbegotten offspring of an alley cat and a bobblehead" in his review of the first manga volume,[46] and called him "an excellent stooge" in the second volume.[47] Dale North of Japanator praised the character's humor, commenting, "Happy's background gags will have you giggling chapter after chapter."[48] For the anime adaptation, Carlos Santos of ANN called Happy "an entertaining diversion", praising his role as an animal sidekick that is "fun to listen to and not just a necessary annoyance".[49] The reviewer found the story of Happy's birth in the anime to be "entertaininig", but commented that it "could have been inserted anywhere in the series".[50] Kimlinger praised Happy's role alongside Carla in the Edolas story arc, in which their status as Natsu and Wendy Marvell's respective sidekicks is deconstructed, with the reviewer calling them "the arc's emotional lynchpin".[51] While Kimlinger wrote that while Happy's partnership with Natsu and Lucy was bizarre, he felt that their "oddball teamwork" represented the core part of the series' ensemble.[52] Rebecca Silverman of ANN praised Happy's moments of heroism and being underestimated by the series' villains, saying, "For a character who usually plays the comic relief, this is a good change and a nice way to make him more relevant as a character than just being Natsu's transportation."[53] In a review of the film Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, Robert Prentice of Three If by Space considered the portion where Happy's fur turns red to be a "funny little side note".[54]

Popularity and merchandise[edit]

In a Fairy Tail popularity poll published in the 26th issue of Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Happy ranked fourth with a total of 4238 votes.[55] Merchandise based on Happy has been released, including a pin and café memo set.[56]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 翼, エーラ Ēra, Japanese text translates to "Wings"
  2. ^ エクシド星 Ekushido-hoshi
  3. ^ ハッピーブラスター Happī Burasutā
  4. ^ 流星の灯 Ryūsei no Tomoshibi

References[edit]

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