*Update: Check out my review of Happy Cafe just posted over on Mangavillage
After my initial reading of Happy Cafe I felt something that I hope isn't taboo to say, but I will anyway, similar to my experience with reading Fruits Basket. Whenever I'm feeling down and out I escape to a world filled with members of the Chinese Zodiac and a kind-hearted, yet sometimes clumsy, Miss Tohru Honda. When I first encountered Fruits Basket I was working 2-3 part time jobs and going to school full time. I always felt drained of all energy and any ambition to keep going but when I did have a moment to myself I would curl up and escape for a bit.
Now that I'm slowly burning myself out, yet again, but this time it's for my last (hopefully) semester of grad school. Working full time and doing an internship, on top of an independent study, is quite a blast that requires much energy that I don't have anymore. With support positions being cut and/or people's positions not being filled when they leave I was worried about my own job last semester. Since I work full-time on my campus, along with school and interning, my workplace holds a lot of ground for me. Thinking that my position is not important transcended into negative thoughts about myself. Then one day I decided to snap out of my funk and shift my focus into being as helpful as possible to all the patrons that I deal with whether they be students, staff, or faculty (which are known on campus for treating staff horribly.) Being able to help others is my way of finding happiness at my current job. So when I sat down to read Happy Cafe I didn't move much til I finished reading it in it's entirety. Often I may sit and read a chapter of a manga while taking a break but I haven't been able to escape like I did in so long that I almost forgot what it was like to get swept away in a story.
So I think this is why Happy Cafe is something I may have enjoyed more than most new series I've picked up so far and think that anyone still searching for their own happiness will enjoy as well.