A bit deeper than just butler-based eye candy.
Writer/Artist: Makoto Tateno
Translation: Ken Wakita
Adaptation: Ken Wakita
What They Say
Welcome home, mademoiselle!" At the butler cafe, Lady Braganza, the five apprentice butlers known as the Happy Boys have been waiting for you! It's their mission to bring happiness to the ladies who visit the cafe and to become the perfect butler.
The front cover of this book is a nice, simple image of the five main characters in the series, and there’s nothing I can really complain about, except perhaps the overabundance of brown due to everyone wearing the same color suit, not to mention the hair blending as well on a few of them. It works, but it’s not exceptional. The back doesn’t fair quite as well, holding a large amount of text between all the logos and the plot synopsis. A rather simplified image of two of the other significant characters in the book is provided, with one of them apparently shouting the words “You are happy boys!” which I find oddly amusing. The paper quality is decent, but no extras outside of a quick word from the author are included.
The artwork in the book is nice, with a good amount of detail for each character. The backgrounds are nice and show up often. The text reads smoothly, honorifics are kept intact, sound effects are kept in their original form and subtitled, and notes are provided when necessary.
Lady Braganza isn’t the type of café most people are well acquainted with. It is a butler café, in which the servers are dressed and act as butlers, and the patrons are treated as masters and madams. “Shiva” (whose real name is Kyoichi Segawa) is one of the new butlers (or footmen, according to the ranking system in place) at the café, along with Renjo (Junta Akasaja) and Ivory (Kosuke Kitamura). To start things off, we are shown an interesting story in which the café staff deals with not only a small child who decides to visit, but also her overworked, overprotective father in a way that is both humorous and skillful.
While the first story introduces the characters, their personalities really begin to show when they are removed from the café setting and their butler mannerisms. We soon learn that our three main butlers are forced to live together in an apartment meant for two people. Renjo is abrasive and loud, Ivory is studious and wishes simply to live in piece on his own, and Shiva just tries to keep the piece and stay out of the way best as he can. Inevitably, Ivory decides to try for a higher position as a “first footman” and the other two are dragged into the test for promotion. During his studies, Ivory becomes sick, but pulls through with the help of his roommates. Although none of them pass the test, Ivory certainly learns a lesson about how to treat those around him.
The rest of the book is rounded out with a story in which Shiva almost gets fired for meeting with a female customer outside of work, and a tale that rounds out Silk and Eve, the two first footmen.
Happy Boys may be a little generic overall, with the characters fitting rather comfortably in their archetypes. Where it shines is the execution of the dual-nature of the characters. It’s really quite fun watching the characters switch between “butler-mode” and their everyday selves, and seeing their little subtleties seep into their work. Hopefully in the next volume we’ll see the characters gain a little more depth, as there’s certainly potential here.