“A Hop In Your Step” – Happy Happy Clover (Manga) – 10/10 Pumpkin Pies

We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves. ~May Lamberton Becker

Mangaka: Sayuri Tatsuyama

Genre: Comedy/Fantasy/Kids/Shoujo

Review Status: Complete (5 Volumes/5 Volumes)

Licensed: Yes, this manga is licensed in the US

There are no complaints from this quarter. The characters are all unique and easily recognizeable, while the panels are easy to follow. There might be average detail on the backgrounds and artwork, but that makes this easy for kids to follow and read.

Summary: Clover the bunny and her fluffy friends are always making mischief in Crescent Forest! Clover makes a new best friend, uncovers the secret of a haunted spring, gets chased by a hungry farmer, and fights a big bad fox! Go, Clover, Go! (back of 1st volume)

Review: If the American show Arthur had a Japanese equivalent, it would be this. It chronicles the adventures (and misadventures) of Clover and her friends as they learn about responsibility, reflect on friendship, and grow up in Crescent Forest.
The problem most children’s … anything… have is that there’s a tendency to be saccharine. This manages to be sweet, but not overpoweringly so.

There are a lot of lighthearted, fun moments, but there is a temperance with more serious themes and stories. Usually there’s no real danger or harm for the animals of the forest, but Rambler, a recurring character, shares that he lost his entire forest and everyone in it. He shares with Clover some of the hardship he goes through as he travels, and deals with survivor’s guilt. Since this is a children’s manga, it isn’t touched on too deeply but is dealt with in a gentle and sensitive way.

This is mainly a story about Clover and her friends, though. Clover’s dream is to join Rambler in his travels, and her growth and change is the lynchpin of many of the stories or is related to others. She and her classmates deal with bad grades, getting lost, forest fires, rumors of curses (usually the misinterpretation of natural phenomena), and more. It’s fun to watch them grow from rambunctious, irresponsible kids to… slightly less rambunctious, but more responsible teens/adults.

They mature emotionally as well as physically, finding love with each other. Some of the additions seem a little last-minute, but I can’t complain too much because of how well it’s all put together.

Overall, this is a wonderful children’s manga that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Recommended: Any. If your child is old enough to read Peter Rabbit or Briar Rabbit, then they can deal with the idea that humans occasionally kill or eat rabbits that’s brought up once. There is also the implication that everyone in Rambler’s forest was killed. Rambler is treated as though he’s cursed by one town, but it’s not done cruelly- they get him food but tell him to move on. Once or twice Clover’s life is ‘endangered’ (but since it’s a children’s manga, there is no actual danger and she’s quite safe). Some Looney-Tunes and other mild cartoon acts of violence occur. The kid’s own actions occasionally get them sick or mildly injured, serving as lessons.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Erin (anime)
Happy Happy Clover (anime)


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