How do you learn to move on? It’s a question that’s pretty difficult to answer right off the top of your head, but it’s one that Please Be Happy places a lot of focus on. Moving on and finding your own path are at the core of this visual novel that follows Miho, a fox hybrid woman carrying the memory of a warm human traveler everywhere she goes. Her search for the traveler eventually leads her to Wellington, New Zealand. Upon arrival, she finds herself chased by airport security, searches the city, and plans to return at night to put her thieving skills to use.
However, she must scrap her plans and focus on finding a new way to survive, and soon Miho meets two women: vampire library owner Juliet and human writer Aspen. As her relationship with them grows, she begins to learn more about herself and human life, and that maybe she can finally forget her loneliness.
Please Be Happy is mostly your standard click-and-point visual novel. There are a few “mini games” of sorts that allow you to control Miho for a (very) brief amount of time to complete side character arcs, but these are few and far between, and because they have such strict time constraints, it’s impossible to do them all in one run. But don’t fret! Each of these side quests are interesting – I especially enjoyed Tommy’s little tale – and you’re given plenty of save slots. Just save before you decide, and your next run and you’re ready to start right where you left off.
This helps a lot with achieving the multiple endings available, too. Please Be Happy is pretty lengthy, boasting over 220,000 words and a runtime of about fifteen hours per play through. There are four endings to get, influenced by what side quests you complete (among other things.) Using the save slots is a huge time saver for replays, and the game also provides a “fast travel” option to get you to the point you last quick saved at. Of course, you can always complete a whole play through each time, as well!
The important question is: is the story worth that fifteen hours? In this case, I would say yes, if you enjoy a good slice of life plot with a bit of romance. Please Be Happy isn’t very conflict driven; it’s more about a girl who is trying to find her way in a world she feels never wanted her. It’s about Miho’s journey to understanding human life and finding a home with her friends (and her partner, if you choose a romantic route with either of the two options).
While some may be put off by the overwhelming sweetness of it, the lack of conflict is never really an issue. You can definitely tell that Miho has her fair share of internal struggle, and it’s nice to see her find closure as she adjusts to life among other people, finds new things she enjoys, and becomes her own person (or fox, I suppose).
That’s the payoff for the lengthy runtime; you’re getting to see friendships and romances between Miho and the other characters actually grow instead of seeing them be instantaneous to move the story along. Both love interests – Aspen and Juliet – are pretty well-rounded characters, and each of their routes include good and “bad” endings, though the bad endings are really anything but.
Aiding this is a really excellent soundtrack by Sarah “Esselfortium” Mancuso that helps get you into the mood of the bustling city setting, listing the name of each track as it appears. I quite liked that feature; when a song I enjoyed came up, I was glad I was able to see the title and keep it in mind for later. It’s a very chill and pretty soundtrack, and it matches Please Be Happy perfectly.
Please Be Happy isn’t quite groundbreaking, but it’s definitely not uninteresting. It takes into account its long runtime by adding plenty of ways to speed run later playthroughs, provides a modest but refreshingly achievable four endings, and puts a nice bow on each of its main and side stories. With beautiful graphics, a great soundtrack, and a lengthy but well paced and well executed story, it’s a perfect choice for fans of the slice of life genre looking for something that’s a little more than a passing fancy.