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Anime Feature: Honey and Clover July 3, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Features.
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Honey and Clover is, without a doubt, a modern classic in anime and manga. I’ve seen nothing but praise for this great series, and both the anime and manga are in my top 5 all time personal favourites. I like the manga so much, I read the thing through no less than 20 times within the first week of buying it. So yes, that means I’m extremely biased towards this series and you’ll read nothing but praise in the following 1000 words.

So what makes it so great? Let’s try to break down the elements that makes Honey and Clover what it is.

First Impression
The OP is great. And by that I mean YUKI needs to get those dicks (plural) out of her ass and sing like a normal person.

Regardless of what I think of the song itself, the OP really grabs your attention. The claymation food made for a pleasant surprise that stands out amongst thousands of unoriginal anime OP, but the shock value isn’t the only thing that makes it stand out. Despite its utter bizarreness, the OP does a really good job of setting the tone for the series. Everytime I see the cutlet hand write “help” in tomato sauce I get a shiver down my spine.

The art style also jumps out at you. Instead of the common cel-shading style used by most animation studios, J.C. Staff opted for a water-colour like representation. It remains highly authentic to its source material. How many times have you screamed in anguish at the butchering of your favourite manga by its anime adapatation? *cough* GONZO/Sunrise *cough* Not here. Not only does the anime stay true in terms of the story, but the style and the feeling of the drawing also translated surprisingly well to the animated medium. The resulting effect is a dreamy one that serves as the hook into an equally dream-like story.

The Story and Characters
Takemoto Yuuta, Morita Shinobu and Mayama Takumi are poor students attending an arts college in the middle of Tokyo, and one day they are introduced by their teacher to his niece, the very lolilicious Hanamoto Hagumi. Both Morita and Takemoto falls in love at first sight with Hagu.

Studying pottery at the same college is Yamada Ayumi, who not-so-secretly has a one-sided crush on Mayama. Mayama, however, is completely infatuated with the beautiful but broken Harada Rika, who had become unwilling to love anyone. Things are further complicated when the almost perfect senior at Mayama’s workplace, Nomiya Takumi, falls in love with Yamada.

Sounds like common shoujo fair? It isn’t. Whereas most shoujo moves along at a glacial pace, Honey and Clover skips along pleasantly. Four years fly by, and you feel like the characters have really grown and developed over that time. Also unlike most shoujo anime, the story doesn’t rely on exceptional circumstances to force a story (e.g. Good Morning Call, Minto no Bokura), and the characters do not fit neatly into archetypes. Instead each character have distinct personalities and a lot of depth. The characters feel real, they feel alive, and most importantly, you feel like you can sympathise with them.

Takemoto is the ‘plain and really kind, but suffers from confidence issues’ one, but that is only relative to his outstanding peers. The final arc of the first season sees him go on a soul search, overcoming the insecurities that faces all graduates, and really coming into his own as a person. Mayama is the most mature one in the group, yet he can still act very childish. Despite his generally down-to-earth and pragmatic attitude, he has some very romantic and fairy-tale like ideals in his mind. Yamada is known as the “Tetsujin” (Iron man) amongst her fellow students, but her outward strength contrasts strongly with her inner weakness. While she is usually cheerful, she can become bleak and filled with self-pity when it comes to her one-sided love.

Morita and Hagu stand out from the other three because of their uniqueness. Both are geniuses, but while Morita is full of confidence and cares little for what others think of him, Hagu easily folds under pressure and often have problems socialising. Despite Morita’s confidence, he has a lot of trouble expressing what he really feels, especially when it comes to his feeling towards Hagu. Even though he acts without consideration for others more often than not, there are moments, such as the dinner after he finally returns from his Academy Award winning trip, when you can really feel that he treasures and values and cares for his friends.

The way they interact is wonderful too. There exists a strange hierarchy of needs and dependence between the characters, and the humour that results from their incessant bantering can make you howl with laughter.

ORLY?
YARLY. When the whole thing fits together, it ticks along like a master crafted pocket watch. The humour is really outstanding, especially Morita, who never fails to make me laugh. Honey and Clover usually doesn’t rely on visual gags, but feels more like an American sitcoms, though of course, this being an anime, it relies a lot on exaggeration. One examplary scene has Morita and Takemoto playing a game of Twister, which is hand-made by Morita as a birthday present. Two words: “Mineral Violet”.

To wrap things up, let’s talk a little about the EDs. At least for the first half of the season, the ED is brilliant. Waltz fits the series like a glove, both in terms of the lyrics and its general feel. It is easily my favourite ED because of both its own greatness and how well it compliments the show. The second ED, Mistake, doesn’t quite fit the series as well, especially as the focus shifts to Takemoto and his soul searching journey.

If you call yourself an anime fan, and you like slice of life comedies, but you haven’t seen Honey and Clover, shame on you. There is simply no excuse for missing out on such a great series. With the second season right here, right now, it’s a good time to catch up on this fantastic series in preparation for the second season.

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Comments»

1. lolikitsune - July 3, 2006

I’ve gotta watch less good anime and more crap. No H&C for me!

Time to marathon… hmm, the Bleach episode I missed!

2. animeotaku - July 14, 2006

You have got to kill yourself if you don’t want H&C. A very delicious entry I just chowed down on … must … link … soon …

3. THE MORIAT LOVER - July 20, 2006

HC is da best…
my favorite is morita , and i hate him being represented as an guy who cannot express his emotions.

They make Takemoto the star……i want it to be morita,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

4. guardianoftheshards - January 9, 2007

nomiya and yamada i love that couple!!!

5. The Wacko - April 5, 2007

I love this anime! I love the characters, I love the storyline, I love the atmosphere in the anime and most of all, I love…umm…everything in the anime? YES! Everything!

6. sally - April 5, 2007

i love anime espesaly this one love is. i wish i can draw like that!!!!!!!

7. hoshi_star - December 28, 2007

honey clover is greatgreatgreat!!XD but the ending was somewhat disappointing though..the author could have developed the story further..=(

and i really like the relationship between morita and ayu. there are really scenes where u can see the often not considerate morita being super nice and caring towards ayu! i once tried searching for h&c pictures, and 3 pics came to me and i was pretty stunned. one pic is the pic above. morita is in love with hagu isnt it? why is he holding hands with ayu instead? there was another pics with balloons, and he was holding hands with ayu too. in both pics, he wasnt even beside hagu. in the 3rd pic, his hand were on ayu’s head, and no interection with hagu too.

well..that 3 pics are the only pics i could find with all 5 of them in it. so its somewhat confusing to me. is the author trying to hint something or what?

8. Lupus - December 29, 2007

Dear Hoshi Star:

Ayu and Morita’s relationship is like family. I don’t think there’s anything romantic between the two of them at all. They’re just really, REALLY good friends ^_^

9. HOnEy&CloVeR*rOcKS!!!!!!! - January 15, 2008

omg i love this anime to death!!!!!!!!! its so true about life, and it really just makes you think about who you are. Ever since ive watched the episodes, ive been thinking more of my life and changing it to enjoy the little things in life. It can make your laugh, cry, happy, depressed, and make you realize the importance of every moment that goes by.
ive read some of the manga, but i think watching the videos are more emotional, in a good way! But either way, it is a definite MUST to watch/read. And it can definitely bring out a side you might have not known about yourself/others. Enjoy!!!!


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