Finally, I have time to write a complete review for my favorite anime; Honey and Clover. I wanted to write about this serial since years ago, but I just couldn’t find time to write earnestly because I don’t want to write a shallow review for this amazing series. Luckily, I have some spare time and just re-watched it yesterday and I still love this anime like I used to be several years ago.
Honey and Clover is a story about friendship and love among five art college students in Tokyo, the story itself is very refreshing and inspirational. Somehow you can relate to each character’s problem and worries, it’s simply one of the best anime of the decade. Honey & Clover is very funny as well, I literary rolled over my chair constantly when I watched it. The only annoying thing is the unrequited love among characters and how they are unable to move on, somehow it’s a bit unreal or maybe I’m just a type who is easy to move on.
Other than its comedic situation, the strongest element of Honey and Clover is the friendship between the characters. College is the time for self-discovery and if you are lucky you will build a friendship that last for life-time. Self-discovery is an inevitable process when we are young, I honestly have been through it back in college. I remember I was very confused and insecure about everything, I was lost about my purpose and destination in life. Fortunately, I’m pretty much sure about my path in life now.
I think I was similar to Takemoto, the main character of this Anime. He is a good person and a hard-worker, but he lacks of real talent in arts unlike Hagu and Morita who are superbly talented. Takemoto somehow is a representation of ordinary people in our society, someone who works hard without real purpose. The self-discovery journey that he went through in the end of season one was a great attempt to truly understand himself and eventually encouraged him to confess his love for Hagu.
I understand why Takemoto loves Hagu, this girl is very talented yet very naive, which entice everyone to protect and cherish her. But of course, Hagu is too talented for Takemoto and only consider him as a good friend. She is in love with Morita, someone who is equally talented as her, he is also a bad boy and we all know girls tend to prefer bad boys. They have a weird relationship though, kinda like a rival to each other, but it is clear that Morita reciprocated her feelings. It’s just natural for two talented people to be attracted to each other no?
One thing that I really admire about Hagu is her strong passion in arts. When her hands got injured, she stated that if she is no longer able to draw, she may also return to her creator (means she prefer death). Her life is truly driven by her passion, she even ditched her love for Morita because of this sole reason. Despite her small and fragile appearance, I think she’s truly a strong person as Morita mentioned. Women are ruled by their emotions, that’s why most of the time love will be the main priority, but Hagu is different. She knew exactly what she want to do for the rest of her life and nothing is going to stop her.
In the end Hagu choose to be with Hanamoto-sensei, his father’s cousin. Which is something that is very surprising for me, because I thought Hanamoto is just like a father-figure for Hagu or maybe he is for her? However, Hanamoto confessed that he is indeed in love with her, a bit creepy for sure but I’m still not certain that he is in love with her romantically, perhaps it’s just a platonic love? I really hope so, although his so called ‘love’ is pretty damn serious judging by his big gestures for her by leaving everything to be by her side forever. Hagu also consider her Shuu-chan (her nickname for him) as her rain, because she loves rain so much and feel at ease just by looking at his face. They know each other for a long time, so yeah I guess they have a really strong bond and they need each other to survive.
Despite the slight incest-pedophile situation, I think Hagu made a wise decision by choosing Hanamoto to help her in the rehabilitation process, I mean among the three guys (yeah she’s apparently very popular despite her childish figure LOL) Hanamoto is the most dependable and secure choice. And with her timid personality and injuries, she needs this type of man the most. As Mayama said, Hagu is motivated by her desire to accomplish something, love is not the purpose of her life, that’s why she choose Hanamoto-sensei over Morita. She is certain that Hanamoto can help her to accomplish her purpose of life. Hanamoto also kinda remind me of Takemoto, a good guy but not superbly talented, however he has his own capabilities. I think both guys perceive Hagu in the same way too, someone they aspire to be and admire her talent the most.
Other than Hagu and probably Morita, I think other characters in this Anime are driven by love to the extent when love can justified just everything else in their life. Mayama and Yamada are those characters whom I think too extreme regarding unrequited love. I honestly think Yamada is too pathetic, I mean why she can’t get over Mayama? She knows she can, but she doesn’t want to. And I simply hate it when people say they can’t when they just don’t want to. Yamada is a pathetic character, a hopeless-romantic in extreme version. Moreover, Mayama being nice to her all the time doesn’t help at all. Although I can’t fully blame him because he really consider her as his precious friend. Unrequited love is just too complicated and very frustrating!
Luckily, Mayama’s boss, Nomiya takes notice of her and tries to win her heart by keep supporting her. In the end I think Yamada is able to move on with Nomiya, thank God! Her unrequited love is not even bittersweet anymore, it’s just severely bitter and heart-wrenching. And seriously that guy is better than Mayama, yeah Nomiya is similar to him in someway, but he is the superior version of that stalker-Mayama! He drives back and forth for 18 hours merely to see and comfort her! How on earth that any normal girl can reject this guy?? When a cool and handsome guy loves you this much, you just can’t say no. Yamada deserves to be happy and be with someone who can cherish her.
About Mayama, I didn’t really pay attention to his character because he is too annoying. He is way too obsessive to his former boss, Rika-san and I hate it when he takes advantage of her disabilities (her feet are weak because of a tragic accident, where she lost her husband as well). I simply don’t like this guy, though I found his similarity with Nomiya is amusing, both guys are really determined when it comes to love. Mayama to Rika who is unable to forget her late husband and Nomiya to Ayumi who is still hoping for her unrequited love. Although Mayama is too much of stalker for Rika-san, but his obsessive way does work to keep her safe. Rika-san is suicidal and very fragile, she need someone who is persistent enough like Mayama to keep her from any suicidal attempts.
And lastly, there is Morita who is pretty much a wacky character at first but turns out that he has his own problem as well. He often disappear to nowhere and return with lots of money in his pocket, later on we know that he and his brother; Kaoru are making a revenge plan to snatch their father’s company back. There is much more of this story, Kaoru as the older brother is jealous of Morita’s talent and their father often favored his younger brother than him. Morita is aware of this and he is reluctant to help his brother in the revenge plan, however he loves his brother very much and decided to just get along with it.
I kinda understand the feeling of having superior sibling, but Kaoru is undermining himself too much. He is a smart person indeed because he managed to execute his revenge plan after decades. Kaoru is simply too focused on Morita’s talent than his own abilities, or maybe his father favoritism in the past just left a deep scar in his heart, make him unable to move on and only see flaws within himself. I guess sometimes the one who you love is the one who hurt you the most.
I feel bad for Morita though, being hated because of his talent is clearly a huge burden for him. In the final episode of season 2, it’s clear that he was worn-out and wanted to throw everything away. Luckily, Hagu was able to encourage him to do otherwise. Morita is a complicated character, he is wacky and lonely for sure, but he being wacky is how I like him the best, he can be super funny and unpredictable! I also like his platonic relationship with Yamada, their friendship is mutual and sweet.
And whether a person is talented or not, I guess it doesn’t matter because I believe everyone has his own capabilities, Takemoto, Hanamoto and Kaoru may not be very talented in arts or inventing stuff, but they have their own capabilities which can be used to support people around them. Hence, envying someone because of his natural talent is futile, instead we should focus on things that we good at. I don’t really have natural talent in anything either, but I study hard and practice constantly to be good at things. Remember, Thomas Alva Edison once said “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration!”
Through Honey and Clover I learn that love comes in any kind of form, not just in romantic way. You do can love your friends without any romantic feelings involved and cherish them. The five main characters in this Anime are very protective and supportive to each other in their own way, in the end none of them get romantically involved as they move forward to different directions, but their precious memories of spending time together will remain forever in their heart.
Is there any meaning to failed love? According to Takemoto there is and he is glad that he fell in love with Hagu, there is no regret at all and it remains as bittersweet memory. I guess real life is just like that, like a Ferris Wheel (which often appears in this Anime, more like a symbol of the characters life) life is keep revolving no matter what. We should never look back and follow the light to do our best in life. If you haven’t watched Honey and Clover, go watch it and enjoy the ride, you will not regret it and you will definitely feel inspired.
PS: Let’s pray for Japan, may the country recover very soon and everyone will stay strong despite the numerous disasters.
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