I first heard about Honey and Clover from Animax, I wasn’t really intruigued by it until I found myself watching its first episodes on Youtube. I’m currently watching Honey and Clover right now and it’s actually got me hooked–I wasn’t expecting it to be that good.
Hachimitsu to Clover (translated as Honey and Clover) centers around college life for a group of friends. It was advertised to be a love story yet the journey was a sentimental and realistic place where the characters become something more than mere animation.
I actually found it both complex and poetic, and I fell in love with it when I saw the line from one of the songs used in its soundtrack:
“Send the lost promises to the stars, my memories won’t fade away.”
And in episode 9, another line I found memorable was one said during the narration:
“The October breeze was cold and the rays of the low afternoon sun were bright white. The world, as if stopped, was stained with a silver hue.”
The anime is ridden with background music, soundtracks and oddly enough, it works, because the mood for it was perfect since most characters seem to fumble around with words. I was a little confused in the beginning since the anime basically seemed to drop me in the middle of Takemoto’s life and perspective and I found myself asking, “Where did the title, Honey & Clover come from?” And Animax did say it was a love story so I was kind of expecting swoon worthy moments and mushy dialogue and the tingly cliche plot where girl meets boy, *blush blush*, falls in love, friend gets in the way, confession, happy love, the end.
But Honey & Clover is very different from all romance anime–there are so many things left unsaid and it feels somewhat restrained that the viewer is all but bouncing off the walls to even just see one lousy romantic scene… but it’s not there. There are “moments” beautiful and painful but it’s so contained it leaves you wanting more, though it also leaves you oddly satisfied because of the beautiful dialogue and the gut-wrenching songs. Episode 8-10 were some of my favorites and the lines go straight to your gut,
“The sunset I see as I stand next to you is so beautiful that it aches my heart.”
And that line was never said, as Takemoto Yuuta simply gazes at Hanamoto Hagumi who is tenderly touching a brooch given by Morita Shinobu.
The characters in this anime are all so human, riddled with flaws, unaware of feelings, and searching for things they don’t even understand. All of them are art students trying to come to terms with new feelings and what is is to grow up and fall in love. And what’s so good and enchanting about the anime is that they focus on what’s not being said and the visuals seem to get more stunning as time goes by.
Honey and Clover won the 2003 Kodansha Manga Award and I’m not surprised because it’s really that good. The dialogue/narration and the songs are simply wonderful and the characters are completely believable. It’s far from a perfect love story or a giggly anime romance, there is unrequited love looming in every nook and cranny of the story. From Mayama’s futile love for the badly hurt and scarred Rika to Takemoto’s unspoken feelings for the artistic genius Hagu-chan who treats him like a friend, this anime is sure to not just gently tug but wrench your heart strings. There are 26 episodes and I heard that season 2 has 12–I will have to confirm on that later on since I’m just making my way through the anime.
Episode synopsis with character focus coming soon!
Honey & Clover is highly recommended for all poets, lovers, friends and dreamers out there! So excuse me while I watch the rest of it– ja ne!