Honey and Clover

I’m a sucker for happy endings. From the novels and mangas I read to the movies and series I watch, I want them to have a good ending. I’m not always after stories in which the hero and heroine would end up together but I want the story to have a happy ending.

Of course who would have wanted a story to end tragically, right? I don’t want to be depressed thinking that the story should have ended like this or that way. That’s why I never liked Nicholas Spark’s Novels though I’ve watched the movies. I watched Honey and Clover last weekend and the story broke my heart. It was really good and was very heart-warming, but the ending was not enough—for me.

Type Her Honey and Clover Season 1 and 2

Animax, 24 & 12 Episodes
Season 1 Original Run 4/14/05 – 9/26/05
Season 2 Original Run 5/25/08 – 06/31/08
Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Josei

Watched in July 2011

It started with Takemoto Yuuta, Mayama Takumi, and Morita Shinobu who are college students who share a small apartment. Even though they live in poverty, the three of them are able to obtain pleasure through small things in life. The story follows these characters life stories as poor college students, as well as their love lives when a short but talented 18-year-old girl called Hanamoto Hagumi appears.The second season of the series again delves into the life stories and love lives of Takemoto Yuuta, Mayama Takumi and Morita Shinobu. The story continues where the first season left off, after Takemotos self-discovery journey around Japan. Of course, the love triangles and tribulations they face will continue, and eventually decide the paths to their future.

Directors: Ken’ichi Kasai (Season 1) & Tatsuyuki Nagai (Season 2)
Mangaka: Yōsuke Kuroda

Studio: J.C.Staff
Licensed: Madman Entertainment, Viz Media


Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers.

The series was about friendship, love, letting go, moving on, college life, dreams and finding yourself. The story revolves around the friendship of five different art students and their sensei (teacher).

Just to give an overview, Takemoto and Morita fell in love with Hagumi. Mayama is in love with Rika, his employer from his part-time job but the girl was still mourning for the loss of her husband. Mayama also has a friend, Yamada who’s madly in love with him since college. There’s also Nomiya who fell in love with Yamada but the girl can’t let go of Mayama.

Later in the series, Hagumi fell in love with Morita but they didn’t end up together. It was also revealed that the sensei who took care of Hagumi since she was a kid was also in love with her. Complicated is an understatement to describe their crazy love affairs but I tell you, that is one the things you’ll look forward to in this anime.

The plot of the story was very realistic. I like the different topics delved in the series. One of the things I liked and disliked at the same time was Mayama’s unrequited love to Rika, Yamada to Mayama and Nomiya to Yamada. Sometimes it’s very irritating because Yamada can’t let go of her feelings for Mayama. There were times I wished that Mayama would just fall in love with Yamada to ease her suffering. I even thought that maybe he’ll eventually like her. But then he did not, at the end of the series Rika opened her heart to Mayama and Yamada was left alone trying to mend her broken heart. She’s lucky there’s Nomiya who was willing to help her move on and was willing to wait for her to open up her heart to a new love.

The ending of this “Love Square” (I can’t call it love triangle, can I?) was quite okay since Yamada decided to move on and started opening her heart for Nomiya and Mayama was already happy with Rika. Because of this, I was stuck listening and singing the song “Why Can’t It Be the Two Us” for about a week.

The other “Love Square” was between Hagumi, Takemoto, Morito and their Sensei. Takemoto fell in love with Hagumi at first sight; same as well with Morito but the two had different relationships with Hagumi. Takemoto became her best buddy while Morita is an irritating jerk to Hagumi. Maybe that is to get her attention and it eventually paid off since Hagumi fell in love with him at the end.

The love story of this group was not as complicated as the other four. It may look simple but the circumstances they came into made their story more compelling. These characters were in between life decisions. They have to go through introspection to find what they really want and who they really are. They are more driven by their ambition and not just love per se. So their choices were sensible and a bit sad for they have to give up something precious in order to move on.

Though Morita and Hagumi were in love with each other they have to let go and choose different paths. Hagumi chose her love for drawing and ended up with Sensei who gave up everything just to be with her. Morita has to let go because he has to look over his elder brother and there were issues within himself that he has yet to resolve. The fact that Morita can’t do what sensei did prove that the latter might be better for Hagumi. So he ended up continuing to work for an international film maker. Hagumi made a promise that she’ll always watch over Morita no matter where he’ll be.

On the other hand, Takemoto decided to leave Tokyo and pursue his dream of becoming a “Temple Restorer”. He accepted that he and Hagumi would just be friends. What really made me cry in these series was when Hagumi gave him a sandwich with four clovers in it which represents her wish for Takemoto to succeed in life and find happiness. The series ended with Takemoto saying that he’ll never regret falling in love with Hagumi. Their love story made me listen to “I Love You, Goodbye” for twenty times continuous. (That’s not a joke. I had LSS for couple of days!)

This story made me depressed and made me think of what I really want in life. I never thought I’d like stories like this but amazingly I did.

I’ll give the story 5 Kiss Marks

Fantabulous: I can’t stop talking about it!

Other Reviews:
Kidd’s Anime Blog
Lady Geek Girl and Friends
The Null Set


4 thoughts on “Honey and Clover

  1. avielabley says:

    I agree with you. Actually, Honey and Clover series is my favorite Jdorama. I prefer the live action of this anime because of ikuta toma. nah… just kidding….not only because of him but also with its unique and realistic storylines. It was amazing. I always wonder how the writer came up with an idea of this complicated love stories or love squares as you have mentions. I love it. It inspired me. All my usernames are 4leafclover because of this series. waaah! very well said. bravo.!

    you’re a good writer.
    so I’m your subscriber now. hahaha!:)

    • Shana says:

      Thank you! I don’t know if I’ll watch the live action but I’ll definitely consider it.

      I know this already has a Korean Taiwanese version, it was actually included in my to watch list but when I saw the official drama poster, I changed my mind! Haha. I didn’t like the girl whose playing Hagumi’s role.

      • avielabley says:

        You are welcome! 🙂

        uhmm.. There is a Japanese Series and Taiwanese Series version of H&C but no Korean Version. I recommend the Japanese version. (acting and musicality wise..thumbs up ♥) I think you’ve seen the Taiwanese one. I also don’t like the Japanese Movie. I don’t know why they’ve made one even if there’s already a Japanese drama for it … It became worse >..<

        anyway..I'm looking forward to your upcoming review blogs..keep it up! ^.^

      • Shana says:

        Ugh Yeah. Now, I remember. Joe Cheng was from Taiwan. Haha. You’re right. I saw the Taiwanese version. I guess this happens when you watch too many asian dramas. I kindda mix them up. 🙂

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