Honey and Clover
Takemoto Yuuta, Mayama Takumi, and Morita Shinobu (who are usually referred to by their family names throughout the series) are friends who go to an art school. They are also dirt-poor. One day, their teacher, Hanamoto Shuu, introduces them to his cousin's daughter, Hanamoto Hagumi, a very short girl who is an incredibly talented artist. Yuuta and Shinobu quickly fell in love with her.
Meanwhile, Takumi falls in love with Harada Rika, an architecture designer who lost her husband in a car accident that ended up scarring her body as well. However, Yamada Ayumi, a classmate of Takumi known as the "Iron Lady" and the daughter of a liquor shop owner, is also in love with Takumi.
Who will they choose?
From the moment I saw the first OP sequence, with clay renditions of food arranged in ... creative ways, I knew that this was going to be a very unique show.
And indeed, it was. And it also proved not to be doinky.
The characters in Honey and Clover are a very important part of the series and all of them develop well and become great characters. Even Hagumi, who is practically perfect in every way in the beginning, grows to have some flaws. Shinobu is the funniest character, who supplies a good portion of the humor in this series. While Yuuta is sort of angsty, he is never overbearingly annoying, and Takumi and his relationships with Rika and Ayumi are also engaging.
The plot also flows well and has a good mixture of comedy and drama. The humor in this series is also very good and it's a lot better than your usual "protagonist accidentally laid his head in the female lead's big boobs OHEMGEE!!!!" humor. It has a lot of parodies (especially in the Twister™ game scene, a scene that will probably never be forgotten by viewers of this series), but they are subtle and not in your face, which I like. The dramatic and introspective moments are even better, giving a good perspective on all of the characters and their stories.
As for the music, except for the OP song by YUKI (who should be renamed to "Screeching Monkey"), the music is very good and fits the series well. The BGM also makes good use of old songs by the J-pop band Spitz and the singer Suga Shikao, which enhance many scenes. The art and animation by J.C. Staff is very good for a TV series, and uses a lot of soft colors. The seiyuu also fit their characters well, and no one has an annoying voice.
Unfortunately, the ending doesn't really give a good closure to the love triangles, which is rather frustrating but understandable since the manga is still running and is up to volume 8 as of this time of writing. Otherwise, though, it was a decent ending, and overall, I highly recommend this series (and the manga that it was based on) and I hope it will get licensed in the future.
One of the best shoujo / josei anime in 2005. Drop a few stars if you're not really interested in this sort of series. — Jennifer Berman
Recommended Audience: While there isn't any sex, fanservice, or graphic violence whatsoever, people 16 and up will probably best appreciate this series and relate to the characters the best. It will probably be boring to most people under 16, and Rika's heavily scarred body is shown in one scene that might scare the little ones.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (24/24)
Honey and Clover © 2005 Chika Umino / Shueisha / HachiKuro Committee
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