Hachimitsu to Kuroba

Title:Hachimitsu to Kuroba
Hachimitsu to Clover
Honey and Clover
Honey Clover
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - JC Staff
KAMIYA Hiroshi
KUDOU Haruka
Original Concept - Kodansha Manga Award Winner
R1 License - Viz Media (Shopro)
SUGITA Tomokazu
UEDA Yuuji
A group of college students happily share their small apartment together. While they struggle in poverty, they find joy in each others company and in the small things in life. But their precious and treasured world grows larger with the appearance of Hagumi (a young blonde girl with incredible talent as sculptor), and expands again by the importance of Rika (a widowed architectural designer). And slowly the world they hold so dear begins to change.
[TV series, 2005, 24 episodes + 2 specials, 23 min; based on the manga of the same title.]

There are also Hachimitsu to Kuroba Specials and a (2nd season) sequel Hachimitsu to Kuroba II. A live-action movie was released last summer and can now be ordered on DVD from Japan. An 11-episode live-action TV series was recently completed in Japan (ending in the first quarter of 2008).
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 8 10 8 9 9 Silence [series:1044#2939]
Honey and Clover is a really special anime, showing how people deal with rejection in love, yet find the strength to continue their love.

There isn't a strong overarching plot, just the daily lives of 5 college students and their teacher. Yet, through the simple exchanges in their lives, subtle yet strong feelings are brought through to the audience. From early on, the strong comedic aspect introduces us to the characters, and allows us to feel for them. Later on, when we learn of their personal struggles, we can empathize them even more. In here lies the strength of this series.

Each principle character is plausible and likable. As I see them change and grow, I cannot help but to root for them in their rough times, and cry alongside them. However, emotional parts are at times spoiled by untimely humor, and I cannot help but feel that this series could have delivered more impact, and mercilessly crushed with its emotional hammer. However, it stopped short, and let this series remain bittersweet. Even so, I gave up this series halfway on my first try due to the angst. But I returned and rewatched the entire series, with no regrets. In the end, there is no real resolution, which leaves me very hungry for more, but the ending is very legitimate in my opinion.

Music wise, the opening song and the second ending song are not spectacular, but I loved the first ending theme, and the bgm is nice too.

Overall, this is a true gem in animation, providing an exceptional ride emotionally.

Last updated Monday, April 12 2010. Created Tuesday, March 30 2010.
Buy 9 9 8 8 9 9 Dreamer [series:1044#2279]
Wow! This is one of those feel-good animes. I'd have to say it's one of my fav of all time.

Art, Animation and Character Design
The art and animation is somewhat unusual. Not in the sense that it's out of wack or oddly drawn but the whole anime seems to have a "dreamy" feel to it. The art is "almost" washed out or hazy at times. In fact, as Ggultra2724 mentioned below, the art is pastel-like; and with that the whole anime is presented as one whole art piece in motion. It's fitting since our character's lives are protrayed in an art school of sort. Character designs were not that much different than your average anime.

The OP was nothing interesting however, the animated sequence was..... different. It was interesting to say the least. Throughout the anime, there's a background song that plays (especially in episode 6), that's softly done and quite nice. It's the type of song you would play softly as someone is recanting their memorable past... conjuring up good times. Then there were other ones that just caught my interest and then I knew I had to pick up the OST.

Series and Episode Story
To tell you the truth, there's really nothing to this story. There's no grand plot, no spectacular battles, no breathtaking romance, no climatic endings. Nope, none of that. However, what you will find is a simple story about a group of college kids trying to live day to day and learning of theirs hopes, their dreams, heartbreaks or victories, and most of all, honest to goodness heartwarming friendships. With that said, you're thrown into the lives of 6 characters and how they handle their existence called life. There's also plenty of laughter via Morita.... especially in the first episode where he's dead asleep and Takemoto is frantically trying to shake him awake.... lol. Episodes 21 through the end, had really touched me personally. Takemoto ends up going on a bike ride that takes him to the end of japan.... looking out to sea and all this in search of one-self. It was purely on a whim... hopping on a bike and going and going without a thought of where. It was a journey in search of oneself, soul searching.... something that I myself had once done.

Overall, this one is well worth the buy. In the end, I felt all nice and warm inside and just got an overall good feel.

Last updated Friday, February 20 2009. Created Friday, February 20 2009.
Buy 8 8 8 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1044#1552]
Honey and Clover was a different series for me to take in the first time I seen it. It was the first josei anime series I seen with a focus on young adults compared to the pressures of high school I seen through shoujo titles like Fruits Basket and Kareshi Kanojo no Jijoo. This series mixes around comedy and drama as it explores the lives of art school students making decisions about their futures and dealing with their love lives over a three-year period in this 24-episode TV series. Even though six characters make up the main cast of this series, we only get to look into the heads of three of the main cast members to know their thoughts which include Mayama, Takemoto, and Ayu. Even with these perspectives, we still a good look into the quirks of each of the other personalities of the characters we see. Morita provides much of the laughs of the series with his quirky personality, but even he has a serious side that is explored through his interactions with Hagu. Unfortunately, we don't know much of just who Morita is like what he is doing with his brother Kaoru or his thoughts regarding Hagu.

I also had some issues with Ayu's character. She grated on my nerves at some points as the series progressed as she continually whined over her unrequited love for Mayama. The series spans a three year period and I found it rather unbelievable that she couldn't move on from Mayama as the series progressed, even by the end of the series.

Honey and Clover's artwork had a soft, pastel feel that was uncommon with other 2005 anime titles that I seen. It goes along well with the delicate mood of the series. The music to the series mostly considered of standard J-pop songs and were even used as insert music in many episodes of the series. The insert music felt rather intrusive to the episodes at a number of times for me as their mellow lyrics didn't flow well with the tense scenes taking place with the characters.

Honey and Clover's comedy and character drama brought me into enjoying the series. Its watercolor animation and josei genre stood out for me when I first seen the series and it is still memorable for me since it led me to enjoy later josei titles like Nodame Cantabile and Nana.

Last updated Sunday, August 31 2008. Created Sunday, August 31 2008.
Rent 8 7 8 6 9 8 Devil Doll [series:1044#752]
[Score: 77% = Rent (but the sequel is a Buy). Other recommended non-Fantasy Romance Drama animes: Koi Kaze, Lamune, Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora, Suzuka, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien]
  • Drama: Med (serious issues but no bitter conflicts)
  • Comedy: Low/Med (many smiles, few LOLs despite Morita being pure slapstick)
  • Action: None/Low (a few chasing scenes)
  • SciFi: None (plain old earth, normal people)
  • Ecchi: None/Low (about one pantsu/breast joke every three episodes)
The visual effects are something to get used to, with those "living food" 3D animation gimmicks during the absolutely unnerving OP song with its extremely childish vocals (I hate this OP sequence, the first ED song is okay but the second one from episode 13 on is a bit too "hip" for my taste) and lots of SD faces during the conversations; then again, those realistic faces are easy to tell apart and allow for a large number of characters without neon-colored hair.

Hagu-chan is rather moé than kawaii, actually a shy genius brat and as such IMHO not the most likely candidate for forming a competition. And Morito is so absolutely bipolar that he frequently kills the serious mood of the show with his slapstick interludes. All other characters are likable (this show was aired in a "women's anime" slot in Japan after all) and have enough depth to be interesting, and their relations are growing over time.
With unrequited love and the insecurities of growing up being core themes the tone of the narration is much more serious than in School Rumble, yet certain slapstick elements are always there. I have seen anime series telling similar stories such as Aishiteru Ze Baby or Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto both of which go without that silly overhead and consequently are more to my liking. The ending (with a sudden twist putting one character of this group of friends into the focus of events) is a bit of a non-ending but suitable for this show, given that a sequel has been released as well.
This show had a lot of substance (if you like slow slice-of-life series)... it's just that I dislike certain parts of the presentation. But the serious mood of the narration is great and most of the characters feel real... with a bit less slapstick or some music that's more to my liking this grown-up version of Boys Be would have been a sure "Buy" candidate.

Last updated Friday, June 06 2008. Created Friday, April 18 2008.
Buy 7 7 7 8 9 9 AstroNerdBoy [series:1044#436]

There are times when I start an anime and find myself not all that gripped by it for a few episodes. However, because I want to give proper reviews, I almost always press on to watch the whole series. This is such a title that starts off as an odd comedy title. Unlike other titles I've liked that started off slow, this title grew on me so subtly that by the time I realized it, I was already hooked.

The series takes 24 episodes to cover a few years of time. So at the beginning, the core-group of student characters are all college students attending the same art college and at the end, some are in their adult lives, some are nearing the end of their college life, and one apparently plans to never leave school (Morita). The core six characters (Mayama, Morita, Takemoto, Ayu, Hagu-chan, and Hanamoto-sensei) have their lives explored as well as their friendship with each other. Of the group, the odd Morita is the only one who really doesn't have any moments of self reflection where his character's thoughts are shown the the audience. While he has important serious parts to play, he often plays the comedic role, which may account for his lacking self-reflection moments with the audience. Hagu-chan doesn't get many either now that I think about it. So the show focuses most on Takemoto, Mayama, and Ayu.

The show does two things, and does them well. On one hand, we have a look at life as students go through college, prepare for the future, and take on their new lives as productive members of society. Through this, we see their relationships with each other. For example, Ayu is in love with Mayama and has been for some time. He loves her, but not romantically since that is reserved for Rika-san, a woman in his career field whom he worked for as an assistant. Rika-san uses Mayama (in a way that doesn't seem evil) but doesn't allow herself to fall for him. Ayu is pursued by the single men from the shopping district where her family owns a liquor store, but she's blind to their feelings. Takemoto falls in love with the tiny Hagu-chan. In his own weird way, so does Morita. At first, Hagu-chan seems mostly attached (in a non-romantic way) to her guardian Hanamoto-sensei, but that changes as she starts considering romantic possibilities with Takemoto or Morita.

But its not all angst, self-reflection, or some other serious stuff. As the audience grows attached to the characters, the humor of the show comes out. At times, I was literally laughing out loud and some of the stuff and antics going on. Because I didn't know and love the characters in the beginning, I didn't find the humor back then funny. I do plan to go back and rewatch the early episodes to see if those moments strike me as better this time.

One of the things that took me by surprise was the passage of time and subtle changes in some of the characters as they grew older (in looks, but also in character). This adds to the sense of realism in the anime. I could believe this group of characters could be real people dealing with the issues people that age deal with.

A quick note on the art -- it is done in a soft, pastel style that is at times (as Stretch mentioned) like watercolors. Its not a favorite style of mine, but for this show, it works rather well.

Bottom line: This is my first josei title that I'm aware of, and the experience was a good one. Likable characters, good character development, and good, well-written stories let me understand why the show (and manga) is so popular in Japan, to the point that they have released a live-action film in mid 2006. As such, I rate this a buy.

Last updated Monday, January 08 2007. Created Tuesday, August 01 2006.

Rent Stretch [series:1044#628]
How's a person to explain a series in which the characters seem to spend a lot of their time talking about unexceptional things, yet somehow become endearing people you can identify with? While watching episode 1, the thought which popped into my head was "Ah, this show knows how to be funny!". I like the silly antics of the odd characters (especially Morita). This show knows how to be dramatic, too; romance, with it's ups and downs, is depicted in a more realistic manner than the usual high school series, but not in an overly angsty way, and I like the balance between the two extremes. One problem is that it's hard to take "Hagu-chan" seriously as an 18-year old love interest when she looks and frequently acts like she's about half that age. I find it interesting that other than Ueda Yuuji (Morita) the principal VAs of this series only have a handful of roles to their credit in other series, and Kudou Haruka (Hagu-chan) isn't listed anywhere else in our notables database. That would go along with my impression that Honey & Clover is a neat series that hasn't gotten the attention it deserves (not in the US, that is). Artwork often seems to have been done with watercolors, and I like the way colors tend to be carefully chosen to "go" with each other in a pleasing manner. I thought the OP song is a lot of fun--I'm glad it was retained for the second half of the series while the ED song was changed. More later...

Last updated Friday, June 30 2006. Created Tuesday, December 13 2005.
Watch 6 7 7 4 8 7 Anonymous #1969 [series:1044#1969]
Unlike some other manga turned anime, I'm afraid this series does not add that much to the manga series, still unfinished after 6 books. Yet, the anime series retains all the key points from the manga and helps to understand it better. The main character is Takemoto, and this series is about him maturing. The only problem in this series is that the female characters are less realistic and less developed compared to male characters. Yamada's continued infatuation with Mayama and her fighting prowess seems very cliched and Hagumi's physical immaturity is over exaggerated. Off course, the most weirdest of them all is Morita whose antics borders on insanity. The anime episode 1 to 5 mainly deals with first two books and the power of this manga series intensifies from the third book, so I recommend you all to have patience with it. It is a series that doesn't seem much at beginning, yet slowly grows in you, and after a while makes you review the early episodes.

Last updated Friday, May 20 2005. Created Friday, May 20 2005.

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