Posted by psgels on 11 September 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




Through the life time of this blog, I don’t think that there has been a series that you guys have requested more than Honey and Clover, especially in the early years. And really, when this was the series that opened up the door for the slice of life series featuring adult characters in the 21st century, it was the series that started the Noitamina timeslot, which has been running successfully for more than five years now, and the series that popularized the josei genre, I could only imagine how incredibly good this series must be.

I am usually someone who likes to save the best for last, but since I’m going to be graduating university in less than a week from now (upcoming Wednesday to be exact), I figured that this couldn’t be a better time to sit down and watch this series. In the end, I didn’t get the best thing since sliced bread, but that doesn’t mean that Honey and Clover isn’t an all around top-notch and well written college series.

This series may not be the holy grail of character-development: characters in this series do change subtly, but this is nowhere near the main focus of the series. Honey and Clover instead has a completely different area at which it really shines: in the way it describes its characters. At heart this is a slice of life series with a healthy dose of drama, but the creators also love to analyze their own characters, pick them apart and take each of those bits under the loop, so that we as an audience could understand them as much as possible.

The way it describes its characters is just fantastically done, and it’s that part what I loved the most about this series, and it really has a rock-solid cast because of this. On top of that, this series is also excellent at fleshing its characters out: it puts them in many different situations that are wacky, yet typical of college students. This show also likes to have characters go on month-long journeys, just to show how different the characters act when said person is not around. It’s well balanced between its drama, slice of life and comedy, and the plot itself is skillfully written in a non-episodic pace.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t go for the entire cast. I’m not sure whether this is due to the second season that will elaborate further on them, but there are a few characters who aren’t as interesting as the others, and hold this series down a bit. With this I mean characters like the people from Fujiwara Design like Miwako, her dog and its presidents. I also kept hoping for the creators to delve into Hagu’s mind and show us what she’s thinking, just like what they were doing with the rest of the cast, but unfortunately she remains a bit of an enigma until the end of the series, despite being really interesting.

Either way though, Honey and Clover is a very worthy series about young adults, and can stand with its head held high amongst Nodame Cantabile, Maison Ikkoku and Nana. They’re all unique, have their own points in which they make their cast shine beyond belief. It’s not the best among them, but as a slice of life series it really shines with a top notch script that really captures the years of college life.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Wonderful script, well balanced, constantly evolving as a series.
Characters: 10/10 – An absolutely lovable cast that is wacky and down to earth at the same time, and gets analyzed through and through throughout the series.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty character-designs with pretty good animation.
Setting: 9/10 – Captures college life, and the things that surround it.

Suggestions:
Nodame Cantabile
Ristorante Paradiso
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class

21 Responses

  1. Avatar 0leefy says:

    YAY! You finally watched H&C! I knew you’d like it :)! S1 and S2 were both great, but I definitely liked the second season a little better… it’s a little sadder, but…

  2. Avatar AirCommodore says:

    I just finished this, too.
    I really liked it, but it hit a little too close to home a few times…

  3. Avatar Nadeko says:

    Good review; but I take it you haven’t seen S2 yet? If so, do it as soon as possible – it fleshes out some of the side-characters you mentioned as well as giving new depth to most of the characters. It is in S2 you will see how everyone has changed.

  4. Avatar Hogart says:

    Good josei, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as most people seemed to (not in the demographic, but I usually enjoy a good josei more than most other shows). I found Hagu exceedingly annoying, and it really took my enjoyment of the series down a lot until near the end with the amazing bike ride.

    In the end it was just too many characters wallowing endlessly in unrequited love despite, apparently, all being ace arts students/teachers. I’ve been there, and had friends who were dumber and more sheltered act more openly and less stupidly. It really blew away my suspension of disbelief, and Morita’s character didn’t help that in the slightest (but he least it gave some much-needed laughs).

    I did like the creative OP, and the use of insert songs was done surprisingly well. I don’t know if I prefer this or Nodame, as they’re too different, but in spite of itself I found Nodame far more endearing.

  5. Avatar AuroraFlame says:

    I’m expecting at least a 92.5 for the second season. It trades a lot of time spent on humour for resolutions to every arc. The best thing about H&CII is that there are no Hollywood endings; it plays out exactly like it should in real life.

  6. Avatar wandering-dreamer says:

    The second season I think helps to flesh out the rest of the cast and I liked it more since it had less wallowing in melodrama and more energy as it went towards the conclusion. And wow, I hadn’t realized that H&C was the series that started the noitaminA slot and having slice of life about young adult stories, guess that explains both why I liked it so much and why I haven’t seen many others like it.

  7. Avatar evolstar says:

    I’ll second all the others before me: watch the second season- it’s a little bit better than the first.

  8. Avatar Fai D Fluorite says:

    Wow nice review :)
    I’m seeing Clannad right now.Honey and Clover is up next :)

  9. Avatar treble89 says:

    Finally, you pick up H&C, bravo!!! Love this show, but how come you didn’t mention about the insert song? The soundtrack matches with the story very well.

  10. Avatar Pax says:

    Don’t really agree on the Production values, the animation quality is top-notch, even creative at times and imo it’s got some of the best ost i have ever heard, yet you gave it only 8/10…oh well, nice review, glad you liked this anime too.

  11. Avatar Spaceidiot says:

    Early Congratulations on graduating next week Psgels.

    Can’t say much else on the review as I haven’t seen it and am not much of a slice of life anime fan. Though looks like a lot do so maybe I’ll give it a go.

  12. Avatar cutemi2 says:

    If only I could watch this anime shown in Philippine TV Premiere, I only watch the Taiwanese Asianovela version of this anime but too bad I only watched 1 episode at the time and that’s it

  13. Avatar Sapphire says:

    I liked Honey & Clover II better than season 1. I think it’s because it has less comedy and it provides the closure some characters needed. However, that awkward twist at the end ruined the ending a bit, in my opinion.

  14. Avatar Sapphire says:

    Btw psgels, I’d really like to read your opinions about the characters in particular. For instance, I wonder what you think about Yamada and her way of dealing with her unrequited love. I felt the same when I read your NANA review, sometimes I wish you’d talk more about specific characters. Your reviews are great though, it’s just one of your readers’ small suggestion ^^

  15. Avatar Josh S. says:

    Congratulations on your graduation!

  16. Avatar vic says:

    You finally watched hachikuro! Please watch season 2! I agree with what everyone is saying here. Season 2 is much more serious, and the ending is perfect :)

  17. Avatar Kim says:

    I am glad you watched the first season but definitely check out season 2. It definitely ties up everything. And you will learn a lot more about Hagu.

  18. Avatar Maureen says:

    Good luck with your post-school life!

    Don’t get discouraged; you’ll feel like some kind of failure the first few years, almost guaranteed. But don’t let yourself feel ashamed; just keep plugging away and trying new things. Eventually you’ll find all kinds of good opportunities coming your way.

  19. Avatar Ferdinand says:

    I would like to try this anime, i found this anime get a lot of praise from many critics at both seasons.

  20. Avatar Juna says:

    Man I just watched the first episode based on this review but I don’t think I can watch more. Hagu looks like she’s 8 years old, and I gather that she is the main love interest and I just don’t think I can get into that :( I’m not a hater on that kind of stuff, but it just feels really weird in this anime (>_

  21. Avatar summerberries says:

    I’m not a drama lover. I nearly rate all good rating drama very low (true tears or ano hi mita hana.. or kimi ni todoke), but honey clover caught me.

    The series is very meaningful. It’s not princess-y fairy tale drama. Definitely not for young people.

    You will only understand the deep meaning to every words once u experienced them. I was turn off by the animation and the drama categorization.

    But down to half-way, it became my list of best anime, beating my other action / mystery series. This series is grown up and some young viewers will find it boring.

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