>DVD Review: A Complicated Bundle of Love


If anyone is struggling to find a decent romance anime, there’s one show that they absolutely have to watch.

Season one of “Honey and Clover” is a powerful love story that is guaranteed to keep everyone emotionally attached until the very end.

It starts off as a simple slice-of-life about a group of art college friends: three guys and two girls. The guys consist of a first-year student named Takemoto, a sixth-year slacker named Morita and a fourth-year senior named Mayama. The girls consist of a young prodigy named Hagumi and a beautiful third-year pottery student named Ayumi Yamada.

At first, the story becomes a simple snapshot of daily life for these college students. As they grow older, they become more and more romantically attached. Yet, they all have a tough time confessing their feelings for each other, because they don’t want their group of friends to break apart.

Although the plot is as simple as a light romance could get, the dialogue is remarkably rich with pent-up emotion. Viewers will immediately get hooked into heartbreaking relationship between Yamada and Mayama. Yamada can’t help falling in love with Mayama, even when he starts to live in the apartment of another close friend named Rika.

The dialogue may seem innocent in the first few episodes. By episode 18, though, Yamada’s emotions get the best of her when she runs away in tears. The entire series is filled with many difficult situations of unrequited love. These characters must wallow through these flooding emotions, struggling to find a new meaning to their lives.

To tell the truth, I can’t believe this group of buddies could ever manage to stay together for two seasons. Thankfully, they never don’t really take these pressing relationships too seriously. The director, Kenichi Kasai, has an incredible knack for making every comedy sequence as epic as possible.

For example, episode eight includes an especially agonizing Twister game. It starts out as an easy game. Near the end, though, all the characters are goofily breaking their bones from playing the game. The animators execute everything in this sequence with quick slapstick timing. They manage to make everything as ridiculously painful as possible, without ever crossing the line of extreme violence.

It’s a bizarre series of wacky humor with unbearable waves of moving emotion. “Honey and Clover” is probably one of the best and most realistic anime love stories ever made. The protagonists are charming. The warm visuals are soothing. The dialogue hits people where it hurts.

As painful as it is to watch, this show is more about the characters’ journeys rather than their relationships. “Honey and Clover” proves that sometimes it takes a little tough love for people to grow into mature adults.

Watch the series at hulu.com.

Images courtesy of photobucket.com


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Filed under comedy, honey and clover, masterpiece, romance, romantic, shoujo

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