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Manga / Honey and Clover

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"Is something that will disappear the same as something that never existed?"

Honey and Clover depicts the lives of the students of an art college in Tokyo. It centers mostly around three young men, Yuta, Takumi and Shinobu, who live in a run-down apartment complex and who have become very close friends.

One day one of the art professors introduces Hagumi (Hagu), his cousin's extremely talented daughter from the countryside. Hagumi looks very young for her age and is shy toward strangers, which doesn't prevent Yuta and Shinobu from falling in love with her immediately. Both boys are awkward in their ways of showing their affections though, which leads to a very delicate love triangle.

Takumi also finds himself in love, this time with an older woman, while another student, Ayumi, in turn is in love with him. This love triangle actually gets the most attention at first, emphasizing the hopelessness of both people's unreciprocated feelings and leading to much of the drama during the first series.

Honey and Clover started out as a josei manga series created by Chica Umino, serialized in various magazines from 2000 till its ending in 2006. It was adapted to an anime series, with the first season airing in 2005 and the second in 2006. A live action movie adaptation was released in 2006 and two TV dramas (in Japan and then Taiwan) started airing in 2008. Yes, it's that popular.


  • Air Voyance: A platonic version involving Takemoto swearing at Morita's plane.
  • Aborted Declaration of Love: Happens quite a lot during the first half of the series, before things actually start changing.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: The first part of the series is a big mess of unrequited loves. During the second part some of these get their resolutions, with either the loved one reciprocating or the hopeless suitor moving on.
  • Amusing Injuries: Yamada beating, strangling and on one occasion throwing people off the roof is always Played for Laughs.
  • Art Shift: It happens on occasion, usually when looking at one of Hagu's works or in one DVD-only episode, where the art style (and scenery) shifts to something out of a Shoujo manga. It's even pointed out in show.
    "You've turned into a shoujo manga character!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: The series end with Takemoto ending his college days and moving out of his apartment. He has grown up as a person, but he still has to say goodbye to the object of his unrequited love and is left with lots of bittersweet memories.
  • Blank White Eyes: Happens a lot to Hagu. Not surprisingly, considering the idiocy she gets confronted with.
  • Blue with Shock: Often appears with the Blank White Eyes whenever Morita does something. Or when Ayu cooks.
  • Boring Return Journey: At the end of Takemoto's "journey in search of himself", which lasted for several episodes, his return trip is narrated in about thirty seconds.
  • Broke Episode: One of the DVD-only episodes, Chapter L, was one of these taken to extremes, flashing back to a period when everyone in the apartment was desperate for meat.
  • Broken Bird: Rika Harada is one, physically as well as emotionally.
  • Camp Gay: The Fujiwara Brothers (Mario and Luigi) who head Fujiwara Design Bureau.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Most of the characters. They are usually pretty flustered when others inevitably realize it before they manage to spit it out.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Yamazaki. Attributed to his education in an all boys institute.
  • Cherry Blossoms: The traditional 'cherry blossom viewing party' is a Running Gag in the series' first season, especially with Morita using it as a means of earning money.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Shinobu Morita is too busy creating awesome art and making tons of money to think about waking up in time to avoid being held back for the third time in a row.
    • Hagu is another awesome artist, and she spends most of the time lost in her world.
  • Country Mouse: Hagumi grew up in a small village and is not used to being in crowded places.
  • Cutesy Dwarf: Hagumi is often mistaken for a middle-school or an elementary student In-Universe.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Kaoru, when time is of the essence and money is on the line.
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: The tipping point in Takemoto's Character Development is him looking at his empty fridge and realizing how he feels his life is just as empty.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Lohmeyer-senpai, expecially when he feeds those guys with high-quality meat and vegetables.
  • Extreme Doormat: Takemoto, before his Character Development. He's very often the victim of Morita's antics.
  • Food Porn: When the food isn't cooked by Yamada or Hagu, that is.
  • Four-Leaf Clover: A recurring theme throughout the series, from the moment where the main cast spends an afternoon searching for one to the heart-wrenching ending.
  • Generation Xerox: The subtle Shuuji/Rika/Harada love triangle greatly resembles the Takemoto/Hagu/Morita love triangle. Their personalities are similar, and (technically) both Harada and Morita get their respective girls, except Morita doesn't get to keep Hagu, in spite of their feelings for each other.
  • Genius Ditz: While being a Cloudcuckoolander as stated above, Morita is also pretty much The Ace when it comes to anything involving art- to the point of winning an Academy Award at the end.
  • Gentle Giant: Lohmeyer-senpai is one of the most physically fit characters, having grown up in a farm, and an extremely Nice Guy.
  • Growing Up Sucks: At the beginning the main characters are in college; one by one, they finish it and have to decide what to do with their life. This is a quite painful process for some of them.
  • I Got a Rock: Shuuji comes back to the art school early and gives the girls expensive gifts, while giving the boys "a stamp, a postcard, and a rock."
  • Informed Ability: Hagu's art as depicted in the series is fine, but for someone who is supposedly extremely talented, it isn't anything special, though that's probably due to the mangaka's own style and skill more than anything.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Hagu has an accident and risks not being able to paint anymore, Takemoto goes through several options in his head trying to decide what's the best thing he can do for her. In the end, the best thing he can do for her is move on with his life and leave her to Shuji.
  • Josei: The manga was serialized on a magazine aimed at women.
  • Journey to Find Oneself: What everyone thinks Takemoto is embarking on when he goes missing.
  • Left Hanging: The show ends without answering whether Hagu's hand will be fine or what actually happens with the other relationships. Has shades of Reality Is Unrealistic.
  • Lethal Chef: Yamada and Hagu. Whenever they start cooking together, the other characters desperately try to find excuses to be somewhere else.
  • Live-Action Adaptation
  • Love Hurts: It can be unrequited, or maybe the person you love is a Broken Bird, or maybe it creates tensions between you and your friends...
  • Love Triangle:
    • Takemoto and Morita are both in love with Hagu, though Morita takes a while to realize it.
    • Yamada is in love with Mayama, who is in love with Rika.
    • In the past, Harimoto was part of a strange triangle with Rika and Harada.
  • Manchild: Hagu, who is 18 but acts about half her age—just the way she looks.
  • Medium Blending: The first intro.
  • Mood Whiplash: The series doesn't shy away from jumping from slapstick to drama and back in the space of a few minutes.
  • Motifs: The Wheel (Ferris Wheel, Bicycle Wheel) is often used as a metaphor for love and relationships in the first season.
  • Perpetual Poverty: This is college/art school, and the first time in the lives of the characters that they're living out on their own. Used for gags in the early part of the manga, before the main story finds its feet.
  • The Promise: Morita and Hagu promise each other that they will make great art to show each other in the future, and Hagu promises that she'll always be watching over him.
  • Race for Your Love: More like "Race For Your Rival", when Takemoto runs to the airport to yell at Morita.
  • Recap Episode: The second season's first episode is basically a retelling of the events in the first season.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Takemoto, the main character, is one of these. Everybody likes him and he's probably Hagu's best friend, but she doesn't like him in that way.
  • Scenery Porn: The anime is just full of soft colors and prettiness.
  • Slice of Life: Especially notable during the first part of the story, where the status quo gets shaken a few times but never really changed.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Hanamoto and Mayama seem to perpetuate this stereotype, or try to.
  • Starving Student: Most of the cast. Mayama gets a job and Morita is later revealed to be filthy rich, but Takemoto is this until the end of the series.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: When Takemoto goes on his bike and leaves home to see how far he can go without looking back, the others refuse to help him because they believe he is trying to "find himself." They thought this because apparently Professor Hanamoto tried to do the same thing. Seven times.
  • Thunder Shock: Used for humor, such as when Mayama and Takemoto first sampled some of the Lethal Chef cooking in Episode 7 of the first season.
  • Title Drop: Not literally, but at the very end Hagu gives a bunch of honey and clover sandwiches to Takemoto as a farewell gift.
  • Train-Station Goodbye:
    • Nomiya declares his love to Yamada just as her train is starting to leave.
    • At the very end, Hagu finds Takemoto at the station to give him one last gift.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In Episode 19 in Season One, Yamada is shown throwing up into a toilet while Nomiya holds her hair.
  • Weird Moon: With moving pictures on its surface.
  • Wife Husbandry: An interpretation of Hagu and Shuu, as Hagu chooses Shuu over Morita because she feels Shuu can take care of her better.


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Honey and Clover

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