First Impressions: Honey and Clover

Art school: a time for blossoming romance.

Oh yeah, and a time for art.

I read somewhere (I forget exactly where, which helps no one) that Honey and Clover isn’t a true shojo, but is instead intended for a slightly older audience. “Ooo, so it’s like Princess Jellyfish?” I wondered. “Then I need to check this one out, stat!”

Takumi: already my glasses-wearin' favourite.

Episode one is a little slow, but enjoyable. It opens with Yūta Takemoto, an affable young lad living in a crummy apartment complex for students and attending art college in Tokyo. Immediately you’re also introduced to Takumi Mayama, the calm glasses-wearing member of the group, and Shinobu Morita, the wild child who tends to go missing for a few days and as such has had to repeat his classes year after year. Shinobu gives Yūta food in exchange for Yūta’s promise to wake him up so that he won’t miss his morning class and get held back another year. Cue madcap trying-to-wake-Shinobu scene the next morning, then subsequent madcap dash to art school.

Yūta and Shinobu: the very picture of madcap college guys.

Through the boys’ run to class we get to see a bit of the art campus, as well as meet other random students such as two girls feeding a cat and a main character-esque girl working at a pottery wheel. The scene also flashes over to a young girl on a train, and a smoking man at the train station who is clearly waiting to pick her up. Finally everything comes together in one of the classrooms: Takumi and Yūta (and a few minutes later, Shinobu, too) all get introduced to the young girl from the train, Hagumi Hanamoto. The smoking man, a professor at the art school named Shūji Hanamoto, provides the intros and tells the guys that she’s his cousin’s daughter, and at eighteen has just become the newest student at their school. Takumi looks at the glazed expression on Yūta’s face when he gazes at Hagumi, and his inner monologue relates to us that he’s seeing something for the first time: the exact moment when someone falls in love. Then we get a flashback about Yūta riding a blue bicycle when he was a kid, and Shinobu starts running around while Hagumi stares at him in what appears to be part fright and part curiosity, annnnd that’s it for episode one. See, I wasn’t kidding when I said that it was slow.

Hagumi and her doe eyes. Welcome to the big city, kiddo!

I really wanted to love this one, but it’s no Princess Jellyfish, at least not in the beginning. The art was good, if a little pastel and fuzzy for my tastes, and I can see the potential in this one despite not falling immediately in love with it. I like the cavalcade of college guys in the crummy apartment complex, as they were funny and had good repartee. I don’t know if I like Hagumi yet because she never opened her mouth to speak! Hopefully she does so in episode two, because there’s only so much doe-eyed innocence I can stand. The opening was great! I’m a big fan of food art, and the opening credits are full of cute food plates: ham roses, cow-shaped steaks, skeleton cookies… Check it out!

 

Overall, I’ll certainly give this one another shot. While episode one did very little other than introduce us to some main characters and provide the setting, hey, that’s kind of what first episodes are for. I like the idea of madcap shenanigans and budding romance at art school in Tokyo, so what little happened in episode one is enough for me for now.

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