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Other than feeling a surge of emotion while watching Honey and Clover, I also appreciate its smartness. The example I’m going to expound on in the following sentences may not be the most recent, but it certainly proves (to me, at least) that Honey and Clover‘s simplistic use of imagery is among the most profound among the anime I’ve seen. It may not be the most complex or mind-boggling, but it is thought-provoking once you do delve deeper into it.

Remember the OP animation from ep13 to ep24 of Honey and Clover? That was among the few examples I’ve seen of subtle metonymy in an anime.

Quoting Wikipedia,

In rhetoric and cognitive linguistics, metonymy (in Greek μετά (meta) = after/later and όνομα (onoma) = name) (pronounced /mɛ.’tɒ.nə.mi/) is the use of a single characteristic to identify a more complex entity. It is also known as denominatio or pars pro toto (part for the whole). […] when A is used to refer to B, […] a metonym if A is commonly associated with B but not a part of it.

I didn’t realize the genius in that animation the first time I saw it. However, as the series progressed, you could see the insight the anime has: the pictures symbolize the memories of the six friends as a whole: it seems disparate, fleeting (flying); nevertheless, they never move far apart one another and converge more than once. The scooter is a metonym of Mayama; the pot is for Yamada; the poodle is for Hagu; the giraffe is for Hagu and Morita’s relationship – incidentally, Hagu and Morita are close by, which lets us return to our Wikipedia article.

[…] Advertising frequently uses this kind of metonymy, putting a product in close proximity to something desirable in order to make an indirect association that would seem crass if made with a direct comparison.

It’s not a joke: Honey and Clover is among the first anime I’ve seen that uses cognitive and rhetorical linguistics. (Heavy words, aren’t they? They all suggest higher forms of language use. Metonymy is a figure of speech that I transmuted to aptly describe what the anime used in its 2nd OP, anyway.) It may seem all that simple to you, but simply to produce an OP animation that subtly links all the characters involved in the series is nothing short of amazing. The bike symbolizes Takemoto, as we all saw later on, as well as the paper plane. The shooting star symbolizes all their wishes, but it’s more of a metaphor. The umbrella symbolizes Rika: this is the image that etches itself on Yamada’s mind as she saw Mayama fetching Rika, and this is what once bound Rika and Mayama together, because the umbrella itself is a metonym for rain. The ferris wheel is terminally in both the 2nd OP and the 1st ED, because it is a metaphor for the full circle of life; however, it also is a metonym of the main characters of Honey and Clover: something always happens near a Ferris wheel, from the revelation of the relationship between Shuu, Rika, and Harada by Shuu to Mayama to Nomiya and Yamada talking together with Yamada heartbroken and Nomiya on her side, taking care of her. All of that, my friends, is only in the span of a minute and thirty seconds.

And people still wonder why I think of Honey and Clover as a great show.