If I can describe what genius is in only three words, I would say ‘Honey and Clover.’ It’s a very good thing I held myself from watching the raws, because watching it with subs was nothing short of extremely fulfilling. My eyes are teary, yet I am smiling. I’d probably never see stuff like this with live-action melodramas; neither will I probably see the bittersweet beauty of unrequited love. This reads like Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, only with even less queerness and melodrama and with more substance. I could not help but applaud the whole episode – again, suffering and pain is juxtaposed with joy, contentment, and willingness to move on. I still have post-viewing goosebumps.

Hiccups are seemingly trite and banal things that disrupt the normalcy of quotidian living, but they’re given a dimension here – in fact, this is where the story of the characters revolve around in this episode and this is also where character development can be seen and grasped: because of the hiccups we discover more about the characters in the show. I bow down to you, Umino Chika.

I’d only be reiterating what other blogs like Memento and Random Curiosity have summarized, so I’ll refrain from doing a summary. However, I’d like to say that I’m very happy that Rika has finally gotten over Harada, no matter how much she tries to deny it or keep it to herself. Shuuji has already captured what she’s feeling toward Mayama – the love that she dedicates when she really likes a person, although she’s still extremely cautious. I loved how she thought that well of Mayama while blushing as she thought of his similarities with Harada. (I know that she loves the guy; you’ll probably see that later.) I was, again, (as usual with Honey and Clover episodes) clapping my hands like some five-year old kid on sugar high.

On the other side of the story, I simply felt Ayu’s pain. After four years (extremely realistic) she still can’t get over Mayama, after all. I didn’t think it was kind of her not to speak of how Rika thinks about Mayama from Shuuji’s observations, but that’s really what you feel when you’re totally in love, and the one you love can’t love back. What’s better, however, was Morita. He again shows his wonderful dualistic side – though seemingly carefree and only fatuous, what he said to Ayu was a sage’s advice. I think Morita has the most dynamic characterization in this story, and I think he’s the one character that’s the most colorful.

Takemoto has indeed changed for the better. Clotheslining Morita because he teased Hagu (he couldn’t do this before, but now he has the balls), never regretting the past (that’s my boy!), and looking forward to the future as well as trying to be a friend to Hagu – I truly wish I had a friend like him. It would simply make life just a LOT more beautiful to live and look at. 🙂

Hagu’s pain was too believable. We have a bird’s eye view of humanity through the lives of six friends involved with art – and this is what makes Honey and Clover so beautiful: we see good characters full of human foibles and weaknesses, all struggling to live life as they also struggle with their relationships within the group. They’re not perfect, they’re not perennially good, but they’re totally human. And that, my friends, is what makes H&C II a true gem to look at.

(Oh, and I was listening to Waltz as I was typing this.)