Honey & Clover


I have this ridiculous idea. I may not have been watching anime, but I’ve been catching up on The Big Bang Theory up to the end of its fourth season. There’s a new season, I know, but it’s still currently running and unfinished at the time of this writing. I couldn’t help myself from comparing that serial comedy with Honey and Clover, especially in light of the later seasons. It wasn’t obvious during the earlier seasons, as there was only Penny, but it showed its similarity to H&C when Bernadette, Amy, and Priya appeared. I said similarity because there is no actual competition among the characters in both series. They know who they love, and they love as best as they could, but don’t actively compete with their friends for the hearts of the people they’re interested in. Just as Penny spites Priya, she bears down on her emotions and respectfully gives Leonard and Priya their space after Leonard and her talked about it, Yamada whines about Rika but doesn’t actively go against her because she also recognizes the capabilities of Rika.

People have complained about the tone of TBBT to have become more serious, but I actually praise it. Instead of mere scientific laughfests from caricatures the viewer is increasingly made to appreciate the humanity of the characters that make up the show. While the comedy remains the focus, the emotions that underlie and that seethe beneath the terse sentences and the unsaid expressions make the show more colorful for me. It’s actually the jarring transitions that make me more endeared to series like this and H&C. Though it’s stomach-crampingly funny at one point, it immediately becomes a trigger for tears when beneath the laughs lie the emotions that the characters feel.

A great way to illustrate this is the awkward presence of Penny at the time when Leonard, Priya, and the rest of their friends were having dinner at Leonard’s apartment. There was witty banter throughout the occasion, but it was enlightening to see how Penny reacted to the aptness of the relationship between Leonard and Priya: both of them were highly intelligent and capable of holding a conversation. They were even able to recall a humorous scene in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.  The aftermath, of course, is that Penny broke down into tears after Leonard and Priya were gone.  (season 4, episode 16)

It is this surprising and jarring transition that makes the comedy all the more funny and the sadness all the more grave, because it is unexpected and yet apropos for the occasion. I think I’ll get back to this later on: my point is that it is the background of comedy that illuminates and gives gravitas to the serious occurrences in the show, especially because the seriousness is unexpected. The seriousness jumps out at the viewer, and erodes the foundation of emotional stability because it precisely is jarring. Compared to series which are consistently sad, or just really fun-fests the series that are bittersweet are for me the ones that are more memorable because of this surprise element. The tears are jerked out of you.

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I am an honest guy for the most part. Yes, I do lie once in a while, although I can argue that I don’t lie as voraciously or as desperately as Satou from NHK. As I said in the previous post, I’d rather be honest with myself and admit that I’m an otaku, or whatever people like to call me, than dwell in a shell of lies and cowardice. Some people write me off as somebody helpless; they write me off as nothing more than an idiot. Some people, however, care to know more on why I like anime as a medium and why I love it more than most things (family excepted). (more…)

I’ve read a lot of the pertinent posts at AnimeSuki, and those made me realize that my ‘quasi-summary’ wasn’t even half as insightful as their posts. To make up for this, here’s an intensive disquisition of what ep4 of Honey and Clover II really was. I think it’s going to be somewhat long, so please bear with me. (more…)

So many good things happened today for me. The most important good thing, however (make it excellent), was that I was able to download Honey and Clover II – 04 after a long wait. First of all, I’ve learned how to play Pugna (the Oblivion in DotA) more or less masterfully, and he’s arguably among the more difficult heroes to control. I was contented with myself back then. (more…)

Whereas in tj han’s blog the Bible is Last Exile, in my blog, the Qur’an is Honey and Clover. If you don’t like it I’m going to declare jihad on you, and I’m much more austere than tj han is (in case you didn’t get it, this was a joke). As you may have noticed, I’m probably going to wax lyrical about H&C for most of the time, but that’s not why I mentioned it in this post. I’ve mentioned why I like H&C in my other posts, but to stress a point, the biggest reasons as to why I really love it is because of its grit and humanistic realism. Stressed also in my other posts (H&C was spattered around in a commentary supposedly about [insert anime here]) is the fact that unrequited love exists in this series. How many romance series have you watched where the main leads don’t end up happily? There’s only quite a few of them. How about a romance series where you know someone’s going to end up alone? To date, only Honey and Clover is the only anime where you know that someone will be alone by the end of the series because there are more girls than guys, and despite the fact that they all are close friends, they also are the same competitors for the love of a guy or a girl inside that circle. (more…)

I talked to somebody who loved Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu so much that he hasn’t watched anything else after watching ShnY. He said that everything else just loses its luster when compared to an anime like that. Of course, being your resident Haruhi Suzumiya devil’s advocate, I disagree with him. I do, however, know of the feeling and totally understand it. And of course, you know of the anime I’m talking about: Honey and Clover. (more…)

Compared to the animation and the plot, the music seems to be inconsequential in watching an anime. I realized, however, how big a ‘little thing’ music is when I viewed the final scene of the final episode of the first season of Honey and Clover with the subtle playing of Waltz compared with the exact same scene but without the music in the first episode of the second season. I was moved to tears for most of the time whenever I heard the love ballad of Waltz playing as Takemoto finally discovered himself and what he was looking for. Somehow, without that love ballad, it simply became just another scene. That’s what I noticed with most good shows. They have great music. Honey and Clover isn’t excellent simply because it has an excellent plot and good animation – it also has very wonderful music. The combination of music from Suga Shikao, Suneo Hair and SPITZ often works for the enhancement of a scene, or a cascade of scenes. How Mayama forcefully and desperately took Rika to a cup of coffee in the rain just to show how much he loves her was certainly made better with the fast pace of Yoru wo Kakeru. (It was very fitting, too – the lyrics were a perfect fit with the scene.) To add another, more recent scene, take for example the call scene between Nomiya and Yamada near the midpoint of the third episode of H&C’s second season. Without the melancholic yet positive tone of Suga Shikao‘s Koko no Iru Koto, I doubt it would have pulled that scene off. The music that plaintively plays in the background simply reflects the sheer loneliness of two characters reaching for unrequited loves. Even now, thinking about it, it was (and still is) extremely jarring. (more…)

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