I finally got around to this show, thanks in part to my sister expressing a desire to see it.
Final Series Score: 10/12 A
Rewatchablity: low, unless the second season is really awesome and this awesomeness leaks back to the first season – it probably will be awhile before I have a desire to watch this again
Pros: J.C. Staff’s beautiful watercolor look strikes again, college setting is different, likeable characters, great cast of voices for this show, and characters actions where believable
Cons: characters actions where believable
Honey and Clover is a slice-of-life anime that follows the lives of a handful of students going to an art college as they try to find their way in the world. It features lots of interesting characters and overlapping love polygons (more complicated then mere love triangles).
First let me explain the apparent contradiction in my pros and cons. I understand that slice-of-life animes don’t necessarily have a beginning, middle, and end but oftentimes they start somewhere in the middle and end a little closer to the end. Over the course of 13 episodes that might mean there’s not a lot of character development but over the course of 24 episodes there should be some clear advancement. During the course of Honey and Clover the characters acted very believable and normally this is a good thing but I started having the desire to slap some of the dumbness out of most of the main cast (Hagu being exempted) and see some of the characters trying to break out of the emotional ruts they allowed themselves to fall into. Therefore, when the final story arc of the first season started I was ecstatic to see someone doing something concrete to address what’s bothering them. Those episodes where easily the best of the show. So to sum it up, I would say that while it’s good to show the characters paralyzed with indecision (as is in real life) – too much of it hurts the show.
On the other hand don’t let the preceding paragraph make it sound like I disliked the show. While I think they could have done something with the structure of the show (for starters, I’d have put the DVD extra episodes into the show for the simple reason of the comedy would have broken up the long strings of depressing episodes), this show has a lot of very good points. I already mentioned the beautiful watercolor animation, the setting being a college instead of the much more common high school, and great performances by the voice cast. Also I’d like to mention the music was always perfect for the scene and really helped properly convey the mood of the show. The assorted side characters where given good depth – something not all shows do – and where never extraneous to the plot of the show.
I think the age of viewer might affect the enjoyment the viewer receives from this show. I haven’t really mentioned my anime watching younger sister much but we watch an episode or two of anime almost every single night together. We watch some series as they air like currently we’re watching Daughter of 20 Faces and Soul Eater but often we watch series where I’ve already seen it and figure she’d like to see it and I’d like a rewatch (Bamboo Blade being a current example). I normally try to keep to shows that I think that she’ll like so we watch a lot of shounen, action, comedy, and supernatural animes. She, as an almost junior in high school, was less impressed with the show then me and I want to chalk it up to her age. Not that there’s anything wrong with her but people naturally worry about different things depending on their age. She skews younger then the targeted demographic of college/early 20’s and I am past that demographic and maybe that played a role into how I received this show.
So in closing, even though it didn’t quite hit the mark for me, there’s still plenty to like about Honey and Clover and for the record I only jumped once at the lobster hand from the first opening.