Pointless Debate #20: Evaluating the End Results in Honey and Clover

Mayama's expression just about reflects how I felt when I hit that Publish button.

It’s been several months since this feature was last used, and someone out there actually admitted they liked it. Regardless, I thought I would take the inspiration from ajthefourth and go back to the roots of this feature with a simple look at the end game results in Honey & Clover.

In trying to rank who won and who lost at the end of it all, I quickly realized that in reality there were a whole bunch of winners and definitively 1 loser from where I stood. Call it a case of a reverse Anna Karenina. I stress that this is just a subjective ranking, and feel free to disagree in the comments.

The look down in horror at the rest of this post

1. Mayama – Rika

This relationship represented an ideal ending from my point of view. Mayama’s sheer persistence in chasing after Rika, even to the point of quitting his previous job and essentially hiring himself to work with Rika. She got the ability to continue her work with someone determined to support the both of them, and finally she appeared to be able to move on.

I should have mentioned Leader somewhere else in this post.

2. Nomiya – Yamada

I actually liked how this one came about. Nomiya seemingly went in trying to force Mayama to make the decision between Rika and what seemed to be his 2nd option in Yamada. Then over the course of their frequent interactions between each other, something happens. The playboy finds love and Yamada is able to move on from her unrequited love.

Who represents true freedom better than him?

3. Shinobu

So why do I put one of the people who ends up with nothing on the romantic side so high on this list? For a start he’s able to help in his brother’s revenge plot. He had already made a ton of money from his work in Hollywood. Even after he loses the battle, he still has the freedom to create whatever he wants, where he wants and whenever he wants with whomever he wants to work with. It’s not an ideal end for him, but the possibility of being tied down really didn’t suit him as a character.

That looks yummy

4. Shuuji – Hagu

My reaction to this happening was a rather audible “What the hell is that?” when I first watched it. I guess it was really the visible age difference between the characters, but with Hagu that would have been the case with anyone. On a different level, this sort of represents compromise to its fullest extent. She gets someone to take care of her without having to worry about holding back, while he finally seemed to realize what gave his life meaning in the first place. This no doubt ranks far too low for many, but the manner of it being forced by the sudden injury to Hagu really bothered me a lot.

What else is there to him other than misdirected energy and limited targets?

5. Takemoto

Takemoto is a character with whom many identify. His ending is given a relatively soft touch. He’s able to find a job with the group he came across during his bicycle trip, and most importantly he seems satisfied that he lost. What this seems to conveniently ignore is the fact that Takemoto would probably be doomed to a life of subsistence living which would have made it most unlikely that he would have come across another opportunity at love as great as he had. He offered all he had, but it wasn’t much at all.

With that little ranking out of the way, you’re more than welcome to comment on anything here. If I’ve missed anything out from here, you can also point that out too if you want.

8 thoughts on “Pointless Debate #20: Evaluating the End Results in Honey and Clover”

  1. Well, Shuji-Hagu probably should be higher, because it was the only sensible outcome that you could draw from the first episode alone. Though I do agree, it did feel awfully rushed, and could’ve benefited from another two or three episodes to make me feel more comfortable with the end result. I probably would’ve put Yamada lower too, because although she did get somebody much better for her, I remember feeling slightly uneasy at the resolution she reached. Probably because it’s harder to self-insert myself onto Nomiya though.

    1. In a way that relationship should have seemed obvious, but Hagu’s character design made it very hard to see her as a college student, hence leading to me dismissing the option until the very end. As far as self-insertion, I think it plays a role in why people relate to Takemoto so easily.

  2. The reason why Shuuji/Hagu as a couple seems a bit forced is that it does, as you say, come about so suddenly due to her injury. However, had she not suffered that injury, I’m not sure if she would have chosen Shuuji as her partner. Yes, Hagu admits that she loves Shuuji, and that he gives her comfort, but her more passionate feelings of love were always dedicated to Shinobu (and above everything, her artwork). I believe that had she not been injured, she may have considered furthering her relationship with Shinobu, as they, through their passions, were two people who were able to understand each other on a fundamental level that few people manage to achieve in real life (or in other anime romances for that matter).

    The reason why Shuuji/Hagu is so affecting is that, as you also say, it does recognize a great deal of compromise. It’s not that they don’t love each other, it’s that they never will be able to feel the same, intensely passionate, feelings that were presented to us in the form of Shinobu/Hagu. It’s in comparison to how amazing a romantic relationship would have been between Hagu and Shinobu where Shuuji/Hagu really falls apart and breaks the viewer’s heart.

    Interesting stuff to think about. This series ranks in my top anime of all time, and it’s fantastic to see people still discussing it now!

  3. sorry, I wonder why there aren’t people who care about the incest thing between Shuuji and Hagu.?It’s too weird;.They are relatives,aren’t they?Shuuji has been with Hagu since she was a kid,to her he is a father figure.I actually fine with her choice to be with Shuu but the way he reclaims his feelings for Hagu as a lover makes me want to throw up
    Sorry for my sloppy English but I really hope someone can explain for me
    Look forward to your reply

    1. I definitely don’t see why there isn’t a bigger deal made of it as well. They are cousins. Yet in the grand scheme of things with all of the incest series between siblings, I think it’s easy for it to get lost in the grand scheme of things.

      1. Dude, over there in Japan (and my country Malaysia), relationship between cousins is not considered incest. Plus they never clarified whether Shuuji is the first cousin of Hagu’s father. He could be fourth cousin twice removed for all we know.

  4. Just recently rewatched this anime (for the billionth time). Its my favourite! I’m very very passionate about this particular anime and so in love with the characters. I wish the manga / anime was longer though. I want to see more of Nomiya/Yamada and also Takemoto post-graduation. Nomiya is such a cool guy, loved how honest he was and how he drove all the way from Tottori for Yamada. The ‘transition’ from Mayama to Nomiya could’ve been better. Definitely wanted to see more of them… (That’s why fanfictions exist)

    Some of the couples though… I felt like sometimes Mayama’s a bit creepy, but since Rika was that kind of person I guess in that case in worked! Not my favorite couple of the series though. Shuuji & Hagu too, eventhough its possible that they are very distant relatives, it just doesn’t seem that Hagu loves him that way. She definitely can’t live without him though, but it’s more of a depending love, like ^^^ EmperorJ said, he’s more of a father figure. The true prince charming (as Shuuji himself said) for Hagu would be Morita, but it wouldn’t work if they got together. Maybe because they’re actually very similar to each other, being art geniuses and all.

    I felt that towards the end Hagu did develop some kind of feeling for Takemoto, because of her attitude towards him. Giving him four leaf clovers was the kind of thing that she did for Shuuji, and she did it for Takemoto too… or maybe Hagu and Takemoto’s relationship was like Rika & Shuji.
    Also I love the friendship between Morita and Yamada. So sweet!

    Overall I felt like the relationship between all the characters in Honey and Clover are very very complex, it’s hard to tell what kind of love it is.. But that’s what makes it awesome
    Anyway anyone who has not seen this anime should totally watch it. Refrain from the drama / movie, because eventhough some people may like it, it didn’t really capture the whole melancholic feel that the anime has….

    Long live Korobokkuri!

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