The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Honey and Clover II

Title: Honey and Clover II aka Hachimitsu to Clover II aka Hachikuro II
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: GENCO/J.C. Staff
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 29 Jun 2006 – 21 Sep 2006

Synopsis: Life continues for Yuuta Takemoto, Takumi Mayama and Morita Shinobu. Using strength from their friends, families, and themselves, they pursue their romantic endeavors as well as their life ambitions. Takumi continues his ardent chase of Rika, and Morita places the final touches to his brother’s dream. Takemoto, however, is still stuck in uncertainty as he approaches the end of his college life. Regardless of what he or his friends decide, everything must change and nothing will ever be the same again.

The Highlights
Characters: Some of the most believable you will ever see.
Romance: Bittersweet and often poignant.
Animation: Soft, ephemeral, dreamlike.

A sequel is often a lackadaisical attempt to cash in on its predecessor’s success. As such, most spin offs end up being mediocre or straight out terrible. There is however, a small handful that takes the foundation its progenitor has laid out and adds another, more polished layer on top. Honey and Clover II may be a sequel, but it is by no means inferior. In fact, with the characters firmly established, the show plays out the resolutions to much of the initial conflicts, creating a product that is actually superior to the original.

Production values are once again solid with beautiful animation, heartfelt music and creative cinematography. However, these are merely the uppermost icing on this exquisite cake. The Honey and Clover franchise has always focused on its characters, shoving plot to the wayside, and directly making connections with the audience.

No words can truly do the complex feelings portrayed in this anime justice; the flood of raw emotions that is unleashed simply cannot be adequately expressed. The cast is so diverse, so dynamically human that it is hard not to like. I will personally testify that Honey and Clover II has some of the most believable and relatable characters I have ever seen. Anime, live action or otherwise, you will be hard pressed to find anything more authentic.

The conflicts the characters face ring with a sharp, down to earth tone that is hopeful yet poignant. The cast has already put down their cards in the original Honey and Clover so, in this sequel, the other players begin to respond. The characters absolutely blossom or silently whither depending on their loved ones’ acceptance or rejection. However, these individuals hold in their hearts the fact that tomorrow is another day full of harsh tribulations and renewed hope. You will laugh with these characters; you will cry with these characters; you will feel emotions you never thought possible through anime. Rarely have I seen an anime so viscerally portray life.

If Honey and Clover was the dramatic herald to first love, Honey and Clover II is surely the emotional fallout. The characters are dealt a cruel hand as they become hung up on a one sided love. None of the feelings the cast undergoes is shallow or facetious. They are confronted with the harsh reality of rejection and the harrowing continuation of life. If you want a genuinely heartfelt drama, Honey and Clover II more than fits the bill. It is, without a doubt, one of the best you can find.

The Rating: 10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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