The final episode of Honey and Clover

For me it has been confirmed: Honey and Clover II is the best anime that came out this year. Although NHK ni Youkoso! is similarly well made, it has not finished yet: I will reserve my judgment for later. It may have taken me quite a while to watch the final episodes (and the one-week blackout, DotA addiction as well as stacking exams didn’t help to alleviate the loss of momentum I had with watching anime in general), but now that I’ve done so – I have no regrets. This is what people should watch, and avid fans of literature will probably enjoy this show because of its sheer realism and depth that isn’t pretentious.

I may have been late in commenting on the brilliant finale (and one may expect a lengthy post), but first and foremost, all I could mutter was wow. It wasn’t pleasant, however, because although I wanted to wail and cry for simply seeing what the meaning behind Honey and Clover was, animated, some part of me hindered me from doing so. Undoubtedly, however, tears flowed. Who wouldn’t cry from the perceptive insights on living and life in general?

I decided to divide my different opinions on the different relationships and questions posed by the characters and their actions into bullets.

  • Is there meaning to an unrequited love?

Takemoto’s answer was a yes. Mine is, too. In life, everyone experiences failures, even the most hallowed geniuses and heroes of their time. Not having a love requited grants the one unrequited with the love that he (or she) wanted gives him that experience, that personal growth and development in oneself to be more prepared in later-life in case one faces that said experience again – let’s face it, not everyone can like us – not everyone liked Jesus Christ, even if he was sinless. In Takemoto’s case, it has made him grow immensely as a person; he has become more perceptive of the thoughts of others; he has developed confidence in himself; and most importantly, through Hagu, he has discovered meaning in his life – something not everyone can find even in their own lifetime. The silence that once pervaded him, that once told him that he was empty as a person could no longer be found – a Takemoto has sprung out, one that could face life and its problems more unwaveringly and more courageously.

Indeed, an unrequited love is quite disquieting when one experiences it – it may be even downright painful to many. But having that as a memory can teach one to mature as a person – what Takemoto has done throughout the series.

  • Was there even closure in the series?

    I personally think there was enough. Although it was relatively subtle, Rika’s face has bloomed more by the series’s end. And in the closing credits, where the lives of each individual main character was shown and was displayed, we can see Rika smiling along with Mayama. A picture speaks a thousand words, or so they say, and the smile as I interpret it connotes contentment and happiness in his presence. Their relationship has had the most progress as well: they did sleep together, and after that cathartic ep4, things have grown steadily well with them.

    Aside from that, since this series has been based on real life, there is never total closure in real life. It is only our hopes that the ending of a series be something akin to the hero walking together in the sun with his love, happy and content. But life isn’t as simple, and there are definitely people like Ayu who are inexorably unwilling to give up their loves – although one may think six years is a long time, Florentino Ariza of Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera didn’t even give up his love for more than 51 years before the object of his love reciprocated (although that also wasn’t a good example, heh). Taking things realistically, however, there are people like Ayu.

    • Do I find the relationship between Shuuji and Hagu revolting?

    Personally, no. Shuuji as seen in the show did not even attempt to seduce or try to bag Hagu as his own girlfriend/lover/boo/whatever. I find his love towards her more fatherly than sexual, more platonic than romantic. First of all, he wanted her to choose between him and Morita (for me symbolizing her love and her art) without her knowing what he has already done to try to maximize his help towards her rehabilitation (take a sabbatical). As I see it, I don’t think you’d like to have sex with someone you’ve grown and grown up with for more than ten years. I may be mistaken, but I think there’s this psychological idea that seems to disable attraction between and among siblings, no matter how beautiful or attractive they are, and time is essential in doing so (time of them living together) which rescinds the primal and carnal interest for one another. This is known as the Westermarck effect (rediscovered after having searched the net). Because Shuuji and Hagu lived as siblings (more or less), I think that their sexual interest for one another is practically nil. Aside from this, I think Shuu recognizes the fact that Hagu loves Morita, and conversely, Morita loves Hagu but is only unwilling to give her up to him simply because she was not yet well. Time and time again Shuuji requested Morita to do something about Hagu’s depression – her loss of stuff to paint, etc. so I do not think it’s a sexual love. Shuuji knows this and also wants to discover himself as he takes rehabilitates her.

    And that’s it. Wow, I seem to have forgotten other things I planned on writing about because of searching for that term which represented my thoughts (Westermarck effect). I’d like others (especially the readers) to pose more questions for me to answer, because just reading about psychology seemed to phase my mind out and dissipate what was in it just some moments ago. ^_^

    7 Responses to “The final episode of Honey and Clover”

    1. arkon Says:

      Nicely put. I wish some people on the AS forums would read this. There’s one person in particular who infuriates me no end but that’s because he(or possibly she) is retarded and loves to make offtopic posts in irrelevant threads. This isn’t referring to you btw, though it does sound startlingly similar…

      Joke, that was a joke.

      Anyway, what can I say. Totally agreed with you there. You put the same thoughts I have into words, in a better fashion than I could ever do.

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