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Today's insert song: Inaka no Seikatsu by Spitz, a perfect song to pluck at the heartstrings while we bid farewell to the story and its characters.
That ending was so goddamn beautiful. Even writing about it I feel like I'm being punched in the gut - let's just say a lot of relating to happened here. And seeing all those four leaved clovers Hagu-chan had gifted Takemoto really sealed the deal.
Not every love is meant to be requited, more often than not it is a dive into the bittersweet. Is it better to live free and feel no pain, or love and expose your heart to anguish? The answer is for everyone to discover on their own. Takemoto's found his, and I'm glad for him. May he find all the happiness, all the luck in the world going ahead. With everyone's well wishes behind him and fulfilling work ahead of him, I think he probably will.
Yamada being the viewer-insert here, that was a well-deserved question barrage for Shuu-chan. An interesting question was since when? and we didn't really get an answer. Usually it's quite hard to pinpoint the moment when a person falls in love with another; but the fact that Shuu said it's embarrassing isn't the best sign, nor is the fact that he hasn't told Hagu-chan explicitly about his feelings. It's all left pretty ambiguous.
Kaoru's being all blaise on coming back was perfect fo Morita, a taste of his own medicine really. Good to see he's found a way to the light, with a little help from his friends. And Morita is now free to do.. Morita things.
Mayama x Rika and Yamada x Nomiya is an exercise left to the imagination - as is Miwako x Yamazaki. As it stands all of them seem to be on a path to better lives.
Overall thoughts for the series I'll leave for tomorrow's thread; there's a lot of half-baked ideas in my head I want to bring up, I hope I remember them when I wake up tomorrow and sit down to type it all out..
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For me I feel this episode wraps up the season fairly well, while yes we aren’t given definitive endings to quite a few of the storylines, despite this it still works for me.
This episode itself doesn’t give me massive amounts to talk about, though WTF was that bit with Rika & Shuu? I’m assuming it was just meant to be them hugging each other however it wouldn’t take to much to convince me that it was a kiss…
My main take of this episode / what I feel the overall theme of the show has become is to find what it is in your life that allows up to live / give you a sense of purpose.
I’m also not completely convinced that Shuu & Hagu love for each other is entirely romantic, or well it may possibly be for Shuu, I don’t believe Hagu really see him that way, hell I doubt that Hagu is really that big on romance in generally with Art meaning everything to her and being her purpose.
Morita & other glasses guy look to have taken steps to break the cycle of hate between them and the Floyd family by basically gifting them the old family home. This means that Morita is able to go off and work in an environment purely for the joy of creation, Karou is obviously very business minded so he can use his skills here for things other than spite and finally move forward.
Takamoto has grown to realise that even failure is important, even if something does work out it doesn’t mean the end of the world or that you have to abandon it was completely.
I’m straying it to overall discussion write up here I so I’ll it at this so I can hopefully leave myself something to write about tomorrow. After reading though last episode thread i’m not going to lie that i’m very intrigued so see everyone elses impressions.
**Edit for spelling and grammar, one day I might learn to proof read properly...
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My overall assessment of the series is already in the discussion for the last episode, so instead of going over that again, I want to comment a little on my thoughts about the author’s intent (as I promised) and the way this plays out in the series and our discussion of the series.
So, Wikipedia and MAL tell us that the author is a ~40 years old Japanese woman and not much more. Her twitter is super active, but without proper Japanese, that does not help me. Seems that plenty of stuff there is stuff Honey & Clover related, though.
So why did she write a story line such as Loli-Hagu & Shuu? I’ll rule out “living out her sexual fantasy” right away. I never got that impression, and her being a woman makes it even less likely. So, why then?
Did she want to make a social commentary on incest and grooming? The anime spends about zero time discussing the moral problems of getting into a relationship with someone who was your foster child and is still emotionally and financially dependent on you. So this explanation is out as well.
Does she not even realize that it could be problematic? Possible, but unlikely. This would imply that we have to assume the author is super naïve and did not properly contemplate and research the topics she wrote about. Given that the manga was published over a period of 6 years, that seems highly unlikely to me. She must have realized that some people would see the story-line as one of incest and improper.
That leaves me with the last, cynical answer that I feel is most likely: She did because she would knew it would help sell her series. She made sure to keep important scenes deliberately vague to ensure that everyone could see whatever they wanted to see. Basically, she played to the demands of a wide readership, making sure that everyone, from sappy romantic to pervert, would find something they liked.
This is something I noticed not only in the episodes about Hagu and Shuu. What do we really know about the characters relations?:
Basically, there is plausible deniability for everything. It is a shipper’s paradise, where not even the outlandish pairings are clearly ruled out. I think this is a deliberate ploy to not antagonize any reader and still satisfy all interests.
To put it differently: You do not accidentally write a story that has all the trappings of a grooming incest. That stuff is in there to because some readers want to see it. On the other hand, the author always leaves the door open a bit for deniability, so that readers inclined otherwise can pretend it is just a caring father figure.
Almost the exact same story plays out in the other couples. If you want to, you can see Mayama as the macho man who takes charge of Rika’s life, but you can pretend it was otherwise, too. You can assume that Nomiya charged into Yamada’s life and stole her heart away from her Mayama, or maybe he was just the guy who helped her over a failed romance.
All that made the discussions in the latter part of the second season rather annoying. “I think they had sex”/”I think they would never have sex” is not very helpful if you want to discuss whether them having sex is morally right or wrong. Neither side is wrong, neither side is right. The anime is deliberately written to not be nailed down.
While I can respect this vagueness as a business strategy, I do not appreciate the product. Some things destroy my enjoyment, even if plausible deniability is left open. Strongly-hinted-at grooming is not much better than confirmed grooming. /u/PainStorm14 went into more detail last time, but once you see the similarities of the characters’ behavior to grooming and domestic abuse, you cannot un-see it. At least I can not.
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Honey and Clover is that kind of anime where you'll get different opinion and experience depending on where you are in life.
Are you a school student? Maybe some problems aren't really relatable to you. Maybe some characters actions confuse you.
Are you a university student? You may experience the same things the characters experienced.
Are you a job seeker? Maybe some situations are happening to you.
Or are you a working person with stable job? You may recalled your dumb actions when you are younger.
Are you freelancer? Are you artist or craftsman with inconsistent pay? Maybe you'll sympathize with some characters
For me myself, when I first watched this anime I felt disappointed that no ship ever sailed completely. That Takemoto in season 2 although more mature is still the same powerless and moneyless Takemoto in season 1.
But after rewatched it a few times, I always have different appreciation to the story. Sure the ending is kinda weird but if you think again like Mayama said, Hagu doesn't choose love. She loves Morita (to be fair I don't know whether she loves him as a man, his art and talent or both) but she still chose to live with Shuu. Because she feels that with Shuu, she will be the happiest.
I don't agree or disagree with her choice. I just slightly disappointed that we're not given any signs of it before.
I'm more interested in Takemoto on season 2. He's not given more storyline because his has already resolved on season 1. But at the end we see the Takemoto that appreciates life, memory, and friendship. When I watched that Takemoto, I feel longing toward my high school friends, My college friends. We all are now grown up. Some are far away, some already have their own family and some already gone.
And to answer the question :
Of course Takemoto
Season 1 the way back home from Hokkaido (Spica). Season 2 Takemoto and Hagu good bye (Inaka no Seikatsu)
I don't have any particular ship to root for.
My favorite anime is SoraYori and I can't really compare it. But my second favorite is 3 gatsu and if I have to compare it, I guess we see Umino sensei growing up as a stoey teller. Where Hachikuro have strength in that simple and relatable storyline, 3Gatsu is like the grown up version.
I know no one ask but my ranking on the songs is as follows :
Room 201 (I still frequently listen to this song)
Tsuki no Knife (the guitar intro is really soothing)
Kazenagi/Natsukage (the sad moment in life the ost)
Inaka no seikatsu (the goodbye song, also really good as asmr)
Sakana ( well it is a good song)
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Just want to share something as a rewatcher.
Knowing what's going to happen this time around, I was pretty surprised to find the author scattered lots of little hints for Hagu x Shuu starting S2. I guess I was like most viewers, didn't want to believe it and unconsciously blocked out the hints the first time.
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I was set up! Or I set myself up! Was that big event "just" the accident and is the social group not coming together anymore, because of conflicting schedules (and because they are scattered all around)? I just hope that they keep in touch, even if all of them don't meet up regularly. Yamada being able to contact Mayama in Spain seems to indicate that at least a tiny bit.
I liked the Kaoru ending. It showed that his co-conspirators acted with foresight and removes any foul taste. The ending for the Floyd family is almost sappy, but largely fine.
Most of the resolution to Hanamoto's arc is good. It wasn't as noticeable, that he even had an arc going, but Tange described it rather nicely. Hanamoto being stuck in the college, being stuck in the past not getting over Harada's death himself. It makes all the flashbacks, we have seen, sadder, as they aren't just to present some exposition to the audience, but are showcasing Hanamoto's struggle. Him taking care of his charge changed that, as he had to look out for the future. I still don't like the love bit. We are replacing Hanamoto being stuck in the past with him giving up his (non-progressing, stuck) life for an unrequitted love, if I can trust the characters telling me that Hagu loves Morita. I also don't like the anime telling me that Hagu further relying on Shuu isn't out of selfishness, but instinct. Hagu struggled so much with it in the past, you can't tell me that this was a thoughtless decision. That might be my translation though, as I would have accepted some other terms indicating it being a decision that felt like natural consequence. Hanamoto leaving the campus also enables him to show Hagu the world, which was another point of importance to her storyline.
The cast settling into post-graduate life was important closure. I liked everyone finding their place, even though Morita's felt off, but that was due to him not showing a amicable relation to Peter Lucas and his workplace. I fully accept that he didn't mean what he said, because you shouldn't trust most of the things he says. I also would have liked to see Mayama becoming some kind of business partner to Rika in the end, because he is still officially an employee, as fas as I can tell. Might have been too much endorsement of the couple, I guess, but I would have liked more definitive closure here.
I liked the Takemoto bits. Him pondering on the love was important, because he learned from his "defeat", which might enable him to shake off his defeatist attitude, making him less stagnant and passive. He also showed of some of his previously neglected growth again by being a great support for Hagu, helping her with her last bit of struggle (linking her life to her ability to create art to repay Shuu). Hagu also kinda endorsed him as a person of exemplary (artistic?) merit, elevating him, so he wouldn't be (as far) beneath her or Morita anymore.
I'm not entirely sure what to make of the train station+train scene. The clover was (as shown by the flashback) previously linked to specific symbolism (good fortune, keepsake, traveling, protection being mentioned by Hagu herself and something along the lines of the specific, fated calling as a metaphor), it's also important that the clover back then was meant for Hanamoto and the group failing to find any. The recent event with Hanamoto might reframe the clover as some love related token as well. Takemoto now received multiple clovers, on honey-bread. I admit, I don't get neither the honey nor the bread, but I didn't look into the older episode again when Hagu explained what she wanted the clover for and I might be misremembering her wanting to turn it into a charm or I forgot that it was an edible charm. I interpret the clovers as Takemoto finding out where he belongs and the eating as acceptance. He is also devouring what Hagu left him, the experience of failed love, digesting it, to make it a part of his being. I just take the characters at face value at this point and trust them that Hagu isn't in love with Takemoto, but you could him getting clovers and Shuu not getting any as returning love, but the crying Takemoto pretty much refutes that.
Rika and Hanamoto didn't kiss, right? That was just a hug with weird movements and weird camera angle. Also, I still don't quite understand the Honey of Honey and Clover, except for the obvious scenic reference in this scene. Or dogs.
I think I answered the questions for the most part. I think the series ended great for the most part. It couldn't and probably shouldn't have ended how I envisioned it and I'm fine with that. The more open ended nature was something predictable and the loose ends are therefore acceptable, at least to me. The characters and a lot of their actions are questionable, but this felt very human and grounded. It also didn't feel like anything was particularly endorsed by the end (Hanamoto probably doesn't get his reciprocal love for instance). The series was very bittersweet, kinda like I imagine the sandwiches in the train scene to taste like with mostly sweetness and a bitter center piece, but largely great.
Edit: I didn't put it into a rating, because I don't use a relatable rating system, but rather my personal enjoyment level. Going by my kitsu ratings, this one gets a blue smiley, aka the best rating I can give, aka total personal enjoyment, which gets translated into 10/10 by exporting my list to MAL. If I had to rate it in MAL-terms, it's probably a 8/10. I disagree with character's and story elements, but that doesn't make the story or characters bad. I even found it rather grounded and realistic. You cannot choose who you fall in love with and sometimes you fall in love with the wrong person. We as humans also act morally wrong. A lot. Mayama is still largely a good person, Hanamoto is still not an unredeemable monster. We also fail to act. A lot. Most of us should know that feeling of missed opportunities in some capacity. Takemoto is an idiot, just like us. His idiocy was just a focus of a told story. Storytelling, characters, music and art were still superb, as far as I am concerned, and the only thing I'm really missing was definitite closure, which I wouldn't get anyway, and maybe about 3 more episodes, so some elements could have been developed a bit further. Pre-accident Hagu, Morita and Takemoto could have used some extra time for instance.
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Yamazaki and Nomiya have very different perception of Miwako. I for once would have no issues dedicating my life to keeping Miwako supplied with all the shrimp and sake she could ever desire.
Nomiya is having hard time keeping Yamada out of his head. Also, Yamada as Princess Peach is hilarious.
Miwako is in her massage chair and well on her way of reaching Lv.90000 geezerdom. I salute her noble efforts!
Rika is still in the dumps despite Mayama's attention. Something needs to change here before she goes back to dark zone. And that monologue was seriously depressing. Bad vibes.
Nomiya and Yamada on the phone. Nice. This here is healthy development.
I was wondering when will Nomiya finally crack but I wasn't expecting Yamada to crack as well. Still, 9 hour drive damn. Poor Nomiya, this is truly the pits.
For the record, Miwako really did a good job, we just didn't expect everyone to do good job simultaneously.
Nomiya is back and he just grabs Yamada's hand and hits the sack. To be continued tomorrow. This is adorable. 💖
And it's morning and Yamada is flashing (unconsciously) her legendary legs. Poor Nomiya, his character and mental fortitude are truly being tested.
Those unicorns had me in stitches, most hilarious thing in this show yet! 😁
Romantic walk on the beach. Awwwww.....
Time for Yamada to go back and Nomiya finally cracks open like a pinata and confesses. Train door closes at the perfect moment. This is why Japan's railway system is best on the planet. 👍
And Nomiya is now once again proud wearer of shit of adolescence. Sacrifices need to be made for someone you love.
[PROCESSING CAPACITY EXCEEDED] And Yamada is on the train with several hours of time to restore functionality and process everything... after she is done processing 3 days worth of food supply.
Unicorns must really despise trains... I wonder if reinforcements will arrive in time...
I absolutely loved this episode and my faith in Nomiya has been vindicated. Good job!
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