Honey and Clover Live-Action Movie Review

Summary (*SPOILERS*)

At a gathering at Hanamoto-sensei’s residence, students of the art college prepare for a meal. Takemoto-kun prepares some gyouza, Yamada-san prepares some other dish, and others do other things. A group of girls observe Takemoto and decide he’s dateless. Yamada sees Mayama and briefly loses herself. Mayama sees a postcard from Morita-san and discusses it with Hanamoto-sensei. At the meal, Mayama and Takemoto go to get some more beer when they run into a girl doing a painting. That girl is Hanamoto-sensei’s cousin’s daughter Hagu-chan.

The next day after class, Hanamoto-sensei places Hagu-chan in Takemoto’s care as he has to take care of business. While going around campus, the run into the newly-returned Morita who roughly demands to know who Hagu-chan is and without her permission noses through her art books, causing her to flee. Morita and Takemoto stroll through the campus where Morita is shown to be very popular. Meanwhile Hagu-chan flees far from campus and comes upon Yamada, who’s teaching children art on a hillside. Yamada and Hagu-chan talk and Yamada admires Hagu-chan’s work.

Morita tries to enter his room, but the stench forces him to flee. He then convinces Takemoto to allow him to crash in his room. We are shown Takemoto’s room and his love for model castles. Morita is sleeping but eventually he gets up and gives Morita a souvenir. That evening, the guys in the apartment start preparing some grilled squid when Mayama returns home. Entering his room, Mayama has a fantasy sequence where he is interrogated by detectives for stalking. Coming back to reality, he looks at the map where he’s been marking Rika-san’s activities.

On the way to school the next day, Takemoto runs into Hagu-chan and gets the courage to ask her to lunch. She agrees. This puts him into a good mood the rest of the day. Meanwhile, Yamada finds Mayama sleeping under his desk at one of the labs at school. He asks her to join him for lunch, but a phone call has him leave for a “job” and that doesn’t please Yamada. She follows him and discovers he’s following Rika-san. While attempting to hide from Rika-san seeing him, Yamada is caught. Because Yamada says something to try to explain her presence there, Rika-san notices them both. The trio then do lunch and Yamada sees things she doesn’t like. So when they go to return home, they end up going separate ways.

Hagu-chan is approached by one of the school’s sensei who wants her art entered into a competition, but not abstract art. Later, Hagu-chan meets Takemoto for lunch, but the crowded cafeteria has them leave for a little quite place Takemoto knows. The two talk and eat and plan to meet again. Takemoto goes to his job at the shopping district where he dresses up as a mascot. At Yamada’s parent’s liquor store, Yamada gives him a bottle of water during his break. They talk and its clear that Yamada wants to discuss Mayama, but Takemoto isn’t interested.

Morita sees Hanamoto-sensei and after they talk, Morita gives him a carved rabbit figure with wings. That night, Hanamoto-sensei gives the figure to Hagu-chan as a gift while they eat supper. The following day, Hagu-chan is inspired to do a large painting, but it is another abstract. Hanamoto-sensei looks admiringly as does Morita. Later, Morita starts working on his own wood art, which Hagu-chan admires. The two continue to admire each others work and it is clear that Hagu-chan is interested in Morita.

Sometime later, Hanamoto-sensei talks with Takemoto and since Morita has his art in a gallery showing event, he asks Takemoto to escort Hagu-chan and Yamada. Meanwhile, Morita comes upon Hagu-chan in one of the school courtyards and the two eventually proceed to use an old add billboard to create a new abstract painting. Later, Morita returns to his shop and the two gay brothers that run the gallery (I think that’s what they do in the movie, though in the anime they run a design company) are admiring his wood sculpture, which is not yet finished.

Back at his room, Mayama again fantasizes he’s being interrogated about his actions regarding Rika-san. Takemoto convinces him to come to the barbecue party for Morita that they are holding, which means food and drink well into the night. Mayama is depressed through the event and the next day goes to see Yamada in the pottery lab. She runs from him and he chases her, catching her in the courtyard. He tells her that she shouldn’t pursue him because his feelings won’t change. She sees this as being dumped. He goes to his job at Rika-san’s company where he finds that Rika-san is firing him, not for his work, but because of his feelings for her.

That night, Mayama, Takemoto, Yamada, and Hagu-chan go to Morita’s art showing. The event is a fancy affair which is a bit overwhelming. Hagu-chan sees the finished work of Morita and is not impressed. The piece sold for ¥5,000,000 and despite Hagu-chan’s disappointment, Morita blows off her concerns. Things get interesting when Rika-san arrives along with Hanamoto-sensei (they are old friends). The gay brothers make their greetings to the pair and Mayama (with Yamada close behind) comes to the group where talks continue. It is interrupted when Morita punches out an art critic. This leads to him fleeing the showing in anger, followed by Hagu-chan, Takemoto, Yamada, and Mayama.

The group walks and sees Mayama’s clunker car. Morita convinces the group to take a trip, so off to the beach they go with Morita driving. After letting off some steam, Mayama’s car won’t start, so they are forced to spend the night at a local resort. Yamada calls Hanamoto-sensei to let him know where they are. Morita plays the classic Space Invaders while talking with Yamada. Mayama and Takemoto take advantage of the men’s onsen and Hagu-chan takes advantage of the women’s onsen. After they’ve returned to their room and eaten, Takemoto starts to work up the courage to confess to Hagu-chan, but when Morita wakes up, that changes everything. He then destroys a wall-scroll and proceeds to make his own art from tea, which is a beautiful Japanese dragon.

The next morning, Hagu-chan is back at the beach and is joined by Morita. Morita and Hagu-chan talk and Takemoto eventually comes to the beach where he sees Morita kiss Hagu-chan before she runs away. This depresses Takemoto and he’s advised by Mayama to not give up. Back at school, Hanamoto-sensei sees something wrong with Hagu-chan and knows that something happened at the beach. He also knows that Hagu-chan liked Morita. He encourages Takemoto to talk with her, which he does.

At his new job, Mayama is doing the menial tasks for the others and is observed by Yamada from a great distance (and binoculars). She leaves and conducts another art class where Takemoto happens to pass by. The two talk for a bit about things not going well love-wise and how they want to be happy. Yamada decides they should hunt for a 4-leaf clover and gets her class to look on the hillside (filled with grass and not clovers).

Morita looks at his art piece and how it sold for so much money. He leaves and goes to the little eating establishment that Takemoto frequents. As it happens, Takemoto is there and the two have a talk. Takemoto isn’t happy, but is surprised that Morita hasn’t seen Hagu-chan since the beach. At the same time, Yamada comes upon Mayama as he sits outside Rika-san’s apartment. She drags him to Rika-san’s place and helps him get his job back with Rika-san.

Back on campus, Morita comes to the place where Hagu-chan does her work. Hanamoto-sensei is there along with Hagu-chan as the female sensei from earlier expresses her frustration over Hagu-chan not following her advice and abandoning abstract art. Hagu-chan flees and Hanamoto-sensei prevents Morita from following her. Hagu-chan runs and comes through the shopping district where Takemoto is working as the mascot. So when he grabs her, she doesn’t recognize him and flees some more.

Later, Takemoto visits Hanamoto-sense at his place and is told that Hagu-chan will have to work through her issues herself. In her room, Hagu-chan decides to paint a canvas black. Takemoto decides to help Hagu-chan by cleaning and repairing her paint brushes. It is then that he sees Morita on a TV show along with the gay brothers as they look at Morita’s art. He takes off on a bike to confront Morita over his actions. Takemoto is angry because Morita is the cause of Hagu-chan’s pain, so he feels that only Morita can help the situation. Morita disagrees.

Upon completing their conversation, Takemoto takes the bike and goes on a ride. Stopping at a vending machine area, he decides to run away on the bike and just go someplace. He rides through the night and eventually takes shelter at a temple to sleep. The following morning, he sees someone doing work on a “kashira rail” as part of the temple renovations. The man does the work seems sarcastically impressed with Takemoto’s knowledge, but sends him packing as an nuisance. So, Takemoto continues to ride and decides to go to the beach that the group had visited earlier. After spending some time there, he decides to return home.

At Hanamoto-sensei’s place, he again is having a party and Morita comes late. He goes up to Hagu-chan’s room and grabs her and leads her out of the place. They get into Mayama’s car and leave. Hanamoto-sensei asks Mayama if he’s OK with that and Mayama resignedly is. Mayama asks Hanamoto-sensei if he’s OK with Morita just taking Hagu-chan away like that. Hanamoto-sensei tells Mayama to take care of his own business, namely Yamada. That night, a drunk Yamada and Morita walk home. When Yamada can no longer walk, Mayama carries her on his back where she confesses her love for him, something he knows and thanks her for.

As Takemoto returns home, Morita takes Hagu-chan to the school and as she watches, he burns his art piece. Morita comments that he’s not burning his art, but cash. He further tells her that she’s not alone as she has friends in Yamada, Mayama, and especially Takemoto who’s very worried about her. Morita’s words comfort Hagu-chan and he tells her to thank Takemoto since he’s the one who got him to do this. He then tells her he’s leaving the country, which Hagu-chan expected.

Meanwhile, a van with the guy who was working on the temple offers Takemoto a ride. He tells Takemoto to go find himself, gives him a bottle of water and a new headband with his construction company’s name and phone number on it. The next morning, he comes to Hanamoto-sensei’s home where many students are sleeping all around. He smiles when he sees Takemoto head up to Hagu-chan’s room. Takemoto sees Hagu-chan about to start a new painting and when she notices him, he confesses his love for her, which seems to please her greatly.

Takemoto takes a job with the construction company, Morita goes to New York, Mayama gets a full time job at Rika-san’s company, and Yamada isn’t doing much. Hagu-chan does a new painting with the brush that Takemoto repaired and cleaned.

Thoughts

I’m not sure how this would be for me had I not seen the first Honey and Clover anime series. The core group in the anime are good friends on top of any unrequited love feelings they may have among themselves. I never really bought the group friendship in the movie. It was more like they were acquaintances who happened to be at the same school and through a “chain link” ended up together as a group.

Because there’s less time, the writers do a good job of at least setting up the unrequited loves. We see Yamada’s feelings and Mayama’s ignorance immediately. We see Takemoto’s “loser nice guy” right away, but the writers do have him ask Hagu-chan out which was cool. We see Hagu-chan’s attraction to Morita through his art and vice-versa. And we see Mayama’s feelings for Rika-san via his stalking.

While the unrequited love elements are here, the theme of this movie is about not giving up on your dreams. Mayama can’t give up on his dream of winning Rika-san’s heart. Yamada can’t give up her dream of winning Mayama’s heart. Hagu-chan can’t give up her dream of doing her own art. Takemoto can’t give up on his dream of doing the job he wants and winning Hagu-chan’s heart. And Morita…well, he’s a wild card in this I suppose. The actors do a decent job and you can see my comparisons here. Having seen the movie twice, I do like it, but it isn’t as good as the anime (one day, I must read the manga).

The R2 DVD has English subtitles. You can tell they were done by Japanese, but this isn’t a slam. They do a mild bit of domesticating for certain things, such as when the writing of Hagu-chan’s name in Kanji came up. They don’t use any Japanese honorifics except for “san” and they don’t use the normal hyphen to mark it (ie: “Morita-san” in the U.S., “Morita san” in Japan). The DVD also has audio commentary track. The 2nd DVD has a “Making of” documentary, a feature where all the main cast members sit around and talk (taking turns holding a video camera), and lots more.

Bottom line: Pretty good stuff for fans of Honey and Clover. I would love to see FUNimation license this for R1 though. ^_^

Originally posted at

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2 Responses to “Honey and Clover Live-Action Movie Review”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey – you have a screen grab of those beer vending machines I’ve heard you talk about. ha ha

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    *lol* Yeah, I did grab one of those on purpose to show a friend at work. Since I had it, I just decided to use it for the review (though I should have done a few more but oh well).

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