Thursday, December 17, 2009

Honey and Clover - Season 1

Honey and Clover is an interesting case in the world of anime. On one hand, at first glance it's totally creepy and strange. The story is about a group of art students at a college who spend a lot of time together, and how things change when a few of them fall in love with a new girl at the same time. Which would be fine and pretty normal, if she didn't look and mostly act like she was about 12. Her character is actually an adult and she's never really viewed or portrayed in a sexual context, but it can still be very odd at first. If you're able to get past that though, you're left with one of the best and most touching animated comedies I've seen in a long time.

Even when the show's just being goofy, which is a fairly common mode early on, it usually succeeds at eliciting laughter, at least pretty well for anime, which I often enjoy for its insanity but don't usually find generally humorous. As the show continues, it gets a bit more serious, focusing on developing the characters and their relationships. It never totally loses the sense of fun, with frequent returns to humor or just touching moments between friends, though it does get pretty hard at times. Romance is the ultimate goal, though it's generally of the tragic variety, with unrequited feelings and disappointments abounding. It doesn't quite gel perfectly with the comedy aspect, but it does sort of create a combination of emotions you usually don't see in animation. It's very bittersweet, and there's some sort of nostalgic aspect to it also. As far as shows that are actually intelligent and artistic, I haven't seen a lot better than Honey and Clover.

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