The primary time I watched Honey and Clover, I used to be in my freshman 12 months of faculty. My faculty was on the opposite aspect of the nation from town the place I might grown up, and I used to be having a tough time adjusting and discovering my folks. I knew they had been on the market, that I would just had but to come across them, however these first few months had been a lonely time. To me, Takemoto was having the perfect faculty expertise: a unusual, tight-knit group of buddies, a few of whom reside collectively, studying and rising, falling in love, and having misadventures collectively.
I obtained busy, as faculty freshmen typically do, and by the point I picked it again up once more in my junior 12 months, my life bore a a lot stronger resemblance to the characters’. I had moved to a special-interest flooring centered round music, not too far off from the artwork college students of the collection. Now I really was dwelling with a unusual, tight-knit group of buddies, studying and rising, falling in love, and having misadventures collectively.
There isn’t any single good faculty narrative that matches everybody’s expertise – I, for one, by no means actually associated to tales that emphasised ingesting and partying or Greek life – however Honey and Clover was the precise one for me. It approaches faculty as a sort of maturity with the coaching wheels nonetheless on, a time when you do not actually have all of it sorted out, however you are not anticipated to. Takemoto, Mayama, and Morita all reside in off-campus housing, a run-down condo constructing with low cost lease geared in the direction of faculty college students. They’re perpetually broke, by no means liable to shedding their house or ravenous, however they’re nonetheless studying to fend for themselves. A few of them work – Mayama has a part-time internship at an structure agency, Yamada helps out at her household’s liquor retailer, and Morita often disappears and comes house with pockets full of money – however others are supported by their households. Both approach, they’re largely splitting their time between pursuing their passions and bonding with their buddies.
That sense of freedom, of buddies as surrogate household, spoke strongly to me. Inventive folks, each the characters within the present and my real-life buddies, are inclined to have massive personalities. Maybe no person I knew for actual went gallivanting off for months at a time, solely to resurface accepting an award on TV, however I did know folks as good and unpredictable and egocentric as Morita, who barely handed their lessons as a result of they had been extra centered on their very own pursuits than their grades. Whereas Hagu’s childishness is definitely exaggerated, I had a pal who was an excellent opera singer however may barely perform emotionally. We had been all determining who we had been exterior the context of our households.
Residing in a dorm away from our households, like so many different faculty college students, we leaned on one another for emotional assist within the good instances and dangerous. We had been foolish and bizarre, each with and with out the help of alcohol, not often entering into precise hassle however doing the form of factor you’ll be able to actually solely get away with if you’re younger, like cramming 9 folks right into a sedan to get fondue downtown solely to find the fondue restaurant is closed, having a mud battle throughout a spring storm, or beginning up a brass online game cowl band and performing on the on-campus cafe. We gathered collectively for holidays like Thanksgiving and Easter away from our household when it could be too costly to fly house, forming our personal traditions, very similar to the characters’ yearly Christmas events.
All that was over a decade in the past; now I am in my mid-30s, married, and dealing full time. Once I determined to rewatch Honey and Clover, I had no concept how it could nonetheless really feel prefer it was addressing me immediately, however in a totally totally different approach. One among its most ingrained qualities, which I had by no means observed earlier than or maybe simply forgot, is that it carries in its coronary heart a deep sense of nostalgia. Takemoto incessantly pauses to replicate on how sometime, his faculty years and relationships will all move into reminiscence.
What’s extra, he is proper. It appears apparent, since for most individuals faculty is barely 4 years, but it surely’s laborious to actually internalize that as you are experiencing it. To me, and to many others, for these 4 years, faculty was all the things. It was my entire life. Whereas there have been loads of bumps and bruises alongside the best way, with messy breakups and rushed essays and dangerous hangovers, I couldn’t conceive of a greater option to reside.
However it did have to finish. I reside on the alternative aspect of the nation from my faculty, hundreds of miles away from most people I had these experiences with – though one does reside within the condo subsequent to mine. I like my job, my husband, and my buddies, but it surely’s not the identical as campus life. I am blissful, but it surely’s a special sort of happiness, and there are days the place I lengthy to return to the boisterousness of campus life. That is unimaginable, although – even when I had been to return to highschool, I can not reside my life like a 20-year-old anymore. Like Takemoto says, these emotions and experiences, the sense of almost unencumbered freedom, the one life I may think about dwelling, had been all destined to move into reminiscence.
Watching Honey and Clover as an grownup nicely out of faculty felt like having my very own nostalgia mirrored again at me, holding a mirror to the emotions I’ve by no means stopped holding deep inside and placing them on show. It makes me ache for these days once more, whereas reminding me that shifting ahead to the subsequent section of my life was obligatory. It’s the sensation of therapeutic, a reminder that the enjoyment of these years, the grief of them ending, and the contentment of an maturity I’m roughly glad with can all exist inside me on the similar time.
One among Honey and Clover‘s most iconic moments is the scene the place the group of buddies who make up the central forged are all looking a discipline of clover for one with 4 leaves. Once I consider that scene, I additionally see myself and my buddies enjoyable on the grassy hill between our dorm and the eating corridor, the spring sky a brilliant and clear crystalline blue, taking our time collectively without any consideration.
- Honey and Clover, Then and Now
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