Honey and Clover 5 by Chica Umino: B+

honeyclover5From the back cover:
Takemoto is nearing graduation, but he doesn’t have a job lined up—he doesn’t even know what he wants to do with his life. His friends try to be supportive, but they have their own dramas to act out. With his health failing and his heart in turmoil, how will Takemoto find the strength to carry on?

I unreservedly adore the cover of this volume. Colorful whimsy is the way to get me every time, I think. Alas, I don’t have such effusive praise for the actual contents.

There’s nothing overtly bad. In fact, there is quite a bit that is good, including the truly excellent first chapter. Mayama quits waiting for Rika to make a move and, nudged along by his coworkers, manages to reinstate himself in her employ. He refuses to let her push him away and resolves that he’s going to eventually extinguish her wistful thoughts about joining her late husband on the other side. Later, Yamada receives marriage proposals from five childhood friends and finally understands how Mayama felt receiving a love confession from someone he cared about but only on a friend or sibling level. Lastly, Takemoto works himself into exhaustion and comes to some personal realizations—like the fact that through it all, Hagu was close by, watching over him—just in time for Morita to return.

What bothers me is that some of the attempted humor, mostly involving Morita, is just sooo over-the-top that it’s not funny. There are a few times when someone gets injured and a joke is made about calling the ambulance, but it’s hard to tell what’s an actual injury and when it’s only in jest. There’s a nurse who enforces hospital rules violently. There’s Morita’s surprising appearance at the Mocademy Awards and his subsequent acceptance speech/rant. It’s all just really… crazed. Even Morita gets some nice moments, though, like when he takes care of his drunken advisor after finally managing to graduate.

One humorous episode, though, was truly amusing. Takemoto’s graduation piece, a somewhat lopsided tower, confuses the judges until Professor Hanamoto gives it a title—Tower of Youth—and then suddenly the judges are teary-eyed, going on about youthful ambitions and vulnerabilities. Although the title wasn’t Takemoto’s idea, he does later decide that the tower represents himself and his aimless state, and destroys it, beginning anew on a new tower that represents his decision to stay in school one more year and find out what it is he really wants to do with his life.

All in all, definitely not a bad volume. Just a rather hyper one.

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  1. Danielle Leigh says

    I mostly read this title for Takemoto I think…I relate to him (which probably isn’t a good thing, I suppose). Otherwise, can we drown Morita? Most. Annoying. Character. Ever.

    • I can’t quite hate Morita, because he does have his good moments—particularly where consideration for Yamada’s feelings is concerned—but if there’s anything I dislike about a volume you can be sure that he (or Mayama’s irritating bosses) is behind it!


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