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My Favourite Anime Episode – Honey And Clover 2 Episode 7 (H&C II)

I have watched quite a few well-made anime series and they have had their fair share of  emotional or simply well-done episodes and scenes. Yet, somehow, I can say with utmost confidence that the 7th episode of the second season of H&C is the one that has affected me the most. It’s a bit surprising, because on the whole, I prefer the first season. The coming-of-age story of Takemoto is, after all, the thing I like most about the series, and it appears primarily in the first season, not the second. The same can be said of the friendship angle of the show. This episode, though, is – in a way – standalone from most of the ongoing threads of the series. Morita is present – but the focus is on Kaoru, as well as Morita Sr. and his best friend, Tatsuo. And this episode completely sheds any romance or romantic overtones. Many people complain that H&C II lost a delicate balance the show once had because it brought the romantic overtones too much into the forefront. I tend to agree, but this episode showed us how powerful Honey and Clover can be when it deals with pure human emotion.

But the episode isn’t standalone, is it? The themes which pervade this episode have been with us for a long time – they are a variation of what both Takemoto and Shuuji have gone through. In the episode, Tatsuo asks, “Why is the world split into those who are talented and those who are not? Those who are loved, and those who are not?” He watches from the sides as Morita Sr., his friend, seems to do all the things that he cannot, and he struggles to understand why it is so. Think about those words, and the characters we’ve seen thusfar. Takemoto looks in from the outside at his friends (Morita, and Hagu), realizing that it is a world that he is unable to enter. Shuuji thinks to himself that the three friends he was once a part of was, in reality, one and a pair. Although they were the best of friends, he was always separate from the other two. They seemed to posses something which he could never attain.

Similarly, in this episode, we see Kaoru, as a child, beginning to feel the same way with regards to his brother. Morita Sr. did not intentionally favour Shinobu – yet in the end, Kaoru felt neglected, and couldn’t understand why. All he saw was that Shinobu could so naturally do things that Kaoru wanted to be able to do as well, but couldn’t. Is it jealousy? Perhaps, yet that word seems inadequate. At the end of the episode, Tatsuo betrayed Morita Sr., but it wasn’t out of hatred. He says himself, that he wanted to truly understand if Shinobu was a mortal human, as he was. It sounds silly when I write it out like this, but it is easy to understand. He saw this man who seemed to posses the things that Tatsuo yearned for, through no fault of his own, and wanted to know what the difference between them was. Was it even possible for Tatsuo to understand Morita Sr? When things became difficult to handle, would Morita be revealed to be flawed fundamentally as others, or was he simply on another level entirely, one that Tatsuo would never be able to comprehend?

When Morita Sr. calmly tells his two sons to harbor no hatred for Tatsuo, Shinobu agrees immediately, but it is Kaoru who cannot forgive Tatsuo. It is because he sees in Tatsuo a reflection of himself, a confirmation of the very things which Kaoru has been feeling. The scene where Tatsuo looks forward at the split in the road is the message which Umino Chika has engraved deeply in her story. “Why is the world split….?” There are many people for whom a message like this barely registers, and yet there are certainly many for whom it will be a heart wrenching thing to hear. There are some who can drift through life easily and successfully, while others are cursed from the beginning. That “curse” can be in many different forms, whether drastic or minor, yet they exist through no fault of the “victim”. That is simply how it is, and nobody can change that. It isn’t merely a question of talent, but a variety of factors that affect one’s life due to uncontrollable things.  Tatsuo ponders this question, and then asks himself that if it is true, what was the purpose of his life? And that is an utterly tragic thing to hear and to see, but what’s worse is how genuine and realistic it seems. It doesn’t feel like the pen of a mangaka, it feels like the thoughts of a real human being.

Often I find myself thinking along these lines as well.  While there are many skills and abilities I have which have given me benefits and praise over the years, there are nonetheless also many things I lack, things which make a difference in one’s life, things which cannot be ignored.  Often, like Tatsuo, I begin to think that there is a sense of harshness to reality, in that some people are born with innate qualities that will give them benefits in life, while others are dealt different hands through no fault of their own and are forced to live out an existence which either can never reach that same level or must suffer a significant handicap.  Could one claim that life is merely a predetermined set of paths that arbitrarily rewards some and punishes others?

Perhaps it is futile to even attempt to delve into these kind of philosophical questions in the scope of an anime blog. In fact, maybe I am’ the only one who has such a pronounced reaction to an episode like this.  I certainly know many people who have seen this anime but don’t understand why I consider it my favourite.  In the end, it’s about whether you can relate with Tatsuo or not. All I can say is that I have never been as affected by any other episode of anime, nor series in general.

13 responses so far

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13 Responses to “My Favourite Anime Episode – Honey And Clover 2 Episode 7 (H&C II)”

  1. johnon Dec 14th 2008

    I have to agree. I am very huge fan of honey and clover, and no other anime has ever striked such an emotional chord within me as this one. And I curse the fact that this was the first ever anime I ever watched, as all other series now seem shallow. When you’ve got a masterpiece, everything else feels a tad bland =(

    As you said, Episode 7 has got to be my favourite episode of the second season. Some people think that Honey and Clover is just your average romance anime, but there’s just so many other themes it explores. Surprisingly enough, my favourite parts of the anime isin’t the love triangles, but the other human themes it explores. Takemoto’s confusion about his direction in life, Hagu’s talent, and its effects on her , Kaoru’s inferiority complex, Shuu’s grief about Harada, and how he’s trying to fill the void that he left behind….to say it was just a romantic comedy would be ignorant.

    There’s this line Tatsuo says , “Break me completely and return me to the mud” or something along those lines. Here’s how I view the episode (I hope you don’t mind me rambling, I can barely find anybody to talk Honey and Clover with. I’m about 18, and most of the people about my age I know find this series incredibly boring or “emo”)

    I think why Tatsuo decided to betray Tsukasa was because he wanted to bring him down to the same level as Tatsuo was. He wanted to see how Tsukasa would react when he had lost everything, in a similar state as Tatsuo. And I felt that he was crushed at the way Tsukasa reacted. While Tatsuo reacted blindly to his feelings, betraying the man who had always been his friend, Tsukasa didn’t stoop to his level, even when Tsukasa lost his company. He continued to be the “light” he had always been, and thats what I think Tsukasa meant when he told his children to run to the light, and not let the dark feelings overcome them. There’s a few lines that stuck to me for a long time even after watching the episode. “I feel like I can sleep forever now” or something like that. This, coupled with the other line, showed how Tatsuo felt. That he realized that Tsukasa was a truly great man, and I think that really crushed him. And I agree with you about Kaoru. He saw his own reflection in Tatsuo, and I loved the way that the same scenario was repeated, albeit in a slightly different way. Kaoru was consumed by revenge, and the need to prove himself, that he became obsessed with buying back his father’s company. But he, like Tatsuo, felt hollow after the “victory”. But, the difference between the two was that Kaoru got the chance for redemption, by giving his father’s old house to the company’s owner.

    The “where do the paths split” part really resonated with me. When he turned around, and when he thought that maybe everything was decided since birth, I knew that this would be the one episode I will remember, even when all the others have left my memory.

    *Sorry for the super long comment. I just felt I needed to share this with someone who loved this episode as much as I did. =D Do contact me if you want to discuss further =)

  2. adminon Dec 14th 2008

    Thanks for the comment, John. I can completely relate with what you’ve said – it’s hard to really enjoy other anime when you have such a top-notch series to compare it to. If you haven’t seen them already, give the films of Studio Ghibli a watch (like Grave of the Fireflies, or Whisper of the Heart) for some more high quality anime. I also agree with you about the romance part – the most effective and memorable parts of the series for me were the things you discussed. Self-discovery, talent vs. ambition, friendship, family bonds (such as Takemoto and his father vs. stepfather, or the Kaoru’s resentment of his father’s treatment of Shinobu). There is so much utterly human emotional content in this series beyond just romance, and that’s what sets Honey and Clover so far apart from other relationship dramas. I’m around the same age as you are, and I have to be honest and agree that I don’t know anyone with whom to discuss this series. They are too into shows like “Death Note” and “Naruto” to tolerate a series like this.

    I think you have written Tatsuo’s motivations very well. In my post I wrote that he wanted to see if Morita Sr. was truly a human like him with all the same weaknesses, and you’re right, he wanted to bring Morita-san to his level, to lose everything, and discover if Morita would succumb to the same feelings which plagued Tatsuo. Of course, he did not. You know what the strange thing about the Morita storyline is? If you grew up in North America, the phrase of “go towards the light” has become a cliche that is used for laughs. Yet I never felt this way when I was watching Honey and Clover, just because of how well-done it was. Like Tatsuo, Kaoru wasn’t able to willingly go “towards the light”, because unlike his father, he couldn’t shed his inner feelings of resentment and simply move on. Morita Sr. knew that harboring over your negative feelings produces nothing worthwhile.

    I also think it’s really interesting to look back at the first few episodes, when Morita left for Los Angeles, and Takemoto followed him in Kaoru’s car. Kaoru seemed like such a different character back then, but remember when he asks Takemoto, “Do you want him to come back? Or do you want him not to come back?” Takemoto wonders why Kaoru asked him such a question. Knowing now what we know about Kaoru and his relationship with Shinobu, it’s interesting to think about his question, isn’t it? Perhaps he could see a bit of himself in Takemoto as well.

    Back in the days when I participated in Honey and Clover discussions as the show was airing, a lot of people seemed to really skip over a lot of the Kaoru storyline, I guess because he wasn’t a “main character”. I think the Morita-Kaoru story is one of my favourites, no matter how “minor” it is, in any anime. By the way, if you haven’t already, you might want to check out the other post I wrote about Honey and Clover, it’s rather long =)

  3. wizarcaneon Mar 21st 2009

    Wonderful review I’d say. And I agree, this is one

  4. wizarcaneon Mar 21st 2009

    Wonderful review, I’d say. And I agree, this is one of the best episodes of Honey and Clover. I just watched this episode last night and still I’m watching it over and over again specifically on the scene where Tatsuo was confined in the hospital.

    In reality, this is what people, including myself, feel the same as Tatsuo felt. Some sort of insecurity is growing to a person who seem ‘behind’ or incompetent as compared to some people who are gifted enough and surrounded by people who love them. Nevertheless, this served as an ‘eye-opener’ to me.

    This anime is truly realistic. People who are melancholic in nature should watch this, although I’m not sure if this would inspire or destruct their lives. I won’t go further into details anymore ’cause you have elaborated and reflected well on the episode.

    How I wish I get to know more movie and series, not only limited to anime, which come with the same genre/theme. Cheers!

  5. Cristianon Jun 17th 2009

    Nice review and I agree that this is possibly the best episode of the series. I would like
    to forward a little suggestion though, that I believe the anime subtly hints at as well. I
    believed that both Kaoru and Tatsuo were being blinded by their lack of skill in a certain
    area, that they missed out on their good parts. Living always in the shadow of the light
    that was Morita, or his father respectively, they begun to think that this was the model
    of a successful, talented man. And while their personalities were indeed exemplary, life
    is far more complicated than creating a clear split in the road, or easily pointing out
    the weeds from the roses. It became more of an intrinsic frustration of theirs, than a
    rational observation, but needless to say I understand both their feelings and the writer brings the characters to such a stage where such questions flow naturally.

    But as I was saying earlier, it is subtly, suggested that these 2 have
    extraordinary skills. In the episode with Tatsuo, it is Tsukasa himself that while working
    in the office and giving Tatsuo permission to buy more stock, says that I’m leaving this
    to you as I’m not good with these sort of things. The reason I bring this up, is because
    had this line and scene been placed at some other time, its impact might have been
    mitigated, but it seems explicitly placed right before the moment of betrayal and while
    Tatsuo’s motives are being revealed through interior monologue in parallel. The contrast is effective and it points out that perhaps, without the financial skills of his friend, Tsukasa couldn’t have applied his great mind to begin with. And this too is an aspect of life where many great people lack other skills that would have prohibited them completely from reaching those heights. The sad part is that these men in the shadow, not receiving the recognition that our society only bestows on some skills, doubt their own purpose in life.

    The writer goes on to mirror this episode in the story of the two brothers, but note the
    catharsis that we uncover at the end of this story. Upon leaving for his own self-discovery journey, Morita is told by one of his brother’s associates that Kaoru will be
    fine, because he has great imagination, talent and energy… and let’s face it – to have
    built such an empire and systems that swindle 50 yen from all the children in the world 😉 it takes skills. In retrospect, Kaoru and Morita are reenacting Tsukasa’s and Tatsuo’s parts, on a larger scale and in a different timeline. They also bear with them the knowledge of what has happened and that’s what is saving them. They have only different skills, it’s not a matter of who is worst or better, just a matter of perspective. Morita is great at doing jobs that require a lot of talent, but all the organizing and leadership were Kaoru’s.

    On the other side, Morita himself understands this and battles the notion of talent, in
    the name of which people love, hate and generally throw any other emotion they can muster at you :P. In a moment of existentialist philosophy, he tells Hagu that a man mustn’t necessarily leave anything behind, just living is enough… well, it also turns out that moment was one of weakness for him, but he does raise a point… there’s little purpose in doing anything that does not bring fulfilment to you… if you’re going to paint, paint because you can’t live without painting, because it gives purpose to your life, like Hagu does, and not because you want to prove a point, or otherwise. In finding this activity that gives purpose and meaning to one’s life, it can generally be assumed that you have also found your forte, the light that will not fade no matter what, as Tatsuo calls it.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I really felt like writing it after reading your review
    and I thought it might help if you ever get a chance to read it. The episode is truly a
    magnificent display of storytelling in the medium of animation.

    On another note, thank you so much for the fugainaiya (soundtrack version) piano score sheet. It would have been great if you had the split soundtrack version as well – that does incidentally appear in episode 7 when Tatsuo gives Kaoru the news of his company being taken over and then faints with the smile on his face… beautiful scene, beautiful pacing, beautiful music :)… I love the ball falling from the sky, almost as a ball of light, and him turned away, the intercuts, the color palette, the mise en scene… ah but there’s too much to say and this is just a comment.

    So don’t worry too much, there is no actual split in the road, it’s just us humans that creates it. You can arrange music for piano, I can’t. But I can do other things. 🙂

  6. adminon Jul 17th 2009

    Hey Cristian, thanks so much for the comment. I’m so glad that people are inspired to write these long comments and have detailed discussions about these things. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who ever takes these stories so seriously, they move me so much emotionally while others seem to just consume it as entertainment than move on. But moments like these are forever etched in my mind.

  7. Turtleon Aug 22nd 2009

    First let me say I commend you on this article as well as your other H & C piece. It is extremely comforting to see that there are other people out there who had began to watch this anime with the hopes of getting some mild entertainment value out of it. Only to be thrust back when it begins to touch on very sensitive life issues that quite frankly are never really brought up in your average day to day conversations. I can also relate to how you feel about H & C II episode 7. Well in the sense that that when you say that that episode will be forever etched in your brain, that’s the same way I feel about H & C II episode 6. See I’m a fictional writer and my head is always filled with different stories, and so I map it out in my head and start to put it on paper. But as you must know it consumes a lot of time to do this. So when I saw the scene of Hagu working on a project and then she turns around and sees the light rising to reveal all the boxes and she say, “I want to open all of these boxes but, a mortal life span is too short to do such a thing.” While at the same time this beautiful piano melody, (which is not only soothing in nature) but providing weight to the words she’s saying. I literally clutched my chest involuntarily because it struck me out of nowhere. It really hurt me because I realized that I was doomed to that same fate. It’s as if she voiced out loud what my subconscious dared not to speak. Then I also began conclude that even throughout history of all the greatest actors, writers, musicians, politicians, artists, scientists, and other people who were deemed the masters of their crafts. Despite all their talent and good fortune they would never be able to reach their full potential to investigate every idea or settle every little problem. Now I know some people would merely see this situation as common sense, that you can’t live on forever and that there is no way to fix that problem so you shouldn’t dwell on it. But it is still something that is bothersome to me. Well I’m terribly sorry for all of this rambling I know it was quite long. However I would again like to extend my deepest gratitude to you and the other people that feel so deeply about H & C, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one.

  8. Theowneon Aug 22nd 2009

    Yes, I found the scene with the light enveloping the unopened boxes to be very moving as well, and very tragic. There is so much in this world to experience and also so much to accomplish, but no time….. Think about all the fields of human learning, literature, art, music, science….., yet even one of these fields is too much for a single person to handle within their lifetimes. So all we can do is resign ourselves into neat categories that society hands us and follow through on one chosen path, hoping that this is the path that we will least regret.

    H&C is already a little-known anime, but all the H&C fans I’ve known just seem to like watching the romantic subplots and think its just an anime like NANA. Only on the internet can I find H&C fans who can see the deeper points, the comments on human nature which are so astute and so honest.

  9. ika chanon Sep 5th 2009

    …I don’t know too…but this anime seems to be my favorite…for as long as I can remember. The moment I saw it…I already knew it was going to be good…and it did…and exceeded all my expactations…I remember I used to cry a lot when I watch the anime…(and I’ve seen this for like what? 3 times?) Gosh! The whole story really hits me… the ‘Ayu – Nomiya’ story…I really could relate to that…(I cried so hard when I found out Mayama and Rika “got together”) …I felt it was so sad…

  10. aiayumion Mar 4th 2011

    I agree with you completely. This ep left a huge impression on me, even the first time i watched this series (i’ve rewatched it 3 times now). I was still young and didn’t understand a lot of the stuff being said in the series, but this ep alone hit me hard and straight in the heart. I remember crying so hard when I watched this ep, esp during Tatsuo’s talk with Kaoru when he’s carrying him on his back, Tatsuo under the purple sky, and when he was lying in hospital and Morita’s dad kept on repeating “I will never forgive you…even if you reborn a hundred times over…”

    I think everyone will relate to Tatsuo some point in their life, unless they are Morita…but ppl like him are rare, and you’ll def find someone better than you some point along your life. I cried really hard because I related to him completely, crying for myself in a way too, because that’s something you can never change. Which is why I understood completely when Tatsuo sold out the company…it’s as if to show Morita’s dad “I can finally top you once…” But Morita’s dad ultimately won in the end, because he is kind-hearted. THAt is the light Tatsuo can never destroy…not his ingenuity

    You are def not taking this story too seriously. This is how deep H&C gets, it’s MEANT to convey this much…which is why I love it to indescribable levels. All of its analogies and symbolism…regardless if it’s Takemoto’s bike ride, or Hagu’s box opening…H&C talks about life on so many levels it’s life itself! Many ppl fail to see that. I feel a pity for them, because they failed to see the true beauty behind H&C, and only get caught up in Yamada/Mayama/Rika love triangles etc. That’s only a surface fragment, a drop in the sea of this magnificent work 🙂

  11. Sorkinon Mar 24th 2011

    I completely agree with you, this is probably the strongest episode in this series. But Turtle also has a valid point with episode 6.
    I can relate with both since i’m a writer and i keep having ideas that i want to write about, but ultimatly i can’t help but to relate with Tatsuo, because of my insecurity about my work and finding that there is always someone better and more talented no matter how hard you try. It’s unbelievable how much that can destroy a person and fill him/her with negativity, but no matter what you can’t help but to sympathyse with him.
    Both are very powerful episodes that duelve on purpose, achievement, meaning, and many other topics.
    But they aren’t the only ones.
    I watched this at least 2 times.
    This anime touches interpersonal relations and manages to keep a realistic feeling giving the characters time to explore themselves and what meaning they want to give to their lives. While doing that the viewer can’t help but to feel involved, especially if the viewer has been through college and young adulthood. It’s so rare to see such a thing that i can’t believe how lucky i am.

  12. StrawberryCupcakezon May 4th 2011

    First, let me thank you for putting this one aspect into the light; you dont know how happy it made me to find this one single blog post that didnt just delve into the fluff layers of Honey and Clover, the romantic triangles and love. Im 16 and this would be my second go ’round of looking at this anime, but its so hard to find people my age to have a indept conversation about this anime, they all think its either “boring” “emo” or not enough “action” for them. But to me, its so much more; this was one of the few animes that actually got me to cry, that I could relate to in a way I couldnt connect with any other anime with. I remember the first time I watched ep 7 of season 2 I didnt really understand and waved it on, however, with episode 6 (which happens to be my favorite) I couldnt help but just stare at the screen in utter hopelessness. It was like, at that single moment, when Hagu talked about boxes and lifetimes, she truly understood me in away I couldnt even admit to myself. I remember after she had said those words, I could feel the tears falling down my face, as I stared at the screen in confusion and sadness, because here it was, a complete animated character, who wasnt real in any sense, could sum up my biggest fears and I could relate to more then my own friends and family in that one instant.I couldnt believe it, and this day, just thinking about gets me alittle sad, which just goes to prove that this anime/manga series is truly one of a kind

  13. Arielon Apr 22nd 2015

    Thank you for a wonderful review!
    Honey and Clover are amazing series and this episode was a true diamond.
    I could totally sympathize with both Tatsuo and Kaoru. Having an example of someone you will never be; someone who has everything you dont and is everything you aspire to be constantly by your side is REALLY HARD. Whether it is a best friend or a sibling (though, in terms of siblings it gets even harder) you cant not to compare yourself with them. Tatsuo has always been by Tsukasa side. He was his best friend and yet, he always felt worthless. Tsukasa was extremely talented, confident, bright and loved by everyone. He was like a star. Even the girl Tatsuo liked (or maybe loved, who knows) was charmed by him and eventually became his wife. Tatsuo Negishi led a pretty lonely life. Look for yourself:
    1)His father is gone
    2)He has to take care of his sick mother who seems to also have some problems with her memory.
    3)He has no wife and children; he is all by himself
    4) He is terminally ill
    Damn, can it get any worse?! I am not defending him for betraying Tsukasa. He acted mostly in terms of convincing himself that he will never catch up to him. Thinking ‘why is the world divided on those who are talented and loved and those who are not’, ‘what was the point of my life’, always watching from the shadows. Geez, that sure is a painful way to lead ones life!
    And the way Kaoru connects to him is uncanny.
    If there is one thing i blame Tsukasa for is him not being able to see the burden that his best friend Tatsuo and his son Kaoru had to carry all along. I feel like he never paid much attention to both of them. I mean, how could he not notice that Negishi is terminally ill as well as his pain? How he could not see that his oldest son is lonely and desperate for his attention?
    I feel so sorry for both of them and i hope they will find their own happiness (Tatsuo in afterlife and Kaoru in his future earth life).
    P.S – i, myself, believe that we are all stars and each of us should strive to find their own light. Constantly comparing yourself to others will bring you nothing but despair. Like G. Allan said: ‘You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.’ There will always be people who are more talented, attractive or sucessful than you are but its not a reason to give up. Compete only with yourself and treasure what you have.

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