Honey and Clover Book 1

Missing Genshiken now that it’s ended? Try this series. The characters aren’t as fannish, but they’re all distinctly odd personalities with complicated interactions at school together.

Honey and Clover Book 1 cover
Honey and Clover Book 1
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The opening portrait of student life won me over, in which roommates can be bought with free food, griping all the while about the lack of meat in their diet. They’re familiar with each other, sharing living quarters, but they still have their own secrets and histories. Take, for example, freaky Morita. He disappears for days or weeks at a time, returning with lots of money only to fall into a coma-like sleep. It’s a mystery, and not one answered in this volume, although he’s the first character I felt like I had a handle on, due to his distinctive behavior.

With the others, it took a while for me to be able to distinguish them, just like getting to know a new acquaintance. Sophomore Takemoto’s the nice, loyal one, the closest to a regular guy. He’s still figuring out what he wants to do with his life. Mayama’s the third male, involved with two women, and then there’s Hagumi. She’s an 18-year-old prodigy sculptor, but she looks about 8 (that’s her on the cover). Takemoto and Morita promptly fall in love with her, although in Morito’s case, it manifests as taking of pictures of her as a fairy, which creeps her (and me) out.

The chapters are short slice-of-life stories that gradually reveal more about the group and their motivations. Especially Morita, where they conclude that his extreme independence, not knowing or caring what others think of him, make him both attractive and someone you don’t want to get too close to, because his not caring extends to everyone around him.

Not a lot happens, in terms of plot, but the cast is intriguing, with plenty of revelations and a whole range of emotional response. They’re drawn in a sketchy fashion, like the unfinished people they are. They grow on you, as you develop friendships with them. It’s just like college, with sudden realizations about what things mean and how people feel.

A live-action movie adaptation will be available on DVD in May.


  1. […] Joanna at Comics Worth Reading on Honey and Clover, v. 1. […]

  2. Oh! I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time; I remember seeing the anime several years ago and just falling in love with it. I agree that the stories with Hagumi sort of creeped me out, too (what is it with the Japanese and lolita-type relationships?) but it was really the main character, Takemoto, that kept me watching.

  3. It’s interesting to me to see how people react based on whether they’ve seen the anime or not, and which they encountered first. I’ve only read the manga, and your comments give me hope that Takemoto has a lot more development yet to come.

  4. I agree. I think that when you see an anime or a manga first, you are either a lot more tolerant of the other, or you are a lot hotheaded, picking on the slightest changes…

    I have to add that a drama is coming out in Japan based on Honey and Clover as well. Four ways to watch/read this will mean a lot of people are going to be interested.

  5. […] Alexander reads vol. 5 of Purgatory Kabuki at Anime on DVD. Johanna Draper Carlson checks out vol. 1 of Honey and Clover and Ed Sizemore recommends vol. 9 of Tail of the Moon at Comics Worth Reading. Michelle enjoys vol. […]

  6. Thanks Ms Chika Umino very much because she created a wonderful magan .It’s interesting!It’so fun!I have loved it in the frist time I read.I love Morita but I respect Takemoto’s lifestyle.
    “Honey and clover” broke the ice,border between strange people,between you and me.It makes us nearer.Because all us want to become happy life,true frendship and the most important is to find guide_life for each person.Right.Keep your own memory in your heart where is the deepest.Memories doesn’t disappear,do you?

  7. […] was the live-action version of Honey and Clover (subtitled). I’m curious about it. I enjoyed reading the manga, but I suspect seeing the characters “in person” would make them even easier to relate […]

  8. […] wasn’t as blown away by Book 1 as I’d hoped to be, after hearing wonderful things about this title, but after reading the […]

  9. […] an unexpected pregnancy for one of its title characters). It’s still available in book form. Honey and Clover, collected beginning in March 2008, is unusual in that its protagonists are male, art school […]

  10. […] because I enjoyed the live-action TV series so much. I feared I risked becoming a little tired of the story, too, seeing it a third time. Honey and Clover […]

  11. I’ve been reading the manga in Shojo Beat. I never knew Hagu-chan was 18… She looks a LOT younger! Anyway, I really want the first volume! =D

  12. […] series based on popular manga will be coming to the FUNimation Channel later this year: Nana, Honey and Clover, Monster, Buso Renkin (about a guy who fights monsters with his heart replaced with an alchemical […]

  13. […] Meiko is often aimless, the book is not. If you like Honey & Clover, try this for a more realistic, less wacky take on sometimes similar happenings. And be sure to […]

  14. […] The Honey & Clover anime first season is also now available on iTunes — and that series has the first episode […]

  15. […] Honey and Clover ($8.99), Chica Umino’s nostalgic look at art school; I suspect it was selected because it has various anime and film spinoffs also available […]

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