Honey & Clover II – episode 4

July 27, 2006 on 4:17 pm | In Honey and Clover | 3 Comments

“I won’t let you go anywhere”

Mayama cries and my eyes sting.


Mayama takes Rika to visit her old home.

I think that I’m much sadder for Rika than for any of the other characters in Honey & Clover. My eyes widened significantly with each new revelation about this utterly, utterly tragic character. I noticed with some disturbance in episode three that Rika was leaning dangerously close to suicide. As if he hates me, Kuroda Yosuke (and, indeed, Umino Chika), goes and confirms this for me in this episode.
The extent of Rika’s trauma is such that one can even forgive Mayama for his stalking because it turns out that she absolutely needs it. When the alarm went off and he seized Rika I was intensely worried for her, yet it turned out that he wasn’t just being possessive: he was deeply worried. If I could notice the death wish of Rika from a few scenes in a previous episode, there can be no doubt that Mayama, after four years, would have noticed this himself. The power of Sugita Tomokazu’s performance here makes Mayama his defining role for me, rather than his other work involving voice over. Sugita makes it perfectly clear that his feelings for Rika are not petty. They are possessive, all consuming, and necessary for survival.
It’s unfortunate that Rika felt that she had to use Mayama and manipulate his feelings in order to achieve her goals but perhaps, perhaps, she might come around. The situation is incredibly awkward, but that awkwardness must be nourished in order to avert disaster.

It’s not all present day worries, though, as we get to see the past that separated Shuu-chan from Rika. Shuu-chan reflects that in the past it was himself and “them”: three people but two entities. In a comedic scene of the three of them drunk at the seaside, we can see that Rika would follow Harada anywhere, even to this drowning in a “moon river”. Shuu-chan, being the pragmatist that he is, had to keep their wild and foolish impulses in order.
It was him that saved Rika in the early days of her recovery period, but eventually it got too much even for him. When you realise, in one of those orange stained rooftop scenes, that he was going to push her off so that she could be with Harada once more, it’s quite a shock. These scenes with Rika are by far the most heavy of any featured in Honey & Clover, certainly the most significant in real world terms. It’s painful to see that the two friends can no longer be together because they suffered the loss of Harada together. Shuu-chan, having known Rika in a time where she was happy, can perhaps no longer control himself, to do the romantic “right” thing. For Rika, Shuu-chan is of course a constant reminder. The help that they gave each other in the past can prove fatal post Harada, so all that Shuu-chan can do is encourage Mayama.

Honey & Clover is beautiful but painful. To see people so desperately unhappy, yet with happiness within their grasp if only they could recognise it, is not a lot of fun. I can’t blame the world at large for desiring some Takemoto triangle elaboration: his concerns are less dramatic and spring from more rationality than those of Yamada. His personal growth makes him one of the least stagnant of the characters and, put simply, he represents endurance and hope. We’ve got more Yamada next time around, though, so we’ll have to wait.


  1. Wow this was such a powerfull episode. I cried ( I am male) hahahaha

    Comment by Crybaby — July 29, 2006 #

  2. Frankly I felt a sick feeling in my tummy when Mayama slept with Rika.

    Comment by Pretty Bubble — September 29, 2006 #

  3. I agree w/ Pretty Bubbles. I couldn’t believe that happened and then all the sadness takes over.

    Comment by Rei — July 7, 2007 #

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