Honey & Clover II – episode 6

August 10, 2006 on 7:00 pm | In Honey and Clover | 5 Comments

“We were never to go to the beach”

Wait a second, even that episode title is a spoiler! That’s right: in this episode, the characters of Honey & Clover fail to go to the beach.
Otherwise we get a rare episode that provides insight into every character: an ensemble piece based on an ensemble that isn’t assembled. It’s really quite beautiful.

Spoilers within! The Morita Family motivation revealed!

Morita remembers his childhood, when his father owned the Morita Technological Research Institute.
Mayama goes to Spain to save Rika from the dastardly Mac Carlos (bringing a much needed dose of Rika comedy along), and Yamada is not tearless but copes better than she might have before.
Takemoto sees his work as boring and endless, while Hagu realises that she will never be able to achieve everything that she wants to in life. Maybe if she had someone to assist her in her battles, she would be able to do more …

It’s surprising that everyone of the core cast of six manages to get so much done in the space of 23 minutes. I am not complaining, because the Honey & Clover team is a large part of the appeal of the program. As good as episodes focusing on individual characters are, it’s easy for one to find oneself longing for the others. To unite them all in this fictional context is nothing short of a glorious rain of love upon the audience.

I never really wondered about what Morita had been doing until, a couple of months ago, my friend Kim attacked me with questions about the nature of his occupation. Now I finally understand what the pursuit of money is for: Kaoru and Morita want to reclaim their father’s company. Father Morita was a man very much like Morita: charismatic, vaguely threatening and caring.
You can see in the scenes where he interacts with his sons when they were children that he loved both of them, but the framing and scene selection implies a feeling of abandonment on the part of Kaoru. This is mere speculation but, as he is the one dedicated solely to the pursuit of Morita Technological Research Institute, I think that Kaoru is trying to gain his father’s “approval” (although I am guessing that said father is long deceased).
Morita is, of course, willing to help, but he wants to lead his own life. Family matters take precedence, however, and this is why he finds himself unable to help Hagu-chan in her artistic quandary. Until Kaoru’s grand designs are realised, Morita cannot be free. It’s something more complex than I can adequately explain, but this obligation to chase someone else’s dream is beautiful in its tragedy.

On the Yamada front we get Nomiya being understanding and comforting, which means I can barely remember how much I hated him in the past for being a tough loving bastard. Nomiya is emerging as one of the heroes of the season and I think that the more time he spends with Yamada, the more normal she will become until she reaches the point of becoming a normal young woman with artistic talent.
Unless she’s one of those people in whom the talent dries up as soon as the tears do, which would be a terrible irony. Now she can see Mayama in an almost friendly light, though, so the future may not be bleak.

Then, of course, we’ve got the parallel situations of Takemoto and Hagu, the only characters still actually art students. (Morita is a student too, but we never see him working). Takemoto has become stagnant and passionless in his creations: he is making something big, but he doesn’t feel it. Hagu, conversely, has too many ideas and she appears to want to commit none of them to canvas due to her intense uncertainty about her place. The two may be able to help each other, but they are drifting apart. Takemoto may not even be conscious of the problem faced by Hagu. The withdrawal from each other is going to hurt both of them. While it may sound silly, a meeting of the artistic minds is in order.
The method by which we came to understand all of this about Hagu was great, too: we’ve never before had a Hagu internal monologue. She normally does not receive much in the way of dialogue, so this was a much needed insight into her character. I love Hagu when she’s looking mature, because it lends a much deserved seriousness to her. She’s a somewhat tragic figure, and you can’t help but feel for her.
With a Morita voice over, this show will be complete.

The ideas of this episode are disparate, yet when the characters can all rally around one idea (which somehow transplanted itself across to Morita and Mayama, who were not present), they are as one. Honey & Clover continues to rock because there are parts of it that I can identify with, and the story is well told besides.


  1. Actually, there was a slight hint as to what Morita does to get all that money in the first season in the hot spring episode. The hint is where he was able to duplicate a piece they wreak with soy sauce in a matter of minutes. That could very well imply that either he’s very talented, or his side occupation is as a professional art replicator. Actually, it takes talent to do that too. Fine art cannot be photo copied, which means if you’re good at making very realistic replicas by hand, then you can get paid handsomely in a short amount of time. However, something like this is purely by commission only and many times not very legit, which is probably why they never elaborate on it.

    That has been my ongoing hypothesis as to the massive money flow, at least.

    Comment by weirdofu — August 10, 2006 #

  2. excellent summary and analysis. the only point where i’d disagree would be regarding Takemoto.

    i don’t think the episode saw him being stagnant and lost – the opposite in fact. in series 1, he was always unable to finish his graduation project: it was too big for him to get his head around, too momentous to step back from. however, as we see in the episode, having completed a task – riding to the end of Japan – which other ppl thought was momentous, he now knows how to approach his graduation project: one step at a time, left, right, left, right.

    he had been concerned in series 1 that he hadn’t done anything, that he wasn’t going to leave a mark on the world – but now, having completed his ride, he’s realised that the way to complete momentous things is to focus on the process, not be intimdated by the end product (or lack thereof).

    which was why we saw him making real progress on his graduation project: he had worked out a way to complete it – by seeing it as another long, endless task, just like his completed bike-ride.

    but i agree that he’s the clear candidate to provide Hagu with the support she’s craving. we just have to wait fr Hagu-chan to realise this as well…

    Comment by sean — August 11, 2006 #

  3. Ah, the problem is this – Hagu has two choices; the choice who can challenge and inspire her (Morita), and the one who can support her and provide for her emotionally (Takemoto) in a manner similar to Shuuji. She seems to like Morita more, as witnessed by the way she got flustered about him in Season 1, but Takemoto was there for her when Morita wasn’t… well, up till the end when he’d run off on his bike ride.

    That’s the problem – she doesn’t really seem to see Takemoto as a possible partner, the way Morita may be – he can’t push her as an artist to excel, merely encourage her and keep her going along her current path. Takemoto may be able to help her achieve her goals… maybe. Morita probably could, but he’s keeping himself distant from everyone – just witness the way he buggers off or starts acting the part of a jester the moment things get too personal.

    Comment by Haesslich — August 11, 2006 #

  4. Morita. Definitely Morita.

    We do have some other clues on how he makes money – working for George Lucas, on at least one occasion. Basically, he seems to be preternaturally skilled at anything he turns his hand to, and willing to work long hours and spend the absolute minimum, even to nearly starving. The combination offers all kinds of ways for him to make money.

    Comment by HC — August 11, 2006 #

  5. Sean: I concur with you and no longer know what I was thinking.

    Comment by Alex — August 15, 2006 #

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