Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Chica Umino
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat)
MSRP: $8.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
You just have to hand it to Chica Umino. She not only knows how to tell a deeply compelling and sincerely amusing story but she knows how to keep her manga’s loyal fans wanting more by the end of each volume. Well, at least, that’s how I feel whenever I finish a volume and after having read Volume 5 of Honey and Clover the waiting will be excruciating.
In the opening of Volume 5, Mayama’s workplace goes under a transition when the nutty pair of Mario and Luigi decide to break up the company in half. As it turns out, Nomiya (who was introduced in Volume 4) comes up with a plan that would keep Mayama in the city as well placing him back to the place he always wanted to be … by Rika-san’s side.
Yeah, you read that right. I won’t go into what exactly happened and what Rika-san’s reaction to having Mayama working with her again despite the history they have but the news reaches Yamada via Nomiya. It’s news that, of course, doesn’t sit well with Yamada and it does change the face of the relationship (or lack of a relationship) between them. It becomes clear to Mayama that Yamada isn’t acting like herself but that doesn’t stop her from kicking him around the way she does since the first volume of the series.
In the meantime, however, Takemoto had decided to put all his effort to turning in a final project worthy of his craft. Just as Hagu had turned to her art after the emotional blow of being kissed by Morita, Takemoto focused on his project enough that he totally ignored Hagu who shows up with a thermos and bread rolls for him to eat. Hagu worries for the young man whose tower has gotten way out the range of normal. In fact, Hanamoto even makes an effort to naming said tower that would give it some meaning to the old timers.
Unfortunately, the stress of turning in the project on time, sleepless nights and the lack of a proper nutrition leads to Takemoto collapsing in front of Hagu, Yamada and Professor Hanamoto. Rushed to the hospital, Takemoto begins to think back on his father who suffered from poor health as well as what would happen if he didn’t turn in his final project. When his mother and step-father come visit him, it is his step-father who has a solution. Why not stay another year at art school? He even offers to pay for school.
With these dramatic developments comes a truly unexpected surprise when Hanamoto brings a portable television for Takemoto only to catch the Mocademy Awards (that’s not a typo, it’s basically the Oscars). Accepting the award for Best Visual Effects for a movie called “Space Titanic” is none other than Morita. His lengthy acceptance speech not only makes Moscar history but he also threatens to sue the director and everyone else involved with the film he took care of all by himself. Another shock is that Morita is actually in the same hospital room as Takemoto.
Oh, but that’s not all because Morita manages to stun his old professor by actually completing the course after eight years of being a student at the art school. Thinking this was going to be the last they would see of Morita, there goes the crazy guy dressed like a kid on his first day of school when the art school reopens for the next school semester. Morita has enrolled in the painting department now. The final chapters of the volume definitely belong to Morita and his crazy exploits that you will really have to read for yourself.
On top of Morita’s hilarious moments, Yamada comes to hear from Mayama’s old co-workers that he’s been busy working with Rika-san as a two-person team. It not only hurts her to hear that but she finds Nomiya and the two rush off with Mayama running after them. What are Nomiya’s intentions? We have yet to find out and that alone has us wishing Volume 6 was already here.
Volume 5 of Honey and Clover doesn’t stray too far from the elements that made fans of the series fall in love with it despite the intriguing dramatic moments. I should say, Morita does know how to lighten the mood and so he does with his return. What we are dying to know is what will become of Mayama and Yamada’s relationship and how will Takemoto cope with his “rival” back in town? Oh yeah, this is definitely a series that keeps getting better with every volume.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Giving it his all now that the final project is due, Takemoto pushes himself only to find that he’s not only pushing away Hagu but also not taking good care of himself physically. Meanwhile, Yamada finds out about Mayama’s new job with Rika-san and begins to distance herself from Mayama. Oh, and Morita returns in a shocking turn of events. The manga even includes two extras at the end.
Once again, the art in Honey and Clover doesn’t fail to (A) put a smile on your face, (B) surprise you and ( C ) make you really enjoy how truly unique this manga really is among other manga of the same genre.
A number of surprising turn of events occur in this loaded fifth volume of Honey and Clover and believe me when I say that this just makes it one of the more absorbing volumes in the series. We also see the return of Morita, which injects his brand of hilarious antics to the somewhat serious tone of the volume. As I mentioned, we cannot wait to get our hands on Volume 6.