Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Chica Umino
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat Manga)
MSRP: $8.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Takemoto’s long road to find Takemoto.
There’s a time in everyone’s life, whether you’re a youth still in school or a middle-aged person with a career, that you begin to wonder who you really are and what do you mean to the world around you? Like Tyler Durden does in the novel “Fight Club” you begin to question life as interpreted by a society of consumers. For the Hagu and Takemoto in Volume 6 of Honey and Clover, the question of what comes next and what will become of their lives begin to eat at their subconscious as one tries to make sense of it while the other decides to set out on a journey to find out who he is in this world.
Having pushed himself to the point of exhaustion in Volume 5, Takemoto was granted another year in school but this hasn’t calmed his nerves. You see, he has been turned down by just about every firm in Tokyo and it’s beginning to look like he might never find employment anytime soon. When a job opportunity comes knocking, by way of a former student of Hanamoto, that too falls apart. He begins to question himself and what will become of his life. So, one day, he gets on his bicycle and pedals away with no real destination in mind.
Before we get Takemoto’s journey, however, we jump to the beginning. Volume 5 ended with a sort of cliffhanger as Yamada runs off with Nomiya as Mayama runs after them and loses them in the crowd. What we find out, though, even though Yamada asked to run off with Mayama’s former co-worker (and ladies man), is that Yamada just meant to worry Mayama and nothing else. She spends the night with Nomiya but it’s not as scandalous as it might seem because the girl spends it drinking.
Meanwhile, Mayama and Morita are worried sick about her. It takes a hilariously crazy Morita to tell Yamada that she really worried the two of them and thus making Yamada think that there’s now no way she could ever forget Mayama. She even feels guilty of her hopes and wishes that Rika – the woman Mayama has been obsessing over – breaks his heart so he would forget about Rika and move on. On the other hand, there’s Nomiya, who Yamada begins to think about even when the young man leaves the city to work with the newly reunited Mario and Luigi for six months. This is quite an interesting development unfolding in the whole Mayama-Yamada love triangle.
When Mayama comes home looking for Takemoto and finds the young man missing, he tells Professor Hanamoto and it begins to worry the others. What had happened to him and why did he leave without his cell phone and other necessities? Hanamoto, Morita and Mayama even check out his bank statement so they at least know he’s not in the hospital or dead. Takemoto’s journey even inspires Morita to look for himself as well … although what he gets – thanks to his brother – is another job by “Space Titanic” director Peter Lucas.
Takemoto continues his journey and – having slept on the beach and on park benches at night – he continues to travel on with no direction planned. He realizes that he might look like a homeless drifter to those around him but he does meet some kind people along the way. Takemoto buys the essentials to continue moving but as for what he is looking for he still hasn’t found it in this volume so we are certainly looking forward to Volume 7. Surprisingly enough, after ending the chapter, Umino includes a bonus chapter about Yamazaki from Fujiwara Architects that’s actually hilarious.
Leave it to Chica Umino to take a journey to find oneself and turn it into a deeply engrossing and original story that strays far from all the usual clichés. If anything, Volume 6 is yet another one of my favorite volumes in this series … then again it’s no surprise considering how amazing this shoujo manga is why it continues to surprise.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
As Yamada begins to hope that Mayama’s quest to win Rika’s heart fails in hopes of finding her own happiness, Hagu begins to wonder what she wants out of her life outside of the school. Meanwhile, Takemoto grabs his bike and begins a long journey of self-discovery as he worries his friends and Professor Hanamoto.
You just have to love Chica Umino’s art and the way she twists expressions so downright hilariously. I still think this manga has some of the most interesting art and each cover is just plain gorgeous.
I would normally roll my eyes at stories about young men or women on a journey of self-discovery but Chica Umino’s ability to turn a familiar theme and add her own wonderfully unique twist topped with her enchanting sense of humor makes Volume 6 of Honey and Clover such a rare gem. Once again, we wish the next volume was here already.