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
At journey’s end, the only truth is that love will guide you home.
Pedaling across the open fields and through villages and towns unknown, Yuta Takemoto continues to bike his way onwards to a destination that is not clear to him. All he knows is that he doesn’t know who he is and what he wants out of life and that maybe somewhere out there lies the answer. In Honey and Clover, Volume 7, Takemoto reaches the end of his journey and makes a discovery.
As you can imagine, Takemoto’s delivery bicycle is falling apart and when it does he finds himself worn out and takes a nap not far from a temple. When he wakes up, he is surrounded by a motley crew of workers who have come to restore the temple. They not only invite him to eat with him but also come to work with them long enough for him to buy a new bicycle so he could continue the journey. Takemoto agrees and takes on the task of cleaning their clothes, cooking their meals and performing small chores in restoring the temple. Of course, there’s one young fellow he immediately despises Takemoto for obvious reasons.
As Takemoto impresses the crew with his efficiency, Yamada manages to make an impression on somebody the young girl never thought she would get to meet. You see, hanging out in the offices where Mayama use to work is Rika-san … the very woman that Mayama is in love with and thus the reason he pushes Yamada aside. As Yamada stammers and tries to find something to say to the older woman, it is Rika-san who begins the conversation and inquires about Yamada’s beautiful pottery work. As the young girl attempts to avoid Rika, it is the older woman who comes looking for Yamada to hire her on for a project. Yamada’s answer surprises even Mayama.
As the complexities of the love triangle take a most dramatic and hilarious turn (one that leaves Morita in the hospital), Hagu gets an offer to teach grade school children art. She accepts reluctantly and, seeing as she’s physically not much bigger than the kids in her classroom, she actually makes a good teacher. One of her students in particular wants more instruction to win an art prize and when Hagu discovers why she begins to weep (which makes her student weep) and finally shares a moment with him that inspires the youth. It’s clear that Hagu has found a place as a teacher.
Takemoto, on the other hand, thinks he found his place among the temple restorers and ends up realizing that he’s still just as clueless as to who his is and what life has in store for him. He discovers that one of the workers was on the same journey of self-discovery as well until he found the same workers. Offering him his old bike and maps, the crew sends Takemoto back on the road. It isn’t until the young man reach land’s end that he comes to understand that there is a place where he belongs and it is back him where his friends are and where she is waiting.
Needless to say, Takemoto’s return is monumental. He makes it his priority to see Hagu first and she is genuinely glad to see him … as are the others who see the change in the young man. While Takemoto says he didn’t really find himself, the reality is that he has found something even more valuable. What it is becomes apparent when he sees Hagu again to make his confession to her.
It’s good to see the gang together again as it was since Volume 1 and yes it’s a real hoot watching the five of them go about their wildly fun antics of the past. Even more so, it’s great to see more bonus chapters and in this volume we are introduced to Ninzaburo, a beloved mascot who managed to steal the hearts of even the coldest and meanest ruffians. You just have to read this bonus chapter, Honey and Clover fans.
Volume 7 of Honey and Clover, like past volumes, speaks from the heart and this time it is Takemoto who takes center stage. The fractured love triangle that is Mayama, Yamada and Rika-san comes to a fascinating collision as the three come together and yes we are dying to see what happens next with Volume 8. Once again, Chica Umino takes this story to a different and genuinely pleasing new heights.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
On his continued journey to find himself, Takemoto is discovered by a group of temple restorers who offers him a job that Takemoto takes on with much enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Yamada comes face-to-face with the woman who has stolen Mayama’s heart for so long. When Takemoto finally does come back home to the others, he makes a confession to Hagu who has taken up teaching art to grade school children.
Ok, now Chica Umino is just playing with us because just when we thought she has made the perfect Honey and Clover cover she goes and outdoes herself again. Volume 7 has a truly gorgeous cover and once again her art is one of the highlights of this manga.
There are certain moments in every manga series that fans are waiting and hoping would happen and in Volume 7 of Honey and Clover that moment is here when Takemoto finally comes home. His journey of self-discovery has led him down many interesting paths but the lessons he takes with him make this volume deep stuff, indeed.