Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Chica Umino
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat Manga)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The melancholy song of Ayumi Yamada.
If the person you loved the most wasn’t capable of returning your love, would you give up on this person and move on or would you hold on to that love because you lived with it for so long? This is the question that comes up in Volume 8 of Honey and Clover as Yamada watches Mayama gradually get closer to the woman he truly loves. Leave it to Chica Umino to make heartbreak so darn irresistible.
We have known from the very beginning that Ayumi Yamada is deeply in love with the young man named Takumi Mayama and know that Mayama has been practically stalking the much older Rika who is mentally and physically scarred by the accident that claimed Rika-san’s true love. As hard as it is to accept that Mayama might never return her love, she has decided to work for Rika-san’s office where Mayama also works. All those who know her feel that Yamada might be some kind of emotional masochist to be around them.
Aside from getting to be around the young man she loves, though, Yamada’s artistic craftsmanship has won over clients that Rika-san has set up for her. While her professional life seems to have improved greatly, her love life is in shambles as Yamada falls apart often as she watches Mayama and Rika-san interact. She learns more about the older woman from Professor Hanamoto who reveals little details about her past when they were art students. She also learns something about Rika-san’s personality and decides not to share it with Mayama. Let him figure it out, right?
As Yamada falls apart, Mayama’s old co-worker, Nomiya, begins to wonder about Yamada and gives her a call. He realizes that the girl is beyond depressed and takes it upon himself to pay her a visit. Meanwhile, Miwako – another of Mayama’s old co-workers – sends Yamada to see Nomiya in Tottori. While Nomiya doesn’t find her in Tokyo, he does manage to meet up with her back in Tottori where he uncharacteristically makes a confession that baffles Yamada.
On the Mayama-Rika front, the lovesick Mayama finds out that Rika won an international design contest when Harada was still alive and that meant she would be working in Spain to complete this great honor given to her in Harada’s place. Before she could make an official move, however, Mayama convinces Rika-san to visit her hometown and he actually accompanies her. It is in this trip that things change for Mayama and Rika and Yamada realizes this.
Haunted by Nomiya’s confession, however, Yamada just doesn’t know what to do as Nomiya comes to visit again. Having been comforted by Miwako – at a hilarious day at a spa – she feels that giving herself room to love somebody else might be betraying the love she harbors for Mayama. You just have to love Chica Umino’s beautiful prose as Yamada expresses her feelings of confusion. Some of us have been there before, Yamada, so we feel you big time.
While the majority of this volume is dedicated to Yamada and Mayama, there’s a few moments dedicated to Hagu and Takemoto … the latter wondering if his confession of love might have been a mistake. We also get another peek into what it was like being with Harada and Rika as Professor Hanamoto remembers a few specific memories about them.
Volume 8 of Honey and Clover speaks of a broken love for two very different women and the touching manner in which they want to protect that same broken love. Shoujo manga this good is a rarity but manga that is this beautifully written and meaningful is even rarer. It’s no wonder we just can’t get enough of Honey and Clover.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
As Ayu Yamada continues to work for Rika-san, she continues to see how Mayama’s relationship with the older woman is changing right before her eyes. Yet she also continues to cling to the live she feels for Mayama as all those around her – including Nomiya – try to help her move on.
This volume is just absolutely a visual treat thanks to the abundance of cuteness and comical scenes. Morita just keeps getting more off-the-wall crazy.
Maybe it is better to have loved than to not have loved at all but it is still heartbreaking to see Yamada protect the love she has for a young man who has eyes for a woman who doesn’t know how to pick up the fragmented pieces of her live. Volume 8 of Honey and Clover is a poetic if not meaningful volume that continues to make this series an undeniably rare gem.