Honey and Clover, Box 3 – DVD Review

Review by: Brenda Gregson

Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 280 minutes
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Rating: Teen+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

This is the long but sweet goodbye.

It takes a lot to surprise a reviewer and even more so a reviewer who has seen it all (or at least thinks she’s seen it all), but Chica Umino’s story of art students trying to make sense of their emotions has proven to be an unpredictable journey that required three box sets to tell it. Honey and Clover goes well beyond being classified as just another shoujo story but, as we can see from Box 3 of Honey and Clover, a human story that is dramatic, sweet and simply brilliant. The end is here and it will not disappoint.

In the opening episode of Box 3, it is Yuta Takemoto who tries to put all the events that had happened since we first seen him set foot on campus into perspective. A lot has happened to him and the others and it is clear that their time together has changed each one thanks to Hagumi Hanamoto. Still, it is Takemoto who has changed the most and his long journey of self-discovery has hardened the young man to go after what he wants. Unfortunately, his confession of love to Hagu in Box 2 has lead to Hagu clumsily avoiding the young man.

Then there’s Mayama whose stubborn pursuit of Rika Harada has him putting his heart on the line to win over the woman who is stuck in the past. Working along side her, Mayama learns that she wants to visit her childhood home but can’t so he joins her on a little unscheduled jaunt to her home. It is during this trip that something changes for both Mayama and Rika. When Mayama finds out that Rika will accept a project in Spain without him, the young man realizes the reason she booked the flight and room for one person.

Alas, Yamada continues to suffer as she watches the man she loves grow farther and farther away from her. Morita wasn’t wrong when she said that Yamada is setting herself for some torture but the truth is a sad revelation. Is it really better to feel pain than to feel nothing at all? It’s a question that Nomiya – the young man who likes Yamada – does not want an answer to so he does his best to become a part of her life so she will turn to him instead. In a scene that has Yamada visiting Nomiya, it becomes clear that maybe there could be room in her heart for somebody else.

Still, one of the most interesting story is that of Shinobu Morita and his brother Kaoru whose quest for money was for one major reason … to exact their revenge. You see, their father was a brilliant and eccentric inventor who was the head of his own company until the boys’ uncle stabbed their father in the back by setting up a hostile takeover of the company. Ruined, Mr. Morita had no choice but to walk away and let the greedy head of Floyd Electric own all his inventions. Not able to walk away from this, Kaoru began a quest to not only get their father’s company back but get their revenge on the owner of Floyd Electric.

Since their uncle is dead, Kaoru focused his attention on the company that took everything from them and used Shinobu’s talent to earn more money to pull of their revenge. I won’t reveal how they do it but their confrontation with the head of the company leads to one of the best scenes of revenge. It’s so bad that it leave Shinobu with a bad taste in his mouth.

In the final chapter of the series, a strong wind pushes a glass pane a group of students were moving into the direction of Hagu. It’s a horrible accident that leads to the short girl to worry about her future because the severity of the wounds might result in her not painting every again. As Takemoto and Yamada trying to do their part to help her, it is Morita who sets off a chain of events that lead to one of the most surprising confessions of love. You really do not see this coming, I’ll promise you that. Plus, the confrontation between Morita and Hanamoto-sensei is priceless, as is the one between Morita and Takemoto.

In the end, nothing is as you would expect it to be as characters come to terms with their feeling and their situations. For some of the characters their fate is clear but for others it isn’t and Takemoto’s emotional goodbye is sure to bring a tear to the eye. Takemoto says it best when he says that all the things that happen to you, both good and bad, are memories that are the proof of your very existence.

Box 3 of Honey and Clover is a fitting end for a series that is nothing short of brilliant and profound. It’s been a fun and interesting ride but even all good things must come to an end as the series final episodes do a great job of closing the chapter of this very human tale. We will certainly miss all the great characters and the story that was good enough to make us laugh, cry and understand the little things that life has to offer. This is a definite Must Buy.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
Yuta Takemoto’s declaration of love to Hagu leads to some awkward moments together but an accident will change everything and the true feelings of an unexpected person will become clear. Meanwhile, the truth about Shinobu and his brother’s quest to make money is revealed and Mayama grows ever closer to Rika Harada. Things are never the way you might expect them, especially not in this series.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
The series certainly shined brightly on DVD and with animation this good you couldn’t ask for anything better … except for Blu-ray. VIZ Media definitely has to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon thanks to great-looking anime series like this one.

AUDIO QUALITY: B+
Once again, the Japanese voice actors are at the top of their game and this is the way I watch the series but the English dub is far from bad with great talent such as Michelle Ruff and Yuri Lowenthal among the cast. The music is still just as enchanting as the series with a number of great songs at various points in this last half of the series.

EXTRAS: C+
Unlike the last to box sets, this set doesn’t include too much extras but the one extra that is a great addition will be much appreciated by budding voice actors with the Voice Acting Karaoke feature. There’s also so Production Art stills, cleaning opening and closing songs and the Cultural Terms Reference guide. There are also trailers and other VIZ Media promotional goodies.

OVERALL: A
There are a very few anime series out there that really digs deep into your psyche to the point that you come to the realization that human emotion does have so many layers that you can relate to the story because of it. Honey and Clover is one of those series and, in Box 3, the finale will not fail to bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your face.

Review copy provided by VIZ Media

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