Final impression of this series noted in the end. =)
Episode 11: “A love to be proud of” (series finale)
BRIEF SUMMARY: Hagu is missing from the hospital causing Takemoto and Shuuji to frantically look around for her. Unbeknownst to them, it was Morita who sneaked her out. Meanwhile, Hagu and Morita have a talk whilst Nomiya drives all the way from Tottori to Tokyo.
Hagu tells Morita that she’s afraid of the possibility of not painting anymore. She felt like giving up at first but then started to finally feel pain in her right hand, so she will do her best to recover and pain something worthy of Morita’s praise again. Morita says her passion for painting is the reason why he likes her. He takes her back to the hospital, earning a push and a shove from Shuuji.
Nomiya arrives in Tokyo and shows up at the pottery studio, surprising Yamada.
Yamada: “Why are you here?”
Nomiya: ” You cried right? You tried to be strong and pretended nothing happened. That’s the reason why you hurt more than other people. I understand because you’re the only one I see. Don’t cry alone anymore.”
Yamada is speechless, realizing that Nomiya sincerely meant everything he said. She simply cries her heart out as he gives her a little hug.
Takemoto finally figures out how he can support Hagu. He will help her with physical rehab for her hand. He made up a map of all the places he’s been on his journey. After clearing certain stages, he’ll give her a reward –> he’ll tell her a first-hand account of his journey. Hagu is happy to hear this. Tracing along the route 500 times is the goal of stage 1. Whenever she finishes one lap around the route, she’ll make a tally on the side of the map. Stage 2 – she’ll place stickers of oranges throughout the first half of the map. Stage 3 – she’ll place clover stickers throughout the second half of the map as he tells her his experience with the shrine carpenters he met. Last stage – by using pastels, she will fill the remaining blank parts of the map with colors. Meanwhile, Rika is clearing her office and getting ready to leave for Spain. Shuuji gives her a visit and warmly bids her farewell. She says Mayama is someone who seems to completely understand her.Shuuji wishes her luck. Back in the hospital, Hagu is done with coloring. Thanks to Takemoto, she feels more confident that she’ll be able to paint again soon. She thanks him for staying by her side and helping her out with rehab then hopes that he will be able to pursue what he wants to do and she will continue on working hard on her physical rehab in the hospital. Mayama bids Rika farewell at the airport. Mayama will follow after a few months when his work visa gets approved.
Doctor informs Hagu that she is doing well with rehab and can go home soon.Takemoto continues his graduation piece. He later calls Shin-san and asks if they still need someone to help out at their current project. Shin says he told their boss about Takemoto’s situation and agreed to wait for him. Thankful for this chance, Takemoto says he’ll be there as soon as he completes his piece. Mayama congratulates him. It looks like both of them will be moving out of the apartment soon. Hagu is finally well enough to leave the hospital. At the apartment, they throw a little party for Hagu and Mayama with a banner saying “Welcome back Hagu, Goodbye Mayama.” Mayama jokes that they made it seem like he died or something. xD They all realize that this will be the last time that they will be together. Takemoto’s voice over says “I hope we could continue like that always.”
It’s time for Mayama to leave for Spain. Meanwhile, Miwako and Yamada are on their way to Fujiwara Design. They bump into Nomiya who was on his way out of the office. Apparently, he has a project meeting in Tokyo the next day but decided to come over a day earlier. He gives Miwako a souvenir from Tottori which makes her really happy. She then goes ahead and leaves Nomiya and Yamada together. Nomiya asks if she’s doing well. She says yes. “Really?” he asks. She says no, she isn’t really doing well. They go for a walk and gets into a conversation.
Yamada honestly tells Nomiya that she still can’t get over her feelings for Mayama and that she becomes a bit depressed when she reminds herself that Mayama is no longer in Japan.
Nomiya: “I see.”
Yamada: “I don’t think it’s right for me to see you with these thoughts.”
Nomiya: “I understand… I understand… Goodbye.”
Yamada is a little taken aback that Nomiya was so straightforward and blunt with his concise replies. As he walks away, she starts to sadly walk by herself with her head down. As she raises her head up, she sees Nomiya standing in front of her.
Nomiya: “I like you Ayumi-chan. Honestly, it’s painful for me to see you still struggling with your feelings for Mayama always, but that’s not the kind of problem you can solve on your own. So let’s stay together.”
He says this with a warm smile. Upon hearing these words, Yamada can’t help but cry. They walk away together, hand in hand.
On the day of graduation piece submission, Morita disappears. Apparently, he wants to go on a trip around the world with the money he earned from selling his artwork. He plans to leave a piece of his art in all 192 countries. He leaves Hagu a nice sculpture with a note confirming that they’re lifelong rivals. He plans his destination by spinning a globe and randomly pointing a finger in one of the regions. First stop: Namibia. Takemoto finally finishes his piece. Hagu commends his craftsmanship. She says the shrines that he will be working on will be lucky and happy since Takemoto will do his job with all his heart and might. She expresses her gratitude and adds she will work hard so she won’t lose to him. She bids him farewell. It’s finally time for Takemoto to leave for Morioka. As he gets on the bus, Hagu shows up at the terminal and manages to catchup with him before he leaves. She gives him a pack of sandwiches and wishes him well, adding that they should meet again sometime. She waves goodbye as the bus drives away. Takemoto opens the sandwiches – it’s filled with honey and several pieces of 4-leaf clovers. Touched by Hagu’s thoughtful gesture, he can’t help but cry as he eats them. He then goes on a long monologue/voice over as he remembers various events in previous episodes. We later see Hagu able to paint again.
Takemoto: “…Until now, I wondered if there was a point in a relationship which failed. I wondered if something that disappeared and something that never happened was the same thing. But now I understand that there was meaning to it. Because I met Hagu, the person I am today is here now. The day that everything will turn into memories will eventually come. However, I will probably remember the precious time we spent togethe. And now, I can proudly say (?) that I’m glad to have met you.”
~ THE END
IMPRESSION: Rika and Mayama got a happy ending. Takemoto helping Hagu with rehab with the map he made was awesome. Just staying by your friend’s side is a really comforting thing, seeing that he even went that far and dedicated his time to help her out was even more awesome. He’s such a sweet and good friend! Anyone would be lucky to have someone like him. Shuuji and Rika’s friendship lacks depth. I suppose it’s because they altered Rika and Harada’s story and they didn’t choose to include Rika, Harada and Shuuji’s background story regarding their deep bond with each other. Morita’s character totally lacked depth too. Probably because they didn’t include his backstory as well.
For a 9-hour or so drive from Tottori to Tokyo, Nomiya arrived pretty quickly. Haha. I liked that Yamada was honest enough to Nomiya that she can’t get over Mayama right away, I thought it was realistic that way. Nomiya being willing to wait for her and stay by her side until then… it was just so sweet! Though I didn’t really read the entire manga for H&C, just the final chapter and the special spin-off chapter for Nomiya x Yamada (I’m so biased, no? xD.) Sure, I’ve been quite disappointed with how they jumbled up the Tottori-to-Tokyo parts since episode 9. The Tottori part wasn’t how I expected it to turn out. I still say it was so much sweeter in the anime (I totally fell for Nomiya there *blush*), but I think they made up for it by somewhat including the manga ending for Nomiya x Yamada! Being a fan of this pair, it was more than what I was hoping for! It was a nice surprise and it just made me so happy since this part wasn’t in the anime. ^_^
In the anime, Hagu preferred Morita over Takemoto, although she didn’t actually end up with anyone either. There’s a strange twist regarding Hagu and Shuuji in the anime, though, and I’m still quite confused about that one until now. I’m really not much of a fan of Mayama x Rika, but I was too happy over Nomiya x Yamada that I even found Mayama x Rika alright by the ending. LOL.
The last part where Takemoto was leaving the apartment and eating the sandwiches while crying, it was more emotional in the anime. But I did feel a bit emotional here as well, thanks to Ikuta Toma doing a good job with the acting.
FINAL IMPRESSION: I basically watched this J-drama adaptation of Honey and Clover since it’s one of my favorite anime series ever. I love H&C because I find it to be a lovely and bittersweet story of friendship, love and life in general. Naturally, there were comparisons with the manga and anime, which is kind of a given since the anime was just so well done. Save for a quick look through over the last chapter and the manga spin-off regarding Yamada x Nomiya, I haven’t really read the H&C manga at all, so most of the comparisons I made in my summaries were between the live action and the anime. ;P
I liked that they managed to still make it funny and emotional at the same time. There have been several changes with the timeframe and some of the events, but generally, I can say that it was able to preserve the essence of what Honey and Clover is about. It’s an 11-episode adaptation, so I think I can be broad-minded enough to understand that they made changes to try to squeeze everything in. I’m not seriously hardcore about sticking to the manga frame-by-frame so the changes in the storyline didn’t bother me that much… But of course, while I did like some moments, I did have some disappointments with their tinkering of the story too.
With regard to this live action version, I liked that they elaborated a bit on Morita and Yamada’s friendship. Shuuji’s and Rika’s friendship, as I mentioned, lacked depth here since they altered Rika’s storyline and didn’t do Shuuji’s backstory. Mayama’s storyline was basically quite the same save for a few changes as well and his little stalker side wasn’t shown. Haha. Takemoto was basically the same too, I think, except for a few tweaking in the storyline. They did pretty well with his voice overs and monologues here, but I think Takemoto was more insightful in the anime. Morita’s character totally lacked depth, since they didn’t include his backstory either. Hagu, well, I can’t say much since I didn’t really bother to pay attention to her story much in the anime either. As you might have noticed with my summaries, I did pay much attention to Yamada x Nomiya (sometimes even going to the details and a bit more screencaps than necessary) because they’re my favorite pair. xD ;P
With regard to the actors, I think they all did a pretty good job! Special mention would be Ikuta Toma (who was cast perfectly as Takemoto), Mukai Osamu (Mayama), Harada Natsuki (Yamada) and Takizawa Saori (Miwako). I was a little apprehensive with Kashiwabara Takashi as Nomiya at first, but I got used to watching him eventually. ^^
I’ve heard mixed reviews for this adaptation. Some people who haven’t seen the anime and/or read the manga liked this J-drama version. There are also several people who have seen the anime and/or read the manga and disliked (even hated) this live-action adaptation.
So, will I recommend you to watch Honey and Clover? I think I will, but with some conditions. On the one hand, if you’ve never read the manga or seen the anime or never even heard of this title and you think the plot interests you, do try watching it. On the other hand, if you’ve read the manga or watched the anime and you think you can deal with the alterations in the storyline and the characters (like me), go for it! But if you think you’d just feel depressed and angered over the changes made, I think it would be wise for you to stay away from it. ^_^
Wow, I actually managed to write summaries for this series from start to finish! xD Thanks for reading my summaries! It’s been fun sharing it with you. =)
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