Monday, December 8, 2008
Honey & Clover by Chica Umino
Who says you don't learn math in art school?"
Takamoto, Mayama and Morita are roommates at Hama Art College. Their lives are not in any way fantastic; scraping together enough money to buy meat, getting to class on time, and improving their art are their main concerns. When Hagumi Hanamoto, a relative of the students' mentor Professor Hanamoto, arrives at Hama, the three friends become mesmerized by her artwork which is dark and unsettling; this quality of her art, which hints at her inward unhappiness, strongly contrasts her outward beauty and delicate nature.
The revelation of Hagumi's unhappiness in the face of her brilliant art makes the guys begin to realize that there may be more to life than art. Morita, an aimless genius who has recently returned to school after taking a break, falls in love with Hagumi instantly. The presence of the mystical Hagumi in the lives of these three college students opens up their eyes to the love that they have been denying themselves and love triangles and relationships develop that complicate their lives in more ways than they can imagine.
Honey & Clover delves deep into the lives of a group Japanese art students and examines Japanese culture at the college level. Written in manga, the traditional reading style of Japan-top to bottom and right to left-Honey & Clover is anything but easy to read, especially since it is written as a graphic novel. As an avid reader, I assumed that this challenge would be easily overcome, but, as it turns out, the Japanese names and ideas that the novel is about were a lot harder to digest than I imagined. I would definitely say that this book is well suited for grades 10 and up. Not that the subject matter is too racy for lower grades, but the content itself is a little bit hard to tackle. Watching the live action version of the novel was helpful, but it caused me to focus on the unimportant details of the novel rather than the overall message. This isn't a book I would necessarily recommend, unless it was for a class which studied the graphic novel or japanese culture.
The first video is the trailer for "Honey & Clover" and the second video is Part 1 of "Honey & Clover," which can be watched in its entirety by clicking here.
Posted by TinaG at 7:08 AM