I’m in this hell where I can barely squeeze in time to watch anime and play video games during lunch break called school. I thought that I would never be able to write about anime until the school year was over. By a twist of fate, I received an assignment to write a college essay on whatever the fuck I wanted as long as it was within 400 words. CARPE DIEM! I took the chance to write about anime. Before all of you laugh thinking that the essay would probably be mocked by peers and colleges alike. The former actually handed back my paper during feedback and told me it was good. One actually felt hers was completely incompetent after reading my essay and began another one. (Ok, OK I’m being an obnoxious bastard.) So, I present to you the essay written on the manga that changed my life, Honey and Clover. Enjoy. <3
Read a Work Twice
In my youth, I had a voracious appetite. There was always an abundance on the dining table. Even when it was time to clean the table, I reluctantly made my children’s books into a neat column and scuttled to my room to continue satisfying my hunger. During blinding Californian summers, the columns became rows on the chilled, bathroom tiles. Whether by daylight, lamplight, or flashlight, I raced through books, always challenging how fast my eyes could scan the pages. I read always looking to the next word, never glancing back. Until I read Umino Chica’s Honey and Clover, that is.
How a Japanese comic series could have such an impact puzzles me more than those who ask. The novel consists mostly of impoverished art college students angsting over juicy meat, love triangle drama, and friendship. From an art critique’s perspective, the artwork is sloppy and there is an intermittent absence of background art. As my classmate pointed out, all books attempt to present a microcosm of human life and themes full of depth. So what makes Honey and Clover any different?
Although I have a never-ending list of why-I-like-Honey-and-Clover, there is only one reason as to why it is different. From brandishing a wand along side Potter to begging Oedipus to call off the search for the murderer who is ironically himself, I have visited many worlds. When I first stepped into the world of Honey and Clover, I found a world very much like ours only funnier. And by the end of the first volume, I realized that I had stepped into my own mind. In each struggle and character, I saw a part of myself reflected off these characters. For the first time, I felt like a character in a story surrounded by foils to which I could relate to.
And much like the story of me, Honey and Clover doesn’t really have any theme. It tries to depict life in the eyes of a young adult coming of age with all its cuteness, hurt, humor, loneliness, and love like vanilla ice cream topped with salt. Whether it failed or succeeded, I , out of admiration, put away the final volume and picked up the first. It was warm from being next to the floor heater in stark contrast to the cloudy Michigan winter, and for the first time in my life, I read a work twice.