Based on the hit anime of the same name, “Honey and Clover” deals with five college art students. While the premise may sound simple, it’s quite the opposite; the characters struggle through school, work, and love. All within the confines of a university, “Honey and Clover” showcases the journey that everyone must take from being a young adult and following the long and challenging road to becoming a full fledged adult.First off, the cast is wonderfully presented. Their likeliness to their anime counterparts is great and for the most part (albeit hair color) spot on. The mannerisms of the cast also reflected the anime greatly and fans of the anime will certainly enjoy this aspect of the film. Another great aspect of the film is definitely the cinematography. Since this film’s environment is mostly held at or around an art school, you would expect for most part, as viewer, to be stimulated visually, right? Indeed this is the case with “Honey and Clover”. The film accurately displays the happenings of an art school, from the constant unfinished student projects scattered about, to the multiple classes that art students participate in, it is faithfully recreated here.The musical score by famous composer Yoko Kanno is wonderfully implemented into the movie too. I for one have taken notice that Kanno is starting to produce more film scores, and she has done great job so far. With her most recent contributions to Su-ki-da and Kamikaze Girls, her slow transition from anime composition to film composition can only be seen as a good thing. I hope to see her contribute more to the realm of films in the future. Putting music aside though, “Honey and Clover” does run into some slight problemsâ€¦ Based on an anime series, one can truly see the tremendous amount of time and effort it would take to condense 26 episodes into roughly a two hour film. What happens in most cases when this occurs in other adaptations is that entire story arcs, characters, and original endings are left out. “Honey and Clover” suffers from the all these. While significantly better in many regards than most anime to film conversions, the story of “Honey and Clover” is just too character driven for a film. Maybe a Japanese TV drama would perhaps work well, but due to the time constraints of a film, it doesn’t provide the adequate depth that the anime series does. This leaves viewers who aren’t fans of the anime or manga sometimes clueless as to what is happening on screen. Some characters relationships might be questionable for those viewers who haven’t seen the anime or read the manga. Some characters just pop in with little to no background and the viewer is expected to already know who they are, what their purpose is, and what their relationship is to plot. By the end of the film, all we are left is with a cast we don’t really care for (even if you have seen the anime/read the manga). This hurts a film that otherwise is a moderately accurate retelling of a rather well crafted anime series.With all but one minor quibble (a major one if you haven’t seen the series or read the manga), “Honey and Clover” is one of the better anime adaptations out there. While fans of the anime will definitely enjoy this film, non-fans will probably be asking themselves why certain characters do this or that, unknowing to the fact that their questions are clearly explained in anime. In the end though, I recommend this film for fans, but I have to say pass if you haven’t seen anything that has to do with ‘Honey and Clover”.
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