Honey and Clover chronicles the lives of five art college students. There's Morita, the easy-going eternal student who is always playing a prank on others. There's Mayama, the young graduate who is in (unrequited) love with his boss. There's Yamada, the potter who is in (unrequited) love with Mayama. There's Hanamoto, who is tiny and talented. There's Takemoto, who is in (secret) love with Hanamoto, but who is unsure of himself and Hanamoto's feelings with respect to Morita.
The series presents an amusing mix of serious, slice-of-life scenes of five young people discovering their talents and motivations, and sometimes hilarious comic (super-deformed) antics. Time flows pretty fast (the 24 episodes span a period of four years): the daily drudgery is skipped and only highly dramatic (or amusing) episodes are shown.
This works very well indeed: through the various trials of the characters, you get a real feel for them. Because we only get to see the 'highlights' (so to speak), the series maintains an excellent pacing -- not too slow, but certainly not too fast either. The drama/comedy ratio is perfect: the comedy keeps the series lighthearted, but it's not overdone or irritating. Also, the comedy is funny.
Some episodes focus on a specific character, while others feature the whole group. This keeps things moving and interesting.
Design-wise, the series is very good. Animation is top-notch (various big-name studios were sub-contracted to do the animation), and the designs are attractive. The designers used a wash-out color pallette, which gives the whole series a 'dreamy' feeling which works very well. The voice-acting is very good, and the music is very, very nice.
It's hard to say anything about the content of the series, because it deals with a wide variety of subjects. And because of the large cast of characters, the series does not focus on the development of a single character, which limits the depth of the plots. In the end, there is no real resolution to the various issues presented in the series: Yamada still has a crush on Mayama, Morita still hasn't grown up. The only character that really matures is Takemoto (one could argue that he is the real main character of the series) -- but still, his relationship with Hanamoto doesn't get off the ground either.
In one way, that is the point of the series: life is a series of small events, and there are no single events that suddenly shape you as a person. In that way, the series does a good job of running with that theme.
- Looks great;
- Interesting and amusing;
- Great music;
- No teenagers, but college-aged people!
- No real resolution.
I liked this series, but to me it wasn't the life-changing anime that it was for other people. I'll give it an 8.