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honey and clover Vol. 5 by Chica Umino (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

February 25, 2009 by  



“Volume 5 reunites everyone together.  Focusing on graduating, finding the right career after graduating, moving on and more!  Well-written and beautiful artwork from the award-winning manga artist Chica Umino.  Vol. 5 of ‘honey and clover’ is another excellent volume in the manga series!”

(C) Image courtesy of Chica Umino.  All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: honey and clover vol. 5

STORY AND ART BY: Chica Umino (羽海野 チカ)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shojo Beat Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

Takamoto is nearing graduation, but he doesn’t have a job lined up – he doesn’t even know what he wants to do with his life.  His friends try to be supportive, but they have their own dramas to act out.  With his health failing and his heart in turmoil, how will Takemoto find the strength to carry on?

Four years have passed since Yuta Takemoto has entered the art school and now it’s his time to graduate and finish his final project.  Everyone has moved on but for Yuta, the stress of not knowing what is going to happen after he graduates is enormous.

“honey and clover” vol. 5 focuses on the moment before graduating and trying to know about one’s own self, their path that would lead them to the next step in their lives.

With Mayama now working for Rika, Ayumi still working at the school, her parents store and selling her own vase sculptures, Morita is still in Los Angeles, Yuta is planning his final project and Hagu is there for support and a year left of school before graduating.

In the manga series, the story revolves around three guys who live in an apartment complex and attend an art school.  They are:

Yuta Takemoto: One of the primary characters, Takemoto is the youngest of the guys and majoring in architectural design.  He is the normal guy of the group and trying to find himself.  He has fallen for Hagu but is not the type to share his emotions or act upon them.  It’s his final semester and he’s stressed out about graduating.

Shinobu Morita: A carefree, does whatever he wants type of guy.  Very cool but very strange.  A gifted sculptor who has attended the University for years, has not graduated but tends to make money doing freelance work and constantly on the move.  He likes Hagu and being the first to show his feelings towards her, he bolts to Los Angeles without saying goodbye to his friends.

Takumi Mayama: Mayama is the only one among the friends who have graduated and working his career job as a graphic designer.  His love is for his boss named Rika but she doesn’t see him that way, especially since she lost her husband in an accident not too long ago.  Meanwhile, he knows that Ayumi has loved him for a long time but he doesn’t share the same feelings for her.  But yet he gets jealous when his co-worker Nomiya tries to get close to Ayumi.

The two female characters are:

Hagumi: A shy, gifted  sculptor who is graduating and has a lot of pressure to perform.   Still has a year left until graduation but always the good friend.

Ayumi Yamada: Yamada aka “Iron Man” has graduated from college but still tends to help out at the art college and assist her family’s business.  She is so much in love with Mayama but knows that he doesn’t feel the same.  She is trying her best to move forward.

And two characters that is not part of the main group but important to the storyline:

Professor Hanamoto: Just like one of the guys, Hanamoto is the guardian of Hagumi and more or less like an adviser to the students.  He has observed his students and tries to assist them and point them in the right direction.

Rika: A former classmate and a close friend of Professor Hanamoto and is running a graphic design business by herself after the death of her partner and husband.  She has been distant and depressed since the death of her husband and knows that Mayama is trying to help her.

Here is what to expect from volume 5:

Chapter 29 – Mayama’s job at Fujiwara gets complicated as the twin brothers Mario and Luigi have a falling out and one group will be moving to Tottori and the other stays in Tokyo.  For Mayama, he is selected to move to Tottori.  But is he willing to move so far away from his friends, most of all, far from Rika?

Chapter 30 – The professors evaluate Takemoto’s final project, meanwhile Ayumi finally understands why Mayama doesn’ love her after many of her guy friends propose to her.  Meanwhile, Ayumi finds out from Nomiya about what Mayama has chosen to do with work.

Chapter 31 – It’s Christmas time and everyone is a bit depressed that things aren’t the same anymore among the friends.  But Professor Hanamoto tries to liven up the party.

Chapter 32 – Takemoto becomes so stressed about his future and graduation that he coughs up blood and collapses in front of Hagu and Ayumi and taken to the hospital.  Will Takemoto be OK?

Chapter 33 – It is revealed what Morita has been doing in Los Angeles and to make things more interesting, unknown to the others, Morita has returned back to Japan.  Just in time because he still has time to submit his final project to graduate or repeat a ninth year in college.

Chapter 34 – Takemoto is not so sure about how he feels of Morita returning back to Japan.   Meanwhile, Mayama confronts Nomiya about his feelings towards Ayumi.

Also, included after the final chapter is  “Challenge Club”, a story about seashells; another episode of “Umino and Her Friends” and discovering that their otaku-ness may force them to make another name change for their segment; “Honey and Clover Study Guide” with glossary of terms used in vol. 5.

Vol. 5 of “honey and clover” is excellent!  Well-written, well-drawn and I was truly impressed with this latest volume!

It was great to see everyone together again but things are much more tense and dramatic as Takemoto stresses about graduation and career, Mayama stresses about work and Nomiya getting closer to Ayumi and also, will Morita finally graduate?

What I love about this manga is that it’s realistic.  Emotions and everyday situations that can happen to anyone (well, Morita’s life is a bit far fetched but that’s his character).

But anyone stressing about their friends dating someone who may not be good for them to the stress of graduating, that is something that many of us can understand.

Chica Umino has a great way of bringing those emotional layers out for each character, bringing them together and just showing a wide variety of emotions and thus, making each chapter addictive.  And this is a title that both guys and the girls can enjoy!

Overall, “honey and clover” vol. 5 is another excellent volume in the manga series that fans will enjoy!  If you have been curious about “honey and clover”, definitely a series worth reading.  Highly recommended!

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