“ We all got our troubles. You ain’t the only one. But we keep ‘em inside and just concentrate on working hard. Ain’t no end to it, see? Once you start trying to out do each other with hard luck stories, then you got everybody trying to be the most miserable Joe in the world. And what’s the bloody point of that?!” -Boss (head of temple restoration crew) in Chica Umino’s Honey and Clover (Chapter 45)
When I first read Honey and Clover, I disliked it. The art appeared to be something reminiscent of a ten-year-old drawing with an inky pen, and the story was filled with bizarre gags. I wondered how the manga even got published, much less translated into English by Viz Media.
I tried the series a year later, and my reaction this time around, was different. Maybe it’s because I had become a year older, and thus, somehow more mature. I don’t know , to be honest. The art, not exactly realistic or exact, but it gave the story a light feel .The gags were funny, and it helped the story when it became too heavy and serious, a joke was inserted, lifting the mood.
This slice-of-life story revolves around four college art school students, and their troubles in life. There’s a healthy mix of unrequited love, loss of direction, confusion and search in the story. Although the art doesn’t reflect the story, the story has a lot of good advice, for a teenager, and even an adult. It’s a deep story, that’s light and funny.
Probably the best advice/ quote from Honey and Clover that stuck with me the most was a quote that a minor character said. The character said, “Forget about finding answers. There are no answers in life anyway. All that matters with anything you ever do is: Did you do it to your satisfaction? That is all.” When I read that quote, it stuck with me, because at that time, I was searching for something, to help me make sense of life, or even just myself. But.. there’s really no answers that’s definite or tangible. There’s only your thoughts that matter. Perhaps, the me that I was then was lost, which is why I can still remember that quote. I was searching for answers, for an answer why, I was doing the things I was doing, and whose expectations I should live up to. I found an “answer” to my problems, when I read that quote. We’re all living for ourselves, at least we’re supposed to. The only thing that matters with the things we do is whether we reached our expectations of it, not someone else’s. If we always try to live up to someone else’s expectations, there’s no end or satisfaction. That’s not the life I want to live, so I’ll try my best to live life the way I want it.