Honey and Clover, the Drama: Not Just Between the Characters

The one anime that I always felt would work exceedingly well as a live-action drama is becoming one. As per Anime News Network:

15-year-old Riko Narumi will star in the live-action television drama adaptation of Chica Umino’s Honey and Clover manga, which will premiere on January 8. Umino’s manga about five teenagers’ road to adulthood has sold 8.13 million copies. 23-year-old Tōma Ikuta (Hana Yori Dango 2’s Junpei) of the Johnny’s Jr. idol talent firm will play the art student Yuuta opposite Narumi, who will play the talented but shy Hagumi.

Mike’s Take: HAH! A 15 year old for Hagu-chan? That sounds too old! Then again, she actually looked a bit too old in the live-action movie, even though she was definitely the right height for it. In the anime she looks about 10, a real loli (complete with the disclaimer that she is really 18), which is surprising given how otherwise stirring, realistic, and down-to-earth the show is when it’s not being slapstick. Or when Morita isn’t on screen. Wait a minute. Maybe H&C isn’t as down-to-earth as I thought…how are they going to translate a lot of that manga/anime slapstick into live action? The only time I’ve seen it work well is in Gokusen.

That ANN summary is kinda inaccurate, actually. “Five teenagers’ road to adulthood” is technically true but gives a somewhat wrong impression; it’s really about college and first careers, and the word “teenager” to me implies high school. Something more like Karekano, which is the nearest high school equivalent of H&C. Later the news article describes it as a shoujo manga, which is also technically untrue; it’s a josei story, and the tone of it is markedly different in many ways from the average shoujo story, though I grant that the line between the two can be blurry. Something like Nana is much more obviously josei, especially as it has a lot more sexuality–something H&C has little of with one exception later on. (I was about to say Hataraki Man too, except I just remembered it was published in a seinen magazine. Even though it was done by Moyoco Anno, who normally does josei.)

I suppose this is the time to once again explain that I didn’t even know that H&C was aimed at women until quite late in the game, given that most of the main viewpoint characters are male and they quite accurately reflected a certain kind of male mind at that stage of life. Not that this is going to stop Ray from making fun of me for watching girly shows again. :)

2 thoughts on “Honey and Clover, the Drama: Not Just Between the Characters”

  1. A 15 year old for Hagu-chan? That sounds too old!

    That’s right, a 10 year-old would be more appropriate.

    Part of what endeared me to H&C was the symbolism littered around (Ferris wheel, four-leaf clover, duck, poodle etc), so I wonder if it’ll carry over to the drama or feature that prominently. It’s about time, though, so I hope there’s going to be subs of this or something.

  2. I’ve never really been too enthusiastic about live action adaptations of manga or anime. It’s not that I believe they cannot be good. Watching real people is a different type of viewing experience whether the adaptation is done well or not.

    > I suppose this is the time to once again explain that I didn’t even know that H&C was aimed at women until quite late in the game

    I’m sometimes surprised about these things as well. However, I think that the demographic categorization are only used to shelve the books/disc more than anything else.

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