Simple Complexities. There are anime that I’ve watched. Lots and lots of them. But there is a whole different category of anime. Those that I’ve rewatched. In the case of Honey and Clover, I think I’ve rewatched it more than a dozen times. It’s a comfort pick, I suppose. Something I can leave running off to the side while I’m puttering with something else. It has a wistful, hopeful mood. I like the airy ambiance. I enjoy revisiting the characters. (I recently picked up the manga, but I haven’t taken the time to read it yet. And see if it varies at all from the animation.)
The primary setting is an art school, and the cast includes students, teachers, alumni, and other artists already in the workforce. It’s slice-of-life. It’s self-discovery. It’s heartbreak and the pressure to create. It’s starving artists and the lure of money and loneliness and courage. And … I will probably always love these goofs.
If you already know and love Honey and Clover, may I further recommend another of Chica Umino’s works? March Comes in Like a Lion follows the life of a professional shogi player. Rei is only seventeen, and his life seems so empty. Until the day he meets a family made up of three sisters. Their warmth becomes his haven. The cast includes Rei’s mentors, rivals, teachers, classmates, and family. I admire this storyteller’s ability to brush gently against the strong emotions, pressures, longings, and tensions that are tangled up in every human soul.