Monday, December 15, 2008

Review | Movie | Honey and Clover Live Action

HONEY AND CLOVER LIVE ACTION : Live action adaption of the
popular anime series. Yuta Takemoto, Shinobu Morita and Takumi Mayama are three college men who live in the same apartment complex within walking distance of the art college they all attend. When their teacher, Shuji Hanamoto,
returns from out of town with his cousin's daughter Hagumi, the tiny college
girl 'Hagu', through her cultivating artwork and exceptional kindness,
begins to change lives of the people around her.

I began watching this shortly after finishing the second season of the anime, I was lucky to find it after it was licensed on CrunchyRoll. It was amusing to see the actors they cast in the roles. Though Hagu isn't short enough to be made fun of like she was in the anime, she was still fun to watch.

This live action remake is definitely one that the Honey and Clover fans should be sure to check out. The film does not cover the second season, however, instead ending at the same place the first season did. As far as Takemoto's self-discovery, I was a little disappointed to discover that during his sleep time at the temple, he did not encounter any eccentric builders itching for a decent meal. One of the highlights of the series for me were the temple restoration workers commending Takemoto's fierce cooking skills and being grateful enough to call him one of their own. Instead, all Takemoto encounters before gloomily riding away is one lone construction worker who barely talks to him and dismisses him as a "pest." He shows up later offering Takemoto a ride in his truck, but that's about all we're able to get out of these cheerful, happy-go-lucky characters that sweetened the load in the anime.

In the end, we do get a couple gut-busting cameo roles from the unusually-named gallery owners Mario and Luigi Fujiwara, who never cease to wear shirts that boast their abdomens and pants that cling to whatever figure they may have had before the pounds packed on. They are as entertaining to watch as their hilarious take on Japanese introductory bowing when they meet visitors of their art show.

I think this movie is absolutely fine for kids to watch as far as content, and if they're able to pick up on the story, I think it's a great watch. The only content that may be concerning is the fact that nude statues are shown several times (as the movie takes place at an art school), and a man flashes his middle finger at a camera, though this is done from a distance and can hardly be made out. I'll definitely be rewatching this movie in the near future. Honey and Clover fans should enjoy this one very much. I'm very impressed.

Overall Rating:
/ 5


Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review | Anime| Honey and Clover

HONEY AND CLOVER : Yuta Takemoto, Shinobu Morita and Takumi Mayama are three
college men who live in the same apartment complex within walking distance of
the art college they all attend. When their teacher, Shuji Hanamoto, returns
from out of town with his cousin's daughter Hagumi, the tiny college girl
'Hagu', through her cultivating artwork and exceptional kindness, begins to
change lives of the people around her.

I don't have to tell you this series has made a major dent in the anime industry. One of the most well-known romance animes in the anime community, Honey and Clover's simplicity and pace is sure not to disappoint.

Though the story is slowly paced at the beginning and plot is unclear around the same time, once we meet short kid Hagu-chan, things become more and more vivid. Hagu is constantly chased by the directors of art galleries looking to post her art in their festivals and galleries; it eventually gets to the point where Hagu's attempts to meet the constant demand for artwork results on becoming physically and emotionally weak. However, Mr. Hanamoto (Shuu-chan, as she refers to him) is always willing to dedicate his time and is never too busy for Hagu. This begins to bother Hagu, who feels he should spend more time on what makes him happy. Also willing to help Hagu is Takemoto, who has grown a great fondness for Hagu and her work.

While Takemoto is getting plenty of attention from the girl he likes, Mayama is starving. Mayama has fallen in love with his employer, Rika Harada, which could not be a more complicated catch; Not only is Rika many years older, but she has lost her husband in a car accident that severely crippled and scarred her. She is now somewhat detached, refusing to get close to anyone, which puts Mayama in a bigger pinch. His obsession with Rika goes so far, he begins to stalk her. Though his friends try to tell him it's stalking, he refuses to admit it. He has even set his ring tone to "Moon River" because he heard Rika humming it once day to herself. This reels in plenty of teasing from the eccentric Shinobu Morita, who is infamous for rolling into Takemoto's apartment seemingly half-dead, his pocket seams bursting from the wads of money in his pocket, which nobody has any clue where he got.

Also in a love pinch is Ayumi Yamada, who is popular in the ceramics department of the college, especially with the boys, who call her 'Iron Lady' because of her constant thrasing of her male friends, specifically Mayama, who she has fallen head-over-heels for. She is almost always seen crying over Mayama, because she feels s if he is too busy staring at Rika to notice her, and most of the time she's right.

From the middle of the series all into the second season, the characters begin to understand themselves better and reflect on their futures. Some even go on journeys of self-discovery. In the middle of this dreamy slice of life is Hagu-chan, who despite being confused about self-discovery herself, knows that she has good friends in these oddball college students, so she's never alone.

While there is nothing overly inappropriate for children in this show, it would probably not hold a young child's attention because of the complexity and pace of the episodes. If a child does express interest in seeing this anime, there are a few incidents where characters become drunk and characters smoke, there are a few references to a woman being naked (it's a joke made over the telephone and no women are actually seen naked), and two girls cry hysterically in an exaggerated manner when they see a woman's beautiful body parts and they complain theirs aren't as beautiful. A man stalking his love interest is also referenced and the characters in question are later seen in bed together.

Sick of fantasy anime? Honey and Clover is about as close to reality as you can come, the only difference? Unlike actual life, it's actually worth watching. A definite must-watch from us.

Overall Rating:
/ 5


Livejournal Avatars


Free Image Hosting at

Monday, December 8, 2008

Review | Movie | Panda Go Panda

PANDA! GO PANDA! : When her grandmother and primary caregiver
goes out of town, 7-year-old Mimiko lives alone in her small town and gets two
unlikely visitors to her little house: A huge panda and his tiny son. Mimiko
befriends the two and they become Mama, Papa and Son, and have adventures big and small, from circuses to picnics.

One of the only animes I've seen with no objectionable material for young children, Panda! Go Panda! is yet another fantastic creation by the renowned Hayao Miyazaki, known best for his stunning storyboards and hit films which bring in awards like moths to a flame. One of his earliest works is "Panda Kopanda", which is definitely one to bring homes to the kids.

The only thing there is to worry about from Panda! Go Panda! is the lovable Papa Panda's pipe which he later coats with his signature use of "nice" and commenting on how "tobacco is nice, too." He is never, however, shown to be under any influence by it. Papa Panda commonly calls things he enjoys or approves of nice. Children will adore this huge panda and his tiny son, and should get a great treat out of his large, toothy grins, reminiscent of the large rabbit-like tree spirit from Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.

The films is put into two different parts, Panda! Go Panda! Family and Panda! Go Panda! Rainy Day Circus. Rainy Day Circus is the continuation of the first film (not so much a sequel as it is a second half), and in this film we meet a small runaway baby tiger who has fled the circus and is discovered in Baby Panda's bed. The young tiger is immediately befriended with open arms by the family, which because if its inclusion of a gigantic, over-eating panda accidentally scares away two circus staff members who come to Mimiko's house looking for "Tiny the Tiger". This somewhat disappoints Mimiko, who wanted to invite "her first burglars" to join them for dinner.

Mimiko and her animal companions are always smiling, even after heavy rain floods their house and drives them to the second level of Mimiko's house. Papa Panda's only comment on the sheeted rain is the fact that "rain is very good for bamboo." And bamboo is nice!

Panda! Go Panda is a charming and adorable watch that will thrill children, and even adults, looking for a heavy dose of something warm and fuzzy, so don't miss Miyazaki's clever sugar-coated panda family that will leave you shouting "Go Panda!"

Overall Rating:
/ 5


Livejournal Avatars