Turambar (Level 10)

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Full disclosure: this post was written at 8 am during a stint of caffeine induced insomnia. Over the course of the day, I have read and reread it, wondering if such a garbled mess should be posted. I ultimately decided it should. When I first watched it, Honey and Clover was a series I immediately adored, and ended up having a big impact on me. Partly because of where I was personally in life, and partly because of the trials and tribulations of the cast, I ended up finding the characters very relatable, so much so that watching the show put me in a state of contemplation about my own life. It was this morning (or last night, whatever) that I stumbled over a blog post from two and a half years ago on my reactions to this show, and I felt compelled to respond to myself.

Be warned: this post is not a well written post by any means. It's incoherent, overly ponderous, and raw. Oh, and it certainly won't be a good introductory post for anyone wanting to find out just what the show is about. I didn't spend time mulling over and rewriting sentences, trying to find the proper wording and verbiage to get my point across. But I'm leaving it like this because seeing my own in such a crude form is quite a personal experience.

"Perhaps it’s the fact that he was in the same stage of life as I am. Perhaps it’s the fact that his lack of direction gave him an increased sense of humanity. Either way, everything that happened to him through out the show felt far more personal, far more relatable than anything that I have watched. And his struggles inevitably to force me to think on my own. Where am I heading? What stops remain along the way? And as the fear of passing days that flew by despite lack of preparation for the future passed through Takemoto’s thoughts, I found myself hitting pause, and for a long moment, sighing heavily.

But of course, I’m not Takamoto, and of course, he’s not me. And while his own journey gave him a clearer sight of his destination in life, I still wonder where my life might lead me."

I can't deny that I was very much like Takemoto, and probably for longer than I would care to admit. He was always uncertain of his feelings towards Hagu-chan, a new student he met in the beginning of his sophomore year, from the beginning to almost the end. He was uncertain if fighting for her affection against Morita, a senior student far more talented than he and yet was also a close friend, was a battle worth fighting. He was uncertain just what he wanted out of life, having seemingly drifted from spot to spot based on nothing but the closest goal post. Indeed, Takemoto's story in Honey and Clover was one of uncertainty. As an art student in Tokyo who arrived there simply because he liked making things with his hands and no other reason, I really was like him both in high school and college.

Yet looking back at this blog post, I am wondering why I felt so attached to him as a character. Perhaps I was swayed by the fact that he was the lead character of the show, if you could claim for there to be just one. But there were also characters like Mayama, Takemoto's friend and mentor, and also student of the university. Now that I think back, he, amongst other major characters, were more interesting character than the ever uncertain Takemoto. He had his own romantic issues, which is the bedrock for the drama filled plot of Honey and Clover. Affection from a childhood friend, Yamada, which he would not let himself reciprocate to. And feelings for Rika, an older woman and owner of a design studio that he has interned for, but feelings that she, similarly, would not let herself reciprocate to. All three have their own personal reasons, their own personal trials, whether it be past mistakes, crutches, or the genuinity of one's feelings.

I now see a bit of myself in each of those trials, much as I had Takemoto's. Characters like Hagu-chan and Shu-chan, Hagu's uncle and the guidance counselor to all our main cast (how else do you think they became such friends?) are no exception, though I think I've listed enough vague emotional burdens each character carries. Perhaps its a sign of growth in the last three years that I find myself resembling older characters. Or maybe I'm just a more keen anime watcher with a whole wall of nostalgia to guide me as I think back to this show.

That was quite the mess of words I wrote. Though aside from all those reminiscent analysis, there is one piece of certainty that I can give the show. In a moment of extreme stress and angst, Takemoto jumped on his bike with nothing prepared, and begin riding northwards. A few days into his impromptu journey, the chain on his bike breaks in front of an old shrine undergoing repairs, resulting in a serendipitous meeting with a construction crew that lets him work with them, using the wages he earns to buy a new bike. It was through this experience that he realizes what he wants to do. For a person who was led to where he was because he liked making things with his hands, this felt both enjoyable and rewarding to him. Or so the show would like me to believe. But I'm at this point now. Or rather, I'm past this point now. "Life changing experiences" like this I feel like I can say is false on a personal level. That the kind of certainty Takemoto has gained is so fleeting it is sickening and depressing. And suddenly, the ending, Takemoto's return to Tokyo after he rounded Hokaido and came back a man, feels so much emptier. And yet somehow still awesome.

Of course, that says much more about me than it does Takemoto, and the show. But then again, that's the point of this post, maybe.

Edit: Huh, switching to Chrome fixed the image upload issues. Woo pretty pictures.

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