How the Blue Period Anime Compares to Honey and Clover

Blue Period quickly cemented itself as one of the most popular new manga after launching in 2017, so anime fans were thrilled when an on-screen adaption for the series was announced in 2021. The resulting anime has drawn comparisons to another popular story: 2005’s Honey and Clover. But why is the latter still so loved, and how does Blue Period compare with its older counterpart?

Honey and Clover started out as a josei manga (unlike blue period, which began life as a signal series). Written and illustrated by March Comes in Like a Lion creator Chica Umino, Honey and Clover was serialized in CUTiEcomic magazine. However, it moved to several other publications during its run and proved incredibly popular with fans and critics alike, even winning the Kodansha Manga Award for shojo in 2003. The Honey and Clover anime adaptation was made by JCStaff and arrived on screens in 2005, also garnishing much praise from fans.

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The Factors That Made Honey and Clover’s Anime Stand Out

Honey and Clover follows Yuuta Takemoto, a young man in his sophomore year at an arts college in Tokyo. Yuuta shares a cheap house with two senior students: Shinobu Morita, a student who keeps failing to graduate, and the more sensible Takumi Mayama. This unusual friend trio seems to be doing fine — until Hagumi Hanamoto comes into their lives. When she joins their art program, Yuta and Shinobu fall head over heels in love with her. When Hagumi becomes friends with another female student named Ayumi Yamada, things get even more complex, especially as Ayumi has her own romantic secrets.

While this series focuses on art creation, it is remembered for its fantastic character work; the cast are all well-rounded and fascinating, with unique but relatable personalities. Their web of feelings and relationships is complex but also feels very authentic, perfectly capturing the drama and chaos of young love and college days. As the story progresses, these students endure the stress of school and the agony and ecstasy of first love, with all the issues it can bring. This web of feelings and relationships is well handled, as each character has a noticeable effect on the people around them for both better and worse.

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what makes Honey and Clover stand out is its unique visual style. The entire series looks softer than other anime, using a more muted, almost watercolor-like palette. This is best seen in the backgrounds, which often look like they’ve been painted on watercolor paper due to their lack of detail and soft blurring. However, the show also isn’t afraid to experiment or change things up.

Many sequences alter the art style to skillfully convey a scene’s emotional beats, and the team behind the anime uses this unique look to their advantage, crafting several memorable sequences. This is especially true during moments where characters are seen creating art, as the animators go out of their way to help the audience feel the artist’s emotions and understand what they’re trying to do with their work.

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Why Blue Period Compares Unfavorably to Honey and Clover

Blue Period uses many of these concepts too, but it doesn’t pull them off quite as well. while Yatora Yaguchi is a fantastic lead, the rest of the cast doesn’t feel as well-developed or interesting. but where Blue Period really fails is its visual style. While the animation isn’t bad, it has no stylistic flair and the art creation is presented in an almost clinical manner. In fact, it often gets relegated to a background detail; Blue Period mainly relies on dialogue to explain what is happening with the art.

Viewers could watch Honey and Clover with the voice acting removed and still feel the emotions the characters are experiencing, but Blue Period simply doesn’t deliver that. Characters will explain their feelings, but the story doesn’t try to immerse viewers in their emotional state. This is even more frustrating as the few times Blue Period attempts to do something visually artistic, it pulls it off very well. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between.

Blue Period and Honey and Clover both display one of the anime medium’s best features — its versatility. While the shows touch on similar themes, they approach them quite differently. However, Blue Period feels overly safe and generic when put against H&Cwhich is a shame as the Blue Period manga has a beautiful storyline. It needed a more creative anime adaptation to truly cement itself as a classic. Honey and Clover proved that when an animation team is willing to get creative and deeply integrate the story’s themes into the visuals, a fantastic show can come out of it.

Blue Period is now streaming on Netflix. Honey and Clover is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

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