The series was adapted as an animatedtelevision series by J.C.Staff, initially broadcast on Fuji TV in two seasons from April to September 2005 and June to September 2006. The series was also adapted as a live action movie, which was released in theaters in Japan on July 22, 2006, and two separate live-action television dramas in 2008, one broadcast in Japan on Fuji TV from January 8, 2008 to March 18, 2008 and the other broadcast in Taiwan on CTS beginning on May 25, 2008.
Yūta Takemoto, Takumi Mayama and Shinobu Morita are three young men who live in the same apartment complex and are students at an art college in Tokyo.
One day, they are introduced to Hagumi Hanamoto, the daughter of a cousin of Shūji Hanamoto, an art professor, who has come to live with Hanamoto and has become a first year art student at the art school that everyone attends. Yuta and Shinobu both fall in love with Hagu, but Yuta hides his feelings and tries to be a friend to Hagu while Shinobu expresses his love in ways that seem only to scare Hagu, such as calling her "Mousey" and constantly photographing her. Hagu herself, though initially timid and afraid of company, gradually warms up to the three.
The group comes to include Ayumi Yamada, a master of pottery who is well known by her nickname "Tetsujin" (Iron Lady), who becomes very close to Hagu. When not at school, she helps run the family liquor store. While Ayumi is popular with many young men, she falls in love with Takumi, who does not recipocrate her feelings and considers her a very dear friend. Instead, Takumi pursues an older woman, Rika Harada, a widowed friend of Professor Hanamoto who runs an architecture studio she founded with her late husband.
The story follows these five characters in their love triangles, unrequited love, graduating from college, finding jobs, and learning more about themselves.
A second-year art student, age 19 at the start of the series, living in the same apartment complex as Mayama and Morita. Takemoto is the main character and acts as the point-of-view of the series, and often as narrator of episodes. He is depicted as the most mellow of the main characters. He falls in love with Hagu immediately after being introduced by his professor but keeps his feelings to himself through most of the series. Because of his inability to act upon his feelings as freely as Morita, Takemoto decides to act as a brother-figure to Hagu, giving her friendly support when needed, for example, building her sophisticated dollhouses at her request. Later in the series, as a result of his conflicted emotions, Takemoto develops a stomach ulcer, forcing him to repeat a year of school. Early in the series, he questions his vocation as an artist, but over the series he becomes comfortable with himself. After a bicycle trip to Cape Sōya, the northernmost point in Japan, Takemoto gains the confidence to tell Hagu how he really feels. Although Hagu does not accept him, Takemoto admits that just meeting her and the time they spend together has influenced him.
Usually called "Hagu" by her friends, she is an 18-year-old first-year art student at the start of the series. She is depicted as appearing and acting several years younger than her true age. Despite her appearance, she is a gifted artist and her work is highly praised by art professionals. She is shy and very nervous when interacting with people, to the point of becoming physically ill from stress, with the result that other art students think she is strange. She was raised by her grandmother in a sheltered environment, where she learned to draw sketching the ever-changing view from her porch. When Morita and Takemoto first meet Hagu, they both immediately fall in love with her, although they express it in different ways. Hagu spends most of the series unaware of their feelings for her, seeing them as friends. After Takemoto confesses his feelings for her, she begins avoiding him, and at the end of the series she admits she loves Morita. However, she returns to Shūji because she cannot imagine a life without drawing.
A sixth-year art student, age 24 at the start of the series, in the same apartment complex as Takemoto and Mayama. Morita is depicted as a perpetual student, unable to graduate because of persistent absenteeism. This is mainly due to his work, which forces him to go missing for several days, after which he sleeps for at least 48 hours. Morita is considered mysterious by the other students, prone to bizarre behavior such as creating a version of Twister with too many colors. He is a perceptive person who cares for his friends Takemoto and Mayama but often expressing himself tactlessly, and who is not generous with his money and food. He also expresses his desire for Hagu in quirky ways, such as forcing her to dress up as a mouse because he likes cute things. Later in the series, he departs for a year in America, and eventually the others learn he has been moonlighting as an award-winning CGI artist.
A fourth-year art student, age 22 at the start of the series, in the same apartment complex as Takemoto and Morita. He acts as a senpai (senior) to Takemoto and tries to help Morita get up for early morning classes. Early in the series, Mayama helps Rika Harada out with various errands at her design firm, Harada Design, during which time he develops feelings for Rika. The series initially leaves unclear whether Mayama takes advantage of Rika's disability to fulfill his desires, but it is later shown that Rika reciprocates his feelings. At her urging, Mayama begins working for a different design firm, but after it breaks up, near the end of the series, he returns to work for Rika. Despite Yamada's throwing herself at him, Mayama considers her only as his close friend, but he becomes protective of her when a colleague with a reputation for playing girls develops an interest in her.
A third-year art student, age 21 at the start of the series, specializing in ceramic arts. She is well-known by other students for her pottery and her nickname Tetsujin "Iron-lady" for running 6 km to school every morning to help her dog lose weight. She is depicted as a beautiful young woman, who catches the attention of her male friends and coworkers. Yamada is deeply in love with Mayama, but he does not return her feelings and repeatedly encourages her to find someone else. Later in the series, she is angered by Mayama's sudden protectiveness when he tries to shield her from his former boss, Nomiya. Yamada is close friends with Hagu, who addresses her by first name. At the end of the series, Yamada continues as a graduate student in art, while making pottery for Harada Design.
The Honey and Clover manga was written and illustrated by Chika Umino and published by Shueisha. The first fourteen chapters were serialized in the josei (aimed at younger adult women) manga magazineCUTiEcomic from June 2000 to July 2001, when serialization moved to Young YOU. With the demise of Young YOU in 2005, it moved to Chorus, where it ran until July 2006. The 64 chapters were collected in ten bound volumes. The series was also issued in a ten-volume box set in May 2007.
The anime television series was produced by J.C.Staff and consists of 38 episodes in broadcast in two seasons on Fuji TV in the Noitamina programming block. The first season was directed by Ken'ichi Kasai, and consisted of 24 episodes that aired from April 14, 2005 and September 29, 2005 plus two DVD-only episodes. The second season was directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai, and consisted of 12 episodes that aired between June 29, 2006 and September 14, 2006.
Both seasons were rebroadcast in Japan by the anime CS television network Animax, which also later broadcast the series across its respective networks in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and other regions. The series was first broadcast in English on Amimax's Southeast Asia network starting August 1, 2006.
The anime featured numerous sponsors, including clothing brands we, adidas, Head Porter, visvim and Sally Scott, as well as Weider in Jelly in the second season.
① are produced by Sanlih E-Television which produces "Sanlih E Saturday Trendy Drama(三立週六偶像劇)"; ② are produced by GTV which also broadcasts in GTV; ③ are produced by TVBS which also broadcasts in TVBS; ④ are produced by ETTV which also broadcasts in ETTV; ⑤ are produced by FOX which also broadcasts in FOX; expect some dramas are aired at 22:00 or 21:30, the others, ⑥ are aired at 20:00.