Hey Dune, why do you think the flowers bloom? I think…..I think it’s to make everyone happy.
Last semester, I spent a major investment of my time in Genetics lab. Not necessarily out of love or desire; no, unfortunate circumstances had forced me to come to the laboratory at least 2-3 times a day, every day, for four months. The results? Wildly unexpected: chaotic, emotional, and wonderful. I was forced to work on flies every day, spending a total of 412 hours at the end of the semester. The process was arduous and incredibly stressful – I cried a bit and teetered on despair at certain moments throughout the class. But I was also exposed to a class full of sincere people, and befriended many for the first time. What kept me through those long nights of hard work were the slow discussions I shared with those people, my eccentric but lovable professor, a warm cup of Starbucks hot chocolate, and a lot of perseverance. It was probably the best and worst college experience of my life (luckily, mostly the former than the latter).
This week, I’ve begun anew. I no longer spend nearly 12 hours of my life on campus, marking down the changes in mutated flies. I no longer keep track of vial changes or log hours, having retired to mainly non-lab classes. But every time I pass by that building, I suddenly ache for those moments. I long for the nights where I worked hard and shared my times with the best classmates and teacher I’ve ever had, the exposure to interesting sciences and subjects. Part of me wonders if I’ll ever be able to experience such an enriching and life changing thing like that again. Will I be able to hold those bonds? Are those memories just going to fade over time? Will this semester just pale in comparison, and will I return to just being a ghost in the crowd, unrecognizable to anyone? It’s a fear I can’t shake off, an anxiety that keeps me up at night.
Takemoto asks a similar question at the end of Honey and Clover II.
A while back, I had written about how the first season of Honey and Clover was a story about unrequited love being used as a form of communication to learn more about oneself and each other. Several love triangles (Hagu, Morita, Takemoto and Ayumi, Mayama, Rika, Nomiya) had taken root, and by the end of the season, many things had been personally resolved. Takemoto had confessed to Hagu. Ayumi had realized her cowardice in choosing to run after Mayama. Mayama saw the futility of trying to replace a lost love. Everyone had confronted their demons, with the exception of Hagu – the same girl who propelled these events to happen.
Season 2 thus departs from focusing on Takemoto’s feelings for Hagu and instead takes a look at Hagu’s perception of the world while slowly closing the other love stories for each character. Morita’s backstory is explored as he watches his older brother fall into revenge; Ayumi allows herself to open up and rely on others, mainly Nomiya; Shuu takes responsibility for his feelings for Hagu; Mayama continues to persevere with Rika. The main emphasis however, is that everyone has a failed love. This love does not necessarily have to be romantic – it can be with another person, an obsession or a dream. The cast of Honey and Clover acknowledges this, accept it, and finally has the courage to move on, knowing that there are some things that cannot remain forever. Which brings up Takemoto’s question: as experiences disappear, do they lose significance? Are we doomed do just keep moving forward without ever looking back?
Casshern Sins answers and symbolizes this beautifully in Episode 20, when Dune, a cyborg, longs to be by Luna’s side. Dune knows that Luna does not love him the way that he loves and cherishes her, but he is happy enough just being by her side, sharing those moments, and doing what he can to live. It is only when he sacrifices his life for her that he realizes that Luna was his “Sun” – a light that he could never grasp, never come close to, but could only chase and admire.
If Season 1 of Honey and Clover is about finding yourself through failed love, Season 2 is about moving on and embracing the warmth of what you have. Each character had their own personal “sun” – for Takemoto and Morita, it was Hagu, who gave them the courage and light to guide them out of their own darkness and confront their problems. Hagu’s sun is Shuu, and though she romantically loves Morita, she chooses to stay with Shuu to help herself grow and heal. For Ayumi, her sun was Mayama, and she spends much of season 2 coming to accept her own losses and potentially falling in love with Nomiya. For Mayama, he chases his sun – Rika – selfishly, but also accepts that there are some forms of love you can never change nor do over. Shuu dedicates his life to helping Hagu rehabilitate while coming face to face with his true feelings for her and accepting it. Out of the rather decently sized cast of Honey and Clover it is important to note that no one actually “ends up” romantically with their sun. They are happy just having to be by each other’s side, and using those experiences to enrich their life and continue onward in their personal journey. Chasing a sun after all, leads to nothing but despair. You can’t grab something and hold onto it forever. But that doesn’t mean that your past moments and memories are useless or easily forgotten.
Genetics lab, in a way, was my own personal sun. It gave me a direction in my future, a warmth of empowering experiences, and shined a light on my life. I fell in love with everything about it, and four months later, I miss all of those precious things with a slow ache in my heart. But Honey and Clover has taught me that while you can’t chase suns, and that some things don’t last forever, other things last as long as you choose to remember them – and I will cherish those memories, while moving forward to make new ones at the same time.
As time passes, the day will come when everything will fade to memories. But those miraculous days, when you and I, along with everyone else, searched together for just that one thing, will continue revolving forever somewhere deep in my heart, as my bittersweet memory.