Honey & Clover : 5 of 5
I've made it through quite a few complete Japanese dramas now, so it's getting pretty difficult to say which ones are my favorites, but it's safe to say that Honey & Clover is definitely way up there! I've been reading this famous manga in Shojo Beat for quite a while, so it was kind of magical to see these characters that I know pretty well come to life, and many of the situations in the drama were nicely lifted directly from the original story (as they should be). The plot follows a group of art university students, who live eclectic and crazy lives and get into all kinds of deeply emotional love triangles. In fact, even the first episode is filled with romance, which makes this the first time I've cried during the very first episode of a series! For the most part, each episode takes place in a different season, so there's quite a bit of time passing over the 11 episodes, and we get to see everyone graduate and move on with their lives. The main character is Takemoto, who is the least ambitious of the group and always looking for a purpose in life, who falls in love with Hagumi, a shy girl raised in the country who happens to be a painting genius (and also looks like an angel with her peaceful smile!). The rest of the characters are wonderful, too, and all of the episodes are so sentimental, right down to the cool emotional closing credits song that plays over "home movies" of the characters goofing off together (each episode has a different movie, so you actually have to watch the credits!). Although there's a dramatic accident with Hagumi near the end, amazingly the final episode is mostly just simple goodbyes - there's no real finale, but somehow I had grown so attached to all of these characters that I ended up crying anyway. Honey & Clover is one of those series that makes you think about life and appreciate it even more. To me, there's nothing better than a show that entertains you and leaves you wrapped in warm memories!