Comparing Toradora! to Honey and Clover doesn’t really make sense, even if you think it does

I generally don’t read many anime blogs, mostly because most anime bloggers have no idea as to what they’re on about. However, even amongst the ones that I do read, I’ve noticed one ugly pattern rear its head as of late–the comparison of 2008/2009’s Toradora! to 2005/2006’s Honey and Clover.

Now, I know, in your mind it probably makes perfect sense to compare these two works–they’re both youth-centered romance dramas, and they’re both produced by the dudes, J.C. Staff. However, this comparison makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Toradora! is based off of a series of light novels targeted pretty cleanly at the shounen demographic. Yes, it is penned by a woman, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s pretty much locked in shounen structure and conventions. Honey and Clover is based off of a manga series made for the josei demographic, and its plot is similarly driven by josei conventions. Yes, both of these works are romance stories, but saying one is better than the other, or trying to draw parallels between the two makes no sense because their goal is completely different. Toradora!’s goal is to entertain the shounen/otaku demographic, while Honey and Clover is meant to entertain college-aged young women. Of course, one can like Honey and Clover and still be a dude (I’m one of them) but comparing and contrasting it to Toradora! is simply ridiculous.

“But, wah!” you say, “both of these fine Japanese cartoons are by J.C. Staff, and even share some of the same core staff!” And to that I say, “so what?” While J.C. Staff probably has the freedom to bend the story however they wish, they tend to play their adaptations pretty faithful to their original works (with some exceptions, of course) so this is more or less a non-issue.

In conclusion: Stop comparing Toradora! to Honey and Clover. Getting mad at Toradora! because it’s not acting like Honey and Clover is like getting mad at Maria†Holic for not acting like Ouran High School Host Club.

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11 Responses to Comparing Toradora! to Honey and Clover doesn’t really make sense, even if you think it does

  1. TheBigN says:

    Or getting mad at Haruhi-chan/Churuya for not being Haruhi 2. :V

    Though I’m not sure how well that compares to your earlier metaphor. :P

  2. digitalboy says:

    Comparison never made any fucking sense to me in the first place. HxC is completely steeped in the fact that it is a college story. TD is high school. That itself is a defining difference.

  3. Erious says:

    There are some similarities, but yeah, comparing them is kind of dumb.
    I still could say that Honey & Clover is better, though, but that’s because I consider it better then every other anime series I’ve seen so far.

  4. Orange says:

    I couldn’t watch H&C more than 3 episodes, so I wouldn’t know.

  5. mt-i says:

    It’s not comparing them that doesn’t make sense, it’s letting one’s expectations of the former shaped by romanticized memories of the latter. Of course, it’s pretty ridiculous to complain that Toradora somehow failed for not being another Hachikuro–which it never tried to be. And I find comments to the effect that one is so much more mature than the other especially annoying and misguided. Yet there are more than superficial similarities between the two, and it’s not necessarily meaningless to look at them more or less closely.

    In a 2ch thread on アニメサロン, someone suggested that, rather than another Hachikuro, Toradora was in fact the modern-day Kimagure Orange Road. Not sure what to make of this :p

  6. picchar says:

    I finally watched Toradora XD Love it, and I agree, I don’t see what is similar between them. I mean, of course there will be the little things, but the whole theme and overall picture of each series do not share any similarities.

    However, people are free to say what they want (sadly, sometimes), and I don’t really see anything wrong with just comparing them, unless it’s to compare them and conclude that they’re similar.

    Hoo well.

  7. VZMK2 says:

    I have a question. I want to watch what I’ve dubbed “JC Staff’s tsundere trilogy”, made up of Shakugan no Shana, Zero no Tsukaima and Toradora. Which do you think is best to start watching?

  8. digitalboy says:

    TORADORA IS NOT A TSUNDERE ANIME YOU FUCKHEAD.

    And I’d advise against watching Shana or ZnT because they are both shit.

  9. wah says:

    >>It’s not comparing them that doesn’t make sense, it’s letting one’s expectations of the former shaped by romanticized memories of the latter. Of course, it’s pretty ridiculous to complain that Toradora somehow failed for not being another Hachikuro–which it never tried to be. And I find comments to the effect that one is so much more mature than the other especially annoying and misguided. Yet there are more than superficial similarities between the two, and it’s not necessarily meaningless to look at them more or less closely.

    Yes, you’ve nailed it better than I have. I think the idea of Toradora for some reason being “less mature” may lie in its otaku/shounen roots, and normal fans tend to look down on stuff like that. Of course, there are a bunch of works that fall into that category that are quite immature, but it’s the same with shoujo/jousei manga, too.

    >>VZ
    All three of those shows are quite different beasts. I don’t really like Shana, but if you’re into action along with corny love triangles, go for it. Zero no Tsukaima is an incredibly well done fanservice romp, and I’d recommend that if you really like tits.

    Toradora! is actually a pretty serious romance drama, which is surprisingly free of a lot of the cliché you’d expect out of it.

  10. JustDJR says:

    Well I dont see where the comparison comes either. And while I quite like Toradora and think of it as an enjoyable series, H&C is a truly GREAT series.

  11. Diss says:

    What about the scarf thing? How can you not compare the shows after that? It’s clearly a reference that draws a parallel between couples in both shows.