Trend in Japan Web Japan
Arts and Entertainment
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Arts & Entertainment
Hit Comic Produces TV, Movie Spin-offs (December 5, 2005)

A page from the Hachikuro manga (© CHICA UMINO/SHUEISHA Inc.)
Hachimitsu to Kuroba (Honey and Clover) is a serialized manga (comic) that follows the lives of five young people attending an art college as they deal with unrequited love and other life issues. The comic, whose readers are mainly girls and young women, has become a major hit since its first appearance in a women's magazine in 2000. Eight compilations of the comic have sold a total of more than 4 million copies. The series has also received critical acclaim, winning the Kondansha prize for girls' manga in 2003. It has recently been turned into a TV anime series, and a big-screen version is now planned.

A Multimedia Hit
Commonly known by its abbreviated title, Hachikuro, the Hachimitsu to Kuroba manga was created by Umino Chika and appeared in the women's monthly manga magazine Young You from 2000 until October 2005. Another monthly, Chorus, plans to resume the series starting at the end of November.

The TV anime was shown from spring to September on some channels in Japan. Reruns are now being broadcast on satellite TV. It was aired during the late-night hours, a scheduling arrangement that underscores a wider trend in anime today: While anime used to targeted mostly at children, more and more series are aimed squarely at older viewers.

One of the factors behind this trend is Japan's falling birthrate, which has caused anime's traditional audience to shrink since the 1980s. Before this trend set in, anime was a regular feature of the early evening time slots on Japanese TV, hours that these days are largely occupied by news programming.

The cover of a Hachikuro compilation (© CHICA UMINO/SHUEISHA Inc.)

The other notable feature of the late-night broadcasts of Hachikuro is that they have cultivated a passionate fan base. Although late-night programs tend to be shown on a limited number of channels and in a limited number of regions, they have one big advantage: They tend to generate large amounts of revenue through sales of DVDs and other merchandise. This is because the broadcasts raise the brand recognition of the series, and viewers of late-night shows tend to have a comparatively high level of purchasing power. Many people who are unable to watch a show on late-night TV are willing to spend money on DVDs and other media in order to watch it at their own convenience.

Keeping It Real
Most late-night anime series have in the past been aimed at male viewers, featuring beautiful young heroines and action-packed storylines. So with its female fan base and highly realistic portrayal of flawed characters, Hachikuro has been a pioneer in this respect.

Fuji Television Network, which airs the program, describes Hachikuro on its website as "the beginning of a new type of anime." The network has indicated that it is not solely interested in the series for its commercial potential but intends to make it part of an overall effort to cultivate adult-oriented anime featuring deep, meaningful storylines.

Meanwhile, a Hachikuro film is in the works. Planned for release in the summer of 2006, it will star Sakurai Sho, a member of the popular group Arashi, and the actress Aoi Yu. The movie will be directed will be Takada Masahiro, who has received awards in Japan and overseas for his TV commercials. The adaptation of Hachikuro for the big screen follows the wildly successful movie versions of several other anime series, including Tacchi (Touch) and Nana, whose ability to draw huge audiences have been on par with Hollywood blockbusters.

The film version of Hachimitsu to Kuroba is sure to join the ranks of those hits and is expected to boost the popularity of manga and anime aimed at a grown-up audience even further.

 Page Top

Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

Related articles
(June 7, 2005)

(May 26, 2005)

(April 5, 2004)
Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackArts & Entertainment Home