One of my favorite features of Honey and Clover is the relationship that developed between Rika, Harada, and Hanamoto when they were graduate students. This episode adds more backstory to those three characters including a scene featuring a cute albeit inebriated Rika. Also, Mayama mans up and tells her he will protect her from herself.
Hagu’s question about a Munch postcard (“Moonlight”) triggers memories in Hanamoto’s head of he, Rika, and Harada standing next to a river on a moonlit night. Drunk Harada walks into the water and Rika, also soused, wants to join him. Just as it looks as adult Rika will fall into the river, Hanamoto wakes up and realizes it was a bad dream.
While standing at a platform at Ueno Station, Mayama grabs Rika’s arms from behind and pushes her onto the express train to Sapporo. Since it’s a seventeen-hour train ride, they decide to sleep until a couple hours before the train reaches its destination. Yamada tells her he’ll sleep on the bottom floor but she says it’s okay for him to use the bed next to her. This makes Yamada blush and sets off his inner happiness savings bank. But by morning, he’s sleeping in a chair outside the bedroom, perhaps to protect his honor.
When they arrive, they drive on long roads until they reach Rika’s old house. She looks at the ruins and recounts how Harada helped her destroy it before she moved away. Harada always seem to look good in flashbacks. Maybe it’s because he died young. She “feeds” her dead dog Shiro some biscuits and says to herself that there’s nothing else left anymore. Mayama gets the feeling that she just got rid of one more attachment to this world.
Mayama installs an anti-theft alarm on Rika’s purse and stops her from leaving their hotel room the following morning when it goes off. He admits to her that he’s read her e-mail and wants to prevent her from offing herself after she’s finished the rest of the company’s work. After her airplane leaves, Mayama checks her computer and sees she changed her apartment request from a 1-bedroom to one with 2 bedrooms.
Rika’s inevitable death will have to wait for at least a couple more episodes. Even though I won’t take pleasure out of her demise, I’d rather her have it end suddenly like falling down the stairs than be laying in a hospital with everybody surrounding her. It would be more dramatic that way. The episode itself had enough humorous parts spread out to balance out Mayama’s overconcern for Rika. Now that she’s flown off to Spain, he can relax a little and continue to ignore Yamada.