Story: The story starts where it left off from Honey and Clover I. Although it has the same feel as the first, the content becomes more melodramatic and leans heavily on unrequited love, drama, pain, and the bittersweet feeling from growing up and growing apart. Though there is some comedy, there is a lot less than the first one and the comedy to drama ratio is fairly low. Don't let that be a deterance though. The story is brilliant as ever. It showcases true emotions and events that most people will face and conveys how each character deals with the problems they are faced. They continue to strive forward, unknowing of what the future holds but just trying their best to live their lives with as little drama and pain as possible. Everyone begins to make more concrete decisions on their lives instead of meandering through with lack of purpose in their lives. Some find happiness while others begin to realize that life is bittersweet and not always kinds. The level of reality and unpredictability is still there (especially the unforeseen fight that had me shocked and laughing out loud). It is a beautifully poignant and realistic anime that offers more closure to the characters than the 1st season because it ends with their graduation and the paths they choose to take. It is slightly open ended but for the most part, the ending is pretty direct about how the final decisions each character makes.
Animation: It is as lovely as it was in the first. There is not much difference in this animation as there was in the first season so I see no point in repeating what I already stated. The quality is just as high and has not decreased.
Sound: As beautiful and moving as it was in the first though there seems to be more music from Suga Shikao which definitely heightened the mood. His music is simply amazing and it really fit the mood of the scenes except when they used "Ringo Juice" in the most inappropriate of times. Other than that flaw, though the music added to the anime's tone. Spitz had insert songs as well, which definitely made the music that much better. The opening and ending were definitely more bittersweet but that really suited the style of this 2nd season. It really conveyed the plot and emotions that all the characters faced.
Characters: More about the character's histories are expressed thankfully. Morita, Hagu, and Rika became more fully developed through flashbacks and their personalities begin to seem more concrete and understandable. There actions and mannerisms were finally explained. The other characters get to show how much they have matured. Ayumi and Shu show through their actions and thoughts that they are beginning to let go of their past lives and live more realistically with the future. Yuta to me was one who really grew the most and understood the pains and happiness of life. The bike trip really made him stronger and he now knows what he wants to do with his life. They are just as great as they were in the 1st season but now they are more fleshed out and have added depth.
Overall: If you've seen the first, you have to watch this as well because this is the true ending for the anime, but if you cry easily, I recommend having a box of tissues on hand. It was so touching and even though I knew that the ending made sense and it was simply meant to be that way, I had some trouble accepting because I have a love for happy endings. For one as a college student, though I found the ending to be beautiful, it was still sad and slightly depressing but in a realistic and emotionally tugging way. This 2nd season is all about conveying the message that all those moments spent together will fade into bittersweet memories which is both enriching and disheartening at the same time but though the times will fade, it is not the same as never having experienced them. This anime truly leaves a lasting impression about real life and the experiences both wanted and not that come with it.