N Honda and O Honda both have advantages in terms of their normals.
O Honda’s crouching fierce is really good because it’s his quickest sweep and his standing fierce chop is really good as an antiair and to counterpoke some normals. His crouching short and forward have awesome hitboxes and can totally stuff things like headbutt and Blanka ball. His standing jab also has one of the best hitboxes in the game because almost his whole hand can’t be attacked even though it hits the opponent, so you can play great up-close games on opponents’ wakeups; you can stand at max range and do standing jab as Ryu wakes up, and if he blocks, you get a tick, and if he does dp, it goes right through your hand and you can do free damage. Also, his far standing kicks all sweep and have different speeds and ranges, making for some nice mixups and whiffs-into-walkups.
N Honda’s crossup game is way better, since his crossup roundhouse is one of the best in the game. I also feel like his jumping non-splash forward is a little beefier. His standing and crouching kicks are more intuitively arranged, which is nice, and the hitboxes are pretty much the same where he shares animations with O Honda. His far standing jab is pretty similar to O Honda’s, but it’s not quite as safe. His normals are also more cancelable and combo-friendly. And actually for some reason I’m blanking on this, but one of them has a better jumping short hitbox; one doesn’t hit on the front of Honda’s attack, only on the bottom, but right now I can’t recall which. Heh, that’s annoying.
The main reason people generally agree that N Honda is better than O Honda is that it’s a lot easier for N Honda to get in. He has controllable neutral jumping fierce, a beefier hitbox on his buttslam, and rush slaps, which makes getting in way less of a chore. N Honda also has the command grab, which is obviously a plus. But even without the command grab, O Honda is still a beast once he gets in; his standing sweeps, crouching fierce, crouching short and forward, safe standing jab, walking slaps, and fierce grab/standing fierce option select are really beastly against some characters. They’re both good characters. I usually go with N Honda, especially against characters I need to get in on, but in certain matchups, like against Blanka, O Honda is definitely my sumo of choice.