Anime Review: "Horimiya"



10/10 Romance with Comedy and Slice of Life elements to compliment the central character development. Fantastic voice acting, great animation, and an excellent OST. Only complaint is that there wasn't more of it; would have been nice to have 2-cours with more of the random slice of life stuff shown in the manga. You'll love this if you need a break from over the top RomCom's with too many rediculous tropes. This anime might not be for you if you're easily bored.


Extended Spoiler Heavy Review

For my first review on this site, I wanted to cover something that's not only recent, since the majority of these will not be coming out in any timely manner whatsoever, but also something that I genuinely loved, and was excited for for years. Horimiya. This series, which premiered in winter 2021, is an adaptation of the manga of the same name with story by HERO and art by Hagiwara Daisuke. The manga has been going for almost a decade, concluding in the the final chapter at the beginning of March 2021. It developed a massive following and for a time was the most popular manga series on MAL that didn't have an anime adaptation yet.

Horimiya is the standard by which I measure all other high school pure-romance series. Although it gets labeled as a RomCom, Horimiya is a romance series first, with comedy and slice-of-life elements later. I'd group it up with series like Blue Spring Ride or Say I love You before I put it in wich something like Kaguya-sama Love is War. That's very important, because Horimiya is very vanilla. Omega vanilla if you will. This series is about as realistic as you can get in terms of high school romance, and has none of the frills or wild tropes that you see in so many other series these days. It is entirely generic with aboslutely no gimmicks to make it stand out, apart from the underlying premise that the main characters put on one face in public, and another in private, which if you know anything about Japan, you'd probably know is pretty normal.

This series embodies the Japanese idea that people have 3 faces: 1) the face you show to the world 2) the face that you show to your family and friends and 3) the face that we keep for ourselves. 

Hori Kyouko at school is popular, smart, and good looking, but at home she's a caring sister who lets down her hair to revel in house cleaning. Miyamura Izumi is a quiet, dark, gloomy guy in class, that nobody really knows much about, but at home he's pierced and tatted up; he's fashionbable and knows what's popular and trendy. Chance brings them to know each-other's "other" side and romance ensues. There's not much time between inittiation of interest and flag capture, which makes this series a lot different than shows that center on the chase. After the couple get to coupling, the show shifts its attention to the side characters and lets us see whats happening with them, while still giving us bits of fun RomCom SOL about the main MC's.

The thing that makes this series shine is that the characters are very fleshed out and have great development considering they're all just high school kids with normal problems, worries, and passions. None of them carry the burden of a multi-national conglomerate which they'll have to take over when they're grown. The relationships are incredibly realistic as well These are kids that know how babies are made (hint: it's not by holding hands), and have no qualms about getting down and dirty. The show is very classy about it though, and never shows anyone actually doing the deed. This show has zero fan service with the sexiest thing every shown being some bare shoulders (spicy). 

What I really like the most about Hori and Miyamura's relationship is that through their intimacy we get to see them expose their third face to each-other which brings them even closer. Hori, who's always in control in her life, awakens her masochistic side, but only for Miyamura. She gets off on him roughing her up (mildly) both in public and private; Miyamura obliges, grudginly, because he'll do anything to make her happy. She's kinky, and Miyamura's fleixble. Their relationship goes to levels that frankly we never get to see in most anime.

The major complaint that most people have had with the manga, for years, is that once the main couple reaches the end of their romantic progression (and commit to a lifetime together), the story shifts away from pure romance between the MC's into random slice of life stuff and stories about the side characters. There's not as much of this in the anime, as opposed to the manga, because it's only a single cour, 13 episode series. If they'd have given us more of that, the manga readers may have rejoiced, but they also risked losing more audience who weren't intersted in the day-to-day lives of the characters.

In the end, Horimiya doesn't disappoint. It's a nice breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it lived up to all the hopes and dreams I had after many years of reading the original manga.

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