As an anime adaptation of a manga adaptation of a popular yet crudely drawn webcomic, Horimiya, not unlike one punch man - is a story so nice they told it. Thrice is what I would say if the original webcomic story, santomi murakun, did not also have its own strikingly stylized ova adaptation, sadly not available in English, yet meaning this one's actually so nice. They told it quadrice that's more times than we have real words for and a lot of times for anything, let alone a series of crudely rendered jpegs that were given away for free by some nobody on the internet in 2007. It'S self-evident that there is something special about Horimiya and that's pretty wild though because there's absolutely nothing self-evidently special about Horimiya.
You Should Watch Horimiya
Amid a winter buffet of bold, ambitious, quirky, anime cuisine, it stands out as a simple, yet exquisite comfort dish, a coming-of-age rom-com about normal teenagers at a normal high school, trying to figure out what exactly normal is if you're not familiar. Kyoko Hori is a popular girl with good grades, who spends most of her free time taking care of her little brother sota in lieu of their busy parents. None of her friends or classmates know about this side of her life until one day, a handsome well-dressed bad boy kindly brings her brother home to patch up a boo-boo. It turns out that this styling stranger is Miyamura a quiet, bespectacled loner from hori's class, who everyone just assumes is a weird otaku, even though he's actually just kinda, dumb and socially awkward, and only uses his thick ugly, school clothes and unkempt hair to hide sick, tats And piercings the unlikely pair quickly discovered that, despite their apparent differences, they actually have a ton. In common and days of youth, like the scent of fresh lemons, you see in Sioux there's no cutesy genre premise or clever structural gimmick with which to elevator pitch a potential viewer on Horimiya, only pure romantic chemistry.
This isn't auron bunny girl, senpai, or Kaguya Sama. It doesn't even have a mystery box hook to string viewers along with like quintessential quintuplets, the sequel to which, according to mal, this new anime is currently outperforming, along with almost every other big-ticket sequel. This season, including re-zero and reincarnated as a slime but excluding the shonen big three of dr stone, the promised neverland, and attack on titan, really think about that this season contains its own big, three and jujutsu kaizen is still running yet here I am about to discuss A show where some papers falling out of a window is a heart-pounding event, but first speaking of the quintessential quintuplets, if you like, horimiya you'll, probably like that too, it is a harem but a thoroughly wholesome one, with rich characters and a ton of heart.
The new anime season has been going great, but the manga is still the best way to experience that doki doki goodness at least in my book, which can be your book too, because in celebration of its finale, the quintessential quintuplets manga happens to be on sale until March, 8th in high resolution, ebook form via bookwalker, where you can buy a bundle of the whole series for 30 off plus you'll, get a beautiful bonus illustration just for buying volume 14, and you can bump that up to a 35 discount while simultaneously helping me out By using the promo code basement at checkout to get an additional 600 yen off, alternatively, if you already own some of the series, you can get 15 coin back on the rest of them to put toward future purchases of digital light, novels and or manga manga, like Hori mia, which bookwalker also has all 14 volumes of those aren't on sale right now, but they are really good and you can still use the promo code basement for a discount on them or anything else in bookwalker's, vast and ever expanding. Catalog click.
The link in the doobly-doo to check out that promotion or click the other link to get the horimiya manga today now back to the romance. So what makes Horimiya so special to put it simply craftsmanship? It is a sublimely, efficient work of narrative, mechanical engineering, a story machine whose every component character is as expertly made and carefully tuned as the gears of a Swiss watch. If you've watched it, then you've felt exactly what I'm talking about the delicate bittersweet pang of the teenage crush is a difficult feeling to accurately emulate in narrative media, realistic, romance manga and anime like kimi, totokay and toradora tend to go a little larger than life with Their characters and emotional conflicts drawing out will they. The questions to absurd wanks and leveraging the dynamism of melodrama to create a feeling, that's similar to but much more intense than the real thing, butterflies and doki dokis to be sure, but of the sort a roller coaster might deliver horimiya, on the other hand, is A more subtly thrilling ride, like coasting downhill through winding city streets, back an overburdened one-seat bicycle with very little hyperbole, at least by anime standards.
It seeks to honestly portray the fleeting yet in the moment, the all-consuming profundity of pubescent. What Kaguya Sama made an endlessly hilarious joke out of this series tackles with unerring unembellished sincerity to shockingly powerful effect, Horimiya's characters don't get endlessly hung up on absurd misunderstandings. They could solve with a single text message or entangled in improbably convoluted love, geometry. They get hurt by poorly chosen words burden themselves and each other with tempestuous, irrational anxieties, and struggle to juggle life, school, and family from one day to the next, you know like actual teenagers. Most of this shows manga's driving conflicts are things that will not matter to anyone in 10 years or even 10 minutes, yet matter more than anything to these characters.
At this moment, in the first episode's, big emotional climax, an unwanted gesture of self-deprecation meant to help hori save face with people whose opinions don't actually matter to her instead ends up making her feel like Miyamura's abandoning her with a convenient excuse. That really hurts her feelings and they need to talk it out. It doesn't sound that exciting in the retelling, but trust me it is captivating when you're there, one outstanding later chapter sees hori on the verge of tears all day because of something Miyamura said to her. In a dream, which sounds absurd and is absurd, but in a way that's deeply human and believable. Many of us have been there and or done that and in exploring the honest, complex, intimate emotions of this common mundane.
Nothing of a personal problem, horimiya successfully, delivers both the Doki dokis and the fuwafuwas in copious quantities, along with some pretty hearty chuckles. A lot of these conflicts like a lot of conflicts in teenage relationships are the sort of thing one laughs at when looked back upon and horimiya leans into that very specific feeling to allow its comedic elements to exist in close but comfortable proximity to its heavier Emotional loads, the depth and nuance of character required to make fundamentally small conflicts like this resonate so strongly and broadly, is staggering, which is why most romance manga writers cling so long to all reliable, universally relatable. I think they like me, but I don't know if they like me, like me: pre-relationship romantic tension stretching it well past the breaking point of believability in the relatively uncharted territory, beyond the confession, actually dating and stuff, each couple's story becomes their own. It'S forward momentum, fueled, not by a formula but the unique chemistry between them. That'S hard to write, horimya charges into it without hesitation.
Its central couple establishes that they're special to each other in its first episode, hands are held in its third and there's a confession. On the field by the fourth which hori's deadbeat dad obliviously pressures, her into answering in the middle of his own character, the introduction scene in the fifth simultaneously cementing himself in our minds as a childishly overbearing nuisance. Who makes everything about him even the moment climactic. The romantic catharsis that the whole series until now has been building to, which is to be fair, all the sweeter for the weight when the kids are at last left alone, and it finally sets in that they're like totes dating for realsies. Now the unexpected deviation into comedy right before the romantic climax makes that climax when it does arrive, feel fresh, exciting, and unexpected in a way that I don't think it would if they tried to play it straight.
It also allows the series to give a fairly complicated new character, a very memorable introduction, and significantly develop all of the established characters in the hori family. In the space of just a few minutes and or pages, this one scene tells us everything we need to know about kyosuke through how he reacts to and disrupts the story's status quo and how his daughter and especially his wife, react to him. Yuriko'S polite passive aggression is positively savage. Learning about kyousuke in turn tells us a great deal about Kyoko why she is the way she is, why she's so drawn to reliable kind, unassertive Miyamura, and why she's so possessive and anxious about the prospect of him abandoning her out of the blue thoughtfully layered efficient. Writing like this is what allows the story to move so swiftly through its opening act without feeling rushed or softening the emotional impact of key moments.
When you break it down, there aren't a lot of scenes between Horimiya's meat, cute and big relationship status update, but it makes the most of each and everyone using them to simultaneously develop and advance the central romance. Deliver solid self-contained, jokes and emotional beats and expand upon the vast supporting cast in equal measure to the characters with their names in the title by the time you've reached that episode, 5 climaxes you've experienced a greater density of emotions and meaningful character. Developments that you'll find in many series, thrice the length and the transition to a full-blown relationship feels well earned.
We understand perfectly well what these characters mean to each other, why they need each other, and how exactly they've grown ready to be together and from that point forward, they continue to grow together around each other, as we discover more about both of them alongside each of Them this is one of the most fun stages of a relationship and, for obvious reasons, fertile ground for character-driven, comedy and storytelling hard stuff to write, but hiro writes it well and it's the essence of what makes hory mia so complex and compelling hory and Miyamura are Orbited by other teens in their own states of will they won't. They entanglement who provide complementary flavors of forlorn cross-classroom glancing and allow the series to indulge in tropier romantic storytelling when it wants to cook lessons.
Love triangles that whole bit, but horimiya never uses cliche. As a crutch, it does use it as effective shorthand, though, allowing for moments that other manga and anime might soak in soliloquy to pass without unnecessary comment. Take the scene where sakura falls for toru, not a lot really happens in it. Some papers are dropped, picked up, and delivered alongside a single compliment, and we don't hear either character's internal monologue, but the framing the very shojo directorial flourishes and the fact that these characters are alone together for the first time in this sort of story tells us. This is the start of something, and we can further infer from that that toru's acknowledgment of her hard work means a lot more to sakura than she lets on the characters help the show with this show don't tell approach to their development by wearing their hearts on Their sleeves, for the most part, you can always tell based on their expressions how they feel about any given development, even if they try to hide it.
In fact, their attempts to hide things only tell us more about what they're really thinking the nature of its medium means. The anime can't be quite as precise in illustrating these emotions, as the manga is, but bold evocative direction allows it to convey whatever Infos lost, to lower fidelity through cinematic language. As a result, Horimiya doesn't need a running inner monologue to be fully understood and can instead use that device. Sparsely stylistically, in contrast to its abundance of dialogue, to convey when characters are feeling lonely or stuck up in their own heads. Of course, none of that would work if the characters themselves weren't interesting and worth exploring in-depth, where the tired cliches simply used to acquaint us with more tired cliches.
They wouldn't amount to much at all. Corey mia states its central thesis upfront that we all have sides of ourselves that we don't show the world and we're all looking for. Someone to share them with every character makes good on that promise of hidden depth and duality. This cast doesn't fit neatly into your typical anime archetypes sure you could describe hori as a tsundere. She does tend to bring out the bacas when romantically, flustered and she's got a mean axe kick but she's not really defined by her anger.
She just has a severe mood. Swings exacerbated by the day-to-day stress of being a surrogate mom to her younger brother and a deep-rooted sense of separation anxiety that thus far, only Miyamura has ever been able to abate she's, not an anime trope she's, a neurotic teenage girl coping with the trauma of parental Abandonment, for his part, crouching dweeb, hidden himbo, is a self-conscious bundle of raw nerves. Only just now emerging from a shell of shyness and pessimism that he's carried with him since grade school is a defense against bullying and exclusion. Push past those defenses and you'll find a kind, easy-going, slightly clueless kid who's eager to help others and just happens to think so lowly of himself that never bothering them or making them look bad by association with him is his go-to way of doing that. Thanks to Shindo, the concept of people actually liking, him isn't totally foreign to Miyamura anymore, but he's still very much getting used to it.
He'S clearly got a lot of pent-up anger too, but he mostly directs it at himself. We learn early on that. Those cool piercings are a product of self-harming impulses. That said, with the people he's closest to, he is a little more willing to be brutally honest and let his feelings loose and, while he's not the type to start a fight, Ishikawa around and finds out that he'll sure as a finish. One though again, the motivation for that conflict is ultimately rooted in Miyamura's own diminished sense of self-worth.
Speaking of toru, the friendly jocular jock is a surprisingly sensitive guy prone to unseemly emotional outbursts at times, but generally respectful of his friend's feelings and willing to go out of his way to protect them. Once his initial jealousy toward Miyamura subsides, he really warms up to the gloomy weirdo to the point that hori almost starts being jealous of him, though the obliviously forward Shindo poses more of an imaginary threat on that front. Yuki Yoshikawa their friend group's fourth member seems at first blush to be your typical Genki girl and is generally possessed of a positive outlook and go-getting disposition, but she rarely if ever actually goes to get anything. She really wants and tends to smile the hardest. When there's something she really doesn't want to be asked about, then there's the student council who have their own distinct dynamics as a friend unit president Sengoku likes to play it cool, but he's an anxious dork, not so deep down and a not-insignificant portion of that Anxiety is traceable to his traumatic history as the violent horizon's childhood friend, his girlfriend Remy seems flighty.
Capricious and ditzy is in fact all of those things and perhaps a little over willing to joke about stealing boys from other girls, but she loves him deeply. Nonetheless, she's even dumber than Miyamura and Shindo in a lot of respects, but she understands people well those closest to her best of all, and tries her best to encourage them to do their best. Sakura has to pick up a lot of Renee's slack and the president's slack too, but her bestie makes up for it by consistently affirming her self-worth and telling the insecure vice president, how cute she really is, which is really cute those seven form. What I'd call the series main cast, though? That'S a distinction made purely based on total screen time everywhere.
You look in horimiya you'll find equally complex and compelling characters, each of whom somehow makes you want to give them a big old hug. Some take longer to spark that impulse than others, but all deserve it. When all said and done, except for maybe kyousuke as much thought has gone into how these characters express themselves and interact with each other as was spent shaping their inner worlds. It feels like you could put them together in just about any combination and have comedy emerge from their chemistry, especially if ira or Shindo are involved across the manga's. In many chapters, you'll get to see just about every combo.
You can imagine, and practice proves that theory out the anime doesn't really have time for all of those diversions. It'S a much more focused version of the story that optimizes the dramatic utility of these characters. There are still plenty of laughs to be had. It is a rom-com after all, but just about every humorous aside that doesn't feed into a central character. Arc in a meaningful way has been cut, as have a few entire characters, who don't really add much to the mix like a little girl from SOTA's class who's implied to have a budding crush on him, a subplot about Yoshikawa having a crush on street clothes Miyamura.
Without realizing who he also gets the axe in the anime, there are downsides to this approach. Big ones like a criminally significant reduction in shu ira's total screen time, but he really makes the moments he still has count and I think the other omissions are for the better. They probably could have kept that content in without making the show feel padded pushing back. The crystallization of hori and Miyamura's relationship by a few episodes to compensate, but that would likely mean the anime, wouldn't reach some of the manga's best moments and characters, one of whom we just met the last episode. And it would lay more narrative weight on the confession and response than they were really designed to bear by extending the gap between them and drawing out the question of what the two really mean to each other.
Those moments would simply hit different coming in episodes 6 or 8 out of 13 compared to 4 and 5, throwing off the delicate balance that sets the series, apart from other romances horimiya, treats relationships, not as goals for its characters to work toward, but rather projects For them to work on together significant parts of their lives to be sure, but never the whole picture. Friendship status is often as essential to the stakes of the narrative as a romantic drama, if not more so, and the growth of individual characters always matters most of all. Hori and Miyamura aren't interesting because they love each other they're interested in ways that result in them loving each other. Other characters are interesting in different ways that set them down different paths. Romantically academically and personally, as I watch and obsessively binge read this series, I don't find myself constantly thinking now.
Kith, like I do with a lot of my favorite entries in this genre. I just want to learn more about these characters and see where they end up. Wherever that is regardless of whether it results in romantic catharsis for me as a viewer, some of the series strongest emotional moments, like toru's reaction to his two best friends making it official, are rooted in realistic understated heartbreak. Such moments often come right on the tail of the happiest story, beats underscoring them with quiet sadness. This isn't a series where the resolution of a romantic rivalry represents the triumph of a good guy or girl over a duplicitous villain.
It just means that two protagonists get to enjoy each other's company, while another protagonist is left to suffer alone. Real relationships of all kinds are just messy like that. We often cause each other underserved, yet unavoidable pain in pursuit of our own happiness or just by existing. In proximity to each other, with so many people in one place and all of their hormones out of whack high school represents the height of that aspect of human experience, and Horimiya captures it perfectly finding a companion amid it all, doesn't magically set everything right. It just means that you've got someone to hold on to as you both weather the storm and that you have someone to laugh with when you can look back.
Horimiya is a love story built from mundane moments of intimacy and personal problems that seem bigger on the inside atop, a realistically rocky foundation of equally mundane, generalized adolescent angst. It's a story about looking past how the people around you present and seeing them for who they really are. It'S not particularly novel, innovative, or subversive, but it is true and honest in a way that all the best art is. We can see bits of ourselves and people, we know not just in its main characters, but all of them and the feeling of attachment that fosters is what's kept. Its fan base coming back and growing across four iterations, now mark my words like the webcomic and manga that inspired it romance appreciators are going to be talking about and revisiting this anime for many years to come.