Izumi Miyamora is a sweet and shy boy with a hidden punk side. Kyoko Hori is a popular girl and an enthusiastic homebody. When Kyoko’s kid brother falls on that fateful day, Miyamora helps him home and the romance between Kyoko and Izumi blooms. Horimiya (Hori + Miya) tells the story of these two high schoolers as they learn about each other, make friends, and help each other heal.
Kyoko Hori is the popular girl all the boys love. Not in the Means Girls way where she wears pink and ruins people’s lives, but in the way that she is nice, pretty, and caring. Hori runs home every day to do her chores and pick up her younger brother from school. She plays a motherly role not only in her own home, but in the friend group in general. This creates a spicy element later in the show that I will let you discover on your own. While Kyoko doesn’t stand out much from other protagonists, I like her ability to care for her friends even when she doesn’t agree with them. She does not butt in between arguments or get over involved like most other characters in her position would. A large departure from a standard protagonist.
Izumi Miyamora is a tortured soul with the keys to let himself out of the cage. He reminds me of myself as a kid. I was an angry child who did just as much, if not more, self rejection as others rejected me. Miyamora did the same thing, but instead of anger, he was quiet and gloomy. If you can’t relate to a character like this, sometimes it takes someone to open your eyes and show you that you reject yourself a lot more than others reject you. Through Hori, Izumi starts the process of looking at himself and deciding finally who he wants to be for himself. My favorite part of Izumi is that once Hori takes a notice of him, everyone seems to love him. I can’t say that Miyamora buys into this fully but he seems oddly comfortable for someone who was a loner for so long.
Yuki Yoshikawa seems like a sideline character. She is a perpetual people pleaser, poor communicator, and a supportive friend. All the traits of being a solid character slated for no development whatsoever. However, she does receive some attention and I was happy for it. She is my favorite character other than Kyoko and I will save her for you to explore.
Toru Ishikawa is the guy who had a crush on Hori and becomes Miyamora’s best friend. Quite the combination if you ask me. Toru isn’t the most involved development wise. In fact, I would say that he gets less development as an obvious secondary character than some obvious side characters. Toru is fantastic, however, for how he develops Miyamora. Maybe it is not fair to say that his own development isn’t given much attention because he develops along with Izumi, although easily overshadowed. Seeing Toru try to break the gloomy shell that Izumi placed himself in was a real treat and even if it was a bumpy ride, he did well.
You know the meme, “They had us in the first half, I’m not going to lie?” Welcome to my experience. I really enjoyed Hori and Izumi. Realistic relationships are not exactly the common denominator of anime. Seeing those two live a normal relationship and handle mundane things in their own special way was endearing. Then we added some more characters and developed them.
Then we added some more characters. I started to sweat because my mental capacity was getting stretched and I just wanted my mom to come pick me up from the party so I could watch more Hori and Izumi. We then added MORE characters and I completely was lost. I was a child given too much freedom and got decision paralysis about who to care about. I got the development from Yuki that I was craving and Hori and Izumi got a surprise ending that left me satisfied, but the onslaught of characters rapidly approaching me left me a little frazzled. I don’t even know the green haired guy’s name, or the pink haired guy, or the red haired guy, or … you get the point.
One of the first ideas that you run into is keeping a side of yourself private. I can’t say this is explored for more than a couple episodes, but it really got me thinking. I am not an affectionate person in general. However, when I get into a relationship, I am very affectionate. That is the part of me that I don’t feel comfortable showing most people, but enjoy as a part of myself. I get some joy knowing that only a certain amount of people have seen that side. On the flip side, the show made me realize that I also like when I get a little piece of someone that no one else does. Is that selfish? Maybe. Does it change anything? Not really.
My family is a little different for a lot of reasons. But the one that came up during this show was asking for what you want. Over the course of my twenty three years on this earth I have heard the phrase, “Ask for what you want.” So many times that I now repeat it to my friends when they beat around the bush. You see, no one has time to guess what you want. When one of the characters had to learn this the hard way, I was ecstatic. Not at their pain or the poor parenting that caused her to be that way, but at the development that related to a core value of my family.
Moving past unrequited love has to be one of the hardest things a person can deal with. Shoutout to Katy if you are reading this. This has to be the most subtle idea in the show and I think that if you aren’t looking for it or like the character it affects, you would move right past it. Had this been developed a little bit more, I would have appreciated the thought more.
Overall, the ideas were approached in a unique way. It felt as if we had to be in the room noticing details in order to find out the intricacies of the characters and the ideas their struggle represented. With thirteen episodes it was hard to develop any of these ideas fully but they made me think and I had engaging conversations about them with my friends.
For a thirteen episode show, it still felt fast. Not only was it fast, but it hardly counts as continuous. While each episode happened after the one before it, there could be large breaks between episodes and usually occurred in two to three episode strings. Not really “arcs” like other shows, but as close as you can get for a romance anime. I can’t say that I particularly liked that feeling that the pacing gave. I felt like I was always behind, trying to catch up to what was happening with the characters. While all the characters got developed, it felt like we switched back and forth who the focus was many times when I really just wanted to see Hori and Miyamora’s relationship. I wanted a nice piece of wheat bread when I was given a perfectly good slice of sourdough. Am I wrong for wanting wheat? Yes, wheat is boring and as someone who is still trying to lose weight, wheat bread sucks. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to like the taste of something I wasn’t used to. I would love to revisit the show in a couple months because I know that the pacing will grow on me down the road.
Most warm blooded people know that words are hard. All anime watchers know that our young protagonists usually aren’t the best with them. In lieu of our high school lovers being able to say what they want, the colors make sure we know just that. While I don’t find the normal animation different from a normal romance anime, the scenes where the characters are given a color backdrop based on how they are feeling is done so well. We got a clear moment in time where we could read exactly how that character was feeling… you know… if you can infer what the color means. But I swear it’s not that hard! The scene that sticks out to me the most is from episode one. Kyoko was sitting down and a shot of magenta moved through her and trailed behind like ink sprayed into water. It was wonderful and I instantly wanted more of that. Sadly, the colors were not as frequent as I wanted and the way they used the colors ended up being only by tracing their outlines instead of the creative use like the ink from the first episode. Despite the creativity of it not being what I wanted, the use of color for emotion was amazing and the animation was cute.
Role playing conessours know the importance of putting your points in the right categories. Some people prefer to be diverse, understanding that they need to be ready for any situation that arises. Horimiya said, “Screw the world, pour my points into the characters. I’ve never seen a world before, won’t be an issue.” Oddly enough, I agree. It is situations like these where I smile to myself for making the world category out of three because the show is great with a boring world. We spend most of our time in Hori’s house and in the classrooms at school. The same kind of places we see in pretty much any other high school romance anime. I tried hard to find something unique or special but there just wasn’t anything interesting about it. Love the story, not a fan of the world.
I felt like I was rarely hearing music during the episodes. But when I did, I loved it. It was like dealing with an over-possessive alcoholic. You know they have something good to drink when you go over to their house but they won’t share until it’s a special occasion when they are obligated to share. The piano pieces are amazing, the opener is a bop, and all the music gets you into the mood for some quality romance. But I wanted so much more of it. I can’t overstate how much more of it I wanted. I bought a violin this week because I wanted to learn how to play the opener as well as the final song before the last episode ends. As the show closes, Miyamora has a monolog reflecting on his time in high school. The piano has been tugging at our heart for a minute before the violin creeps in to support it. Then slowly, it gets louder and louder before taking over the piece and reaching the incredibly satisfying climax of the show.
|Category||Points Given||Points Possible|
|I am interested in the characters in the story||4||6|
|I liked the emotion the story made me feel||3||6|
|The story brings up interesting ideas||2||6|
|I felt the pacing of the show was appropriate||3||4|
|The animation in the show is beautiful||3||4|
|I am interested in the world that the story takes place in||1||3|
|I felt that the music added to the story in a meaningful way||2||3|
Horimiya is a romance that will likely be a cult classic for many people. The characters are fun and lifelike, the humor is great, and the colors are fantastic. But pacing and a potentially over packed cast will keep it from joining the likes of other top tier romance.