This winter, we were blessed with the long-awaited adaptation of Hiroki Adachi’s webcomic/manga romance series Horimiya. It’s a tender tale about two high schoolers whose real personalities don’t match what they show to the world and how they break down each other’s facades to discover that they’re not so different after all. The source material is considered by many to be a phenomenal romance story with complex characters and memorable scenes, but does the anime live up to these lofty expectations? Let’s see!
The Main Couple is Amazing
The best part of this anime is, without a shadow of a doubt, the main couple; Hori and Miyamura. Their relationship grows naturally over time and they don’t beat around the bush with their feelings to the same infuriating extent as many other romance anime characters. They bond over their mutual love of taking care of children, maintaining a relaxing home life, and pushing back against what other people think of them. They help each other process the crushing loneliness that they grew up with (Hori because of her absent parents and Miyamura because of bullying), finding joy in each other’s smiles and their shared friends.
It’s so rewarding to see them slowly shift from strangers to awkward friends to a comfortable couple over the course of the series, especially in pivotal moments like the fever confession scene or the climactic (ahem) love scene. Basically, whenever Hori and Miyamura are onscreen together, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Feels Like an Advertisement for the Manga
On the other hand, the supporting cast isn’t anywhere near as interesting as the two protagonists. The second half of the series is largely dedicated to exploring the relationships between Hori and Miyamura’s friends, which unfortunately just isn’t as engaging as it should be. Much of this comes down to the studio’s odd decision to cram an entire 124-chapter manga into a 12-episode anime without dropping any key plot points, so what we get is essentially a highlight reel of the manga’s most important scenes without any of the buildup that would make those moments meaningful. We want to care about how Toru and Yuki move beyond their own self-doubt to realize their affection for each other, as well as how their budding romance leaves the two other people who were crushing on them out to dry, but we have a hard time getting invested when the anime only devotes a few episodes to this entire plotline. Other couples get even less screentime, making the whole show feel like an advertisement for the manga instead of a thoughtfully written story in its own right.
Horimiya is still worth your time, but if you’re only interested in Hori and Miyamura’s relationship, you may have to zone out for most of the anime’s second half. Or, if you’re looking for a true ensemble piece, go ahead and read the manga! It’s still widely beloved and doesn’t suffer from the rushed pacing of the anime.
What did you think of our review? Did you think Horimiya was rushed near the end? Will you read the manga after finishing the show? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!