At school, Kyouko Hori is a popular student, well-liked by lots of boys. But when she goes home for the day, Hori is a responsible homemaker, whose responsibility it is to clean the house, take care of her little brother, and run errands. Hoping that this domestication goes unnoticed by her classmates when out in public, she tries to hide behind a scrubbed-down, hair-up, plain-clothes appearance.
One day while picking up her brother, Hori runs into a young man with a trendy punk appearance and starts chatting with him. To her surprise, he turns out to be a classmate that she didn’t recognize behind his altered appearance. Suspected to be a little weird and creepy, most of the class ignores Izumi Miyamura, but Hori’s little brother takes a quick liking to him. Soon the two are spending time together, and Hori comes to know the real Miyamura – a shy boy who’s hiding 9 piercings, lots of tattoos, and a gorgeous face.
What makes Horimiya difficult to review is that while I love it, I’m not really sure what to say about it. Girl meets boy, girl and boy get closer. So far, it’s not a story of dramatic love triangles and far-fetched plotlines. Miyamura, Hori, and their friends face normal, everyday struggles. Hori worries about her weight, while Sakura thinks she’s not as pretty as the other girls. Miyamura has been an outcast, and Toru is finding out the hard way that rejection hurts. It’s slice of life with an edge of cute.
At times, Horimiya moves painfully slowly due to the realistic, but slow-burn romance. At its core, however, is an endearingly sweet story, and the “will they? Won’t they?!” was enough to propel me at a lot of points.
In a way, the light drama is part of what really makes Horimiya so great. It’s a lighthearted, refreshing romance. A good, stress-free read is sometimes the perfect thing to spend the afternoon with – that’s what Horimiya was for me. It won’t make you cry (as many of my favourite series tend to do), but it should make you smile – at least a little. It also doesn’t hurt that the illustrations are lovely!
We get to know characters naturally, through interactions and conversations. Once-background characters start to come more to the forefront, while our hero and heroine occasionally have a new facet revealed. This seems to be a good middle-ground – the genre isn’t really a great one for spurring along intense character growth, but the characters do grow. At times I wish they were a little more complex, but it’s nothing terribly distracting.
Horimiya is a manga that you need to know what you’re signing on for. If you’re not really into romance (or slice-of-life), you probably aren’t going to enjoy this sweet, sleepy read about two very different teenagers falling in love. But if that’s your thing, my friends and I really enjoy this one and I hope you will too! It’s definitely worth taking a look at.
Horimiya volume 5’s release date is October 25th!