I think that it’s fair to say that the current Winter 2021 season of anime is one of the strongest seasons in recent memory. Horimiya, Jujutsu Kaisen, Attack on Titan, Quintessential Quintuplets, Dr. Stone, Yuru Camp season 2. There are so many new and returning series that people have been eagerly awaiting for a long time — whether it’s a favourite series coming back, or a beloved series finally getting animated for the first time.
When it comes to massively stacked anime seasons such as this, I usually find it hard to actually find my favourite of the season. Not this time though. I have been waiting a very long time for Horimiya to finally get its anime adaptation. This is a series that I have been keeping up with for a very long time — I’ve even dabbled in reading what’s available of the webcomic — and it is without a doubt my favourite anime of the season.
What is Horimiya?
Horimiya is a high school romance series that focuses on the budding relationship between Izumi Miyamura and Kyouka Hori. These are 2 characters that seem very far apart and different from one another — and yet it’s exactly this curiosity for one another that blossoms into a beautiful story of loving someone for who they truly are.
Izumi Miyamura is a long-haired, gloomy-looking guy who usually keeps to himself, rarely speaks up, and has almost no friends. This is how his life has always been up until this point; he has long been ostracised by his classmates for seemingly being quiet, yet his true personality is that of a normal and kind teenage boy. His loneliness leads him to make some extreme decisions with regards to his appearance, such as piercing his own ears and getting tattoos.
Meanwhile, Kyouka Hori is, on the surface, a classically beautiful, popular, and charismatic young girl who is admired by her friends while also being the target of most of the boys’ affections. While this isn’t necessarily a fake personality that she puts up, she is quite different when she finishes school. She is a very family-oriented individual who is always looking to help out around the house while her mother works, while also taking care of her younger brother Souta.
It’s through Souta that these two characters come to meet one another in their “true” states. Miyamura helps Souta get home after he falls over while playing and gets a nosebleed; subsequently, Hori welcomes Miyamura into her home to thank him for his help and then discovers he is actually the same gloomy-looking Miyamura from her class.
From this point on their love for one another begins to bloom as Hori becomes more and more interested in learning about Miyamura. Miyamura remains hesitant at first towards their relationship, as this friendship is a first for him, but he slowly eases up around her and begins to reciprocate the same interest. This all comes together when Hori finds herself feeling jealous about someone else seeing the side of Miyamura which only she gets to see.
Why we love it so much
Horimiya separates itself from the usual high school romance series that you’ve probably seen a hundred times. Rather than being something that takes all 12 episodes for the main characters to finally come together and admit their feelings, Horimiya will prove that it’s much more than that.
The story looks at not just the romantic aspects of high school life, but the anxieties, hopes, and fears of high school students as they try to balance their day-to-day lives while thinking about their futures. Miyamura and Hori won’t be the only characters that you become invested in, but their friend group and the supporting cast members all have unique personalities and problems that you will find yourself looking forward to seeing them progress in their endeavors as well.
The series manages to accurately portray, through fleshed-out characters, familiar feelings that most people will have gone through during their time in high school. Miyamura’s past has left him somewhat scarred; self-harm was a coping mechanism for him to try and alleviate some of his pain. It’s through Hori that he begins to become truly happy with not only who he is, but his entire existence. I really love this boy.
Hori, despite her confident image, can be insecure at times. She can be violent, jealous, and quick-tempered. She enjoys horror films — something Miyamura isn’t good at dealing with — and she begins to doubt herself at times as to whether or not she’s pushing Miyamura away.
While Horimiya is mostly a light-hearted and warm romance series that manages to avoid too much of the usual tropey love-triangle drama, it still has darker scenes that hit you out of nowhere — and incredibly heartwarming scenes, such as when Miyamura reassures Hori that the reason he loves her is simply that she is who she is.
It’s a wonderful story that I eagerly await every single week, and if you’re looking to try a new romance series that feels familiar to real life while still keeping that distinct “anime” feel about it, then look no further than Horimiya.
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