Horimiya (2021) Review: we all have sides that we don't show to the world except...


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Miyamura to Hori: I don’t want anyone else to see this side of you either; it feels as if these moments are mine and mine alone.

After intense, thought-provoking dramas (top movies from 2020), action-packed anime “Attack on Titan,” I want something lighthearted, heartwarming romance to watch. “Horimiya” exactly delivered what I needed, what I am looking for. Indeed, this is the best romcom of 2021. The title Horimiya comes from the first syllables of Hori and Miyamura, two high school students aged eighteen. Kyoko Hori is an attractive, cheerful, popular high school girl, a perfect combination of beauty and brains. While Izumi Miyamura, the class loner, distanced himself from his classmates because of his past. The two opposite personalities come together by a secret when Miyamura escorts Hori’s younger brother, Sota, to home. Hori discovers Miyamura’s friendly and kind-hearted side, also piercings and tattoos on his body. Miyamura sees Hori’s planar, family-oriented, angrier version. They agree to keep their true identities secret from their classmates.

The awkward love moments, little conflicts, and subtle humor feel real, relatable, and alluring to watch. The little things like watching movies together, spending time together in Hori’s home, hand-holding, getting jealous, and furious for little things are well executed. We don’t have to wait for these simple yet treasured moments until the end of the series. Yes, Horimiya is a rare rom-com that actually gets into the relationship from early episodes.

Horimiya shows two years in 13 episodes. In the first episode (in a couple of months), we see the two quickly become friends. In the third episode, they indirectly say they like each other by holding hands; in the fourth episode, Miyamura confesses his feelings to Hori. None of them feels rushed or forced. The cute, lovely moments played like piano keys, felt like they meant for each other from the start, felt like we could watch them forever, and if you are single, you definitely feel blue and lonely after completing the series.

And to the central theme, the other side of ourselves we don’t show to the world. As they become friends and then the couple, the boundaries and distance between Hori and Miyamura disappear. Their relationships help each other change and grow especially Miyamura’s character, the outcast loner makes friends, and their classmates get to know how friendly, kind, and easy-going Miyamura is. Hori and Miyamura share their other side of themselves concealed from the outside world. She opens about her loneliness during childhood when her parents were away from work. Hori’s secret aggressive, air-headed, jealous, and kink side towards Miyamura is fun and adorable to watch. Writer Hero amazingly developed both characterization and chemistry between them. The execution never feels cringy or cliche like other high school rom coms; it just feels adorable, honest, and wholesome.

Fell in love with the opening right after the first listening, “Iro Kousui” by You Kamiyama is melodically catchy and, at the same time, emotionally deep, which perfectly fits the anime. The rich and gentle soundtrack is composed by the same team who did “Your Lie in April.” CloverWorks, the studio that brought “Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl,” outperforms themselves in animation. From character eyes to stylized little pausing moments is pleasing to watch, like watching cherry blossoms.

“Horimiya” isn’t without flaws. It falls for a couple of episodes in the end where it focuses on too many side characters. Even though every side character brought something appealing to the show, dedicating the entire episode to their story seems underserved. None of them feels well developed like Toru’s character, Miyamura’s friend, or Kyousuke Hori, Hori’s father (similar to Akio Furukawa character from “Clannad”) boisterous to watch. The last couple of episodes were enjoyable, but not as they were when Hori and Miyamura are on screen. That said, the show could really use 24 episodes set-up to explore the story of those side characters that have intriguing storylines with their hidden selves. And also get to see many great moments between Hori and Miyamura from the manga that are omitted in the series.

Conclusion: “Horimiya” is a cheerful, heartwarming, wholesome rom-com series. The simple yet treasured moments, watching movies together, awkward love moments, little conflicts, subtle humor, getting jealous and furious for little things are adorable, honest, feels real and relatable. With artistic cherry blossom animation, Horimiya might be the best romcom of 2021. My rating is 8/10.

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Release: 2021
Episodes: 13
Status: Finished Airing


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