「今年の夏は、あついから。」 (Kotoshi no natsu wa, atsuikara.)
“It’s Hot This Summer”

Things move so fast in Horimiya (especially in this section) compared to most romcom manga that it’s easy to blur the lines between the original and manga pacing. The fact is that Ishihama Masashi is skipping a lot of material, though. A lot of it involves the supporting cast but there’s stuff with the leads too (a very amusing aside with Izumi and Hori’s “cousin” is a sad casualty). Some fans don’t mind this, feeling that the manga has too much “filler”. As a fan of so-called filler (I thought the middle eps of Seirei no Moribito were what made the third act so powerful) I regret its absence.

An interesting question is “why”? The manga is certainly very popular, and the anime – unsurprisingly given how good it is – seems to be going over extremely well. Both with manga and new fans, I might add. I can only assume Ishihama intends to end the series after 12 episodes, as there is a natural stopping point he could reach with the rather rapid pacing he’s employed so far. I don’t know whether this is creative choice (as I said, some fans prefer the series distilled down to its essentials) or financial reality, but I suspect support would have been there for a long-running adaptation if Ishihama had wanted one.

I’m rather torn on this myself. I do feel as if the pacing is too fast, plain and simple, and this episode is a case in point. Yet it provides a vastly entertaining experience that doesn’t give you much time to niggle over the details. I think both the A and B-parts of this week should have been full episodes (and that’s not even including the aforementioned omissions). But they worked as is, and to be honest the stuff introduced in the B-part isn’t Horimiya’s most natural or effective material so I’m fine with it being rushed. You take the bitter with the sweet, I suppose.

Much of the A-part was comic slice-of-life stuff with Kyousuke, which never fails to entertain me. He and Souta fighting over who got to sleep with Izumi, the whole bath scene (awkward!), the brief pillow talk session between Izumi and Kyousuke – none of it literally essential, but Horimiya wouldn’t be Horimiya without that sort of material. One might reasonably ask why Izumi seems to slot so naturally into the Hori family, and what that says about his own, but that part of the story is much more measured in its development. We do meet Izumi’s Mom Iori (Ohara Sayaka) at long last though (still no sign of Dad). This is a cryptic passage, revealing little of their relationship. The candy bit with Shindou (clay!?) is also fun, with one especially striking moment

These bits also play a critical role in nudging HoriMiya’s relationship forward. The level of intimacy between them is slowly and surely amping up. What’s more, the fact that they’re seen leaving the Hori house together is a huge moment, because it alerts the whole school to their relationship. This gives the series the chance to do something it does extremely well, show how petty and infantile high school often is. And this is especially awkward when one partner is generally perceived to be “too good” for the other, as Kyouko is here. She mostly brushes it off, but the fact that his relationship with Kyouko is making life uncomfortable for Hori at school rankles Miyamura in a big way.

We’ve seen Izumi’s temper, so the way Ishihama quietly shows us how close he comes to snapping is pretty significant. But instead, he decides to transform himself – to the extent possible given his piercings and ink – into a normie. This provides quite a shock to everyone who knows him, and sets off the shallow brigade into a new obsession with him. It also alerts second-year Honoka Sawada (Asakura Momo) to the fact that he and Kyouko are dating. This is a problem for Honoka, because she’s infatuated – not with him, but with her. And she sets about becoming a thorn in their side as much as possible.

Honoka for me does tend to highlight Horimiya’s tropey side, which isn’t its best feature. She plays as a pretty stock character out of the gate TBH, though that gets better over time, and the whole thing with she and Izumi being neighbors and not knowing it is a stretch of credulity. I also dislike the cliche presentation that stalking is OK if it’s a girl doing it, because it’s not – stalking is stalking and such behavior should be nipped in the bud with extreme prejudice. There is more to Honoka as we see (though some of that itself feels cliche), and she mellows out some even within her 15 minutes of fame here. But she’s one character in Horimiya who never struck me as adding anything really compelling to the story.

One possible exception to that is that her interest causes Izumi to become much more assertive about his own feelings for Kyouko. I’d call Honoka a cheat code in that respect, since it would have happened anyway. But still, things are progressing big-time here, to the point where Kyouko sort of openly invites Izumi to get more physical (“You never make any moves on me, huh”). Kyousuke walks in at the wrong moment – unlike Miyamura-kun, Hori-san’s parents are omnipresent in the story. But that’s not the sort of statement that you partner is going to forget about, especially at this stage of a relationship…

8 Comments

  1. I just realized the glow-up version of Miyamura reminds me of Setsuna from Gundam 00 (it’s the haircut). I’m not sure how I feel about that… o_0

    I do agree with you on Sawada. Her role feels really trope-y. Imouto tropes, even if they’re inverted yuri-centric ones, were popular back in the day. Maybe the series was (at the time the corresponding manga chapters were coming out) trying to cash in on that?

    As for pacing, I’m in the camp that likes the faster pacing the anime has so far. The “cousin” joke never went anywhere and was very one off, so I don’t miss it at all. But we are now at the half-way mark for this anime, and I think CloverWorks will have to keep up this pace if they want to get to the ending that we’re all thinking of, especially when there’s still a few named characters that have yet to be introduced. My main concern is the Touru/Sakura/Yuki triangle may get covered too quickly. I actually thought this beta-love triangle was quite endearing in the manga, and would like to see if spread out a little more rather than being resolved in the span of 1 or 2 episodes. Ideally, I’d like to see it spread out over 3 episodes, but we still have a lot of ground to cover, so who knows.

    Mangaka-chan
  2. I now see the genius behind Miyazaki’s “pillow shots”. With this breakneck pacing there’s no time for build up or time to relish the sweet Horimiya moments or anything! These episodes feel like a child eager to get to the punchline of a joke before moving on to the next joke.
    It’s like they’re trying to cram in all the material they can in one season. even it means cutting small but significant character moments.

    Take Sawada telling him about how she *had* and older brother. She hides her face on Miyamura’s knee and for once it seems his annoying surrogate little sister is actually being serious. There should have been a moment of tense silence as Miyamura debates whether or not to comfort her or if she’s just messing with him. But no, she lifts her head just as quickly as she’s bowed it and poof! The scene is over.

    I had similar feelings of disappointment towards Akagami no Shirayukihime’s adaption. It felt like they just wanted to get the Zen and Shirayuki bonding moments out of the way so there’d be more time devoted to the action scenes (and make Obi look as cool as possible).

    Son of a Baker
  3. I love the show, but man they are just chewing through content. I figured we’d get to the confession scene and hoped (but doubted) that we’d make it to the ‘transformation’ before the show ended at a logical conclusion point. However, here we are well past that and we just finished episode 6. [At least we got the candy scene]

    One of the best parts of Horimiya is the internal dialogue and character development the two main characters go through, trying to sort out their own thoughts and feelings. Horimiya does its best work when it’s allowed to breathe and kinda settle into its characters like a warm blanket.

    Currently, we’re just hitting the story beats, one after the other, to get to some destination that doesn’t really exist in the story. The rest of the material is just a solid slice-of-life based on the main and side characters, with very little story or a conflict/conclusion to flesh out.

    I’m glad to see it animated for sure, I just wish we could spend a bit more time with the HoriXMiya side of Horimiya.

    7godeohs
  4. I was surprised by this episode; the main plot between Hori and Miyamura’s evolving relationship was, as always, great to behold, but I took issue with Honoka because her existence as of right now is a tremendous irritant.

    “Sexual harassment and stalking are okay/funny when it’s girl-on-girl!” This recurring trope in anime and manga has become a personal berserk button and it almost had me wanting to turn off the show. If the late reveal about Honoka’s family tragedy becomes a more prominent part of her character then I can see some hope for enjoying her presence, but if it continues to prop up her stalker lesbian trait as a “funny gimmick,” it’ll really affect my engagement with this series, which is truly a shame since up until now I’d thought it was refreshingly grounded and free of the more tired and negative anime cliches.

    1. Like I said, that character is not Horimiya’s finest hour as far as I’m concerned. It feels very tropey and calculated compared to most of the story. But she’s a relatively minor part of the big picture, especially as fast as the adaptation is blowing through material.

  5. this series has perfect balance of comedy and romance
    between fun things like father-in-law-in-spe doing joint bath and pillow talk at night and tug-of-war over hori we get absolutely sweet things like clay candy steal and “you never make any moves” moment
    also, give me any romcom that gets first kiss in epside 6?
    (not counting yuri since they tend to go braver than heteronrmative shows)

    ewok40k

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