There are always good slice-of-life anime films and shows out there that stick with us long after we finish watching them. Horimiya is one of those shows. It is a 2021 anime series that follows two protagonists, Hori-san and Miyamura (hence the title), as they meet and fall in love while experiencing high school and the ups and downs of life. It might sound like a typical high school slice-of-life anime series, but it was actually very unique. It was the best slice-of-life anime I’ve seen in a very long time.
Horimiya was unique because the main romantic relationship in the anime wasn’t trope-y, where there is a ton of drama and miscommunications that delay them being together for a while, etc. The lead protagonists, Miyamura and Hori-san, didn’t feel like anime caricatures, either. They develop their relationship naturally and pretty early on. This was all a huge relief.
Miyamura was an outcast all throughout middle school and the first part of high school, until one day fate brings him to popular girl Hori-san’s door when he helps her little brother, who was injured outside. They form a seemingly unlikely relationship to their peers, as Hori-san is loud and popular, and Miyamura is quiet and “gloomy”. At school, he wears glasses and his hair is disheveled. However, outside of school, he wears it back and has piercings and no glasses (the glasses and school hairstyle are to hide his piercings). One of the things I liked about Horimiya is that Hori-san isn’t self-conscious about liking Miyamura or talking to him at school once they hang out. She didn’t care about the “status quo”. In fact, Miyamura soon joins her group of friends and finds the belonging he never had growing up.
I thought that the story was really sweet. We watch all the characters grow, and we see Miyamura as he thinks back on his middle school days, where he gave himself those piercings out of the inner turmoil he was facing from being outcasted by his peers. He wanted to die at one point in his junior high days, and there’s even a sweet scene in one of the last episodes where the current Miyamura (who is graduating high school at the end of the 13-episode anime) is talking with his middle school self, telling him to hang on. He tells him that soon he will make a good middle school friend, and then a bunch of great high school friends, and that most of all he will meet Hori-san. She is the sunshine that filled the gaps in him. So he told him to hang on and that he promised these days were coming.
This was one of my favorite moments of the series. It has a great message to all those who struggle with depression or to those who are bogged down by life to the point where they wish they weren’t alive. Things will get better. There are always posts and campaigns online where people share reasons they’re glad they stayed and didn’t die. There are bright days ahead for all of us that we would miss if we didn’t stay. So I think it was great that they showed this in Horimiya, and that they did it so well.
Horimiya was a really sweet anime. I liked so much of it: their flirting was so precious and cute, it was really funny and had tons of laugh-out-loud moments, and there were a lot of good portrayals of high school relationships. I love when people pull each other up in relationships and want their partners to be happy. I loved that this show portrayed that and showed that it was okay to be yourself and to love who you want to. It was definitely a feel-good anime, and it did a great job being one.
Hori-san and Miyamura’s relationship was my favorite relationship that I’ve seen in a slice-of-life anime because it was both sweet and realistic to the high school experience. It was really wholesome and healthy, for the most part. The only thing I didn’t like about their relationship was that in a couple episodes, Miyamura felt like he had to be mean or slap Hori-san at times because she liked it. It made him really uncomfortable, but it was laughed off in the show and portrayed in a way that made it seem like any guy who wouldn’t be willing to hit Hori-san couldn’t be in a relationship with her. I didn’t like that at all. Obviously, I know it’s just an anime and that Hori-san was the one who was requesting it and that she wasn’t getting hurt and that it was supposed to be funny, but it still made me uncomfortable. I think the messages could get twisted when viewed by people who don’t understand relationships fully, especially teenagers or preteens who don’t know what relationships are supposed to be like.
I was actually sad that they added that part in because the rest of their relationship was so precious and sweet. It made me feel good to watch their relationship grow and to show them accepting each other and to see Hori-san showing Miyamura that he is a worthwhile person. She helped build up his confidence, and he was there for her to help take care of her brother. Their relationship was so pure and a great example of a relationship where they build each other up. This is something I think is really important to show in books, films, and shows because it’s what we should strive for in relationships (to build each other up and help each other, whether it’s a friend relationship or a romantic relationship). Belle did a good job of this as well.
So, I was sad that they had to add in the slapping thing. And I don’t mean to kink-shame or anything. It was just that some of the ways they went about it made me uneasy. I know it wasn’t supposed to be like that; it was supposed to be something in their mutual relationship where she requested it. And I think it was supposed to show him accepting her, too, and show that they meet each other halfway and are learning about each other and what the other person likes. I just think the way they did it could be misconstrued.
I don’t want to focus too much on that, though, because overall the anime was really good and I know it wasn’t their intent for that to appear violent; it was supposed to be Hori-san’s “kink” and was also supposed to add comic relief. So I will move on and talk more about what I did like about Horimiya.
I loved how their friendships were pure and not backstabby or fueled by jealousy. They grew through their high school experiences and actually talked to each other and communicated. The only person who didn’t communicate well was Yuki, but that was actually her character’s big flaw, which she was starting to work toward overcoming by the end of the show. Of course, other characters should have communicated better at times as well, but that’s realistic in and of itself. I liked that there wasn’t the sometimes typical string of miscommunications and kept secrets to keep the drama going in this anime.
Horimiya focuses on the last year and a half of Hori-san, Miyamura, and their friends’ high school years. It ends right after they graduate, and it wraps up really well and has a really good ending. They did leave enough room for an additional season because some of the threads haven’t been tied, but it seems unlikely that there will be a second season. If anyone wants closure on those threads, they’ll probably have to seek out the manga.
I highly recommend Horimiya for any slice-of-life anime lover. It was a special experience that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. It had everything – drama, romance, comedy, and feel-good moments. Check it out on Funimation here.
Have you watched Horimiya? What did you like about it? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!