Horimiya Vol. 5 - Manga Review

Horimiya is now a thing! Hori and Miyamura have started dating, but life together isn’t all roses especially with the judgment of their classmates factored in…

The Lowdown

Hori and Miyamura are officially a couple, and everyone knows it! It’s not all good though as Miyamura faces the judgment and jealousy of his classmates, making life difficult for the two of them. To protect Hori’s reputation, Miyamura makes a drastic change by cutting his hair to look less gloomy – but the result is a spunky underclassman following him around with ill-intent. Meanwhile, Hori worries about weighing more than Miyamura after a dumb joke by her father, and Miyamura contemplates “trying something” with Hori. These two already know a bunch about each other, but they soon find that being together means a whole lot more learning is about to happen.

How Was It?

Horimiya has made its trade on telling the sweet story of Hori and Miyamura as they slowly fall for each other while discovering different sides of one another, and this volume marks a significant change in the series now that the two have officially begun dating. However, the emotional core of the series remains the same because the main focus is still the two learning about one another, and this is just as charming as ever as the two continue to discover new things about each other while defining their own self-image. The focus remains heavily on Miyamura here as he continues to bear the label of being the “reacher” in this relationship, and I thought it was interesting to see his effort to change himself to live up in some ways to his new relationship. On the other hand, we also see Hori’s own internal struggle as well as she worries about her weight after learning that Miyamura weighs less that her, and this leads to a really sweet scene which shows Miyamura trying to get her to accept herself. We get a strong sense of them growing individually because of their relationship, but at the same time see them growing together – and this makes for a really satisfying read because of how far we’ve seen them come so far.

One of features that has made Horimiya such a refreshing romance story is that the melodrama is kept low-key and handled completely tastefully. An example of this very early on in the volume concerns Hori and Miyamura’s first kiss, which happened with so little build-up that I had to flip back to check what had just happened. This felt completely in-character though – much like how they began dating in the previous volume, it sort of just happens without much ado, and this continues to give the series an enjoyably grounded approach to exploring their relationship. While the lack of build up here could have negated some emotional development between the two in other circumstances, I really liked that we see both of them affected by their kiss alone and thinking to themselves “did that just happen”? The focus on the emotions of the two of them here was perfect, and this did a great job making the moment meaningful to both them and to us as readers without the usual stars and flowers that accompany this sort of thing in most cases.

Horimiya does a pretty great job balancing the more emotionally potent moments of Miyamura and Hori’s relationship with plenty of humour to keep the story humming along entertainingly. More than that, the humour is often used to lead into an emotional moment, and I felt that the entire plot-line introducing their pushy underclassman, Sawada, into the mix was a good extension of this. Sawada is introduced as a bit of a stalkerish character early on, but the series defied my expectations by incorporating her into the story in a funny way by swerving and by making her obsessed with Hori instead of Miyamura. This led to a really cute sequence which saw Miyamura’s personality and feelings towards Hori explored in a more explosive way than before, and again, I liked the way that this served to underline how much Miyamura has changed and grown over the course of this series. It’s been fun to see the way the surrounding cast of characters, such as Sawada and extending to characters such as Hori’s dad, have influenced the development of these two in a funny yet meaningful way, and this volume did a good job in this department with this sequence as well as others.

Capping off this volume is an absolutely wonderful manner is a chapter following Hori over the course of four days during which Miyamura is away for a memorial service. We see Hori slowly waiting and missing Miyamuara over the course of these days, and I really liked that this really showcased the strong emotional effect their relationship has had on her. It isn’t particularly melodramatic, but we do see the slow build up of Hori’s feelings in a impressively nuanced manner that felt completely in tune with the grounded manner their relationship has been handled in. We’ve seen a lot of the two growing together as a couple in this volume, but this chapter was an excellent way to cap it off by ending in a really sweet moment for the two of them as they reunite. Moments like this are what make Horimiya such a charming series, and this was a fantastic way to end off this volume as the two carry on with their new relationship.

Final Thoughts

Horimiya Vol. 5 is wonderfully charming for the nuanced and grounded way it approaches Hori and Miyamura’s process of growing together in the context of their new relationship. We see them together and we see them apart, but what’s most impressive is that we really see the effect that the little moments they spend together have on their own self-image as they navigate through this experience. The art is more or less the same as the rest of this series so far, but I really like that this series is growing along with these characters and I can’t wait to see where we go next here in following these two.


Horimiya Vol. 5 was published by Yen Press on October 25th, 2016. Authored by Hero and illustrated by Daisuke Hagiwara based on HERO’s original web comic, the series is currently ongoing and published by Square Enix’s GFantasy magazine. 

Verdict:

A

Date of Publication: October 25th, 2016

Translator: Taylor Engel

Author: HERO and Daisuke Hagiwara

Publisher: Yen Press




Matt

Matt is a broke law student by day, broke law student by night, and one of the co-founders of Taykobon in his dwindling spare time. Although his favourite series tend to be shonen adventure series, he also has a soft spot for slice-of-life shojo romances. He enjoys following the manga industry, and is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays in other nonexistent spare time. 

Favourite series: Bakuman

Favourite author: Io Sakisaka