Saturday, June 25, 2016

REVIEW: Horimiya (manga, vol. 2) by HERO and Daisuke Hagiwara, translated by Taylor Engel

Horimiya is a romantic comedy. It's licensed by Yen Press and is based on a web comic.

[Note: starting with this one, I'm putting the word "review" at the beginning of all my review blog posts. See this post for an explanation. Yes, the problem is only affecting my anime posts so far, but I can't guarantee it won't ever be an issue for everything else. Making sure that the word "review" is included in my post URLs and titles is the only way I can think of to combat sloppy bots. This won't help me with the hundreds of other posts I've written, but it'll hopefully help protect my future posts.]


Hori agrees to help out the student council, even though she's already overworked. She also starts to worry about the future – she can't even begin to imagine what she might do after high school, and it dawns on her that Miyamura might leave her life forever after graduation. Readers get a brief flashback to Miyamura's past, as he worries about whether he truly fits in with this new group of friends he's found himself. Near the end of the volume, Ishikawa hears something shocking and confronts Miyamura about it.

I needed to read something sweet and this fit the bill, although it wasn't quite as good as the first volume in the series. Hori and Miyamura were, as usual, completely adorable together. There were lots of hilarious moments – my favorite was the one involving poor Ishikawa's birthday present for Hori. For everyone's sake, I hope he gets over Hori soon.

The flashback to Miyamura's elementary school (and middle school?) years was one of the more interesting moments in the volume. I had been wondering about his reasons for getting piercings and tattoos that he rarely allowed anyone to see, and this part seemed to indicate that it possibly started off as a form of self-harm. Considering that he did his first piercing with a safety pin, some tissues, and nothing else, he's lucky he didn't die of an infection. In the series' present day, though, I think he just genuinely enjoys the tattoos and piercings, based off of his reaction when Hori's little brother suggested a new tattoo for him to get (it totally looks like something out of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, by the way).

This volume introduced a few new characters. I'm really not a fan of Remi, the student council president's girlfriend. She tries a little too hard to be cute, referring to herself in the third person (“Remi's in a hurryyy!”), and the bit later in the volume, when she needled Hori, was kind of odd. It would have made more sense for her to apologize for what she'd done to Hori earlier in the volume, and it felt like a clunky attempt, on the author's part, to move Hori and Miyamura's romance forward. That feeling was intensified when Ishikawa confronted Miyamura a short while later.

Like I said, I didn't think this volume was as good as the first one. However, I enjoyed it enough that I started reading (and finished!) the third volume before reviewing this one. I usually try to avoid doing that, because it becomes difficult to keep everything straight, but Hori and Miyamura were too sweet for me to want to stop.

That said, one last gripe: if I remember correctly, Hori's best friend saw Miyamura in his full pierced and tattooed glory in volume 1, and Hori lied and said he was her cousin. It seemed like this would be an important moment (and an important lie) in the near future, but it didn't come up again in this volume nor in volume 3 (and it really should have in volume 3, but more on that when I review that volume). Here's hoping that the author eventually does something with that detail.

  • One full-color illustration of Ishikawa and Yoshikawa (Hori's closest female friend). 
  • A 4-page manga-style announcement of the Hori-san and Miyamura-kun OVA (based on the work on which Horimiya is based), which I would now badly like to see. 
  • A 3-page bonus short in which Sengoku, the student council president, is revealed to be a little less cool than everybody but Hori thought.
  • A 1-page manga-style afterword.
  • One page of translation notes.
Read-alikes and Watch-alikes:
  • Kare Kano (manga) by Masami Tsuda; His and Her Circumstances (anime TV series) - This series has a different sort of energy, but it might still work for those looking for something else in which two students wear masks at school and discover each other's true selves.
  • Kimi ni Todoke (manga) by Karuho Shiina; Kimi ni Todoke (anime TV series) - Not quite the same, but another good one for those looking for an incredibly sweet school romance series. The premise: Sawako is a sweet girl who desperately wants to make friends with people, but unfortunately she looks like the creepy girl from The Ring. She gradually makes friends and begins to fall in love with the most popular boy in class, who secretly has an enormous crush on her. In some respects, Sawako and Miyamura are very similar people. I've reviewed the anime and the first three volumes of the manga.
  • High School Debut (manga) by Kazune Kawahara - This one's even less like Horimiya than the other two, but bear with me. The premise: now that tomboy Haruna is in high school, she'd like to have her first boyfriend, but she has no idea how to go about getting one. She enlists the help of Yoh, the coolest guy she knows. Like Miyamura (when he's not in school), Yoh looks cool and unapproachable, but he's secretly sweet and a little awkward. I've reviewed the first four volumes of the manga.
  • Fruits Basket (anime TV series); Fruits Basket (manga) by Natsuki Takaya - Those who don't mind their manga/anime having significant fantasy elements might want to give this series a try. The entire Sohma family is hiding a secret: several of them turn into animals in the Chinese zodiac when they're sick or hugged by a member of the opposite sex. Hori and Yuki Sohma are a lot alike - both of them are perfect and beloved at school, but doubt that everyone would love them as much if they revealed their true selves.

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