Horimiya Series Review – Fascinating Anime Romance

Horimiya Review

Will Hori and Miyamura get their happily ever after in Horimiya?

As much as I am a fan of great action and horror, I must admit I’m also a sucker for romantic comedies, provided the comedy lands its mark and doesn’t take away from the sweet ‘awww’ inducing moments; so Horimiya seemed like an interesting anime to pick up.

This is definitely a by-product of many a rainy afternoon spent bingeing rom-com movies with my mother growing up and I will admit these stories are still great, feel good, popcorn entertainment. Sure, the genre relies heavily on coincidences and far-fetched overly dramatic moments but if the personalities work the emotional high when the end credits begin rolling is very real.

Basically, I jumped into Horimiya not necessarily looking for narrative depth. I was looking for characters I could care enough about that I wanted them to get to a happily ever after and I wanted to connect with enough to get taken on the emotional journey they are on. As such, Horimiya works pretty well as a romantic comedy and manages to mostly hit the right notes.

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Hori getting flustered (you'll see this a lot).
Image from Horimiya anime 2021.
Hori on the other hand gets flustered by everything.

Horimiya primarily follows the relationship that develops between popular pretty girl (at school), Hori, and the loner kid, Miyamura and the changes that both go through after they see beneath the surface of each other’s personas. The transformation is a lot more noticeable in Miyamura who comes out of his shell significantly and even does that standard symbolic hair-cut mid-season which coincidentally also reveals his heavily pierced ears to his class mates.

However, Hori is also changed by Miyamura’s presence in her life and the relationship between these two sets off a chain of effects within the class and across a number of groups within the school so while the majority of the time focuses on the main couple we’ll see a number of characters navigating relationship drama across the 13 episodes.

Honestly though, I think Horimiya suffers from a little bit of clutter. The student council members, particularly Remi and Kakeru add little to the overall story and mostly just eat screen-time that could be better spent else-where. The love triangle (quadrangle) formed around Hori’s friends Ishikawa and Yuki definitely stretches coincidence thin and again adds a bit of bloat that the story didn’t really need.

Admittedly, I was a little more invested because Ishikawa and Yuki were at least closely involved with Hori and Miyamura’s story but again, it all just felt like a bit of distraction from the main plotline.

I’ll tie up my other negative observations about Horimiya and then we’ll jump to the positives, because there are a lot more positives than negatives for this series. In my watch-or-drop post after watching three episodes, I made the comment that some of the comedy didn’t quite land and that continues to be an ongoing issue for the anime.

The majority of the humour works relying on the reactions of characters to things and for the most part fits in with the story and adds a few laughs. Occasionally though there will be a set-up or joke that just leaves you wondering why it was left in as it clearly breaks the overall flow and adds nothing.

Don't mess with Miyamura - Image from Horimiya anime 2021.
Perfectly sound reasoning really.

The other minor negative, and it will depend on your view, comes from some of Hori’s requests as her relationship with Miyamura progresses. They could have actually explored this a lot more in a serious relationship story but in a romantic comedy, her requests that Miyamura speak badly to her and at one point he hits her, really didn’t sit well with me.

I think this was largely because these moments were played for laughs and also because it kind of came out of nowhere and about an episode later that part of their relationship disappeared altogether so they didn’t explore it at all. It just felt like a lost opportunity or as something that wasn’t really well thought out, thrown in for a laugh and then abandoned.

Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting a deep exploration of relationships from a rom-com but then why include it at all if you do nothing with it?


With those points out of the way though this anime is pretty charming. The chemistry between Hori and Miyamura is solid and scenes which focus on these two, particularly on Miyamura’s many visits to Hori’s home, are all pretty brilliant. The developing relationship from forming a friendship, to dating, to getting physical, through to being engaged and then graduating high school together all feels pretty natural because these two work so well together.

I also genuinely loved Miyamura’s interactions with Hori’s family as they essentially accepted him as one of the clan from the beginning.

Feel the serenity - Miyamura in Hori's living room. Image from Horimiya anime. 2021.
Miyamura remains the star performer and I’m thinking he’s going to be my pick for best male character this year (bold claim, I know).

Likewise Miyamura’s developing friendship with Ishikawa feels relatively natural, particularly after they get into a fight and then get over it. Other characters, like Sawada felt a little less natural as they intruded on the plot line, but still had some solid character moments throughout.

And while I may have found some of the other relationships stole time away from the main couple, the story does make an effort to give closure on most of these by the end. This is helped by the plot finishing with the graduation of most of the characters from high school as it gives a natural end point to part of their lives, but it is effective even if we’ve seen this kind of thing many times before.


Visually this anime is great to look at with solid character designs and great colour palettes to set the tone for each scene. It isn’t an animation heavy weight and there will be a lot of still background characters and lots of scenes with characters sitting and talking, but the focus here is on the relationship and not the action. That said, it doesn’t look cheap and nasty and most of the time scenes are animated rather than stills even if animation is minimalised.

Hori is not impressed - image from Horimiya anime (2021).
Don’t mess with Hori.

The music is fantastic throughout and definitely ties the story together. The final episode definitely used this to its advantage and drove a lot of the farewell emotions through the background music. Again, for those feeling critical, it is a ploy to tug at your emotions, but it was effective and given the use of music throughout the season, it didn’t feel like a sudden add on but more part of the overall production. I loved the OP to Horimiya and didn’t skip it throughout my watch.

While there are definitely a couple of points I think could have been improved, Horimiya was a fun rom-com to watch with a great central pair. It doesn’t offer anything too new as we’ve seen characters finding out who they are, connecting with others and opening up through the final year of high school through an unexpected relationship before, but what it does offer it serves competently and entertainingly in a bright little package.

For those who like rom-coms with happy endings, Horimiya is one to watch. That said, I wouldn’t object to seeing more from these two in the future if the anime were to continue.

Images from: Horimiya. Dir. M. Ishihama. Cloverworks. 2021

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Karandi James

Watch or Drop? Horimiya Anime

Watch or Drop Horimiya
Hori-san to Miymura-kun

Watch or Drop? Rules

Rules modified for the Autumn 2021 season.

  1. The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
  2. I’ll watch as much as it takes to make a decisionas to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
Yes, we are playing for keeps around here.

Horimiya Anime First Impressions:

The Horimiya anime is a high-school romance slash slice-of-life anime with characters that are actually fairly well written and interesting (at least so far). Hori and Miyamura have some fairly good chemistry as these first few episodes take us through friendship and into somewhat stronger emotions and with the exception of the members of the student council, most of the supporting cast have so far been pretty delightful.

The student council members may be taking a few clichés too much to heart. So far the pace has been pretty good and it never really feels like we’ve come to a halt and visually it is pretty pleasing.

Series Positives:

Miyamura has been fantastic. When I first saw him in the classroom in the standard outcast otaku mode I had a moment where I was almost ready to just accept that this was going to be as standard as they come. However, from the moment he first makes Hori’s acquaintance in casual mode on he’s proven a fairly entertaining lead character. Hori has been a little less impressive so far because she’s currently stuck in the dense romantic lead trope, however there’s plenty of scope for her character to grow and I’m hoping the series utilises this as it continues.

The visuals in the first 3 episodes have been spot on. While this isn’t an animation marvel full of dynamic action, the use of colour and framing in this anime has so far been very nicely composed and it really adds to the overall impression of the characters and the story.

Finally, as I mentioned in the first impressions, the pace has been well used. We’re not rushing but we go from the characters meeting to a decent friendship within one episode as well as introducing the supporting characters and have Hori confessed to by one of the supporting characters. From there we just keep flowing forward and it feels very natural and is keeping me interested in where things are going.


Series Negatives:

Alright, it is a little generic. If you’ve seen boy and girl who both are a bit different at home to the way they appear at school who meet and become close before then this anime isn’t exactly treading new ground. Admittedly, it is doing its own version of this story and doing it well, but if originality is what you are looking for you probably won’t find it here.

The only other negative I have so far is Ayasaki who is apparently a member of the student council but is being shoved into some kind of role as a rival/antagonist even though there’s really not a lot of room or need for one in the story so far.

Maybe she’ll grow as the series continues or maybe she’ll remain the low point, however first impressions of her aren’t great as she resorts to tears in one scene to avoid accepting responsibility for her actions and then pretty much declares she’s going to ‘take’ Miyamura like some kind of possession even though she’s had like 2 encounters with him. With some more thought and better writing she could be a half-decent character but as it stands she’s the weak link in an otherwise pretty solid opening 3 episodes.

Ayasaki - She's starting something here.
Please leave, Ayasaki. Just get up and go away.

Fine, if pushed I’ll also mention that there’s a joke in episode one that just lands completely flat due to the subject matter and the fact that it is a comment from a teacher to a student that just seems completely out of place. However, outside of that mis-fire most of the humour lands provided you don’t dislike the usual anime girl slaps or flicks boy in face when she’s embarrassed or annoyed.


Karandi Excited Transparent

This was probably a super easy one to start with given it charmed me right from episode one. I am actually disappointed it isn’t finished already because I’d have loved to just binge the whole lot in one sitting. So yes, I’ll be watching the rest of Horimiya once the season is over and I’m looking forward to reviewing the whole series.

Update: Series review of Horimiya

Other Impressions:

Images from: Horimiya. Dir. M. Ishihama. Cloverworks. 2021

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Karandi James