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Horimiya Volume 1 Cover

I stumbled about Horimiya due to a random comment on youtube (regarding Manga and themes in them that need an Anime adaption). It took only a few pages to have me fall in love with both the stories and the characters presented in it and even after 78 chapters I still love it and cannot wait for the next chapters.

The manga is an adaption of a yonkoma web comic which can be found in Japanese here: The manga doesn't follow the order of the comic 1:1, but having glanced at it without any knowledge of Japanese I was still able to recognize both the characters and the flow of the stories, even if the order isn't the same. The webcomic even got its own 3 part OVA series, which I will probably show off in the near future, since it "spoils" a few neat things from future chapters of the manga.

11/34 pages
Italics for thoughts

Initially we are introduced to Hori Kyouko (presented as good looking and studious) and her classmates Yoshikawa Yuki and Miyamura Izumi.

Hori takes care not only of the household, but also of her younger brother, Souta.

"[...] I never have time to do anything with my friends after school. Though, still ... I've gotten used to it, so it's nothing unusual."
This ... was my daily life.
"I hope none of my friends end up seeing me like this."

One day Souta returns with a bleeding nose and a teenager who helped him get back home. Hori quickly takes care of Souta, ignoring the other person at first.

"Um, excuse me ..."

Hori is devastated in school, both from the fact one of her classmates has seen her without makeup at home but also about the stark differences between the Miyamura she has known up until this day. She starts to steal glances at Miyamura, pondering what to do.
H: It's kind of hard to go and talk to him ...
She pulls him aside and out of the room, inviting him over to her home. He is both surprised by her request and that she came to him to talk in the first place.
H:"I'm not the one who wants it! It's Souta!! Souta said he wanted to play with you again!!"
M:"Maybe I should buy him a picture book or something"
H:"No, it's fine, you don't have to go that far"
Ah, it's nice though ... Souta will be happy.

M:".. You would do your best to avoid me."
H:"Why would I do that? Sure, it was a little creepy, and i was a bit surprised. You were completely completely different from how you are at school. But that's no different from me, anyway. [...]"

Miyamura starts to blush from the exchange

M:"I'm just kind of not used to this kind of thing... It's kind of awkwards. But thanks."

Hori tells Miyamura to to put his hair up like he did after school and lose the glasses, but he counters that this would make his 9 piercings visible.
[Side note: I am not current on social norms in Japanese schools, but visible piercings on boys seem to be quite a no-no]

From then on Miyamura comes more often to the Hori household, both to play with Souta and to learn together with Hori. We also get to learn more of the visible and hidden sides of Miyamura.

[...] He isn't very good at studying.

One of the few subjects he doesn't seem to have a problem is health and physical education.
H:People don't get grades this high.
M:"Well, that is easy for boys ..."

While looking at supermarket ads, Hori muses about the fact that she is one of the few who knows their hidden side. Miyamura moves up to her to take a glance at the same ads.

Of course things don't go as planned, as Hori is roped into a student council meeting, which means she will miss the sale. She storms out of the room while typing a message to Miyamura. "I leave the sale to you!"
He makes a run for it, changing from his school-look into his "freed" persona and jumps a fence to shorten the way he has to take towards the super market. He nearly bumps directly into Yoshikaw and runs off while mumbling something about eggs.
He manages to reach the market and return to the Hori household. While the three eat he mentions that he ran into the girl she calls Yuki.
H:"By "ran into". you mean while looking like that?"
M" Yes. I didn't talk to her or anything"
H:"Really." What am I thinking? "I guess... I don't really want anyone else to know... about this side of you..."
M:"Hori-san, I feel the same way... This side of you... Like the fact that you can cook, and the fact that you can yell pretty loud when you get mad, and the fact that you actually don't care about your hare that much when you are at home [...] It kind of feels like this time if just for me, you know?

Confronted with that she hits him with his glass of tea.

H:How can you say such embarrassing things so calmly?

Everyone has a side of themselves they don't want other people to see. We ended up accidentally finding out about each other's though.

M:"I am not saying I don't like how you are at school, but when you get angry like that, it feels like you are not trying hard to look good at home.

And with that closes the first chapter of Horimiya.

What is your impression of this story so far?
Personally I have not read many romance centered stories (in any medium really), so it is no surprise that this take on it feels fresh for me, compared to a few stale movies or side-stories in books or other media that I have seen so far. My last real touching point with the genre was Dawsons Creek (now I feel old ...).

My biggest favorite is that there is no real dumb teenage drama. Not to say that there is no tension or conflict between characters. People feel quite a live and mostly realistic, but there is no conflict for conflicts sake or to play up old tropes.
Another aspect I like about Horimiya is how it deals with topics like depression, bullying, feelings of one-sided love,anorexia or even self-harm, but it is never the sole focus, since it always is about the characters and their relation with each other.

Horimiya can be found on Amazon and digitally on different stores, like Comixology and Google Play.
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