Kazuyuki OkitsuYuka TerasakiDaisuke NamikawaHorimiya
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2023
Director: Masashi Ishihama
Writer: Takao Yoshioka
Original creator: Daisuke Hagiwara, HERO
Actor: Ai Kayano, Daiki Yamashita, Daisuke Namikawa, Daisuke Ono, Hana Sato, Haruka Tomatsu, Hisako Kanemoto, Jun Fukuyama, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Kenjiro Tsuda, Kouki Uchiyama, M.A.O, Momo Asakura, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Reina Kondo, Seiichiro Yamashita, Taku Yashiro, Yuka Terasaki, Yurie Kozakai
Keywords: Horimiya, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=27616
Website category: Anime 2023
Review date: 17 January 2024
hori miya
This one's a bit odd. I saw it on two worst-of-season lists from professional reviewers, but it's continuing a very good series and I enjoyed it. It is, though, effectively an experiment in anti-narrative.
The original Horimiya anime in 2021 galloped through the manga's story in a single season, covering all three years of high school and ending with our heroes' graduation. I've heard that this was a bit compressed, but what the hell. It's not a plot-driven series. It's an ensemble romantic comedy with a cast of idiots. I enjoyed that series, but where could it go next? University?
The unexpected answer: they made a "sequel" that animates all the chapters they skipped in 2021. Normally, you'd assume that these had been cut for a reason, but apparently this material includes softer scenes and more insights into supporting characters. (I also saw lots of comedy where the characters are so stupid that you'd wonder if they were disguised aliens.) Furthermore, this season collects its material by theme rather than chronologically. This will:
(a) disappoint anime fans (like me) who like working out the correct order for a marathon rewatch of everything from the beginning.
(b) accentuate certain character traits by grouping them together and making them stand out in your memory, despite being absent in the other episodes. The problematic one is Hori, especially since she's one of the show's two romantic leads. She's a scary bully with anti-logic superpowers, propensities to violence and a masochistic kink. This is fine. Well, not the last one. That freaks me out. Nonetheless, I approve of this abrasive take on the romantic heroine stereotype, especially since Morimiya is just as much of a subversion. (He's a taciturn teenager with piercings and tattoos that would normally make a bad boy or a yakuza... but he's actually a soft-spoken goof who got his tattoos because he's an idiot.)
Anyway, Hori's likeable and engaging for most of this season... until ep.10, whereupon her irrational freak masochist short-tempered thug tendencies return all at once for a party. She gets angry and hits Miyamura because he doesn't get angry and hit her. (Because she's a pervert.) What comes next is an exploration of Scary Mad Girlfriend Logic. We also discover her dog-like smell superpowers, which are freaky as hell and surely impossible for humans. Miyamura and Sengoku both call her a demon (and they're not joking). This is funny and spiky and interesting, but it sure as hell won't make you wish Hori was your girlfriend.
This season made Horimiya feel like a 4-panel gag manga. It's liable to have that random feel of gags and set-pieces thrown at the script without coherence or narrative. That said, though, it does have real stories as well, some of which are nice. I liked the Valentine chocolate story in ep.11.
Overall, it's fine. The cast is fun and I'm prepared to believe that teenagers can indeed be this idiotic. (But wow.) I wish they'd arranged the episodes chronologically, though, for marathon rewatch reasons. Sometimes it's a bit silly, but the show made me laugh. I don't mind the weird season structure, but it definitely helped that I knew what was going on (and I'd be a bit worried about the reaction of viewers who didn't). I did, though, rewatch the original Horimiya just to reacquaint myself with everyone... and even then I'd have never remembered who's who if they hadn't had unnatural hair colours. There's also a 2012 Horimiya OVA series and a 2021 live-action TV drama and I'll be watching both of those next.