Horimiya (2021 live-action TV series)
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2021: H
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2021
Director: Hana Matsumoto, Mamoru Yoshino
Writer: Yoshifumi Sakai, Tomohiro Otoshi
Original creator: Daisuke Hagiwara, HERO
Keywords: Horimiya
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Actor: Akira Onodera, Aoba Kawai, Asuka Ozaki, Aya Marsh, Haru Takagi, Haruka Echigo, Hayato Yoshida, Jin Suzuki, Kaoru Sawayama, Ken Tateishi, Koki Osamura, Kokone Shimizu, Minori Fujikura, Nagisa Umeno, Oji Suzuka, Rion Okamoto, Ryo Kimura, Ryo Nishino, Ryoko Osada, Ryosuke Sota, Sakura, Sayu Kubota, Tsugumi Ota, Yui Suwa, Yuki Inoue, Yuya Kunikane
Format: Seven 24-minute episodes
Url: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13521004/
Website category: Japanese
Review date: 19 January 2024
Hori san to Miyamura kun LIVE
It's charming. It's far better than you'd expect for a live-action adaptation of a manga/anime. I enjoyed it and I'd recommend it, especially since it's so short. It'll hardly take you any time to watch. (There's also a movie version that as far as I can tell is basically just this TV show's first three episodes and was in cinemas for a week shortly before this started airing.)
It goes like the wind, mind you. There's a love confession in ep.2, Hori calls Miyamura her boyfriend in ep.3 and then suddenly in ep.5 they're in their third year of high school and will soon be graduating. I boggled and wondered if I'd missed something. It works, though, if you make allowance for dramatically compressed time and/or assume that they'd already been third years even in ep.1. The Hori-Miyamura romance is very likeable and works at this length.
Suzuka Ouji is adorable as Miyamura and couldn't fit the role better. Also, I understand he played Kazehaya in the 2023 Kimi Ni Todoke drama on Netflix, which is supposedly good too. I must watch that.
Kubota Sayo does strong work as Kyouko Hori and it's not her fault that the character's been toned down. (No scary masochist fetish that paradoxically comes across as borderline abuse, for instance. I won't pretend that I missed that.) She has some good Hori-ish moments (e.g. "I'll punch you" to Sengoku) and I bought her as the character.
One of the most interesting bits, for me, wasn't actually Hori-Miyamura but instead the understated triangle between Ishikawa, Yoshikawa and Kouno. I double-checked and that storyline is indeed in the original, but actors in live-action can do more with a glance and even just being there in the background. It felt new. It might be the best thing in this very short series, in fact, being complicated, messy and surprising (while never, ever nasty or mean-spirited).
At one point, I wondered if the actress playing Remi Ayasaki might be only half-Japanese. She is. Her name's Marsh Aya and her father's American.
I rolled my eyes a bit at the last episode. Hori worries that Miyamura's going to dump her, because it's the last episode of a Japanese live-action TV drama and something like that is mandatory. (He won't, of course. He just had a communication failure because it was required for the plot and he needs his head examined.) It's still a good show, though. The cast all fit their roles very well, with the only one who surprised me being Okamoto Rion as Yoshikawa and even she's very good and engaging in the role. For some reason, I hadn't made the connection between her and the version I knew of her character. (I'm afraid I still sometimes use their colour-coded hair to distinguish them, which is a method that fails in live-action when everyone has natural Japanese hair colours. In the anime, Yoshikawa's yellow.)
The sports day episode made me laugh. The characters can be stupid (e.g. Hori pretending to be scared of horror films in ep.4) but that's true to the source material. Overall, it's relatable, engaging and a laugh.