REVIEW: ‘Horimiya,’ Episode 1 – “A Tiny Happenstance”

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Horimiya

The anime adaptation of the beloved rom-com is finally here! Horimiya Episode 1 will be satisfying to manga fans and is sure to get plenty of newcomers on board as well. With absolutely beautiful animation from CloverWorks (the same studio behind The Promised Neverland), the show is sure to warm hearts this winter. The story is based on the manga by Hero, with art by Daisuke Hagiwara. It currently has fourteen volumes available in English from Yen Press.

Horimiya Episode 1 does a solid job showing viewers what to expect. The base high school romantic comedy is something we have all seen before, but it is the characters that will sell this one. What initially appears to be an opposites attract situation becomes much more. Horimiya is about the faces we let people see, and the ones we don’t.

Hori is the star student of her class. She is put together, gets amazing grades, and everyone loves her. At home, Hori is a “mess,” keeping her hair up in a messy bun and dressing in sweatpants as she cleans and cares for her little brother, Souta. In contrast, Miyamura is assumed by everyone to be a creepy, introverted otaku. He doesn’t speak to a lot of people and has long messy hair that covers his face.

This is all quickly up-ended when the two run into each other outside of school and the personas they’ve kept guarded against others are revealed. Hori doesn’t even recognize Miyamura at first. He has nine piercings and tattoos. Turns out, his appearance at school is purely to hide these from teachers and administrators who would get him in trouble for dress code violations. He is still relatively introverted, but not the way everyone thought. His grades are poor, and he spends time helping his family out at their cake shop. Souta immediately latches on to Miyamura, so the three spend time together, and the slice-of-life kicks off from there. Hori and Miyamura are accidental friends and quickly bond over being able to confide in who they are outside of school. As much as Horimiya Episode 1 sets up the obvious romance, it is also a show about the assumptions we make and learning to be yourself. A lot of the teens’ struggles are something viewers likely went through at that age (or current age).

It isn’t perfect, there is a sleazy comment from a teacher that is meant to be laughed off by the show as a joke, except sexual harassment isn’t funny. Viewers also may feel like a lot happened in a premiere, as the two’s feelings for each other aren’t really shown developing, just assumed to be there. For manga readers who know why and how the story goes, this won’t be an issue, but it may leave anime-only viewers feeling as though things were rushed.

The animation in Horimiya Episode 1 is beautiful. A special nod must be made to the color work here. The show takes the moments of vulnerability in the manga and adapts them in a very unique way. When characters’ feelings rise to the surface, the background goes white, and vibrant watercolors shift their silhouettes as they internally reckon with the moment. Paired with the musical score, the premiere is clearly going to give just as much care to the dramatic scenes in this story as the comedic.

Overall, Horimiya Episode 1 is a treat. Beautifully animated by CloverWorks, it is an adaptation the manga deserves. The first episode may feel rushed for those new to the series, and there is one “joke” that isn’t funny in the slightest. Ultimately, it is going to be a great rom-com about appearances and two teens growing up.

Horimiya is streaming now on Funimation.

Horimiya Episode 1
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Overall, Horimiya Episode 1 is a treat. Beautifully animated by CloverWorks, it is an adaptation the manga deserves. The first episode may feel rushed for those new to the series, and there is one “joke” that isn’t funny in the slightest. Ultimately, it is going to be a great rom-com about appearances and two teens growing up.