For this week’s vignettes in Horimiya Episode 3, some are stronger than others. However, the show continues to deliver overall with beautiful direction. The romance focuses on the relationship between high schoolers Hori and Miyamura, after they discover the sides to their personality that they keep hidden at school. The anime from CloverWorks (The Promised Neverland) adapts the popular manga of the same name by Hero, with art by Daisuke Hagiwara. It is published in English by Yen Press.
Last week but a spotlight on Hori, and this week gives more insight into Miyamura. Horimiya Episode 3 hits home right out of the gate. Miyamura was introverted and reserved growing up. This behavior led kids to calling him weird and furthering his isolation. His pain takes the form of small rebellions such as piercing his ears with a safety pin. It is an honest, and heart-wrenching, rendition of middle school. It is something many viewers will likely relate to, and see themselves in.
Horimiya Episode 3 continues this by showing Hori’s influence on Miyamura, including when they first met. It is a small moment, one Hori likely doesn’t remember. It is a good reminder of the influence even brief interactions can have on others, including strangers. Miyamura isn’t “saved” by Hori by any means. However, his social anxiety is real. Even when surrounded by new friends, his anxiety realistically manifests and forces him to question why they hang out with him. It isn’t Hori that snaps him out of this at all. In fact, a different character is given a lovely moment to develop his relationship with Miyamura. Toru has gotten the short end of the stick in the beginning here, given he has feelings for Hori that are clearly unrequited. However, he also wants to be friends with Miyamura, and it is nice to see these two young boys bond in a way that feels real to their age.
The back half of Horimiya Episode 3 is a bit more hit and miss. Remi is still a bit one dimensional. She likely won’t earn any favors with the audience, taking a joke about having Miyamura too far with Hori. It creates more of the melodrama of a high school romance, and is the catalyst for Hori beginning to come to terms with her feelings. The show manages to find a balance between romantic drama, and developing the teens feelings realistically. The initial concept of girls fighting over who “has” a guy is a bit tired, although Hori does admonish herself later, thinking “Miyamura doesn’t belong to anyone.”
There is one other semi-tired element in Horimiya Episode 3 but the show attempts to subvert it to mixed results. Similar to the Remi/Hori interaction. Toru and Miyamura appear to be fighting over Hori, only in their case punches are thrown. It is a bit uncomfortable to watch, even when the reveal shows that the situation isn’t what viewers were led to believe. The comedy of broken expectations can be overshadowed by not wanting to laugh at friends legitimately whaling on each other. Especially when the show frustratingly writes it off as “boys will be boys.”
Horimiya Episode 3 is far from perfect, employing a few tired and outdated elements in highschool romance. However, it hits home when it counts. Miyamura’s social anxiety in middle school is thoughtfully portrayed. The friendships between the young boys have a few unhealthy moments written off by the show (it feels wrong to laugh at a fistfight), but equally have some incredible moments that laugh in the face of toxic masculinity.
Horimiya is streaming now on Funimation.
Horimiya Episode 3 - “That’s Why It’s Okay”