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Horimiya: Bringing Romance Down to Earth

Anime is one of the most over-the-top mediums out there. From battle shounen to slice-of-life dramas, anime always takes everything to the extreme. It’s part of its charm.

Plus, it makes the rare show that’s down-to-earth all the more impactful.

Horimiya is one of the most grounded, enjoyable, and addictive romcoms I’ve watched in a long time. The pacing is lightning quick in the best possible way. All the characters have a surprising amount of depth. When combined with incredible visuals and some pretty killer music, you get one of the finest shows in the genre.

Our two main characters are Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura. After Hori discovers the normally gloomy Miyamura is actually a punk baker with piercings and tattoos, she starts to get closer to him, and he to her. As they each discover more and more about each other, romance, drama, and comedy ensue.

Most romcom anime are built on outlandishness. It puts them in awkward and ‘hilarious’ situations which would result in explosive consequences. “Oh no, he snuck into the bath to peep on me! I will refuse to listen to him at all or hear his explanation and instead go straight to smacking him straight through a wall!” You know, stuff like that. While that can be entertaining, it can also be a bit… much, sometimes.

The story of Horimiya is very grounded, focusing on the teenage mindset. Things that wouldn’t matter to an adult or even a child are of world-shattering importance to these characters. Most conflict arises simply because something someone says is misinterpreted by someone else. Similarly, said conflicts are resolved by our characters calming down, sitting down, and actually talking it out.

It certainly helps that the pacing is incredibly fast. The story is always moving, on and on and on. Change is constant. Rather than dragging out the will-they-won’t-they question for a billion years, they simply wrap things up within four episodes. Hell, they straight-up bang by episode seven!

This rapid progression allows for a lot of fun stories that other romcoms don’t explore. Rather than spending forever building up towards the relationship itself, it is allowed to explore how the relationship itself functions. How do Hori and Miyamura interact now that they’re a couple? How does their relationship stand as they learn more about each other?

All of this is aided by the fantastic character writing. Each member of the cast, not just the titular couple, have cavernous depths to their personalities! Every single one of these teenagers have their own likes, dislikes, worries, and desires. They’re all uniquely memorable and likable in their own way, and the group dynamic they all share is wildly entertaining.

Unfortunately, the rapid pacing does leave very little time for certain characters. Certain members of the cast are given very little screen time in which to shine. Iura and Akane are the two biggest victims of this. The former only gets about one episode, the ladder a few scenes scattered across various episodes. Some characters from the manga are cut out entirely!

Looking forward to covering the differences between the two once I’ve finished the manga. That’ll be fun.

In terms of production values, the anime is pretty strong. The animation is never mind-boggling, but it’s consistently good. There are some moments of really smooth and fun animation that give the various gags an extra bit of charm.

The music is pretty good, too. The OP is pretty sick, featuring some great visuals and a killer song. And the rest of the soundtrack is strong as well. There are a few tracks that stand out and a few that you’ll forget pretty quickly. But it’s a consistently enjoyable listen.

All in all, Horimiya is a fantastic package. It’s a very different and enjoyable offering from your typical romcoms. If you’re in the mood for something more down-to-earth that’s still engaging and fun, this one is the perfect pick.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I still need to finish volume 14.

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