**Spoilers ahead for Horimiya (both the anime and the manga)**
Appearances can be deceiving.
That’s the central theme of Horimiya. No character in the entire series is exactly as they appear at first glance. Sengoku is built up to be an extremely competent student council president only to be revealed as a nervous wreck and socially anxious dork. The plucky and friendly Yuuki is actually selfish and somewhat self-loathing. On and on it goes for every member of the cast.
And no one embodies that more than one of our two primary protagnoists: Izumi Miyamura.
At school, Miyamura is a loner with messy hair and glasses. Outside, he’s a punk with piercings and tattoos. These two identities seem like exact opposites. But the two exist because of the other. They are the visual representation of the cycle Miyamura found himself trapped in for years.
The Wound: Gloomy
Growing up, Miyamura was never a popular kid. He was very quiet and spent most of his time on his own. This lead to everyone calling him weird and gloomy and pushing him away.
Naturally, this didn’t exactly do much good for the poor kid’s mental state. He pierced himself with a safety pin not because he wanted earrings but because he wanted to hurt himself. It can be safely assumed that he got his tattoos for the same reason. Although he claimed that he did both for a reason.
The kid’s mental state was real bad. We see in odd dream sequences/flashbacks that middle-school Miyamura was far from happy. He hated just about everything and spent a lot of time contemplating suicide. He had a rough time of it in middle school.
Which is why he decided to just keep his head down in high school. Partly because…
The Lie: Unwanted
After an entire childhood of being rejected by all of his peers, Miyamura’s self esteem hit a deep low. He came to accept that people simply didn’t want to be around him. Why would anyone want to hang out with the gloomy goth kid?
This is the simple lie plaguing Miyamura. He believes that he’s unwanted. That no one wants to be around him if they can help it.
We see this in effect in chapters one and two of the manga, when Hori invites Miyamura over again and when Tooru confronts Miyamura. When Hori asks him to visit again, he admits that he didn’t think she’d come talk to him again. When asked by Tooru why he’s spending so much time with Hori, he admits that he thinks she’s only doing it out of kindness towards him. He views it as kindness given out of pity rather than her simply wanting to spend more time with him.
Although she sets him straight in… no uncertain terms.
The Want: Lay Low
Miyamura doesn’t exactly have some dramatic aspiration for his future. In fact, he’s pretty much got it all figured out already. His family owns a bakery and he wants to inherit it. And given how good he is at baking already, that’s pretty much set in stone. His future isn’t something he’s really got to worry much about.
It’s his present he needs to deal with.
Come time for high school, Miyamura just wanted to plant his head in the sand and get past it. He grew out his hair to hide his piercings and always wore his summer uniform to hide his tattoos. Rather than getting angry at everything, he just kept quiet and pushed through. Better that than to draw more attention.
Is it a happy experience? No. But all that really mattered was getting through.
Then he ran into a certain boy, which lead him to meet a certain girl.
The Need: A Push Out the Door
As miserable as Miyamura was during middle school, it didn’t end horribly. Near the end, he actually made a friend in Shindo. Someone he could be himself with and have fun being around. And that single-handedly saved his middle school experience.
Problem is: that kid went to a different high school. So Miyamura kept his head down and repeated the process all over again.
Until he met Hori. She did what Shindo did: cracked open his exterior and pushed him out into the world. Which lead into him getting into all kinds of situations he never would have expected and befriending people he never would have thought to even talk to.
Miyamura is a socially awkward kid who needed a push to get him moving. He got a push like that from Shindo back in middle school, but it didn’t give him the momentum he really needed. Then, when Hori came along and pushed him again, he finally gets the momentum he needs.
This is why Miyamura comes to accept and move on from his past-self at the end of the series. After so many years of isolation, he finally reached a place where he can be accepted. So he looks back on his youth with a smile, knowing that it was what lead him there in the first place.
And it also got him super laid, which is a bonus for any teenage boy.