Horimiya Anime… What Went Wrong?

Since the Horimiya epilogue chapter has made its debut, I’ve decided to reflect a bit on the 13-episode Winter 2021 anime.

As someone who binged fifteen volumes of Horimiya in two nights instead of preparing for midterms like I should’ve been, to say that I was simply a little excited when I heard about the soon-to-be-released Horimiya anime would be a serious understatement. I talked about Horimiya for months, joining Discord groups, making twitter group chats, and tweeting character popularity polls, and when the first episode of the anime aired in Japan, I watched it on a live stream and tweeted so much about it that my Twitter account came up as one of the top accounts responsible for the trend in the United States. I had no idea what feelings awaited me.

Upon finding out that Horimiya would be a single cour, meaning it would have between 10 to 14 episodes, I was immediately concerned about the pacing. Aside from the main romantic plotline that entails a secret between Hori and Miyamura which eventually leads to them getting together, there are so many things in the Horimiya manga that I felt were quite relevant but were, unfortunately, left out of the anime. For example, in my opinion, Miyamura’s development from a lonely middle school kid who pierced his ears with a safety pin just to feel something again, without caring about whether they’d bleed out or get infected, to a high school student with a found family consisting of his girlfriend, her family, and his many friends is a key subplot to the overall story. One person who I feel played a rather important role in Miyamura’s development is his best friend Shindou (my favorite character in the series). Shindou stuck with Miyamura from a young age, standing up for him when Tanihara was badmouthing Miyamura in the school bathroom and talking to him in class even though no one else would. Even after these two besties split up to attend different schools, the duo still supported each other, with Shindou being the one to encourage Miyamura to stop looking down on himself and to properly explain his feelings to Hori, and with Miyamura encouraging Shindou not to give up on his relationship with Chika. Without Shindou’s pep talk, our cherished Horimiya love story might have never progressed. 

Horimiya: Volume 4, Chapter 21

However, despite leaving out MANY fan-favorite manga scenes, and leaving in some controversial moments, the Horimiya anime wasn’t entirely bad. The animation was cute, the casting of the voice actors was done pretty well, and I absolutely loved the opening song. Overall, Horimiya as an anime was quite enjoyable, but I think it was likely even more enjoyable for those who hadn’t read the manga since they wouldn’t know about the scenes that didn’t make the cut. If Horimiya ever gets a reboot, which I unfortunately doubt will happen, I hope it has twenty-four episodes and AT LEAST one Meowmura episode (those chapters were so adorable). I feel that a well-paced Horimiya anime could have been the shining star of feel-good rom-com anime, and I wish we had the chance to see that dream become a reality.

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