My favorite genre of anime, for as long as I can remember, really, has been Rom-Coms. Nothing beats them in my mind. Some people may find them too slow or not exciting enough, but they can be just as fast-paced and interesting as any other genre, just in a different way.
Rom-Coms are so simple in concept but can be surprisingly complex. At the heart of them is just a single word, “love.” What makes them so different is that “love” is a very complex word, and there’s a seemingly infinite number of ways to portray its meaning.
I don’t know where my love of Rom-Coms started. Perhaps it’s because my first anime that wasn’t Pokemon or Dragon Ball Z was one, and I watched things similar to that for a while after. That’s a definite possibility.
But throughout the years, I’ve seen quite a few ways different takes on what love means and quite a few couples to go with it. One thing most romance shows have is drama, even in Rom-Coms. Take Toradora, for instance. It is very much a Rom-Com, but there’s a whole lot of Drom(?) there with it.
Drama and Romance go hand and hand, both in real life and in fiction. We love to see stories where our favorite couple has to overcome all odds and challenges to live a happy life together.
I love seeing these stories as much as anyone, but part of what I love about a good romance is seeing the adorable, heartwarming interactions between our couple. So, what happens if an anime was full of just that? Stuffed until it explodes of pure cuteness! Horimiya happens.
Different Side of Love
Horimiya has an incredibly simple premise. It’s about a popular girl named Hori and a gloomy guy named Miyamura who fall in love with each other.
The reason is that this unlikely pair shares something in common. They both have a hidden side to them. Hori doesn’t act all that different. Really, I don’t get her thing that much. She just doesn’t care about her appearance at home much and spends her spare time caring for her younger brother. Why she hides that, I don’t know. Knowing that makes her more popular in my book.
On the other hand, Miyamura has tattoos, piercings, a whole bunch of things from his past that he isn’t the proudest of. By coincidence, Hori and Miyamura learn of the other’s side, and they start to hang out with each other a lot more. This quickly leads to them developing feelings for each other.
I’ll be honest, Horimiya has some problems. The biggest is its pacing. It is really fast, and that never slows down. Multiple big events that you would usually see being the central focus happen pretty much every episode. This is very apparent right from the beginning. A great fellow blogger, Edy, did a great piece explaining some of this.
There’s certainly some bad to it, but what’s good about this decision is that we get to see an anime about a couple rather than one about a blossoming couple. In Horimiya, there’s very little drama. Even the bit of a love triangle we see at the beginning is resolved quickly. This is why I’ve loved Horimiya.
So many romances are full of drama. Hearts get broken, people fight, people get hurt. The messiness of love is a very common focus of stories in the genre. Toradora, my earlier example, is one of my favorite Rom-Coms and is very messy. I’d say Toradora is even somewhat of an allegory on the complications of love.
Horimiya is not. There’s some slight drama, but nothing that doesn’t get resolved quickly, and the drama there mostly involves side characters. Our focal couple is pretty calm. Little drama ever befalls them, nor do any events that are particularly dramatic.
Many of the turning points in their relationship come out of nowhere. There’s little to know build-up. Things just happen. They have few problems. They don’t even have family complications. Both Hori and Miyamura’s parents know about their relationship and are cool with it. Hori’s even fully accepts him into their house quite often. Even the people in their lives hardly bring drama.
Horimiya, I think, breaks a tradition of storytelling. It breaks the rule that every story needs a conflict. Horimiya doesn’t. You know who Hori will love, and you know who Miyamura will love. You’re not on the edge of your seat, wondering. You don’t even need to wait long for it to happen.
The love triangle is extinguished very quickly, and there’s no fighting over the girl or guy. There’s no unrequited love. No parents are trying to tear the young couple apart. There’s no difference in social standing. There are no complications whatsoever. It’s just two people who love each other. That’s it.
Horimiya focuses on love in its most simple and pure form. It’s about two people who grow to care for each other and want to spend their lives by their other half’s side.
This may seem like the show would be boring, and I’ll be honest, for some, it will be. Some people need some type of action. Some people need drama, something to see the characters overcome. I need to see that myself at times. Keeps life fresh, ya know?
I love watching two people fight for love. I love watching two people go against the world just because they can’t live without the other. But I also just love love. I love what the word can mean. I love watching people who truly care about each other. People who don’t have obstacles to overcome. People who are together simply because they love each other.
I think when it comes to many stories, we tend to overcomplicate things. We try to add so many layers to plots. Romance is no different. In fact, it’s one of the biggest offenders. It’s rarely just a story about love. It’s usually a story about love with some kind of catch.
Even Horimiya tries to hook you with their bit about the story focusing on two people who have a side of themselves that they hide. That whole secret business gets increasingly less important as time goes on to the point where it’s practically non-existent.
Horimiya quickly turns into just a love story, and that’s it. I think many romances try to grab your attention with some conflict because they aren’t confident their couple’s relationship can carry the whole story. I don’t believe Horimiya thinks it can either. That’s why the secret catch is present.
But that’s where they’re wrong. I think Hori And Miyamura’s relationship is more than strong enough to carry the series, and that’s why people watch it. But that’s not to say Horimiya doesn’t do anything unique. It certainly does.
Much to my surprise, Horimiya tackles kinks in one of the most mature ways I’ve ever seen in the medium. It’s not done in an overly sexual way. It’s not portrayed in a way that makes the viewer horribly uncomfortable, nor is it used for shameless fan service.
It just so happens that Hori is a bit of a masochist and enjoys when Miyamura acts harshly towards her. As you would expect, this is often used for comedy, but I was very pleasantly surprised with how it was handled overall.
Because of Miyamura’s gentle nature, he isn’t too happy about treating Hori badly, regardless of if she wants it. This brings to light a very interesting conversation about the give and takes of kinks in a relationship. How Hori is being selfish by making Miyamura go through with it regardless of his feelings. Even though he’s doing it of his own free will to make her happy, he’s hurting himself mentally as a result. That’s not ok.
Still, it shows just how committed they are to each other. That they aren’t only able to have these talks in the first place, but that they’re also willing to go out of their comfort zones for each other. Of course, that can be a dangerous ballgame, but making your other half fulfilled in every aspect is your job in a relationship. Miyamura gets that, but he needs to take himself into consideration more.
Hori and Miyamura just need to learn where the lines in the sand are. They’re still young. They still have plenty of talks in their future, and along the way, they’ll set boundaries. I know I never expected to have this talk a few weeks ago, but I’m glad I could. Horimiya doesn’t need some catch to hook us in. Our leads are enough to keep us interested. The romance is enough.
Do we laugh at the comedy? Yes, we do. But the comedy for most of the series would fall flat if we didn’t have a couple that we cared about. That’s always the most important thing.
I know I don’t watch it because it makes me laugh. I watch because I love our couple, and I want to watch their growth. I want to watch their interactions with each other and how those interactions change over time. I want to see them continue to build their relationship.
It’s really the complete opposite of many other romance stories in a lot of ways. This one begins where most would end. I think writers are on to us. We like stories that go beyond the simple falling in love part. We like to see the characters in love.
That’s why we still talk about Golden Time, and that’s at least one of the reasons we talk about Clannad After Story to this day. Horimiya skips everything and jumps right into the main course. And I love that. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a series like this.
Horimiya reminded me of the reasons I fell in love with the genre. It reminded me that not every love story needs to have conflict. Not every love story needs to have drama or struggles. They don’t all need to keep me waiting on baited breathe, wondering what will happen next.
Sometimes all I need is well-written characters with a precious relationship that I can feel good about. Love is complicated. It always will be. Anything involving our hearts usually is. That will never change, and stories about it should never stop being written.
However, love is a complex word. It has many meanings, and those meaning change depending on the people involved. For every couple that has to fight the world, there will be those that don’t. Those who were only ever meant for each other.
Horimiya reminded me that love doesn’t always have to be so complicated. Sometimes all that matters is finding the one person you can’t live without and never letting them go. And that person that will slap you if you tell them to. I guess that’s important too.
I won’t lie, I do feel for Miyamura a tad bit not wanting to play along with Hori, but I think it says a lot about your couple when their worst fights are about how to satisfy each other’s kinks.
Thank you very much for reading
What are your thoughts on Horimiya and its take on love? I don’t think it necessarily does anything I’ve never seen before, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Love is