Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Horimiya Vol. #1 Manga Review

Everybody has a side they don't show anyone else.

Creative Staff:
Art: Daisuke Hagiwara
Story: Hero
Translation: Taylor Engel
Lettering: Alexis Eckerman

What They Say:
At first glance, the ultra-popular Hori-san seems like a frivolous high school girl, but in reality, she's plain, pragmatic, and family-oriented. On the other hand, the bespectacled Miyamura-kun comes across as an average, gloomy high school fanboy, but he's actually an attractive young man who has a bad-boy streak and is covered in piercings and tattoos. When these two unexpectedly similar classmates have a random run-in outside of the classroom, a bubbly, sweet tale of school life begins!

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
It's been quite a while since I've ventured into the romance genre, which is rather upsetting considering that when it's done correctly it might be my favorite genre overall. That being said, picking up Horimiya was a must in order for me to bust my way back into the world of cute, bidimensional love. The catch is that this time around that love doesn't involve carbon copies of characters from typical shoujo literature that we (Or at least I) have come to expect out of anything even remotely close to shoujo. I mean, if we're going to get technical, this is a seinen series, but come on. Seinen romance manga is just shoujo manga without the word "Girl" tied to it. They both feel the same and contain many of the same contents. I'm rambling. Let's actually go over some stuff now.

Horimiya begins with Kyouko Hori conversing with her friends at school. On the surface, she seems to be this super-popular, beautiful girl with no social problems whatsoever. Enter Izumi Miyamura, the outcast. Miyamura is overlooked by nearly everyone in his class who all just presume him to be a closet otaku or something. Some of them even take bets on what he's into outside of school. In an exciting turn of events, Hori drops her eraser (As is a must for any romantic comedy) and Miyamura-kun is right there to give it back to her before somberly walking back to his seat and instilling his image in Hori's adolescent mind for the rest of eternity. Hooray!

Shortly after returning home, Hori's younger brother [Souta] shows up accompanied by some guy with long hair, piercings, tattoos, etc. And, don't you know it, that guy is Miyamura. He isn't boring and dull like he is in school at all! Turns out, Souta was attacked by a dog and fell down, leaving Miyamura to escort him home to make sure no other dogs attacked him on his way back. Souta becomes attached to this male figure rather quickly and insists that he continue to come over and play with him. And so he does. And so begins a new after-school ritual for the three of them.

Kyouko Hori is apparently not all that interesting at her core. She spends her free time grocery shopping for her home, seeing as she is normally the only one there to take care of Souta. At home, she is no longer this princess that everyone admires, but instead a normal human girl who does things like put her hair up or wear aprons. You know, stuff girls do. She's a little embarrassed by this at first but eventually comes to terms with showing that side to Miyamura. It's kind of like he's another little brother or something. But like, a little brother that she's totally going to fall in love with in a totally not creepy way. Totally.

As their after-school rituals progress and continue for quite some time, several of their other friends are dragged into the fray. The thing is, none of those friends really know that Kyouko and Miyamura hang out nearly every day. At least not at first. Another boy, Tooru Ishikawa, goes on to profess his love for Hori-san but is ultimately turned down because he is not the protagonist of the story. Following Tooru's confession, he and Miyamura start to become pals of some sort whose friendship is initially built upon the fact that Miyamura and Hori are...friends? I'm not sure what you're even supposed to consider them at this point in the manga.

Eventually, one of Hori's friends (Yuki Yoshikawa) shows up at her house while Miyamura is there. In an effort to hide who he is from her, Hori tells her that Miyamura (Who's new placeholder name is Konoha) is her cousin. So now there's an entire subplot of Hori's friend having a crush on this boy who is actually in her class and she doesn't even know it. Oh man, things are getting convoluted. But just when they couldn't get any more convoluted, Hori's mom walks back into the picture, just in time to meet with Miyamura while Hori is out shopping. This poor guy, he has to deal with so much.

In Summary:
Horimiya displays excellent pacing, strong character development, and an interesting story right from the get-go without ever feeling forced or unnatural. The characters quickly become entities of their own with different feelings and outlooks that readers will be able to empathize with almost immediately. The comedy is well-written and never comes off as awkward or out of place. With the help of hilarious subtexts and outlandish situations, nearly every page in Horimiya is memorable. This first volume sets the stage for something that I consider to be (At this point in time) one of the best romantic manga series out there and is easily accessible by both males and females. I'm extremely excited for the next volume of this series and am looking forward to watching these characters (And their relationships) progress.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: October 27, 2015
MSRP: $12.99

No comments:

Post a Comment