Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Horimiya Vol. #2 Manga Review

What part of "I'm not giving him to you," do you not understand?

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)
You know that fuzzy feeling you get when you're reading or watching manga/anime and you just want to push the two main characters' heads together until they make out? You do? Cool. Now, combine that with a few good laughs and some nice, old-fashioned character progression and AN ACTUAL STORY and you will have the next volume of Horimiya. If you read my first review of the series, it should be no surprise that I was thoroughly looking forward to this next installment. And, I have to say, I was not disappointed.

Horimiya's second volume takes place very shortly after the events of the first volume and begins with Hori being way too nice (Again) and taking on work from the student council. Miyamura, as well as the others, notice that she is taking on a bit too much and start to worry about her well-being. Hori, however, dismisses them as always and forces herself to finish everything up on her own. However, when she finally turns it all in, the student council member who collected the work from her loses a vital piece of it and goes on to blame Hori for not completing everything. This, of course, prompts Miyamura to calmly tell Tooru to hold his things while he HEADBUTT'S THE STUPID STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT IN THE FACE. WOAH. But the awesomeness is short-lived as the president does not retaliate and easily accepts the fact that Hori did get her work done and that Remi (The girl who blamed Hori) actually told Miyamura to throw it away after the two collided in the hall.

Apart from all the drama, though, there is some light. Hori's birthday is approaching! But, of course, that raises the whole question of what everyone should buy for her. Tooru, still being madly in love, elects to buy her a ring. Unfortunately, the first rings gets stuck on Miyamura's finger in an effort to test the size...Or was this fortunate after all? Obviously, Tooru goes out and buys the correct sized ring for Hori. After tossing aside his present absentmindedly due to lack of care, Hori eventually puts on the ring at Miyamura's behest. Just then, she notices that he is wearing the same exact ring. The best part of this is her brother, Souta's, reaction when he thinks his sister and Miyamura are wearing wedding rings. 

As Hori slips deeper into subtle teen-love, in an empty classroom one morning, Remi shows up and asks her a very important question, "Are you and Miyamura dating?" Hori, of course, tells Remi they aren't. But this ignites something in her. Following her answer, Remi tells Hori that she is thinking about making a move on Miyamura. Then BOOM. Hori snaps and starts a screaming match with Remi about how she will never give him to her and about how Miyamura belongs to her and no one else. And even though it's totally possessive, it's absolutely adorable and you can't help but think, "Woo! You tell her!" From this point on, Hori's mind is consumed by nothing other than thoughts of Miyamura. In a completely needed turn of events, it starts raining right as Hori is about to leave school. And thank god she didn't have her umbrella because here comes Miyamura. Then, in a scene reminiscent of an indie teen drama film, the two playfully run back to Hori's house in the midst of the downpour.

From that point on, things in the romantic perspective begin to take off a bit. Hori is slowly coming to terms with how she feels about Miyamura and catches herself thinking of him a lot more frequently. In fact, she's even having dreams about him now! It's adorable. Miyamura, on the other hand, isn't budging in terms of thinking that Hori is totally out of his league. His self-deprecating tendencies are actually getting worse as we get a glimpse into why he's always been so distant socially. In fact, it gets so bad that Tooru comes to his house one day and, after trying to talk about the issue peacefully, gets worked up and prompts a fight between the two. In this second glimpse into the violent side of Miyamura, he sort of just snaps and beats Tooru to a pulp. Of course, he feels terrible about it shortly after and breaks down the whole situation to Yuuki the next day. Hori, catching wind of the fight, blames Tooru and takes all of her anger out on him as he tries to explain what happened.

While things are unwinding after the fight, there is still something on Miyamura's mind -- Hori's future. After going into her room the day before, he found a discarded career-aspiration paper their class was supposed to hand in. The thing about Hori's paper was that everything was crossed off and that she had no designated plans for her life. Still upset about this days later, he finally brings it up to Hori and tries to comfort her. And it works. In fact, it works so well that the next time the two hang out, they wind up holding hands. WAIT WHAT? OH MY GOD, THEY'RE HOLDING HANDS. OH MY GOD.

In Summary:
Horimiya's second volume follows in the footsteps of the first -- awesome. The chemistry between Hori and Miyamura is some of the best I've read in a while and you literally can't help but cheer for the two as their relationship slowly progresses. Character development is as prevalent as ever and even Hori begins to come to terms with her feelings. Miyamura, though struggling, is starting to realize things as well. And while he may not be realizing the same things Hori is, his inner struggle is growing as well. Tooru raises the excellent question about what Miyamura would do if Hori confessed to him, to which Miyamura was basically unable to respond. This one question shapes the better half of the second volume as it ends on a final cliffhanger internal reply. Once again, I am extremely excited to see how things turn out for these two. 

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 26, 2016
MSRP: $12.99

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