Saturday, August 6, 2016

Horimiya Vol. #04 Manga Review

You were awake, weren't you?

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 about damn time this volume came around. After that whole out-of-the-blue confession in the last installment of Horimiya, waiting for this was like waiting for Christmas. Thankfully, Christmas has rolled around (Even if it's the beginning of August at the time of me writing this) and the wait is all but over. And what have we received? Another six chapters of some good, old-fashioned romantic comedy! Oh, and a new supporting character along with it. But before we get to him, we need to give Miyamura a few pages to cope with his sporadic confession to Hori in volume three.

When Miyamura wakes up the morning after the confession, he's greeted by none other than his old friend, Kouichi Shindou. Having sent Shindou a text beckoning his assistance, Shindou decides that the best possible time for him to show up at Miyamura's house is at the crack of dawn, scaring our long-haired protagonist half to death when he wakes up. Needless to say, Miyamura goes through the motions of, once again, claiming that he's not nearly good enough to land Hori. After a quick heart-to-heart with Shindou, however, his opinion seems to shift. Shindou essentially tells Miyamura that if anything is going to happen, he needs to quit running away and just make a damn move already. I guess all it took to wake Miyamura up was some sound advice from an old friend, considering that as soon as his conversation with Shindou wraps up, he sets out to smooth things over with Hori. Unfortunately for him, she's decided to avoid him.

As we know (But Miyamura is still unsure of), Hori was awake at the time of Miyamura's confession. Unable to figure out how she feels about the idea of her best friend falling in love with her, Hori instead decides to stay home from school an extra day. In the midst of her self-confinement, Souta decides to RUIN EVERYTHING and tell his older sister that he saw Miyamura walking arm-in-arm with some random girl he'd never seen before. The truth behind this, however, is that the girl was Shindou's girlfriend and he was just trying to help her walk after she'd hurt her ankle. Hori, being a teenage girl, overanalyzes this and goes to school the next day, still set on avoiding Miyamura. He isn't having that, though.

Eventually, Miyamura is able to track down Hori and ask her the question we've all been waiting for, "Were you awake?" Hori, still being a teenage girl, dodges the question and fires back one of her own, "Who is this girl you were walking arm-in-arm with?" Before being able to properly explain himself, Hori throws a textbook at Miyamura's face and storms off, leaving his question unanswered. Our Miyamura isn't someone who is going to be fought away with just a single textbook, though. Instead, he brings said textbook back to Hori's house in case, you know, she has to do homework or something. It is at this point where, after the two awkwardly apologize to each other, Hori admits that she heard Miyamura's confession loud and clear. Just as things are about to get interesting, our new character walks into the room -- Hori's father, Kyousuke.

Kyousuke, however, isn't your normal dad. The dude looks like a total badass. Mix that with his childish tendencies and playfully abusive behavior toward his daughter and you have the makings of a painfully awkward first meeting with your significant other's father. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that Kyousuke isn't really the serious type by any means and actually takes to Miyamura rather quickly. Eventually, they all go out for ramen and, on the way back, HORI AND MIYAMURA HOLD HANDS AGAIN. WOOOOOO. As is the law of manga, this solidifies their relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend and all is well in the world.


Soon after their marriage...err, handholding...Miyamura and Hori are spotted leaving her house together. Queue the rumors. As they arrive at school, the two are already being bombarded with an onslaught of, "Are you two actually dating?" Hori, being the ideal girlfriend of every manga protagonist's dreams, is all like, "Yeah...why?" but the series of questions really begins to take a toll on Miyamura's self-esteem. Unable to truly believe that he is worthy of his new girlfriend, Miyamura decides to change his image in an effort to have everyone see him in a new light. The gloomy, unapproachable Miyamura is gone, and the dreamy, super-approachable Miyamura is born. But what does this mean for Hori? Will Miyamura become a ladies' man now? Or will he dedicate his heart to the one and only Kyouko Hori?

In Summary:
The fourth installment of Horimiya expectedly follows the same pattern as the three prior volumes, making it yet another strong addition to the series. The addition of Kyousuke Hori adds a much-needed flare to the plot and amps up our opinion of the entire Hori family as a whole, making them even more likable and realistic. It's good to see Miyamura taking leaps and bounds forward, but his new image revealed in the last several pages may leave you eerily unsettled. Not in the, 'Oh my god, who even are you?' kind of way, but in the 'I sure hope no one tries to get with you and ruin everything' kind of way. Will Hori be able to take to Miyamura's new appearance? Or will she be mad at him for not confronting her about the situation beforehand? Regardless of the answer to these questions, volume four of Horimiya is just about as excellent as the other three in every possible aspect. The series, up to this point, is still one of the best I've read in quite some time. The next Christmas is scheduled to arrive on October 25, 2016.

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: July 19, 2016
MSRP: $12.99

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