Saturday, August 26, 2017

Horimiya Vol. #08 Manga Review

If not now, then some day...

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

What They Say:
The Kiri High crew dives into the sports festival...and thanks to some fighting words from Hori, even phys ed-phobic Miyamura is fired up and raring to go?! As Sengoku's apathy, Sakura's lack of rhythm, and Hori's manly cheerleading take center stage, his fellow third-years might get some great last memories out of their final sports fest, but for Miyamura, they'll be his first!

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
The time has come for the first (And most likely the last) sports festival in the lives of Hori and Miyamura! Unfortunately, the couple has been separated -- Hori represents Team East alongside Sengoku and Yoshikawa, while Miyamura represents Team West with Remi and Tooru. While being torn apart at a sports festival may be a bit of an obstacle for most couples, it fuels the competitive nature of our protagonists and, in a roundabout way, brings them closer together. This whole volume really does its best to shy away from the romantic aspect of the couples' relationship and instead focuses on their friendship with not only each other but everyone around them. The downside of this, however, is that this installment goes on to be a bit underwhelming in terms of actual content.

The eighth volume of Horimiya is easily the most action-packed book thus far. Though, that doesn't really say much considering it's a romantic comedy. Either way, expect a hefty dose of some traditional Japanese sports-festival trials. Relay races, relay races that are also scavenger hunts, and relay races where two people are tied together are all present at this event. And if there's anything I learned from this festival, it's that the Japanese really love racing each other. At the end of the day, Hori's competitive nature propels Team East to victory and she forever wins bragging rights that she can use against Miyamura. After field-day comes to a close, we jump back to our standard, slightly-spontaneous formula of different, unconnected events being weaved together to create an enjoyable high school romance. And while these brief, yet hilarious scenarios all add a little bit to the story, the most important one would be the glimpse we get into the mind of Tanihara -- one of the kids who used to bully Miyamura around.

As it turns out, Tanihara's thoughts have been weighing down on him lately. As he continues to move on with his life, the one thing that haunts him is how he treated Miyamura when they were younger. Hell, he even starts dreaming about it. At the same time, Miyamura's memory of this period in his life begins to emerge as well. After stumbling upon Hori's yearbook, Miyamura begins to recollect a time in which he wasn't even a fraction of as happy as he is now. Several pages and one heavy conscience later, Miyamura and Tanihara are reunited, albeit very briefly. It's apparent, even to Miyamura, that Tanihara wants to apologize. However, boys will be boys and even though Tanihara is begging for forgiveness, he can't really bring himself to actually say anything. For him, though, this is a huge step forward and I expect it will pave the way to a much more significant event later on in the series.

In Summary:
Even with this being an underwhelming volume in terms of content, Horimiya's lovable character roster and excellent sense of humor go on to create another incredibly enjoyable addition to the series. Each character has taken on a life of their own and there isn't a single one that becomes a chore to watch. Considering just how large this roster has grown to be, I'd say that's pretty damn impressive. As of right now, I'd imagine that the ninth volume will be a bit heavier plot-wise, but I've expected things like that before and been let down, so we'll just have to wait and see. Regardless, Horimiya is just as great as ever and fans of the series will love this book just as much as the other seven.

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: July 18, 2017
MSRP: $12.99

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