Watching an episode called “This Summer’s Going to be a Hot One” in the middle of a (finally) snowy winter is interesting. And happy Valentine’s, by the way! This episode review of one of our season’s cutest romance came in at the right time. How are you doing over there, Irina?
Irina: Happy Valentine’s day Moya. Horimiya is really the best show for this time of year! You know, one in a while there are these shows that really surprise me. Like on paper, they wouldn’t be my thing, but somehow it all comes together in a way that delights me so. Like Given. I shouldn’t have liked that show but I really did a whole lot. I feel like Horimiya is my Given of the season. And it certainly was a sweet treat for the holiday!
Wow, I know taking baths in the family is supposed to be more common in Japan, but poor Miyamura! I guess it serves to emphasize that he’s essentially a Hori now, but even if it was within family members, I feel like taking a bath with your teenage son is still pretty weird.
Irina: I really like the running joke of Hori’s dad not recognizing Miya and just how flustered Miya gets every time. And they make a great odd couple. It’s pretty one sided but it’s such a nice subversion to have a father really like his daughter’s boyfriend. I feel like they always play up the disapproving dad bit for laughs, so this inappropriately attached take is really funny to me. I’m enjoying the novelty of it.
I’m just waiting for Miya to give Hori a really nice present for some occasion and her dad to get really hurt that he didn’t get one also.
I like how casually Hori admits to her classmates that she’s dating Miyamura now. It seems like her only aggressive moments of denial are centered around insecurities regarding whether Miyamura is reciprocating her feelings, so now that they are official, nothing else matters. One of the things about Hori that Miyamura likes the most is how she “doesn’t judge,” and that’s pretty consistent if you look at it in this light. She “judges” her supposed rivals without actual harshness, and reserves any real judgment for herself.
Miyamura transforms into an anime protagonist! Must say I prefer long-haired Miyamura, you feel?
Irina: I also really liked long haired Miya but there were a couple of scenes where I thought he was a real cutie with his short hair too. I’m not that picky I guess. The thing is, he was letting his hair grow to hide his piercings so I guess I’m happy he feels comfortable enough to show them now.
But just between us girls, his long hair in a pony was just yum. Not that I want to sound creepy or anything.
Nope, not creepy. Yum!
People flock to him because of the novelty, but his close friends share the “What? If it isn’t just Miyamura!” gag reaction. Sends that positive message that you don’t have to change how you are to be accepted by those who really matter. Hori trying to outdo the sneaky photo-takers was pretty darn good though!
O-okay. That part. Clay-flavoured candy!!! It seems to me like the cutest scenes in this show always take you by surprise in the midst of mundaneness or tomfoolery. And then you learn that it wasn’t just a peck on the lips either, but he actually took the candy too! Miyamura, teach me your skills…
Irina: I was a like Aww Yeah, Miyamura steppin’ up! You know what I really like, it’s how they don’t make such a huge deal out of every slightly romantic moment that it starts to feel completely ridiculous. That was a super understated first kiss. It was almost entirely off camera, it lasted a second and they didn’t need to have a long debriefing afterwards. And that’s why it was visceral to me. It’s just a kiss after all, but it managed to bring across that awkwardness, surprise anticipation and confusion of a first kiss rather nicely.
Irina: Ok, I think I have tasted clay candies before. I know… But I’m kinda curious about the cheese flavoured one. I guess I might be a bit of a masochist. I was also slightly miffed that they were calling pomegranate a weird flavour no one wants. Pomegranates are delicious and the only reason they don’t make more candy from it it’s that it’s super difficult and expensive to extract the juice. That was premium candy! I bet the fig one was tasty as well.
I bet! They did also have durian, which I’m not the greatest fan of, but I’m still glad to see all these flavours featured. You’ve tasted clay candy?? Was this in your part of Canada…now I really have to visit don’t I?
Irina: I really enjoy Miya’s relationship with Shindo. I’m starting to feel a bit guilty for having forgotten him. But I love how comfortable Miya is around him to the point of being a bit mean. He’s not like that with anyone else. And it’s not like he secretly doesn’t like Shindo, he helps him whenever he can, he’s close to his girlfriend and he tells other people they’re friends. But when they’re together, he gets all evil Miya. It’s nice to see how different relationships are in the show.
Enter Honoka Sawada. Her entrance into the narrative is just as abrupt as her self-insertion into Hori and Miyamura’s relationship, and after forgetting all about her in the manga, I’m plainly not sure what to make of it! Her energy is cute, but she’s also kind of a tropey little sister character, the only twist being that she apparently has the hots for Hori. What do you think of Sawada, Irina?
Irina: I like her! Well I like me Yuri tropes so I’m pretty easy to get on board that way. I also like that her entrance as you put it cut short and eliminated the Hori gets jealous over her boyfriend suddenly getting hot thing, because that has to be the most boring storyline they could possibly have gone for.
And although the character herself is so far a fairly cliché archetype without much interesting development, I think she makes a good foil. In any case, she was a catalyst for two of my favourite moments in the episode.
1- Toru and Yuki totally having a ball watching Hori and Miya desperately try to deal with Sawada. And getting publicly embarrassed in the process. Those two are awesome and really good friends. But they’re still human and they know how to enjoy a good show when it’s available. I thought it added just a bit of flavour to the characters that I happen to enjoy.
Oh, I loved it when Toru started texting Yuki in the middle of it! That was great.
2- Miya and his mom having a quiet evening talk about Sawada’s brother. It was a perfectly normal talk but all the cinematic language, from the blocking, the colours, the light and even the soundtrack made it so claustrophobic. Choked up or something. Maybe it’s just me. In any case, I loved that scene for how much it clashed emotionally with the rest of the episode and yet, I can’t tell you why.
It’s also the first time we see Miyamura’s mom! There’s certainly a sense of distance and tension there, but the natural feel of it also suggests that Miyamura’s family life isn’t necessarily as broken as we are led to assume from the absence of its portrayal.
Sawada does contribute a lot of action and drama, and I think it gives this episode a chance to have extra fun directing. The scene where Hori slides back and forth between Sawada and Miyamura, or where Sawada “follows” Miyamura home and they talk across a split-panel screen to each other at the shocking revelation…
Interrupted kiss. It’s one of those where you can totally tell when it’s going to be prematurely terminated and who’s going to be responsible for it, but I still went “grrr” on this one. Maybe next episode?
Any final thoughts?
Irina: I think Hori’s dad would have applauded if he caught them kissing. Maybe he would have gone out to get a cake to celebrate. Either that or he would have thrown a jealousy fit. Possibly at both Hori and Miya.
We are exactly halfway through the season and so far, I have no complaints. This is super rare. I’m almost scared that it won’t remain that way but I’m still eager to watch the next episode.
This point of the season does lead to some uncertainties, doesn’t it, especially when it comes to fairly consistent comedies? With action-oriented series and more drama-based romances, you kind of know what trajectory it’ll follow, or at least, the fact that there’s going to be a clear trajectory. With something more slice-of-life like Horimiya, you never really know!
I’m aware it’s a funny thing to say when both of us have read the manga at least to a point pretty far into the story, but yeah, blame our selectively poor memories… Maybe it’s so that we can enjoy the anime all over again, who doesn’t like that!
To end off, have a safe and happy Valentine’s, and please enjoy the first close-up cake shot ever in this show: