Content Considerations: Teacher sexualizing his students, comedic violence, tribal tattoos
What’s it about? Hori Kyoko is a smart and popular high school girl. Miyamura Izumi is a quiet and gloomy boy in her class. When Miyamura helps Hori’s little brother out and brings him home, the two classmates forge an unlikely relationship.
I’ve actually been a fan of this series ever since Caitlin told me about the relationship dynamics in an earlier article. So when I heard about the series getting an anime, I knew this was going to be pretty high on my list of shows to watch this season.
Thus, it’s a little disappointing when the show cold opens with a creepy high school English teacher offering to go to the beach with his female students over the summer. It’s even more disappointing that the show doubles down on this guy by showing Hori getting stopped in the hallway by him to be told, “Hori! Keep your chin up, okay?… Here’s a little-known fact about me: I love flat-chested girls!”
This guy wasn’t even in the original manga, so seeing him here totally short-circuited my expectations and left me uneasy about a premiere that was otherwise good. Like, I’m worried. Is he coming back? Is the show going to take more weird liberties to add scummy characters? Is the tone going to change?
Horimiya, otherwise, has a pretty solid premiere. Being the popular teenage love comedy series that it is, it seems to have been lavished by a healthy budget that lends to a top quality production that’s subtly artistic, but not so avant-garde it becomes surreal. Framing is dynamic, the characters move and breathe, and visual gangs land pretty solidly. Heck, they even implement lens blur! The OP looks like a gorgeous Instagram feed and the ED is cute and memorable. This show just looks GOOD.
Looks aside, Horimiya’s titular characters are generally good kids, and they’re fun to watch. The show is also a romance that’s not really looking to drag its feet for the first episode. Hori is a “popular kid” at school, but has to take care of her little brother while her mother works. Miyamura looks like a gloomy nerd, but he’s actually a tattooed punk who’s a bit air-headed and kind-hearted. They’re second years in high school and full of teenage anxieties. Once they meet each other outside of school, they quickly grow to enjoy each other’s “private selves.”
If I want to be a killjoy, I should warn that Miyamura’s tattoos, however, do look somewhat like the appropriative tribal sort, and this was something that was present in the original manga too.
What’s more, Hori is a little hot-headed as a character and does tend to dominate over Miyamura. For most of the time, this is in good fun, but she does have a penchant for gettting physical on more than one occasion. It’s largely played off as a joke, but I’ll flag that here to explain the content warning.
It feels like I had a lot more criticisms for this show than praise, but I can assure you it was a lot of fun for me despite these flaws. Horimiya looks good and its engaging. I also like the source material, so I’ll be sure to be keeping up with this one. If the caveats I mentioned aren’t deal breakers for you, I’d really encourage you to give it a shot, so long as the creepy teacher doesn’t become a thing.