Now that HoriMiya is a ship, does anything change?

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Title: Horimiya
Genre: Drama, Slice of Life
Publisher: Square Enix (JP),Yen Press (U.S.)
Creators: Hero (Story), Daisuke Hagiwara (Artist)
Translator: Taylor Engle
Original Release Date: October 25, 2016
Review copy provided by Yen Press.

Readers who have fallen behind on the series might glance at the cover and wonder who the two boys are. One of them is a little hard to place; on the left we have Miyamura’s middle school friend Shindou, the one person that Miyamura shows his snarky and blunt side to, but on the right we have Miyamura with his new haircut from volume four’s cliffhanger! It was a bold moment for Miyamura who had previously hidden all of himself beneath long hair, baggy clothes, and big glasses. He’s still nervous about his teachers discovering all of his piercings (just wait until they see the tattoos!) but Miyamura’s classmates have taken his transformation almost too well, much to Hori’s dismay. Suddenly Miyamura is “cute” not “creepy” and Hori is worried that she’ll have to defend her new position as Miyamura’s girlfriend quite vigorously!

Now that the story is five volumes in and Hori and Miyamura are openly dating however, what’s next for the story? Given how inwardly focused the story has been so far — the story must have spent a third of it’s time so far at Hori’s home alone — it’s hard to imagine the story looking more outward for drama, beyond the quick vignettes of Hori and Miyamura’s friends and their own love stories. The manga hasn’t even particularly cared about the passing of time and can’t use that to create tension like other romance manga My Little Monster did. Progression requires that the story be grounded to something and, while the character drama in Horimiya is great so far, frankly you could swap out the setting for nearly anything else and retain the same story — a sign of an underdeveloped world.

The story did try to create a new wrinkle by introducing an underclassman who is determined to break up HoriMiya for her own means, although in the process ended up playing into an entirely different and tired cliche. If Horimiya is going to continue to rely on bland characters like her for future drama (she appears on the cover for volume six so she’s clearly not going away anytime soon) then it’s a bit worrying. This volume only had one other self-contained story and it’s about how Hori is mortified that her weight is the same as Miyamura’s (the two of them weigh just a tiny 48 kilos each) and how she starts almost-dieting — which also isn’t really funny! Hopefully in volume six Horimiya will pull itself and chart a plan for how it wants to handle two adorable, now dating, teenagers as the story continues.