A person's hidden side can be unexpectedly sweet.

51spkcsfmgl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: Horimiya
Genre: High School, Friendship, Romance
Publisher:  Square Enix (JP), Yen Press (U.S)
Creators: Hero (Story), Daisuke Hagiwara (Artist)
Translator: Taylor Engel
Original Release Date: October 27, 2015, January 26, 2016

Based on the webcomic Hori-san and Miyamura-kun by Hero, the sunny Hori and gloomy Miyamura couldn’t be two more different people as far as their classmates are concerned. What Hori and Miyamura’s classmates don’t know is that even Hori and Miyamura aren’t who they appear to be. Vivacious Hori always has to make excuses to her friends so she can rush home every day to cook dinner and take care of her younger brother Souta. While she doesn’t necessarily mind the tasks, Hori does worry about what her classmates would think of her housewife appearance. But one day Souta is brought home by a stranger, and when Hori thanks him the stranger tells her that they’re in the same class!

Hori’s classmate, Miyamura, was always a quiet child; his classmates confused his shyness with strangeness and as the years went by Miyamura’s isolation made him more and more gloomy. Recently Miyamura has begun to get tattoos and piercings but, in an ironic twist of fate due to the school’s dress code, he has to hide everything behind frumpy clothes and long hair — making him look more like a shut-in than ever! Hori is startled to find out how good-looking Miyamura is when he dresses down and he turns out to be a very sweet guy as well — nothing like the creepy, otaku Hori had always imagined him to be. Soon Miyamura’s visits to Hori’s home are a regular thing; Souta clearly adores him and Miyamura seems like a natural older sibling. It’s clear to the reader that Miyamura rather likes Hori as well as these quiet, almost secret moments that the two of them share together away from their classmates. 516dntzlh2l-_sx331_bo1204203200_

A couple volumes in and it’s clear that Hori and Miyamura do like each other but both of them are too timid to take their first step-forward into a relationship, so things have settled into a status quo; Hori is already thinking ahead to the day when Miyamura won’t visit anymore. The fact that Hori and Miyamura are keeping everything about this a secret does not help them out, but they do eventually let a friend or two into the secret. The story then takes great advantage of having more characters to interact and bounce each other off of. The story’s comedy is rather funny actually; it’s just plain silly and a little weird, and the jokes often start in the strangest places and are handled with perfect deadpan expressions. Most of them arise more or less naturally from the situations, but with Miyamura being both the instigator and butt of many of the jokes the reader must wonder if Miyamura is doing at least some of them on purpose.

With the story’s rather simple art, what will make or break this story for you is how invested you become in Hori and Miyamura’s budding relationship. At this point in the story it’s still a cute, fun relationship to watch unfold between the two of them, but I am worried that the series may stagnant and lose its charm. Hopefully all of the characters will continue to be charming and endearing and I will certainly be reading more to see how it plays out.