Manga Review: Horimiya V 1 by HERO & Daisuke Hagiwara

May Contain Spoilers

I noticed this in the community library catalog, thought it had a cute cover, and decided to request it. I knew nothing about it until I sat down and started reading it. While it shared similarities with other shoujo titles that I’ve read, I thought the characters were unique enough that I enjoyed it.

Kyouko Hori is a high school student, and she’s pretty, popular, and smart. She also has a secret life. Her parents work all the time, so she is the primary caregiver for her younger brother. She also keeps up with the housework, shopping, and cooking. Hori has to rush home after school to walk her brother home and cook dinner. She also wears her most comfy clothes and eschews makeup when not at school. She would be mortified if anyone from school saw her in her casual mode at home.

Classmate Miyamura is a quiet, strange guy, and everyone thinks he’s an otaku. Miyamura has a secret, too. When he’s not at school, he lets it all hang out. His tattoos and his many piercings, that is. He keeps things on the downlow, and having any attention aimed in his direction is to be avoided at all costs.

A chance situation has Miyamura on her doorstep, bringing her little brother home after he hurts himself. At first Hori doesn’t recognize Miyamura, because he’s wearing his hair differently, but once she does, she’s shocked. Here is someone else who is keeping secrets and showing a different face to the world. With Hori’s little brother emotionally attached to Miyamura and asking him to come over to play again, Hori and Miyamura are suddenly spending more time together – and discovering that they have a lot more in common than they would have thought.

This follows the high school drama formula, with Hori’s friends adding to the confusion and making it difficult to keep her relationship with Miyamura a secret. When people start noticing that they are hanging out together, their classmates are understandably curious. Popular Ishikawa has a crush on Hori, but he suddenly thinks he has competition for her affections. Hori’s friend Yuki wonders who her cute cousin is, and why she hasn’t met him before. Even Hori’s mom gets the wrong idea when she learns that Miyamura has been coming by after school.

Horimiya is a slice of life manga, following along as Hori and Miyamura get to know each other and become friends. There are teasing hints that maybe, just maybe, there may be something more there than friendship, but this volume doesn’t veer into the romance waters too deeply.

Grade: 4 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

A sweet “aww”-inspiring tale of school life begins!!
At school, Kyouko Hori is known for being smart, attractive, and popular. On the other hand, her classmate, the boring, gloomy Izumi Miyamura tends to get painted as a “loser fanboy.” But when a liberally pierced and tattooed (not to mention downright gorgeous) Miyamura appears unexpectedly on the doorstep of secretly plain-Jane homebody Hori, these two similarly dissimilar teenagers discover that there are multiple sides to every story…and person!