Well, Moya has been wondering where Horimiya would finally end since the last few episodes have felt like a finale. And the season ended exactly where it should have ended, at the end! Before we get into it, is there anything you would like to say, Moya? How was your week? Are you looking forward to the new season of anime?

My week was pretty good! To carry on our tradition of unironically chatting about the weather, it’s been nice and sunny around here, and the cherry blossoms are blooming quite nicely! 

You have cherry blossoms!!! So much jealousy. It’s still mostly mud and bare trees here. And we do talk about the weather a lot…
I’m always excited about the idea of new anime seasons…but rarely actually follow any of the shows that hyped me up in the first place. So thank you for proposing this collab and getting me to check out Horimiya this season!

Like most of Horimiya, this last episode was a collection of little arcs. The manga started out as a webseries if I remember correctly. Maybe that’s why. Webtoons tend to have much shorter arcs, like 4-koma.

The opening stinger was fine. Cut enough and it served as a way to catch up with all the characters but I think the main purpose of this first act was to let us know that it’s the last day of school. Not just that but the last day of high school altogether for all of the main characters. 

What did you think of the first act, Moya?

It’s great! Taking home your belongings is one of those little details about leaving school that really makes it feel realistic. 

I don’t know if this counts as part of it, but I also enjoyed the little discussion in the student council room. It was nice seeing Sakura act increasingly assertively in the last few episodes, and who wouldn’t want to pinch Remi’s face!

Now the second part was my favourite. First I thought it was hilarious how well trained Miya is. Hori just needs to mumble something and he jumps at attention. Nice! Mostly though, I love alternate reality episodes. I don’t know why, I always have. Just like I love when series show us far-off epilogues. We didn’t get one here but I think that makes sense.

In any case, with all the characters in this show, it’s easy to sometimes forget that at the core, it was  Miyamura’s story. He’s the one whose evolution we’ve been following. So it was great that the last episode bookended his story with a return to his PoV and inner thoughts.

This said I couldn’t help but think that Miya is a bit full of himself. Why would all those other relationships have fallen apart if he hadn’t gotten to know Hori? I mean, weren’t Remi and Sengoku already dating at the beginning of the series? Also, Yuki and Toru are long-time friends, right? If anything, maybe Tory would have been dating Hori. But this wasn’t a realistic alternate reality, Miya said it was just his speculation and in his mind if he’s not there it all falls apart! It’s actually kind of nice to see this self-satisfied side of him.

I’ve always considered Hori as the protagonist, maybe because the series opens from her perspective, and the manga doesn’t dwell as much on Miyamura’s sad history. But you’re right about Horimiya revolving around Miyamura’s growth at its core.

I also greatly enjoy alternative realities, and I was impressed by how well it worked for this series, probably because it has such a large cast of characters to play with. Maybe these alternative realities don’t all revolve around Miyamura, but they do all show how painfully easy it is to slip past people in a busy world. In these alternative storylines, characters encounter each other, hesitate, and make the easy decision not to engage. Call it serendipity, call it fate, I thought the idea was explored very neatly.

Although it was heavy-handed, I did like the rooftop scene with Miya confronting his “could have been” self. Self-acceptance has been a pretty important theme throughout the season and seeing it wrapped up all neatly like this gives me a nice sense of closure. 

Sure it was pretty clumsy and Horimiya has handled metaphor much better in past episodes but I liked the earnestness. It made me smile. 

I liked this confrontation more than the dream one with Past Miyamura. The part where Could-Have-Been Miyamura says “I’ll disappear for you” and transforms is interesting. It’s an amalgamation of the selves, but also an inevitable event of loss or erasure. A toned down moment of catharsis?

I also like how it’s a random nameless character who goes up to the roof to pull Miyamura back to reality. A choice that only works in a show that honours its side characters so much.

The last act was more or less a closing tag. A few people got to say bye and come to grips with how their lives were changing. It was all-around optimistic. Were they implying that Iura’s little sister got into the school of her choice? I’m not sure, maybe I was just giggly and wishful at that point and decided it was going to be a super happy ending for all!

I feel like it’s implying that Iura’s sister got into the same school as him and is using the chance to check it out in advance, which would mean that it’s not her first choice, but one that she has come to be content with. I think I like this more, actually! It’s not a “try hard and you’ll become Hokage” deal, but a mini sidestory that shows how you can still enjoy life when it doesn’t conform to your ideals, and that it doesn’t invalidate your hard work at all. Also, Iura’s personality switch was gold.

And finally, I quite liked the very last line of the show. A very romantic Miya wishing he could gift a bright sunny sky to his girlfriend but figuring she’d be happier with a cake with lots of whipped cream. It’s such a simple way to end it and that’s what I liked about the show.

I know I’d enjoy a cake with lots of whipped cream significantly more! 

We saw it a bit in the images of the closing credits as well. In many ways, Horimiya was a very small romance. No huge gestures, no big dramatic lows followed by unimaginable highs. Two kids met, slowly fell in love and started dating. That’s all. And to me, that’s really lovely. It’s by far the love stories I like best.

Okay, ED montages are my absolute favourite way for any series to end ever. I don’t care how often it’s used or how cheesy it gets – a good ED montage can leave me satisfied even if the rest of the series was mediocre. I liked how this one uses a mix of past and future snapshots, which helps illustrate the continuity between high school and the rest of life. My only complaint is that they should have given us more!

I’m currently watching Lovely Complex. It takes 20 episodes for the main couple to get together. Someone is reduced to tears or lashing out in anger about once an episode. I do like the series but I’m exhausted. Who would ever want that type of relationship? So it’s nice to see in Horimiya, a couple I can really root for. 

Any thoughts on the series, Moya?

I haven’t seen Lovely Complex, but I agree – we need both types of shows, but comfort romances are particularly difficult to come by. I really liked this final episode of Horimiya, and think it matches up to the first few in quality. I enjoyed the series throughout, but definitely felt like its middle bits felt less consequential and not as consistently humorous.

As we’ve both gushed about throughout this collab, I think one of Horimiya’s greatest strengths is its large cast of unique side characters – a feat difficult even for an anime twice its length to accomplish. Speaking of which, Yuki and Toru not getting any closure is something I’m a little disappointed about, because it’s not looking like Horimiya will have a Season 2, with such a conclusive finale. They don’t have to get together at the end of the series, but I’m surprised they didn’t get to talk to each other again after last episode’s rooftop conversation. 

I actually liked that. Yuki and Toru’s story has barely started, it’s not going to get closure here…

But other than that, the show got me to care about everyone who was introduced, and I feel like each character did get a fair share of screentime.

All in all, a consistently beautiful show to look at, with precious little moments and cozy laughs throughout. I might not have been as invested in the dynamics between Hori and Miyamura as you were as the series went on, but the structure and pacing of their story is definitely one that I’d love to see explored more.

Thank you, Irina, for making Horimiya with IriMoya a thing! It was an honour to be a part of this collab, especially as I probably wouldn’t have churned out anything on the blog otherwise during this school term. Looking forward to any future conversations with you!

And thank you Moya. I spent the season consistently looking forward to both new Horimiya episodes and the chance to chat after!

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4 thoughts

  1. That was a really nice show, and it was fun reading your collaborations, but it’s generally a bit hard to talk about the show, I find.

    Graduation episodes always end with all those plans, which get harder and harder to co-ordinate as life-rhythms diverge… Well, at least Miyamura won’t have to worry about getting along with the in-laws.

    1. I did enjoy how lose and noncommittal they ended it. I will agree , it wasn’t the easiest show to talk about but Moya made it much easier.

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