Horimiya – 01 (First Impressions) – Not Just Being Nice

What if there was a rom-com airing concurrently with Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki that dispenses with game metaphors and excessively stylized conceits, and was instead just the simple story of two seemingly different but fundamentally decent classmates meeting outside of school and organically becoming fond of each other’s company?

That, friends, is Horimiya, AKA Hori-san to Miyamura-kun, and I won’t mince words: I found it excellent. It also reminded me of the very first rom-com anime I ever watched, Gainax’s 1997 Kare Kano…not a bad thing at all. It is simply, earnestly written, beautifully animated, and just all around a sweet ol’ time. It’s shows like this that are why I watch anime.

The main couple consists of the popular Hori Kyouko and the class gloomlord Miyamura Izumi. Hori (Tomatsu Haruka) is too busy taking care of her little brother Souta and doing housework in her busy parent/s’ absence to hang out much with her friends, many of whom would be surprised by her utilitarian “domestic mode”.

However, they’d be even more surprised to learn that outside of school, Miyamura (Uchiyama Kouki) the lowly caterpillar becomes a beautiful pierced moth with frontman hair. Hori learns this when he helps Souta up after chasing a dog and falling. She also notices Miyamura’s other attractive features he hid so well at school.

The two have an almost immediate, wonderful, easy chemistry, and it’s so refreshing not to have to deal with either of them being in denial about this. Miyamura is great with Souta (who calls him “that cool dude”), and while Hori is initially a little freaked out to learn he’s her classmate, she can’t exactly complain about his “alter-ego” since she has one too.

Her initial impressions were way off the mark, and she quickly adjusts to who he really is: someone either so bold or so stupid he’ll lift his shirt up and show her his tats while she’s cooking dinner! They go with it, both happy they and only they get to see the other, realer side of one another—warts and all.

What’s also nice about Horimiya is how they don’t avoid each other at school, but just naturally start spending more time off to the side chatting with each other, without any thought to how it might look to their classmates. One of them, the purple-haired Yuki, has a crush on Hori, and is threatened by Miyamura’s sudden closeness with her.

How is that resolved? By Yuki approaching Miyamura, asking him about it, and being given the okay to ask Hori out at his leisure. Miyamura tells Yuki not to worry about him since he and Hori aren’t a “good match” and Hori is “just being nice” to him. The day Yuki decides to ask her out, Hori is out of the loop and not sure why Miyamura tries to separate from his usual spot at her side.

Miyamura picks Souta up from school so Hori can stay behind, and when she comes home, she wants to speak to Miyamura at once. Those things Miyamura said to Yuki about being a bad match and her only being nice? Yeah, those were really hurtful to her, and she tearfully demands to know if he really meant them.

Miyamura tells her he didn’t, but assumed he was dragging down her school rep with his gloomy boring aura, and so said what he thought Yuki wanted to hear. And that’s where he erred: making assumptions, just as she had about him before getting to know him. She tells him never to say such crap again, adding as she asks him who would wake her up when she fell asleep during a movie or eat his portion of dinner if he didn’t come around anymore?

Her flaring temper turns to actual pyrotechnics, but the sentiments behind them are clear and lovely: she’s become accustomed to their relationship and doesn’t want it to change anytime soon. Also, Yuki gets turned down, but turns to Miyamura for a shoulder to cry on. Just like that, he’s made another friend, but it will be hard to match the beautiful thing he and Hori have, which we’ll have the honor and pleasure of watching.

20 of Our Favorite OPs

(In Alphabetical Order)

UPDATE: We added five more for a total of 20.

Angel Beats!

A very lovely, moving theme accompanies an opening that still manages to efficiently unveil the sizable cast and the show’s purgatorial school setting.

Angel Beats!

(Yui’s J-Rock Arrangement)

A rippin’-good remix with electric guitars and a bolder, edgier palette.

Bleach OP#1

We once watched a lot of Bleach…too much, in hindsight. But we won’t deny it had a good start, and we still consider its first (of many) OPs to be the best.

Bokurano


We don’t know why, but Ishikawa Chiaki’s powerful, mournful yet hopeful vocals that open this GONZO series always get us a bit choked up. Pass the tissues, damnit! (This talented lady also sang the themes to Majestic Prince and Kamisama Dolls.) 

Chrome Shelled Regios

This is what happens when an OP washes down some adderall with a half-dozen Red Bulls. The booming energy is infectious.

Cowboy Bebop

One of the best anime ever made also has one of the best – and most iconic – openings.

Darker Than Black

This was a pretty good series partly due to Yoko Kanno’s participation in the soundtrack, but the OP is handled by a band rather amusingly called “Abingdon Boys School.” Our favorite part is how it so abruptly ends, which unfortunately this YouTube video cuts off.

Escaflowne

Yoko Kanno’s stirring, epic instrumentation, paired with a young Sakamoto Maaya’s strong, buoyant vocals make this entire OP shimmer and soar.

Eden of the East

We’re not what you’d call super Oasis fans (we’d never put a name to the song before watching this), but it really works here, and the complex, easter-egg-filled visuals still enthrall us today. A feast for eyes and ears.

Gantz


Considering how dark this show gets, it has a mighty upbeat theme! Another great GONZO OP.

Gundam 00

We’ve seen a lot of Gundam OPs, but this is our favorite, with a very serious and mature tone to it.

Kare Kano


Despite an abysmal ending due to running out of material and/or money, this remains hands-down our favorite romantic comedy series. Nothing else has been able to get into the heads of two crazy kids in love quite like this show did.  Its (literally) uplifting OP is one of our favorites as well.

Last Exile

Yet another GONZO series. Pretty much OP perfection, starting off with bagpipes and digeridus, then giving us Napoleonic sky battles and creepy starfish mechas. Claus’s touching down on the flight deck brings things to a tidy close.

Macross Froniter

Another very well-balanced and captivating OP, with an incredibly catchy theme tons of sci-fi action, love trangle themes and a few military salutes for good measure.

Mawaru Penguindrum

Crisp, sparse, dramatic, fantastic.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Evangelizin’ it old school.

RahXephon

Six Years after Escaflowne, Kanno and Sakamoto strike again and prove they’re a match made in heaven. The theme starts quietly, then progresses to a utopian/futuristic sound, and finishes with a nice acoustic guitar.

Samurai Champloo

Some days, some nights, some live, some die, in the way of the samurai.

Serial Experiments Lain

In our opinion, another successful use of an english-language song, along wih lots of weird multiple-personality imagery and general malaise.

Shiki

Weird-ass vampiry goodness, with a grinding, snarling, and rousing Buck-Tick song laced with appropriately dark lyrics.