Following the Season 1 finale of Horimiya, fans of the manga were both satisfied due to a strong adaptation while also slightly disappointed due to all that was left out. With only 13 episodes, it was natural that fan favorite moments were left on the cutting board, the plot primarily focused on the growing bond and love story of high school students Hori and Miyamura. Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 1 looks to fill in the blanks, the series as a whole acting as a method to fill in the blanks, with stories from the manga left out of the initial adaptation. “The Journey Begins” allows us to reunite with these beloved characters while reminding fans of the searing, bright humor the series wields.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 1 is an absolute delight. Refusing to rest on lazy storytelling and animation that could act solely as fanservice, CloverWorks delivers the same quality of writing and craftsmanship as the first season. The only concern is the pacing, which will struggle to maintain a pace that is as gripping now that we know there’s no doubt that Hori and Miyamura eventually get together. That said, their romance was never the main tension, as it was always inevitable, suggested both by the title and also through the way they were drawn together. It was always their own individual plights, especially Miyamura’s aching insecurities, and how they made their way through their remaining high school days and adolescence that created the most potent storytelling opportunities.
Since we know these characters and their dynamics, Episode 1 is able to jump straight into the group, starting with a class trip to Kyoto. Time-stamped by Miyamura’s hair length and the fact that he and Hori are still strictly platonic, there’s still no shortage of banter between the two. The class trip setting also serves as a reminder that the strength of these characters is that it doesn’t matter how grand their setting is, there will be plenty of humor found regardless. Rather than spend time on the actual trip, the episode instead allows the introduction to remind us of one of Miyamura’s greatest struggles: his tattoos. The main drama of his class trip is trying to find ways to bathe without his classmates, aside from Hori and Tooru who already know, finding out.
It leads to what should be too silly of a gag to work, but between the delivery, the inner dialogue, and the animation, it soars. Tooru, going for broke to help his friend out as he’s being pressured to join in going to the public bath, declares that Miyamaru is on his period.
If this had been it the scene would’ve been funny enough on its own and then forgotten. Instead, it’s used as a point to return to in the second part of the episode. The time skips ahead. Miyamaru cuts his hair and is in his relationship with Hori, but he’s still determined to wear his winter uniform in summer and skip pool days in gym in order to hide the tattoos that decorate his arms and side.
The consensus that Miyamaru’s pretty is one of the better-running jokes of the series, played with here as Tooru suggests he wear the sailor uniform he caught him trying on (meant for Hori’s eyes only). The conversation, as well as the general pestering Miyamaru receives about how hot he might be, result in the bigger storyline of the second part of the episode. He and student council president Sengoku have both been skipping pool days — the latter insecure about being too slim.
When they’re told that this won’t be allowed on the last day, it leads to comedy gold. Both students go to war with their teacher to try and get out of it. Romance and slice-of-life anime are often such highlights because they allow for a sense of observational humor. “The Journey Begins” is clever not insomuch in how the dialogue is written. Miyamura and Sengoku are being certifiably dumb. Rather, I appreciate how the story wraps in character beats and weaves in earlier jokes to make each punchline land with greater effect.
Even if the episode wasn’t as good as it is, it would’ve been welcome enough to be with these characters again. The animation is on par with the writing, the characters vibrant and maintaining their own individualistic looks and quirks that make them stand out. The effect of colors wrapping around the characters in moments of romance remains a simple yet effective touch that helps elevate small, seemingly inconsequential moments. If anything, there’s not enough of Hori, with Miyamaru doing the heavy lifting.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 1 is a tremendous return to this world and the layered characters who populate it. Witty and playful, possessing an eye for delicate character designs with room for artistic expression, the premiere highlights the idea of looking back that sets the tone for the series. Framed as a chance to recall memories that mean the most to our characters, the series captures that nostalgic atmosphere, the effect instantaneous as we’re once again completely hooked.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 1 is available now on Crunchyroll.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 1
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 1 is a tremendous return to this world and the layered characters who populate it. Witty and playful and possessing an eye for delicate character designs with room for artistic expression, the premiere highlights the idea of looking back that sets the tone for the series.