Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 8, “Yanagi-kun,” continues its plight to highlight characters who weren’t given as much time to develop on Horimiya. Yanagi, a late addition to the established friend group, goes through the motions in this episode as he plays off of other characters who all, seemingly, are desperate to win his attention.
Every episode allows me to write “part of the charm of Horimiya,” and, in fear of becoming a broken record, it remains the same this week. Because part of the charm of this slice-of-life, which perfectly balances romance, comedy, and heart, is its ability to lean into how often these characters are socially inept oddballs. Sure, characters like Hori are high up on the social chain, but that doesn’t matter when she, alongside characters like Remi and Miyamura, has a like-minded goal. They want to be friends with Yanagi, and Hori is jealous that Miyamura is on a first-name basis with him, complaining about not getting her allotted time with him.
It seems this would be the case with all of the characters. From Remi, Miyamura, and Hori chasing Yanagi down to give him a hot chocolate and keep him company as he waits for his bus to Sengoku, trying desperately (awkwardly, as is his way) to become friendlier with him, wondering why Yanagi doesn’t speak casually with him like he does his classmates, the entire group is struggling. These aren’t big problems. The greatest challenge comes when Yanagi admits he can’t be tardy for class for the next two weeks and gets the aid of the others to make sure he makes it to school on time. It’s also the sequence where we’re allowed to chip through the socially amiable version of him, as in the morning he is more of a bear, requiring two alarms, two calls, and, finally, a text from Sengoku to wrestle him out the door.
But these little problems are what define Horimiya. These characters have become attached to one another to the point where the writing takes great joy in making it so that the group can’t quite decipher if they’re meant to flirt with Yanagi or just be friendly or someplace in between if they’re meant to get him to be their friend. It’s a comedy-driven episode, but Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 8 manages to include moments of warmth. Notably, when they bring Yanagi the hot chocolate, Miyamura’s innate kindness shines through when Remi confesses it was his idea.
“No one likes waiting in the cold alone,” Miyamura says, and the moment offers just as much warmth as the drink Yanagi holds. It’s yet another reminder, following last week’s episode “Friends,” that Miyamura didn’t always have this.
There are other moments of visual cleverness that help keep the momentum of the story while not having to rely solely on the character’s faces and reactions. Instead, we get the run-ins between Sengoku and Yanagi, both happening in front of vending machines. The sequences mirroring each other and used to further normalize their conversations. There’s the hilarious moment that demonstrates Sengoku’s misstep where the screen seems to swallow him whole as everything but him is shrouded in darkness. The animators seem to have had a particularly fun time animating Yanagi as he struggles to get out of bed, imbuing him with enormous amounts of personality through just the bed head that peeks out from under the covers and the way he slouches in and out of consciousness.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 8 is hilarious and heartfelt. As the character’s friend group continues to grow it’s a testament to the strong writing that we never feel like our more established characters are being forgotten. Instead, by introducing more faces and personalities, the world becomes increasingly vibrant, allowing for greater comedy due to the uncomfortable situations they get themselves into. Miyamura and Hori might be taking a backseat in the past few episodes, but their relationship and dynamic allow for stability as other characters continue to fumble.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 8 is available now on Crunchyroll.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 8
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces Episode 8 is hilarious and heartfelt. As the character’s friend group continues to grow it’s a testament to the strong writing that we never feel like our more established characters are being forgotten.