Horimiya: The Missing Pieces acts as a coda to Horimiya, filling out the missing moments and character beats that the first series couldn’t fit into its 13-episode runtime. Despite the fragmented narrative style with episodes that behave more like snapshots than stories that dig deep into the psyche of who these characters are, the series still manages to deliver an emotional wallop along with big laughs that defy expectations. Beautifully animated, the CloverWorks adaptation is a reminder of the inherent likability of these characters, of the engaging romance between Hori and Miyamura, and the magnetism of a strong ensemble. Horimiya: The Missing Pieces might not be quite as strong as its predecessor, but it remains solid nonetheless, an active reminder of the calming effect of the series and the joy of getting to spend time with these colorful characters.
It sounds silly to say, but perhaps the first indicator of just how well this series was going to deliver is the OP. The opening theme song, “Happy (Shiawase)” by Omoinotake, strikes a nostalgic tone that marries well with the visuals of the group of friends engaging in youthful activities, from days at the beach to sleepovers and festivals, all of them racing in some direction. There’s this tangible sensation that captures that feeling of starting something new — and, with it, ending something familiar — that is depicted in the opening and then breathes life into the series. That feeling of starting something, something fresh and a little scary, is best found in the season finale, “Graduation,” but rumbles throughout the series as a whole.
The heart remains Hori and Miyamura’s relationship. With Miyamura being allowed greater levity in “The Missing Pieces,” we step away from the trauma and bullying that marred his earlier adolescence. We watch as his friendship with the perpetually anxious Sengoku flourishes and as he steps outside of his comfort zone, be it to protect a younger student or to participate in the sports day at school.
The series is committed to ensuring that we spend adequate time with each supporting character, with some faring better than others. While the adults add a unique color to the world, the less time spent with their lecherous teacher, the better. For the most part, it’s Sengoku who receives the most character development, especially as we come to realize his brand of social anxiety oddly compliments Miyamura’s. Toru could’ve been given more time, but he and Yuki were both given ample screen time in the original series, while Sengoku had room to grow.
Sengoku, again with Miyamura, is where the majority of the biggest laughs are found in Horimiya: The Missing Pieces. Their ineptitude that drives the others’ lesser moments produces big and broad comedy, especially as they both try to conceal their insecurities from others. The writing in these moments is superb, taking jokes and pushing them to their limit, such as the two’s desperation to find a way out of having to be in swimsuits around their peers.
The humor is the biggest difference in the series compared to Horimiya, which connects back to the show, allowing more light on Miyamura’s storylines. Considering the anecdotal nature of the narrative, the comedy makes sense, as we’re given the in-between moments characters share and the general absurdity of being a teenager. But despite the comedy, the series never loses sight of its heart, which continues to be emboldened by the lush, golden-lit animation.
The character designs remain softly lined, with light being captured through strands of hair, eyes seen straight through someone’s bangs, and that soft, deft touch is caught in the entirety of the series design. It, like the OP, creates a fully realized depiction of nostalgia and the youthful exuberance given to any moment, no matter how significant. It’s part of why the series has always worked, as it understands that often, the memories we best recall are emotions we felt rather than details, an atmosphere that’s captured in the artistry that molds the characters and their landscapes.
But none of this would be possible or, rather, none of it would deliver the same impact without the aforementioned heart, the beating life force of the series. And that heart is found in the title, greatly explored in the finale. Because yes, there’s the literal sense of “missing pieces,” as the series gives us the missing moments of the story and the interactions fans were hoping to see brought to further life on screen. More than that, though, the title deals with the missing pieces of our own lives — the people who fill in our gaps and prescribe greater value in our day-to-day existence.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces understands that the people we meet in these formative years are crucial to our development. And while not every bond we make as we’re still learning about who we are in a greater, internal sense, they help pave the way and fill in the moments that otherwise would be vacant without that accompanying friend. Friends are the ones who spend these seemingly insignificant moments with us, and it’s why Iura’s want to go to the beach with his friends is more poignant in the suggestion to the point where we don’t see it in actuality. Enough is said in his confession about how fond he is of these people that we don’t have to see an actual beach excursion to be convinced of their camaraderie.
The series, as was the case with Horimiya, touches on something fragile and profound. Horimiya: The Missing Pieces exudes warmth, with necessary humor, in a follow-up series that understands why we were all so drawn to these characters in the first place.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces is available now on Crunchyroll.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces exudes warmth, with necessary humor, in a follow-up series that understands why we were all so drawn to these characters in the first place.